Danish Language Blog

Your Danish Possessives Posted by on Apr 25, 2016 in Grammar

voresYou’ll probably not find this in your grammar book, but the most important thing to ask yourself when you want to use a possessive pronoun (”my”, ”her”…) in Danish is this: Does it end in an -s? If yes, you’re lucky: hans, hendes, vores, jeres, deres NEVER change:

Hans cykel, hendes bil, vores hus, jeres garage, deres børn – Cyklen er hans, bilen er hendes, huset er vores, garagen er jeres, børnene er deres (His bike, her car, our house, your garage, their children – The bike is his, the car is hers, the house is ours, the garage is yours, the children are theirs).

Min (mine) and din (yours), however, are just as wishy-washy as your typical adjective. Let’s repeat:

-t is a neuter ending

-e is a plural ending

So, you say:

Har du set min paraply/mit rejsekort/mine briller? (Have you seen my umbrella/my travel card/my glasses?)

Nej, jeg har ikke set din paraply/dit rejsekort/dine briller…

Stop, wait, it can’t be this easy!

Okay, it’s true, there IS the small word sin [seen]… It does not exist in English, but can be translated as ”his (own)” or ”her (own)”. It’s inflected just like ”mine”: sin, sit, sine. I’d better demonstrate:

Hun drak sin latte. (She drank her [own] latte.)

Han tog sin hat og gik. (He took his [own] hat and left.)

In both those phrases, sin refers back to the person drinking or taking. Not a big deal, maybe, but if you go ahead like you would in English, the meaning actually changes:

Hun drak hendes latte. (She drank her [someone else’s] latte.)

Han tog hans hat og gik. (He took his [someone else’s] hat and left.)

Got it? 🙂 If in doubt, you can always replace pronouns with names:

Anna Larsen snakker med Anna Larsens veninde > Hun snakker med sin veninde (She’s talking with her friend).

Anna Larsen snakker med Helle Jensens veninde > Hun snakker med hendes veninde

If you feel like a total mess now, don’t worry: Danes are having a lot of sin trouble themselves! In fact, in dialects such as the traditional Århus dialect, sin isn’t really used… Just pretend you’re a dialect speaker and do your best to follow the conversation! 🙂

Tags: , , , ,
Keep learning Danish with us!

Build vocabulary, practice pronunciation, and more with Transparent Language Online. Available anytime, anywhere, on any device.

Try it Free Find it at your Library
Share this:
Pin it

About the Author: Bjørn A. Bojesen

I was born in Denmark, but spent large parts of my childhood and study years in Norway. I later returned to Denmark, where I finished my MA in Scandinavian Studies. Having relatives in Sweden as well, I feel very Scandinavian! I enjoy reading and travelling, and sharing stories with you! You’re always welcome to share your thoughts with me and the other readers.