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:
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.
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...
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?
Unlike the Possessivbegleiter, independent possessive pronouns stand alone and have the function to replace an already mentioned noun to avoid repetition.
However we still use the same word stem:
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)|
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)|
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)|
Are you not sure which case to use? Check out the German cases
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