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Kannst du mir die Adresse des Jungen geben?

Why is it des Jungen, and not des Junges, if it's in the genitive?

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The short answer is that there is no rule; if you don't know you have to look it up in a dictionary. It's not completely random though since you can divide nouns up into declension classes. Each class has a pattern and there are a limited number of classes. There are global patterns as well, and if you know them you can determine the declension for all eight combinations of number and case from three of them plus the gender, which is all many dictionaries list. For example DWDS gives the nominative singular, genitive singular, and nominative plural. (See for example the DWDS entry for Junge.) The genitive singular is included because it can't be determined from general rules.

For certain nouns formed from adjectives, the noun declension follows the adjective declension, which is different and more complex, but fortunately very regular.

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It's called weak noun declination or n-declination and you have to learn for each masculine noun whether it has strong or weak declination. And for the latter also which flavour. You can deduce that from the genitive singular.

So you have to drill nominative singular, genitive singular, nominative plural. I emphasized those forms:

der Zug, des Zug(e)s, dem Zug(e), den Zug, die Züge, der Züge, den Zügen, die Züge — strong declination

der Junge, des Jungen, dem Jungen, den Jungen, die Jungen, der Jungen, den Jungen, die Jungen — weak declination -n flavour

der Gedanke, des Gedankens, dem Gedanken, den Gedanken, die Gedanken, der Gedanken, den Gedanken, die Gedanken — weak declination -ns, -n flavour

Masculine nouns that end in -e are usually weak declined. But there are more endings for that, and also exceptions. Oh, and the neuter noun das Herz is also weak, at least if it's about the poetic heart. So learn the genitive singular with any masculine noun.


In addition to that, there are also nouns which follow the adjective declination, which is very similar to the weak declination. Those come in all three genders, as adjectives always do.

der Gute, des Guten, dem Guten, den Guten, die Guten, der Guten, den Guten, die Guten

die Gute, der Guten, der Guten, die Gute, die Guten, der Guten, den Guten, die Guten

das Gute, des Guten, dem Guten, das Gute, die Guten, der Guten, den Guten, die Guten

For those you have to remember that accusative singular is the same as nominative singular for feminine and neuter nouns. Oh, and the regular article ending pattern of course. As always.

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