The genitive case in German answers the question:
Wessen? - whose / of what?
The genitive is a complement of a noun, that means it completes the noun to which it refers. In English this is often expressed by the preposition of or by 's. In German an apostrophe is not used (but there are some exceptions).
Der Mund des Drachens ist riesig groß. - The mouth of the dragon is huge.
|Wessen Mund ist riesig groß? - Whose mouth is huge?||des Drachen - of the dragon|
Das Dach des Hauses muss repariert werden. - The roof of the house has to be repaired.
|Wessen Dach muss repariert werden? - Whose roof has to be repaired?||des Hauses - of the house|
Der Hund der lieben Frau heißt Paco. - The dog of the lovely woman is called Paco.
|Wessen Hund heißt Paco? - Whose dog is called Paco?||
der lieben Frau - of the lovely woman
Most of the masculine and neuter nouns take the ending -s/-es in the genitive singular. Weak nouns (N-declension) take a -n/-en in genitive singular. Feminine nouns and the plural, on the other hand, do not have any special endings. An -s is added to proper names in the genitive case.
Keep in mind: Mixed masculine nouns and nouns formed out of verb infinitive take the ending -s in the genitive singular.
In this table you can find several examples for the declension of noun and their articles in the different genders. In addition, there are some examples of adjectives that are accompany a noun in the dative case.
|With a definite article||des Mannes||der Frau||des Kindes||der Leute|
|With an indefinite article||eines Mannes||einer Frau||eines Kindes||Leute|
|With a definite article + adjective||des guten Mannes||einer schönen Frau||des jungen Kindes||der alten Leute|
|With an indefinite article + adjective||eines guten Mannes||einer schönen Frau||eines jungen Kindes||alter Leute|
In the spoken language it is very common to use the genitive formed out of von + dative. The table shows some cases in which the genitive is expressed with von + dative. This is often the case when there is no article in front of the noun.
|Type of noun
|Country names||die Pizza von Italien - the pizza of Italy.|
|With (raw) materials||
die Gewinnung von Erdöl - the extraction of petroleum
die Farbe von Silber - the colour of silver
der Geschmack von Käse - the taste of cheese
die Klamotten von Kindern - the clothes of children
ein Freund von mir - a friend of mine
There are two different ways to form the genitive of proper ways:
The genitive of proper nouns can be formed using the von preposition before the proper noun.
Be careful: the genitive cases changes into a dative cases then!
Here are some examples:
The genitive of proper names can also be formed with ending a -s (possessive genitive). Therefore you have to put the name in front of the noun (the possession) and add the suffix -s. In English it is nearly the same, but with an apostrophe.
Here are some examples:
There are five different situation when you have to use the German genitive.
The genitive is used to express possession or a relationship between people and/or objects. In English it is translated with the preposition of or by 's. Answers the question:
Wessen? - whose? of what?
The genitive can also be used as an adverb to give indications about an indefinite duration or period. In English it is expressed by for instance: one day, some day.
The female noun die Nacht behaves in this case as a masculine or a neutral noun.
The genitive case used with certain prepositions. You can find them in this table.
|während - during||Während meines Aufenthalts in Hamburg habe ich viele Leute kennengelernt. - During my stay in Hamburg, I met many people.|
|trotz - despite||Trotz des Regens spielt er im Garten. - Despite the rain, he plays in the garden|
|statt/anstatt - instead||Statt des Computers kauft mir meine Mutter das Handy. - Instead of the computer, my mother buys the phone from me.|
|wegen - because of||Wegen des Gewitters kann man nicht Fußball spielen. - Because of the storm, you can not play football.|
|infolge - as a result of||Infolge eines Vorfalls komme ich nicht mehr. - As a result of an incident I will not come anymore.|
|dank - due to/ thanks to||Dank deiner Bemühungen hast du das Ziel erreicht. - Thanks to your efforts, you have reached the goal.|
|außerhalb, innerhalb, oberhalb, unterhalb - outside, inside, above, below||Die Kinder spielen außerhalb des Hauses. - The children play outside of the house.|
|um ... willen - for the sake of||Um Himmels willen, warum? - For God's sake, why?|
|diesseits, jenseits - on this side of, on the other side of||Das Dorf ist diesseits des Sees. - The village is on this side of the lake.|
There are some verbs that are in need of the genitive in German. These shows you some of them with an example. In German it sounds more formal, so that it is not used often.
|anklagen - to be charged||Sie ist des Mordes angeklagt. - She is charged with murder.|
|bedürfen - to require/to need||Der Opa bedarf seiner Medikamente. - The grandpa needs medication.|
|gedenken - to commemorate||Wir gedenken der Toten. - We commemorate the dead.|
|beschuldigen - to accuse||Der Anwalt beschuldigt mich der Tat. - The lawyer accuses me of the act.|
|sich einer Sache bedienen - to use one thing||Der Dichter bedient sich der Metaphern. - The poet uses the metaphors.|
There are some adjectives that are followed by the genitive case. Here a some examples.
|sicher - sure||Ich bin mir der Antwort nicht sicher. - I am not sure about the answer.|
|bewusst - aware of||Er ist sich seines Fehlers bewusst. - He is aware of his fault.|
|würdig - worthy||Sie ist dieses Namens würdig. - She is worthy of this name.|
Anthony, thank you for your words! I am happy to know that you are satisfied with the course and that you enjoy the lessons so much. It is a pleasure for me too! I like to witness your improvement, class after class, and I am sure that you will achieve your goal soon. Con mucho gusto!
Thank you, Danilo. It is always a pleasure having lessons with you and I have enjoyed our many conversations together. And what a joy that over time they have become easier for both of us to understand! :D
Hi Alba! Thank you so much for your wonderful review! I enjoyed our class too & I wish you the best of luck with all your future projects :-)
Dear Silvia, thank you very much for your feedback! It's a real pleasure to have classes with you, and I hope you find them useful!
Hola Pedro, thanks for your words. I'm glad you enjoyed our first class. Get ready, we are going to learn more and more! :-D
Thanks a lot. It is understood that for any difficulty and / or misunderstanding I am at your disposal.Rina
Thank you Philippe for your beautiful words. Yours sincerely.
Dear Erik thank you so much for your great feedback !!!!!
Many thanks to you Clemence. See you! :-))))
Thank you for your feedback Peter :)
Thank you Sereen! Derya
Thanks Aleksandra !!
Thank you Leandra!
Hi! I am Donatella, I'm Italian and I have been living in Vienna since 2009. I teach Italian and German as a foreign language. I really... like teaching and I enjoy it! Every day I have the great chance to work together with people with different ages, backgroung and learning goals. Thanks to my job I can broaden and deepen my knowledge and skills and of course meet people from all over the world. Foreign languages represent my first interest, as a learner too. After having experienced a distance learning course I find the e-learning a personal, specific and practical method to learn, improve or polish up a foreign language! I would be glad to hear from you! Read more
Hello everyone and a big warm welcome to all the fellow language learners, My name is Katerina, I’m a native Russian speaker and a foreign... language teacher from St Petersburg, Russia. I’ve always been addicted to learning foreign languages, be it English, German, Spanish, Turkish or Arabic, so turning my passion into my job was just a matter of time. I have a Master’s degree in linguistics which taught me to understand the way the mechanism of a language works and thus to help my students see the logics behind the grammar rules. Being a constant language learner enables me to see the process from both sides and to predict the difficulties my students might face. The fact that I’m not a native speaker of English or German means I’ve been through exactly the same language-learning journey you’re about to take, and thanks to my personal experience as a student, I can make this road smooth for you. I've had students of all ages, from pre-school kids to senior generation, and I feel comfortable working with both beginners and those who are eager to take their learning process to a new level. In my classes I encourage you to talk in the language we’re studying as much as possible, putting every single bit of knowledge into practice right away. If you’re a Russian-learner, I’d be glad to prove it to you that you can absolutely nail my mother-tongue - and yes, you’ll be able to make a small talk in Russian by the end of the first class even if you’re an absolute beginner! We’ll be focusing on the topics that are most relevant to your goals, while discovering the language and getting to know more about the culture of people who speak it. I offer a short free trial class, for us to give each other a smile and discuss our teaching pattern, in order to ajust it to your goals and make our lessons the bee's knees :) See you soon! Read more
My name is Christina and I provide fun German and French language lesson for children and adult beginners or intermediate who want to... strengthen their language skills, improve the grammar knowledge, enrich the vocabulary and get into the German culture! I can teach in English or French! I had experince in teaching German, English and French to foreign people so I do have a lot of useful learning material I can provide you to make it easier! Read more