I am struggling to understand a simple exercise in my textbook.

The task is to complete the ending for two words (italics) in the following sentence:

Auszubildende_ und Angestellte_ verdienen im nächsten Jahr mehr

The answer according to the textbook is that the sentence is correct as it is, without any modification. My guess was that both nouns should be in plural and therefore because of the -n deklination go with an additional -n at the end.

  • What remains unclear after looking at Wiktionary? It has separate tables for easy comparison...
    – guidot
    Jan 25, 2022 at 13:35

2 Answers 2


While your assumption that (almost all) nouns ending in unstressed -e form the plural with -n is correct, Auszubildend- and Angestellt- are nouns that inflect like adjectives, which do have the strong ending -e in the nominative and accusative plural.

sehr geehrte Damen und Herren
liebe Freunde
Auszubildende und Angestellte

The weak ending in this instance is -en.

meine sehr geehrten Damen und Herren
meine lieben Freunde
alle Auszubildenden und Angestellten

An example in the singular.

mein guter Freund
ein zufriedener Angestellter

der gute Freund
der zufriedene Angestellte

Other nouns that inflect like adjectives:

ein Erwachsener, Jugendlicher, Deutscher, Beamter
der Erwachsene, Jugendliche, Deutsche, Beamte


No, they don't have an -n in the (indefinite) nominative case plural:

ein Auszubildender, zwei Auszubildende

But they do in the definite:

der Auszubildende, die Auszubildenden.

  • Thank you, but why they don't have an -n? I guess this is my question
    – dapias
    Jan 25, 2022 at 9:43
  • 1
    @dapias I'm finding it difficult to find any source for this, as declination tables usually include determiners, which is the distinctive difference here. I guess without the determiner as a case marker it would create an ambiguity with the accusative, where you would add an -n. Jan 25, 2022 at 11:24
  • I think I have found the general principle under the name of "Substantivierte Adjektive und Partizipien", as it is explained for instance here. Thanks for the help @OliverMason!
    – dapias
    Jan 25, 2022 at 14:52

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