How to Memorize German Fruit Names and Their Plurals
Studying German fruit names is a fun way of expanding one’s German vocabulary. The article of most fruits in German is female – die, which makes learning German fruits even easier. Das Obst (no plural) is the collective term for fruits, whereas Früchte is the plural of Frucht (fruit).
German Garden Fruits – Deutsches Obst
The list below contains the fruits one will most likely find at a German Obstladen (fruit seller) or supermarket. Unless otherwise noted, the plural of these German fruits is formed by simply adding an n to the singular, for example, Birnen, Pflaumen. Memorizing the articles for these fruits is also not difficult as unless otherwise noted, they are female: die Birne, die Kirsche, etc.
- der Apfel, die Äpfel – apple, apples
- Birne – pear
- Feige – fig
- Kirsche – cherry
- der Pfirsich – peach
- Pflaume – plum
- Schlehe – blackthorn
- Weintraube – grape
- Zwetschge – plum (in southern Germany or Switzerland)
German Berry Names – Deutsche Beeren
Just like the terms for German garden fruits, the plural of berries (except for Sanddorn) is formed by adding –n to the singular: eine Beere, zwei Beeren. Note that the German Beere has nothing to do with English beer and is pronounced differently: behrah.
- Brombeere – blackberry or bramble
- Erdbeere – strawberry
- Heidelbeere or Blaubeere – huckleberry or blueberry
- Himbeere – raspberry
- Johannisbeere – currant
- Moosbeere – cranberry
- Preiselbeere – cowberry or lingonberry
- der Sanddorn – sea buckthorn
- Stachelbeere – gooseberry
All berries in German are female: die Brombeere, die Erdbeere, etc.
Tropical Fruits – Südfrüchte
Though some exotic fruits like bananas, kiwis and oranges grow in the Mediterranean climate, most tropical fruits in Germany are imported from far. Sometimes the fruit names are imported into the German along with the fruit, making it a loan word from another language.
For learners of German, this is important to know because plurals are then formed by adding –s, not –n! Learn the exotic fruits in their respective groups below, along with the rule, and avoid confusion.
“Old favorites” form plurals with -n:
- Banane, Bananen – banana, bananas
- Honigmelone, Honigmelonen – honeydew melon
- Limone – lime
- Nektarine, Nektarinen – nectarine, nectarines
- Orange, Orangen – orange, oranges
- Wassermelone, Wassermelonen – water melon, water melons
- Zitrone, Zitronen – lemon, lemons
Germanized names follow standard German plural formation:
- der Granatapfel, die Granatäpfel – pomegranate, pomegranates
- Jackfrucht, Jackfrüchte – jackfruit
- Kokosnuss, Kokosnüsse – coconut, coconuts
- Pampelmuse, Pampelmusen – grapefruit
Recent imports import the s-plural as well:
- Ananas, Ananas – pineapple, pineapples (no extra –s in German)
- Kiwi, Kiwis – kiwi, kiwis
- Litschi, Litschis – lichee, lichees
- Maracuja, Maracujas – passion fruit, passion fruits
- Mango, Mangos – mango, mangoes
- Papaya, Papayas – papaya, papayas
Last but not least: what’s inside a fruit? Fruits with one pit (Stein) inside like peaches, plums and cherries are called stone fruits – Steinobst. The seeds inside grapes, apples and pears are called Kerne and therefore this group of fruits is referred to as Kernobst.
Those who feel inspired by this topic may want to make an Obstsalat (a fruit salad) by using only those fruits whose German names they remember. Or, how about combining this topic with German colors and shapes and German numbers? Use the following sample constructs:
- rote Johannisbeeren – red currants
- drei grüne Stachelbeeren – three green gooseberries
- die roten Mangos – the red mangoes
Interested in learning German? Find your German teachers now.