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Learn German for Free - Interactive German Lessons for Beginners and Intermediate Learners
Lesson 4: The family and around the house

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Possessive pronouns

Here, you will learn how to say 'my ...', 'our ...' or 'your ...' through the possessive pronouns or adjectives. It is once again true that you need to know the grammatical gender of the affected nouns first (der, die, das), before you will be able to use the correct form of these possessive pronouns.

When Kai and Daniela talked about their families, the following sentences contained so called possessive pronouns or possessive adjectives:

Mein Bruder und ich spielen gerade Frisbee.My brother and I are playing frisbee.
Meine Schwester heißt Charlotte.My sister's name is Charlotte.
Seine Familie kommt aus Equador.His family comes/is from Ecuador.
Das hier ist unsere Wohnung.This here is our apartment.


Possessive pronouns in English are 'my', 'your', 'his', or 'our' and they indicate the possessor of their subsequent noun. For example, if I say 'This is my book', I indicate that the book belongs to me. Similarly, when you say 'Das ist mein Bruder' in German, you express that this guy that you are pointing at is your brother and that he belongs to your family.

The following table lists the possessive pronouns for all 3 persons (singular and plural).

PersonSingularPlural
1st personmein (my)unser (our)
2nd persondein (your)euer (your)
3rd person (er)sein (his)ihr (their)
ihr (your (formal))
3rd person (sie)ihr (her)
3rd person (es)sein (its)

The use of possessive pronouns in German is a little bit more complicated than in English. This is because you have to know the gender of the subsequent noun and then modify the possessive pronoun according to this gender.

Whenever a possessive pronoun describes a feminine noun, add the ending 'e' to that pronoun.
meine Muttermy mother
seine Schwesterhis sister
mein Vatermy father
mein Brudermy brother


When you add the feminine ending '-e' to 'euer' (2nd person plural), it becomes 'eure'. This is simply because 'euere' would be difficult to pronounce.
eure Katzeyour cat (die Katze = feminine)


Exercise
Let us now repeat all the nouns that we just learned describing members of the family. Try to make a complete sentence in German by using the given information.

Example:
my uncle + born in Wolfsburg
Mein Onkel ist in Wolfsburg geboren.

move mouse over ?-fields
for correct answers
1) your (sing.) sister + is from Ireland
?
2) his mother + born in Bern
?
3) my son + his name=Stefan
?
4) her aunt + is friendly
?
5) my father + born in Konstanz
?
6) our uncle + is intelligent
?
7) your (pl.) son + name=Maik
?
8) their daughter + is young
?



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