Exploring German Possessive Pronouns

Bodhi Ramos7 min
Created: Feb 23, 2024Last updated: Mar 29, 2024
German Possessive Pronouns

Learning German possessive pronouns can be quite challenging, as this topic has plenty of tricky nuances and different rules. Yet, it is still important to understand it to become more fluent and easily communicate with others. Today, we’ll tell you everything you need about possessive pronouns, so buckle up, and let’s jump right in!

Understanding the Basics: Possessive Pronouns German

Before learning all the rules, it is essential to understand what possessive pronouns are in the first place. In layman’s terms, these are the words used to replace nouns to showcase ownership, possession, or belonging. English possessive pronouns include words like “mine,” “yours,” or “their,” but in German, the picture is a bit more challenging. The first thing to know about German possessive pronouns is that they change depending on:

  1. Gender. German nouns have three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. Possessive pronouns must agree with the gender of the possessed noun.
  2. Number. Possessive pronouns must match the number of nouns they’re referring to. They can be either singular or plural.
  3. Case. There are four grammar cases in German – nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive. The case of the possessive pronoun depends on the role it plays in the sentence and the preposition used.

Below, we’ll explore in more detail each of these points to help you understand which pronoun to use and when. But before that, let’s discuss another interesting feature – possessive adjectives.

German Possessive Pronouns vs German Possessive Adjectives

Both possessive pronouns and adjectives in German serve the same purpose – indicating ownership and possession. However, they differ in contexts and forms, so it is vital to understand which one to choose. Another thing these words have in common is the stem – it remains the same almost in every case, but the ending changes depending on several nuances. Look at this table to see the pronoun stems in the nominative case.

StemEnglish Possessive PronounEnglish Possessive Adjective
EuerYours (plural)Your (plural)
IhrYours (formal)Your (formal)

To memorize the differences better, take a look at these example sentences.

Das Haus ist ihr. (This house is hers.)

Ihr Haus ist groß. (Her house is big.)

As you can see, they cover slightly different meanings while looking the same. However, it only works for some cases and genders. Here’s how the endings of the possessive adjectives change depending on gender and grammar case.

 Nominative Accusative Dative Genitive 
Masculine -en-em-es
Neuter  -em-es

So, to create a possessive adjective, you need to choose the appropriate pronoun stem from the table above and add an ending according to the context. For practice, take a look at these examples.

Mein Vater ist nett. (My father is nice.) 

Since the word Vater is masculine, we don’t add any endings to the adjective.

Deine Schwester ist intelligent. (Your sister is intelligent.)

For feminine adjectives, we add the -e ending.

Unsere Eltern sind stolz auf uns. (Our parents are proud of us)

Plural adjectives also require the -e ending. 

As you can see, making an adjective possessive in German is not as difficult as it looks at first glance. But is it the same for German possessive pronouns? How do they change in different cases, and how to know which one to select? Below, you’ll find the comprehensive answers to these questions.

Grammar Cases and Possessive Pronouns in German

In any language, the grammatical case indicates how the word is used in a sentence. There are four cases in German – Nominativ, Akkusativ, Dativ, and Genitiv. Possessive pronouns change according to these cases. Let’s talk in more detail about each one of them.


This case primarily indicates the subject of a sentence, which is the person or thing performing the action described by the verb. In simpler terms, the nominative case is used for the subject of a sentence – the entity that is doing something or being described by the predicate. Here’s how possessive pronouns in German change in this case. 

 Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Yours (informal)deinerdeinedeinsdeine
Yours (formal)eurereureeureseure

Below, you can find some examples of these pronouns used in different sentences.

Der Hund ist meiner. (The dog is mine.)

Der Laptop ist seiner. (The laptop is his.)

Der Schlüssel ist unser. (The key is ours.)

Die Tasche ist ihre. (The bag is hers.)

Der Kaffee ist unser. (The coffee is ours.)



In this case, accusative possessive pronouns in German indicate the direct object of the sentence. Here’s a complete table of such pronouns.

 Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Your deinendeinedeinsdeine
Your (formal)eureneureeureseure

In this case, the only thing that changes is the endings of masculine singular pronouns, while others remain the same. Take a look at some example sentences.

Ich habe meinen Koffer verloren. (I lost my suitcase.)

Sie trägt ihre Jacke. (She is wearing her jacket.)

Ich gebe ihm meinen Laptop. (I give him my laptop.)

Wir haben unseren Regenschirm verloren. (We lost our umbrella.)

Ihr habt euren Kaffee vergessen. (You forgot your coffee.)


Pronouns and nouns, in this case, showcase the indirect object of the sentence. Take a look at this chart of possessive pronouns in German and their endings in the dative case.

 Masculine Feminine NeuterPlural
Your (informal)deinemdeinerdeinemdeinen
Your (formal)euremeurereuremeuren

And, of course, here are some examples.

Ich gebe meinem Vater das Buch. (I give my father the book.)

Sie gibt ihrem Kind einen Keks. (She gives her child a cookie.)

Sie hilft dir mit deinem Problem. (She helps you with your problem.)

Wir geben unserem Nachbarn ein Stück Kuchen. (We give our neighbor a piece of cake.)

Sie dankt ihrem Lehrer für die Unterstützung. (She thanks her teacher for the support.)


Last but definitely not least, the genitive case is used to indicate possession, association, or relationship between nouns. Its English equivalent is the -s ending (Mike’s car) or the preposition of (the car of Mike). Here’s the table of German possessive pronouns in this case.

 Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Your (informal)deinesdeinerdeinesdeiner
Your (formal)eureseurereureseurer

Here are some examples to solidify your knowledge.

Er erzählt die Geschichte seines Großvaters. (He is telling the story of his grandfather.)

Hast du das Auto deines Nachbarn gesehen? (Have you seen your neighbor’s car?)

Das ist der Laptop meines Bruders. (That is my brother’s laptop.)

Das ist die Uhr ihrer Freundin. (That is her friend’s watch.)

Das ist das Handy seines Kollegen. (That is his colleague’s phone.)

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Summing up, we can say that exploring and understanding possessive pronouns in German is vital for anyone aiming to master the language. They allow you to comprehend the grammar behind different sentences and sound more fluent in general. Although mastering possessive pronouns might look difficult at first glance, with enough effort and practice, you can definitely nail them! We hope that today’s article will help you comprehend the essential nuances of this tricky topic. See you in the next one!


What are the common mistakes to avoid regarding German possessive pronouns?

The most common issue that can arise is using the wrong gender, case, and number of possessive pronouns. Also, some people mix up pronouns and possessive adjectives, which can also lead to some mistakes and misunderstandings. To avoid such problems, it is essential to memorize different endings and cases of using them and understand which pronouns to choose in various situations.

How to determine which possessive pronoun to use?

To know which one to select, you need to pay attention to several important details. Firstly, determine the gender and number of the noun you’re replacing. It will help you understand which pronoun to select. Furthermore, consider the grammatical case required by the sentence. The pronoun’s form will change depending on whether it’s in the nominative, accusative, dative, or genitive one. Lastly, pick the possessive pronoun that accurately reflects the relationship or ownership of the noun in the context of the sentence.

What are some tips to differentiate possessive pronouns from adjectives?

The main difference between them is that possessive pronouns usually stand alone in the sentence, replacing a noun altogether. Adjectives, on the other hand, typically come before a noun, modifying it to show ownership. They always precede the noun they modify. Additionally, always pay attention to the context to determine which type of possession the pronoun or adjective indicates. Finally, practice exercises focusing on both types of words can improve your ability to recognize and use them correctly.

What are some other types of German pronouns?

In German, like in many other languages, there are many different types of pronouns. The most common ones are called personal – they are used to replace specific nouns referring to people and things. Also, there are reflective, demonstrative, relative, interrogative, and indefinite pronouns, each having its own function within the sentence.