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German Pronouns

Personal Pronouns (I, you, …), possessive pronouns (my, your, …), declension of pronouns

Personal pronouns

The nominative personal pronouns are one of the first things to learn in German as they are the basics to form our first sentences. One interesting fact about German is that the formal way of writing "you" is "Sie" and it is always capitalized.

NominativeAccusativeDativeGenitive
ichImichmemirme, to memeinermine
duyoudichyoudiryou, to youdeineryours
erheihnhimihmhim,to himseinerhis
sieshesieherihrher, to herihrerhers
esitesitihmit, to itseinerits
wirweunsusunsus, to usunserours
ihryoueuchyoueuchyou, to youeueryours
sie
Sie
they
you (formal)
sie
Sie
them
you (formal)
ihnen
Ihnen
to them
to you (formal)
ihrer
Ihrer
theirs
yours (formal)

The third person singular is formed with "er" (he), "sie" (she) and "es" (it).

Ich singe ein Lied für dich
I am singing a song for you

Ich habe dir eine Email geschickt
I have sent you an e-mail

The current use of genitive pronouns in German is rare and sounds old (Often, it's substituted by dative pronouns):

Ich will dir statt seiner einen Kuss geben (old form with genitive)
Ich will dir statt ihm einen Kuss geben (modern form with Dative)
I want to give you a kiss and not him.

Possessive Pronouns

The possessive pronouns in German are:

GermanEnglish
1 Person Sing.meinmy
2 Person Sing.deinyour
3 Person Sing.sein
ihr
sein
his
her
its
1 Person Pluralunserour
2 Person Pluraleueryour
3 Person Pluralihrtheir

Unfortunately, the possessive pronouns are declined and, this has always been a bit confusing. Let's try and make this clear. There are 3 declensions depending on the function of the pronoun:

  • Attributive (possessive pronoun that comes before a noun) or determiner
  • Not attributive without article
  • Not attributive with article

Attributive or determiner

This is when the possessive pronoun comes before a noun:

Mein Name ist Helmut
My name is Helmut


MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativemein /dein
sein/ihr/sein
unser/euer/ihr
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
mein /dein
sein/ihr/sein
unser/euer/ihr
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
Accusativemeinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
mein /dein
sein/ihr/sein
unser/euer/ihr
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
Dativemeinem /deinem
seinem/ihrem/seinem
unserem/eurem/ihrem
meiner /deiner
seiner/ihrer/seiner
unserer/eurer/ihrer
meinem /deinem
seinem/ihrem/seinem
unserem/eurem/ihrem
meinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
Genitivemeines /deines
seines/ihres/seines
unseres/eures/ihres
meiner/deiner
seiner/ihrer/seiner
unserer/eurer/ihrer
meines/deines
seines/ihres/seines
unseres/eures/ihres
meiner /deiner
seiner/ihrer/seiner
unserer/ eurer/ihrer

Not attributive without article

When the possessive pronoun does not accompany a noun or an article:

Der Kuli ist meiner
The pen is mine


MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativemeiner /deiner
seiner/ihrer/seiner
unserer/eurer/ihrer
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
meines/deines
seines/ihres/seines
unseres/eures/ihres
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
Accusativemeinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
meines/deines
seines/ihres/seines
unseres/eures/ihres
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
Dativemeinem /deinem
seinem/ihrem/seinem
unserem/eurem/ihrem
meiner /deiner
seiner/ihrer/seiner
unserer/eurer/ihrer
meinem /deinem
seinem/ihrem/seinem
unserem/eurem/ihrem
meinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
Genitivemeines /deines
seines/ihres/seines
unseres/eures/ihres
meiner/deiner
seiner/ihrer/seiner
unserer/eurer/ihrer
meines/deines
seines/ihres/seines
unseres/eures/ihres
meiner /deiner
seiner/ihrer/seiner
unserer/ eurer/ihrer

Not attributive with article

When the possessive pronoun is accompanied by an article:

Ein Kuli ist der meine
A pen is mine


MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativemeine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
meinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
Accusativemeinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
meine /deine
seine/ihre/seine
unsere/eure/ihre
meinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
Dativemeinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
meinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
meinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
meinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
Genitivemeinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
meinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
meinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren
meinen /deinen
seinen/ihren/seinen
unseren/euren/ihren

Reflexive pronouns

Just like in English, in some cases, reflexive verbs need a reflexive pronoun to complete the meaning of the verb (Example: I dressed myself)

Ich erinnere mich nicht
I don't remember

AccusativeDative
1 Person Sing.michmir
2 Person Sing.dichdir
3 Person Sing.sichsich
1 Person Pluralunsuns
2 Person Pluraleucheuch
2 Person Pluralsichsich

Demonstrative pronouns

The following demonstrative pronouns exist in German:

  • der, die, das (that one)
  • dieser (this one)
  • jener (that one)
  • derjenige (that)
  • derselbe (the same one)

These pronouns are declined according to the gender, number and the case of the noun they refer to:

Diese Frau ist Sängerin
This woman is a singer

This picture shows the demonstrative pronouns "der", "die" and "das":

MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemdenen
Genitivedessenderendessenderen

The pronouns "der", "dieser" and "jener" have a strong declension:

Strong declensionMasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativedieserdiesedieses/diesdiese
Accusativediesendiesedieses/diesdiese
Dativediesemdieserdiesemdiesen
Genitivediesesdieserdiesesdieser

The pronouns "derjenige", "derselbe" are both declined "der" with the strong declension and "jenige/selbe" with the weak one:

Strong declension +
Weak declension
MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativederselbedieselbedasselbedieselben
Accusativedenselbendieselbedasselbedieselben
Dativedemselbenderselbendemselbendenselben
Genitivedesselbenderselbendesselbenderselben

Indefinite Pronouns

The main indefinite pronouns are:

  • alle (all)
  • andere (other)
  • beide (both)
  • einige (some)
  • ein bisschen (a bit)
  • ein paar (a couple)
  • jeder (each)
  • jemand (someone)
  • kein (none)
  • man (one)
  • mancher (some)
  • mehrere (several)
  • niemand (no one)

alle

This generally has a strong declension and is almost always used in the plural

Strong declensionMasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativealleralleallesalle
Accusativeallenalleallesalle
Dativeallemallerallemallen
Genitivealles/allen*alleralles/allen*aller

Hamburger mit allem
Hamburger with everything

But if it comes before a:

  • definite article
  • possessive pronoun
  • demonstrative pronoun

It is not declined and it is written in its non-changing form all.

andere

Depending on the particle that comes before it, it has a declension:

  • Without article Strong declension.

Auf dem Tisch steht eine Flasche Wein und eine Flasche mit anderem Inhalt
There's a bottle of wine on the table and a bottle with other contents

Er lebt jetzt mit anderem Namen in Mexiko
He lives in Mexico now with another name

  • Indefinite article or possessive pronouns Mixed declension.

Mein anderer Hund ist groß
My other dog is big

  • Definite article Weak declension.

Ich habe ein Stück Torte genommen, die anderen hat Michael gegessen
I took a piece of cake. Michael ate the other ones

beide

Usually "beide" is only used in the plural:

Strong declension
(plural)
Mixed declension
(plural)
Weak declension
(plural)
Nominativebeidebeidenbeiden
Accusativebeidebeidenbeiden
Dativebeidenbeidenbeiden
Genitivebeiderbeidenbeiden

To find out which declension to use, check out the example of andere.

Wir haben zwei Kinder, und beide sind so unterschiedlich
We have two children, and both are so different

Examples of the 3 declensions:

Beide Arme nach oben
Both arms up (strong)

Meine beiden Arme
Both my arms (mixed)

Die beiden Arme
Both arms (weak)

einige

It only has a strong declension:

Haus mit einigem Luxus
House with (some) luxury

Strong declensionMasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativeeinigereinigeeinigeseinige
Accusativeeinigeneinigeeinigeseinige
Dativeeinigemeinigereinigemeinigen
Genitiveeinigeseinigereinigeseiniger

ein bisschen

It is correct to decline "ein bisschen" as well as leave it unchanged:

Mit ein bisschen Glück
With a bit of luck

Mit einem bisschen Glück
With a bit of luck

ein paar

"Ein paar" never changes:

Mit ein paar Freunden
With a couple of friends

jeder

Usually, "jeder" only is used in the singular and its declension is strong:

Der Morgen kommt nach jeder Nacht
The morning arrives after every night

Strong declensionMasculineFeminineNeuter
Nominativejederjedejedes
Accusativejedenjedejedes
Dativejedemjederjedem
Genitivejedes/jeden*jederjedes/jeden*

jemand

"jemand" is only used in the singular and it doesn't depend on the gender. It's correct to decline it as well as to leave it unchanged.

Jemand kommt
Someone's coming

Strong declensionSingular
Nominativejemand
Accusativejemand
jemanden
Dativejemand
jemandem
Genitivejemands
jemandes

kein

There are 2 declensions depending on "kein"'s function:

  • Attributive
  • Not attributive without article

Attributive Attributive When the pronoun "kein" comes before a noun

Ich habe keine Lampe
I don't have any lamp

MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativekeinkeinekeinkeine
Accusativekeinenkeinekeinkeine
Dativekeinemkeinerkeinemkeinen
Genitivekeineskeinerkeineskeiner

Not attributive without article When the pronoun does not accompany a noun

Hast du ein Auto? Nein, ich habe keines
Do you have a car? No, I don't have one

MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativekeinerkeinekeineskeine
Accusativekeinenkeinekeineskeine
Dativekeinemkeinerkeinemkeinen
Genitivekeineskeinerkeineskeiner

man

"man" does not change and it is only used in the nominative to make impersonal phrases.

Man kann nie wissen
You never know

Sentences with the pronoun "man" are an alternative way to form the passive voice.

Main article: Pronoun "man" in German

mancher

"mancher" has a strong declension.

Manche Autos verbrauchen weniger als 3 Liter
Some cars consume less than 3 liters

Strong
declension
MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural
Nominativemanchermanchemanchesmanche
Accusativemanchenmanchemanchesmanche
Dativemanchemmanchermanchemmanchen
Genitivemanches /
manchen*
manchermanches /
manchen*
mancher

mehrere

"mehrere" is only used in the plural:

In mehreren Sprachen
In several languages

Strong declensionPlural
Nominativemehrere
Accusativemehrere
Dativemehreren
Genitivemehrerer

niemand

"niemand" is used only in the singular and does not depend on the gender. It's correct to decline it as well as to leave it unchanged.

Niemand ist schuld
No one is guilty

Strong declensionSingular
Nominativeniemand
Accusativeniemand
niemanden
Dativeniemand
niemandem
Genitiveniemands
niemandes

Forming the masculine and neuter genitive "-en" instead of using "-es"

The indefinite pronouns "alle", "jeder", "mancher", etc (strong declension) form the genitive sometimes with "-en" instead of "-es".

This has a logical explanation: Most masculine or neuter nouns add an "-s" already when forming the genitive.

Die Meinung manches Lesers
The opinion of some reader

That is why adding "-en" instead of "-es" is the preferred choice in many cases.

Die Meinung manchen Lesers

It is important to emphasize that if the noun does not add an "-s" in the genitive (for example, the nouns with N-declension), the genitive of pronouns is formed only with "-es".

Die Meinung manches Kunden
The opinion of some client

Audiovisual Supplement

To conclude this lesson, we'll listen to the beautiful song "Vergiss mich" (forget me) from the Austrian group Luttenberger*Klug





2 Comments

#2 [Khaybar "Noory "]2015-11-01 22:28
Hello!I'm currently learning German and found this website accidentally. It was a great accident as you are very clear in your explanations and also i liked this Web Site

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