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The term “n-declension” simply means we have to add the ending -(e)n to certain masculine nouns in all cases except the nominative singular.

Nominativder Kollegedie Kollegen
Akkusativ den Kollegen die Kollegen
Dativ dem Kollegen den Kollegen
Genitiv des Kollegen der Kollegen

There are different groups:

  • Male people and animals ending in -e: Junge (boy), Kollege (colleague), Kunde (customer), Löwe (lion), etc.

Ich muss den Kunden anrufen.

I have to call the client.

Hast du mit dem Kollegen gesprochen?

Have you spoken to your colleague?

Wir haben den Löwen gefüttert.

We fed the lion.

  • Masculine nouns ending in -ant, -ent, -at, -ist: Diamant (diamond), Student (student), Automat (machine), Journalist (journalist)

Anna hat den Patienten operiert.

Anna operated on the patient.

Ich habe mit dem Lieferanten telefoniert.

I spoke to the supplier on the phone.

  • Certain other masculine nouns, the most common being: Herr (gentleman), Mensch (person), Fotograf (photographer), Name (name), etc.

Ich habe Ihren Namen nicht verstanden.

I didn't catch your name.

Ich möchte Herrn Möller sprechen.

I'd like to speak to Mr. Möller.

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