The diminutive

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The diminutive

We use the diminutive form ‑chen to indicate that something is “small” or “cute”. It can be added to most nouns in German.

das Tier das Tierchen

the animal the little animal, the little critter

der Stern das Sternchen

the star the little star

If the noun contains an a, o or u we generally add an umlaut to it. We also generally remove the final ‑e, if there is one.

der Schatz das Schätzchen

the treasure little treasure, darling, sweetheart

die Torte das Törtchen

the cake the little cake

die Blume das Blümchen

the flower the cute little flower


  • All diminutive nouns are neuter.

der Haifisch das Haifischchen

the shark the baby shark

die Katze das Kätzchen

the cat the pussycat, the kitten

  • The alternative diminutive ending -lein is mainly used for words that end in ‑ch. It can be used with other words too, but that sounds somewhat old-fashioned.

das Buch das Büchlein

the book the little book

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