German! It's not easy if you're English! We have never had to bother with nouns that are masculine, feminine or neuter and so dealing with "der", "die" and "das" amounts to a nightmare. How to remember what "Bleistift" is?? There is no way!

In the course of time I have managed to make a few rules of my own that seem to hold up. All nouns ending in "heit", "keit" or "ung" are feminine, I think. And most of the animals I'm frightened of are also feminine e.g. Spinne, Ratte, Maus, Schlange - I sometimes wonder why they are "die" but nevertheless, at least I can remember. I thought I'd got the rivers worked out - they are all feminine except the really big rivers, e.g. Der Rhein, but that doesn't work because it's "die" Donau and that's a big enough river.

It would be OK if that was all but there are these wretched cases to consider - ich gehe in die Stadt und dann bin ich in der Stadt!!! And so it is with every noun.....

As the Germans say:Es ist eine Wissenschaft für sich!

(Could words ending in "schaft" also be feminine???)