If you wish to show possession in German, you need to take care of some Grammar aspects. This article explains to you when and how you properly use German possessive pronouns like “mein,” “meine,” “meinen,” and “meiner.”  

Possessive pronouns

Possessive pronouns are words like “my,” “your,” or “his,” etc.  – in short: words that indicate something belongs to somebody or something.  The German language uses these pronouns in a similar way that English does in the sense that if something belongs to a male person, you will use “his,” or if it belongs to a female person, you will use “her.”

ich I mein/e my
du you dein/e your
er he sein/e his
sie she ihr/e her
es it sein/e its
wir we unser/e our
ihr you euer/eure your
sie they ihr/e their
Sie formal Ihr/e formal

 

“mein” or “meine”

After looking at the table above, you might ask yourself when you should add the “e” to the pronouns as in “meine” and when it should stay “mein.” Well, a possessive pronoun is a replacement for an article like “der” or “eine.” If you choose an article for a German noun, it always depends on the grammatical gender of the noun. In German, you use “der” for male, “die” for female, and “das” for neuter nouns. You also use “die” for plural nouns. For male and neuter nouns, you choose the version without the “e.” You can actually also see that if you use “ein” instead of “der” or “das.” So if your noun is “der Tisch” (the table) = “ein Tisch” (a table)  and therefore you should use “mein Tisch” (my table). For a female noun like “die Blume” (the flower), which is “eine Blume” (a flower), you would choose “meine Blume” (my flower). Of course, you can also skip the second step of “ein” and “eine” and simply add an “e” for female or plural nouns. However, this only applies if your noun is in the Nominative case. 

Possessive pronouns in Nominative case

As in German, the cases affect the nouns and their articles; you also need to consider this when choosing the right pronoun. Does your noun stand in Nominative, so choose from the table below.

Male der Mann = ein Mann mein Mann
Female die Frau = eine Frau meine Frau
Neuter das Kind = ein Kind mein Kind
Plural die Autos =     Autos meine Autos 

 

Examples: 

  1. Mein Mann geht ins Fitnessstudio.
  2. Deine Frau isst gerne Schokolade.
  3. Unser Kind geht in die Schule.
  4. Meine Autos stehen auf dem Parkplatz.

 

Possessive pronouns in Accusative case

In the Accusative case, only male nouns have changed. Accordingly, also only the male possessive pronouns change.

Male den Mann = einen Mann meinen Mann
Female die Frau = eine Frau meine Frau
Neuter das Kind = ein Kind mein Kind
Plural die Autos =     Autos meine Autos 

 

Examples: 

  1. Ich kenne deinen Mann.
  2. Er grüßt deine Frau.
  3. Die Lerherin bewertet unser Kind.
  4. Die Männer kaufen meine Autos.

 

Possessive pronouns in Dative case

There are changes for all genders in the Dative case, and accordingly, this also applies to the possessive pronouns.

Male dem Mann = einem Mann meinem Mann
Female der Frau = einer Frau meiner Frau
Neuter dem Kind = einem Kind meinem Kind
Plural den Autos =     Autos meinen Autos 

 

Examples: 

  1. Ich gratuliere deinem Mann.
  2. Er hilft deiner Frau.
  3. Die Lerherin gibt unserem Kind eine gute Note.
  4. Die Spiegel gehören meinen Autos.

 

Possessive pronouns in the Genitive case

Also, in the Genitive case, all genders change, and accordingly, this also applies to possessive pronouns.

Male des Mannes = eines Mannes meines Mannes
Female der Frau = einer Frau meiner Frau
Neuter des Kindes = eines Kindes meines Kindes
Plural den Autos =     Autos meinen Autos 

 

Examples: 

  1. Der Computer deines Mannes ist neu.
  2. Die Arbeit deiner Frau ist schwer.
  3. Die Lerherin unseres Kindes ist super.
  4. Die Spiegel meiner Autos waren teuer.

 

Showing possession in German

I hope that after reading this article, everything is clear. If you are still unsure, you can always follow these three steps:

  1. consider to whom something belongs
  2. know the gender of the noun and choose the ending accordingly
  3. make sure to use the right case

If you wish to know more about using the German genders of nouns, you should not miss out on “When to use “der, die or das” in German” Bis bald!

Steffie


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