German possessive pronouns in the genitive case

Posted on 12. Dec, 2012 by in Grammar, Language

Sometimes, German can be a tough language. This is also true when it comes to possessive pronouns. Possessive pronouns are the parts of speech, which indicate that something or someone belongs to something or someone else. For example, you can say:

“This is my brother.” – “Das ist mein Bruder.”

“This is your book.” – “Das ist dein Buch.”

“These are our shoes.” – “Das sind unsere Schuhe.”

Unlike English, German possessive pronouns change their endings dependent on the grammar case of the noun to which they refer. In my last entry I discussed possessive pronouns in the nominative case. Now, let’s take a step forward and have a look at German possessive pronouns in the genitive case, also know as possessive case or second case.

Table: German possessive pronouns in the genitive case

Singular Plural
1st person meines / meiner / meines (my) unseres / unserer / unseres (our)
2nd person deines / deiner / deines (your; informal) eures / eurer / eures (your; informal)
Ihres / Ihrer / Ihres (your; formal) Ihres / Ihrer / Ihres (your; formal)
3rd person seines / seiner / seines (his) ihres / ihrer / ihres (their)
ihres / ihrer / ihres (her)
seines / seiner /seines (its)

 

I admit that it could possibly be a bit confusing when you study the table, since I highlighted the different forms (endings) in different colors: blue = masculine; red = feminine; green = neuter.

Firstly, you need to know to whom you would like to refer. Are you talking about yourself (my – mein), about yourself and simultaneously about others (our – unser), about your immediate counterpart(s) (your – dein – informal singular / euer – informal plural/ Ihr – formal singular and plural), or about completely other people, for example, a male person (his – sein), a female person (her – ihr), a neuter person (its – sein), or a group of people (their – ihr).

Secondly, you need to know the gender of the object of your sentence, i.e. the possessor of the thing you are talking about, in order to attach the correct ending to the possessive pronoun you have already chosen. This could be a “(male) friend” (der Freund), a “(female) friend” (die Freundin) or a “child” (das Kind).

In sum, the correct form of the possessive pronoun is always the result of the grammatical person (my; your; his; her; its; our; their) plus the appropriate grammatical gender ending of the possessor.

 

Here are some examples:

der Freund (male friend) – masculine noun

Das ist der Schlüssel meines Freundes. – This is my friend’s key.

Das ist die Tasche deines Freundes. / Das ist die Tasche Ihres Freundes. – This is your friend’s bag.

Das ist  das Auto seines Freundes. – This is his friend’s car.

Das ist der Name ihres Freundes. – This is her boyfriend’s name.

 

Die Freundin (female friend) – feminine noun

Das ist der Mantel meiner Freundin. – This is my friend’s coat.

Das ist das Handy deiner Freundin. / Das ist das Handy Ihrer Freundin. – This is your friend’s cellphone.

Das ist die Telefonnummer seiner Freundin. – This is his girlfriend’s telephone number.

Das ist die Uhr ihrer Freundin. – This is her friend’s watch.

 

Das Kind (child) – neuter noun

Das ist das Spielzeug meines Kindes. – This is my child’s toy.

Das ist die Schultasche deines Kindes. / Das ist die Schultasche Ihres Kindes. – This is your child’s schoolbag.

Das ist der Name seines Kindes. – This is his child’s name.

Das ist die Puppe ihres Kindes. – This is her child’s doll.

 

More sentences:

Das ist die Pfeife unseres Großvaters. – This is the pipe of grandfather. (der Großvater)

Das sind die Spielsachen unseres Kindes. – These are the toys of our child. (das Kind)

Das sind die Bücher eures/Ihres Vaters. – This is your father’s book.

Das sind die Bücher eurer/Ihrer Mutter. – This is your mother’s book.

Das sind die Spielsachen eures/Ihres Kindes. – These are you child’s toys.

Das ist die Tasche ihres Lehrers. – This is the bag of their (male) teacher.

Das ist die Tasche ihrer Lehrerin. – This is the bag of their (female) teacher.

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About Sandra

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra

One Response to “German possessive pronouns in the genitive case”

  1. John Asanyire 2 March 2013 at 6:42 am #

    Vielen Danke Sandra. Du spricht sehr gut Englisch. Ich komme aus Ghana und interesiere mich in Deutsch. Ich will Deutsch lernen. Dein Bog hat mir so viel geholfen.
    Sandra, I am am trying to learn German by mysel. It is a very difficult language but very interesting. You can say alot in German with very few sentences or words. Continue posting on the blog for it helps me a great deal. If only I could get into contact with you to ask certain questions when I met much more difficulties in my lessons.


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