What Are Some Common Words in German?


Quick Answer

The five most common words in German are "das" ("the" or "that"), "ist" ("is"), "du" (informal singular version of "you"), "ich" ("I") and "nicht" ("not"). The sixth to 10th most common words are "die" ("the"), "es" ("it"), "und" ("and"), "Sie" (polite version of "you") and "der" ("the").

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Full Answer

Three of these 10 words, "der," "die" and "das," mean "the." The German language has three genders and four cases, and articles change based on the gender and case of a word. "Der" is nominative masculine, "die" is nominative feminine and "das" is nominative neuter. "Das" is also used for neuter nouns in the accusative case and is a demonstrative pronoun. "Die" additionally serves as the definite article for the feminine accusative case, as well as the definite article for both nominative and accusative plural. "Der" can also be feminine dative.

"Ich" is only capitalized when it comes at the beginning of a sentence. "Sie," however, and its dative form of "Ihnen," is always capitalized. This distinguishes it from "sie," meaning "she" or "they."

More common German words include "was" ("what" or "which"), "wir" ("we"), "zu" (pronoun often meaning "to," too"; adverb meaning "towards" or "shut"), "ein" ("a" or "one," used with masculine and neuter nouns) and "er" ("he" or "it" when referring to masculine nouns).

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