comparing the two sentences:

Aber auch für viele Menschen, die schon ihr Leben lang in Mitteleuropa leben, sind die kurzen Tage und die lange Dunkelheit im Winter immer wieder ein Grund für schlechte Laune und Depressionen

Typische Kennzeichen für "Burn-out" sind Kopfschmerzen, Schlaflosigkeit, mangelnde Konzentrationsfähighkeit, Bluthochdruck oder auch Depression.

In the first sentence Depressionen is plural, but in the second sentence Depression is singular. So my question is, when to use singular and plural?

My hypothesis is that in the second sentence we are listing a list of nouns, so that maybe we should put plural first, and then singular (or the other way around), by this I mean that we shouldn't list them in random order (maybe to avoid inconsistency or awkwardness). Is this true?

  • 1
    Actually, there seems to be no specific reason in the second sentence to use the singular. Plural would work equally as well. Especially because it already mixes up plural and singular before; Kopfschmerzen (plural) instead of Kopfschmerz (singular). Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 15:02
  • @KaiHartmann Yes, I really think so too, as "Depressionen" would mean a broader sense.
    – Le Nguyen
    Commented Jul 8, 2022 at 16:11
  • Also note that Schlaflosigkeit, Konzentrationsfähighkeit and Bluthochdruck do not have a plural.
    – Paul Frost
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 10:36

1 Answer 1


You could've used "Depressionen" in the second sentence instead of the singular (at least it would still make sense for me as a German and the singular in the second sentence actually sounds a bit weirder to me compared to the plural). I believe it was plural in the second sentence as it could happen multiple times (thats probably why "kurzen Tage" is plural as well).

...sind die kurzen Tage und die lange Dunkelheit im Winter immer wieder ein Grund für...

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