Pronouns in German - Pronomen auf Deutsch!
If you want to learn German pronouns, it's best if you learn our articles and cases first. Check out our explanation of the cases in German. Once you have understood and practiced the use of our articles, you will notice how similar the er/sie/es pronoun endings are to the endings of our articles. Take a look at the pronoun table and I'll explain below.
Der becomes "er", den becomes "ihn", dem becomes "ihm" etc. Only the possessive (or genitive) of er, so "sein" is the exception. This will make it a lot easier for you to learn this table by heart.
The only pronouns of this table that may take endings when used in a sentence are the possessive pronouns, which represent the genitive form of the pronouns. The endings they take come from the endings of the indefinite articles because possessive pronouns are actually articles in their own right.
e.g. Meine Schwester spielt Tennis is correct because the sister is the subject (NOM) and the Nominativ of the ein, eine, ein table is "eine". Hence the "e" is added to the "mein".
Ich gebe meiner Schwester ein Buch - here, the sister is dative so your reference is the article "einer".
However, in Nominativ masculine, Nominativ neutral and Akkusativ neutral, the article is "ein" without an ending. Hence the possessive pronouns don't have an ending here either.
e.g. Mein Bruder spielt Tennis.
Mein Auto war teuer.
To avoid mistakes on using "sein" and "ihr", bear in mind that you choose the possessive pronoun depending on who you want to talk about. Is it a man, it's "sein", while if it's a woman, it's "ihr". The endings are then again determined by the gender and the case of the noun that follows.
Sie gibt ihrem Bruder ein Buch.
Sounds complicated? Well, compared to English it certainly is :)
Most students find the difference between "mir" and "mich" and "man" vs. "Mann" very confusing. Let me help you make sense of the differences. Watch out for dative only verbs in German, though, as they are an exception to the normal cases rules.
Learn about other grammar topics in German on our blog. We have posts on adjective endings in German, the perfekt tense, the four cases in German, German gender rules, adjective endings in German, two-way prepositions, verbs with prepositions in German, the conjugation of regular and irregular verbs in German, and many more.
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