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Meinem, deinem, ihrem, unserem, etc.: German possessive pronouns in the dative case Posted by on Jan 21, 2013 in Grammar, Language

In two of my previous post, I have already written about possessive pronouns in the nominative case and possessive pronouns in the genitive case. Now, I would like to continue with the third case or dative case.

In general, the dative case shows possession. That is, when you want to use a possessive pronoun in the possessive grammar case you have to add a particular ending to your pronoun – which ending that is depends on the gender of the noun to which the possessive pronoun ‘belongs’. This sounds confusing and complicated? Don’t worry! We will go through this together step by step.

First of all, you need to know the correct forms:

 

Singular Plural
1st person meinem / meiner / meinem (my) unserem / unserer / unserem (our)
2nd person deinem / deiner / deinem (your; informal) eurem / eurer / eurem (your; informal)
Ihrem / Ihrer / Ihrem (your; formal Ihrem / Ihrer / Ihrem (your; formal)
3rd person seinem / seiner / seinem (his; its) ihrem / ihrer / ihrem (their)
ihrem / ihrer / ihrem (her)

 

As you can see, there are two different endings you need to know in this grammar case: -em and -er. You add the ending -em to possessive pronouns that refer to masculine or neuter nouns and the ending -er is suffixed to possessive pronouns that refer to feminine nouns.

Examples: Below you find some examples sentences with the German verb “gehören” (to belong). “Gehören” generally requires the dative case, thus, you have to add an appropriate ending to the pronoun. Here it is either -em or -er.

 

 

1. Dieser Terminkalender gehört meinem Chef. (lit. This day planner belongs to my boss.)

The German noun “Chef” (male boss) is a masculine noun. Consequently, you have to add the masculine ending -em to the stem mein (my). The German noun “Terminkalender” (day planner) is also a masculine noun, which is here in the nominative case, thus, the ending -er has to be added to the stem dies (this).

 

2. Diese Tasche gehört meinem Freund. (lit. This bag belongs to my (male) friend.)

The German noun “Freund” (male friend) is masculine. Hence, the correct ending of the pronoun mein (my) is -em.  The German noun “Tasche” (bag) is feminine – here in the nominative case. Hence, the ending -e has to be added to the stem dies (this).

 

3. Dieses Auto gehört meinem Vater. (lit. This car belongs to my father.)

The German noun “Vater” (father) is masculine. Hence, the ending -em has to be added to the pronoun mein (my). The German noun “Auto” (car) is neuter and is in the nominative case. Hence, the ending -es has to be added to the word dies (this).

 

4. Dieser Terminkalender gehört meiner Chefin. (lit. This day planner belongs to my female boss.)

The German noun “Chefin” (female boss) is feminine. Hence, the ending –er has to be added to the stem mein (my). Again, the German noun “Terminkalender” (day planner) is also a masculine noun, which is here in the nominative case, thus, the ending -er has to be added to the stem dies (this).

 

5. Diese Tasche gehört meiner Freundin. (lit. This bag belongs to my female friend.)

The German noun “Freundin” (female friend) is feminine. Hence, you have to add the ending -er to the pronoun mein (my). Again, the German noun “Tasche” (bag) is feminine – here in the nominative case. Hence, the ending -e has to be added to the stem dies (this).

 

6. Dieses Auto gehört meiner Mutter. (lit. This car belongs to my mother.)

The German noun “Mutter” (mother) is feminine. Hence, the ending -er has to be added to the pronoun mein (my). Again, the German noun “Auto” (car) is neuter and is in the nominative case. Hence, the ending -es has to be added to the word dies (this).

 

7. Dieser Teddybär gehört meinem Kind. (lit. This teddy bear belong to my child.)

The German noun “Kind” (child) is neuter. Hence, the ending –em has to be added to the pronoun mein (my). The German noun “Teddybär” (teddy bear) is masculine and in the nominative case. Thus, the ending -er has to be added to the root word dies (this).

 

8. Diese Puppe gehört meinem Kind. (lit. This doll belongs to my child.)

The German noun “Puppe” (doll) is feminine and in the nominative case. Hence, the ending -e has to be added to the word dies (this).

 

9. Dieses Spiel gehört meinem Kind. (lit. This game belongs to my child.)

The German noun “Spiel” (game) is neuter and in the nominative case. Hence, the ending -es has to be added to the word dies (this).

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About the Author: Sandra Rösner

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


Comments:

  1. Alexis Kasperavičius:

    Thank you Sandra! As a native English speaker learning German, I am trying to understand the grammar completely. Your explanation is clear and concise and really helps! Now I have to commit it to memory – along with learning those pesky (and completely foreign) genders for everything!

    Thank you!

    Alex

  2. Kelly:

    Thank you! I am a first semester student in German and was having trouble with dative endings, this cleared things up A LOT! 🙂

  3. steven duckworth:

    Ihrem – who dreamed that up ?

  4. frauglai:

    very helpful blog!

  5. Kaibreeze:

    Thank you very much! Finally I’m understanding.

  6. Cam:

    Danke schön für die Lektionen, Sandra! Sie sind hilfreich und ich verstehe jetzt Dativ!