The genitive

Understanding grammar is key to understanding a language.
German grammar tips with Wunderbla, online German lessons.

The genitive

The genitive is used to show ownership and belonging.

Das ist Bettys Hotel. (Betty)

This is Betty’s hotel. (Betty = nominative, Bettys = genitive)

Die Sprache meiner Mutter. (meine Mutter)

My mother's language. (meine Mutter = nominative, meiner Mutter = genitive)

These are the endings for articles in the genitive:

GenitiveExample
masculine-es + sDas Büro eines Buchhalters The office of an accountant
neuter-es + sDas Dach des Hotels ist kaputt The roof of the hotel is broken
feminine-erDie Schwester einer Küchenchefin The sister of a chef
Plural-erDie Badesachen der Gäste The swimwear of the guests

To ask whom something belongs to, we use wessen (whose, to whom):

-Wessen Koffer sind das? -Die Koffer der Gäste. (die Gäste)

Whose suitcases are these? ‑The guests' suitcases. (die Gäste = nominative, der Gäste = genitive)

Note:

  • For names, or masculine and neuter nouns in the genitive, ‑es or ‑s is generally added to the name/noun.

das Hotel die Türen des Hotels

the hotel the doors of the hotel

ein Mann das Buch eines Mannes

a man a man's book

Anna Annas Kleiderschrank

Anna Anna’s wardrobe

  • Instead of the genitive we use von + dative for nouns without an article. The dative can also simply be used instead of the genitive in informal speech.

Die Produktion von Bademänteln.

The production of dressing gowns.

Das Hotel von Betty.

Betty’s hotel.

Taking your learning further

Still facing difficulties with 'The genitive'? Improve your German with Wunderbla - try our German lessons for free now and receive a free level assessment!

Do you know any tips to avoid making mistakes with 'The genitive'? Share it with us!

Improve your German further and test Wunderbla, online German lessons.