Relative pronouns in different cases in German

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Relative pronouns in different cases

Reminder: relative pronouns such as der, die, das, etc. (equivalent to "that", "who" or "which" in English) agree with the nouns they replace in gender and number.

Die Schauspielerin, die begabt ist. (feminin)

The actress who is gifted. (feminine singular)

Die Städte, die ich sehen möchte. (Plural)

The cities that I would like to see. (plural)

Relative pronouns must also be in the correct case: nominative (for the subject of the verb), accusative (for the direct object), dative (for the indirect object) or genitive (to indicate possession).

Der Mann, den ich treffe. (treffen + Akkusativ)

The man whom I'm meeting. (We use the accusative den because it is the direct object of treffen.)

Die Frau, der ich Wein schenke. (schenken + Dativ)

The woman to whom I'm giving wine. (We use the dative der because it is the indirect object of schenken.)

Das Haus, in dem ich lebe. (in + Dativ)

The house in which I live. (We use the dative dem because in is followed by the dative when indicating position.)

Definite articles (equivalent to "the") and relative pronouns (equivalent to "that") generally have the same form. The exceptions to this are in the genitive and in the dative plural, as you can see below:

Nom. Akk. Dat. Gen.
mask. der den dem dessen
fem. die die der deren
neut. das das dem dessen
Pl. die die denen deren

Die Gäste, die ins Hotel kommen.

The guests who are coming to the hotel.

Die Leute, denen ich vertraue.

The people whom I trust.

Der Junge, dessen Vater Architekt ist.

The boy whose father is an architect.

Note: remember that after a relative pronoun, the conjugated verb goes at the end.

Die Freundin, die ich treffe.

The friend whom I'm meeting. (We put treffe at the end of the sentence section that begins with the relative pronoun die.)


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