German possessive pronouns
- 1.What are possessive pronouns in German?
- 2.Dependent possessive pronouns (Possessivebegleiter) in German
- 2.1.What are dependent possessive pronouns?
- 2.2.Declension of dependent possessive pronouns
- 2.2.1.Nominative case
- 2.2.2.Genitive case
- 2.2.3.Dative case
- 2.2.4.Accusative case
- 3.Independent possessive pronouns in German
- 3.1.Usage of independent possessive pronouns
- 3.2.Declension of independent possessive pronouns
- 3.2.1.Nominative case
- 3.2.2.Genitive case
- 3.2.3.Dative case
- 3.2.4.Accusative case
- 4.1.Exercise on the German possessive pronouns
- 4.2.Exercise of German possessive pronouns
What are possessive pronouns in German?
Possessive pronouns are used to indicate ownership or affiliation. They have to be declined according to the associated noun.
We distinguish between two types of possessive pronouns in German:
- Dependent possessive pronouns ( = Possessivbegleiter)
- Independent possessive pronouns
Dependent possessive pronouns (Possessivebegleiter) in German
What are dependent possessive pronouns?
These pronouns are called dependent because they can, like articles, only occur as a companion of a noun. Often they are also called possessive article. Just like all articles, dependent possessive pronouns are declined according to the noun they accompany.
- Ist das dein Hund? - Is that your dog?
- Euer Haus ist sehr Groß. - Your house is very big.
Declension of dependent possessive pronouns
To decline possessive pronouns in German we should know the following basic forms (word stem):
|Personal Pronoun||Possessive Pronoun (word stem)||English Translation|
|1st person singular||ich||mein-||my|
|2nd person singular||du||dein-||your|
|3rd person singular (m)||er||sein-||his|
|3rd person singular (f)||sie||ihr-||her|
|3rd person singular (n)||es||sein-||its|
|1st person plural||wir||unser-||our|
|2nd person plural||ihr||eu(e)r-||your|
|3rd person plural||sie||ihr-||their|
The word stem refers to the person which possesses the noun.
To decline the pronouns we just need to add the appropriate ending.
The ending changes according to the possessed nouns...
- ... number (singular, plural)
- ... gender (masculine, feminine, neuter)
- ... case (nominative, genitive, dative accusative)
Attention: The stem of the second person plural changes from 'euer-' to 'eur-' when we add an ending!
The nominative case of dependent possessive pronouns for masculine and neuter nouns equals the word stem. If we have a plural or a female noun we add the ending '-e'.
|Person||Masculine/Neuter (-ø)||Female/Plural (-e)|
Das ist mein Buch. - that is my book.
Seine Schuhe sind schön. - His shoes are beautiful.
The genitive case of dependent possessive pronouns requires the ending '-es' for masculine and neuter nouns. For female and plural nouns we add the ending '-er'.
|Person||Masculine/Neuter (-es)||Female/Plural (-er)|
Er mag die Freunde seines Sohnes. - He likes his sons friends.
Das ist das Haus meiner Eltern. - That's my parents house.
For the dative case of dependent possessive pronouns we add the ending '-em' for masculine and neuter nouns. For female nouns we add '-er' and for plural nouns '-en'.
|Person||Masculine/Neuter (-em)||Female (-er)||Plural (-en)|
Meinem Bruder gefällt der Deutschunterricht. - My brother likes the German class.
Die Blume schenkt sie ihrer Tante. - She gives the Flower to her aunt.
Wir gratulieren unseren Eltern zum Hochzeitstag. - We congratulate our parents on their anniversary.
The accusative case of dependent possessive pronouns demands the ending '-en' for masculine and '-e' for female and plural noun. If we have a neuter noun we use just the word stem.
|Person||Masculine (-en)||Neuter (-ø)||Female/Plural (-e)|
Sie führen ihren Hund spazieren. - They take their dog for a walk.
Kann ich mir dein Buch ausleihen? - May I borrow your book?
Hast du deine Mutter gefragt? - Did you ask your Mother?
Independent possessive pronouns in German
Usage of independent possessive pronouns
Unlike the Possessivbegleiter, independent possessive pronouns stand alone and have the function to replace an already mentioned noun to avoid repetition.
- Das ist ein süßer Hund. Ist das deiner? - That's a cute dog. Is it yours?
- Ich habe ein kleines Haus. Eures ist sehr groß. - I have a small house. Yours is very big.
However we still use the same word stem:
Declension of independent possessive pronouns
To decline these pronouns, again, we just need to add the appropriate ending according to the noun which is now being replaced.
The nominative case of independent possessive pronouns is build with the ending '-er' for masculine nouns, '-s/-es' for neuter nouns and '-e' if we have a female or plural noun.
|Person||Masculine (-er)||Neuter (-s/-es)||Female/Plural (-e)|
- Siehst du den roten Wagen? Das ist meiner. - Do you see the red car? That's mine.
Das blaue Auto daneben ist unseres. - The blue car besides is ours.
A: Gehört die Tasche Maria? - B: Ja, das ist ihre. - A: Does this bag belong to Maria? - B: Yes, it's hers.
The genitive form of independent possessive pronouns equals the genitive case of dependent possessive pronouns but it is less common.
For the dative case of independent possessive pronouns we add '-em' if we have a masculine or neuter noun. For female nouns the ending is '-er'. The plural form is build with '-en'.
|Person||Masculine/Neuter (-em)||Female (-er)||Plural (en)|
- A: Wo hast du dein Auto geparkt? - B: Neben deinem. - A: Where did you park your car? - B: Next to yours.
- Diese Tasche gehört nicht deiner Freundin. Sie gehört meiner. - This bag does not belong to your girlfriend. It belongs to mine.
- Alle Eltern sind gekommen, außer deinen. - All parents came, except yours.
The accusative case of independent possessive pronouns needs the ending '-en' for masculine nouns. The neuter form is build with '-s/-es'. For female nouns we use the ending '-e'.
|Person||Masculine (-en)||Neuter (-s/-es)||Plural (-e)|
- Unser Lehrer kennt die Antwort nicht. Könnt ihr euren fragen? - Our teacher doesn't know the answer. May you ask yours?
- Ich habe mein Deutschbuch vergessen. Darf ich deins benutzen? - I forgot my German book. May I use yours?
- Hans hat eine neue Uhr. Seine alte ist kaputt. -Hans has a new watch. his old one is broken.
Are you not sure which case to use? Check out the German cases
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