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When you hear of pronouns, the first thing that should come to your mind is that it is a replacement of something (a noun) that has once been mentioned in a conversation. Having this as first thought helps one to seek out the replaced nouns in order to flow with the conversation. This is important, particularly for German language learners because German nouns are gender and case specific. Find out more about the several German personal pronouns below…

Content in this post
1. Definition of pronouns
2. Subcategories of German pronouns
3. Nominativ Pronouns
4. Akkusativ Personal Pronouns
5. Dativ Personal Pronoun
6. Genitiv Personal Pronouns
Table of content for Pronomen

Pronouns are words that are used to replace nouns in a sentence. Personal pronoun is just one category of the German pronouns which include others such as possessive pronouns, reflexive pronouns, relative pronoun, demonstrative pronouns, interrogative pronouns, indefinite pronouns and prepositional pronouns. The choice of usage of a German pronoun is based on two factors;

  • The gender of the noun
  • The grammatical case of the noun

Subcategories of German Personal Pronouns

There are four sub-categories of personal pronouns;

Nominativ Personal Pronoun In German

These pronouns replace nouns of all genders in the nominative case. They are also called subject pronouns. The pronouns are;

Nominativ pronounEnglish translationDescription
ichIFirst person singular
duyouSecond person informal singular
Third person singular
wirweFirst person plural
ihryou (guys)Second person informal plural
sietheyThird person plural
SieYouSecond person formal singular & plural
Subject personal pronouns in deutsch

**Note that “er/sie/es” and “sie” are the German pronouns for the four genders in the nominative. Where;

  • er is the pronoun for all masculine nouns.
  • sie (she) is the pronoun for all feminine nouns.
  • es is the pronoun for all neuter nouns.
  • sie (they) is the pronoun for all plural nouns.
GenderNouns examplesPronounsEnglish corresponding pronounPronouns examples
Masculineder Tisch ist schwarzerheEr ist schwarz
Femininedie FlaschesiesheSie steht auf dem Tisch
Neuterdas HausesitEs ist klein
Pluraldie Kindersietheysie spielen
Examples of German Nouns and their pronouns

Akkusativ Pronoun

Akkusativ Pronouns are those that replace all akkusative nouns. They are equally called direct object pronouns

Akkusativ pronounsEnglish translationUsage
michmeMaria ruft dich an.
(Mary is calling you)
dichyouEr erkennt dich.
(He recognizes you)
Ich möchte ihn/sie/es kaufen.
(I would like to buy it)
unsusdenkt ihr an uns?
(are you thinking of us)
euchyouIch liebe euch
(I love you)
Wir können sie/Sie mitbringen.
(We can bring them/you along)
List of Akkusativ personal pronouns

Even though er/sie and ihn/sie can be literally translated to he/she and him/they respectively, they can also be translated as „it“, when the noun they are replacing is inanimate in English. For instance, the pronoun for „Flasche“ is sie. So saying „sie steht auf dem Tisch“ would be translated as „it is standing on the table“ instead of „she is standing on the table“.

Dativ Pronoun

These are pronouns that replace nouns in the Dativ case. They are also called indirect object pronouns. Recall that Dativ always take the preposition “to” or “for” in English. Hence, their pronouns are also translated so as shown below.

Dative pronounsEnglish translationUsage
mirme/ for me/ to meDu kannst es mir kaufen.
(you can buy it for me)
diryou/ for you/ to youSie wird dir nicht helfen.
(she will not help you)
him/ for him/ to him
her/ for her/ to her
it/ for it/ to it
Ich kaufe ihm/ihr eine Tasche.
(I am buying a bag for him/her)
unsus/ for us/ to usDieses Zimmer gehört uns.
(This room belongs to us)
euchyou/ for you/ to youDarf ich euch Blumen schicken?
(May I send you flowers)
them/ for them/ to them
you/ for you/ to you
Sara bäckt ihnen/Ihnen einen Kuchen.
(Sara is baking a cake for them/you)
List of Dativ personal pronouns

Genitiv Personal Pronouns

The Genitiv Personal pronouns like all other forms of Genitiv show ownership. It is an alternative for possessive articles. While possessive articles are used with nouns, the personal pronouns are used alone.

In English, the Genitiv Personal pronouns are always accompanied with the preposition “of”. These pronouns are equally different in concept from the actual possessive pronouns.

Genitiv pronounsEnglish translation
meinerof mine
deinerof yours
of ihm
of her
of it
unserof ours
euerof yours
of theirs/
of you
List of Genitiv personal pronouns
Genitiv Possessive PronounsPossessive Articles
Ein Buch meiner
(A Book of mine)
Mein Buch
(my book)
Dieser Hund deiner
(This dog of mine)
Deinen Hund
(your dog)
Comparison of possessive articles with Genitiv personal pronouns in German

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