Possessive pronouns

(Possessive pronouns in German grammar)

Table of contents – possessive pronouns

On this page you will find the following:

  1. Using possessive pronouns
  2. Declensional forms of possessive pronouns
  3. Further explanations and exercises

What are possessive pronouns?

Possessive pronouns (in German: Possessivpronomen) are a subcategory of pronouns and express possession, ownership, or affiliation (with people, things, animals, etc.). The standard position within a clause or phrase is before a noun, where they are called determiners. German possessives are declinable and can, thus, be inflected.

  • The following possessive pronouns exist in German. For a better understanding, they are presented with the respective personal pronouns:
    • In the 1st person:
      • Singular:
        • ich (I) → mein (my)
      • Plural:
        • wir (we) → unser (our)
    • In the 2nd person:
      • Singular:
        • du (you) → dein (your)
        • Sie (you) → Ihr (your)
      • Plural:
        • ihr (you) → euer (your)
        • Sie (you) → Ihr (your)
      • Note: When a person is addressed in the formal way (by using the polite ‘Sie’ form), the possessive is capitalized. This rule does not apply to the third person!
    • In the 3rd person:
      • Singular:
        • er (he) → sein (his)
        • sie (she) → ihr (her)
        • es (it) → sein (its)
      • Plural:
        • sie (they) → ihr (their)
  • Possessive pronouns are used as follows:
    • As a determiner when they appear together with a noun (often directly before it):
      • „Hast du meinen Schlüssel gesehen?“ (Have you seen my key?)
      • Deine Hilfe schätzen wir sehr.“ (We greatly appreciate your help.)
    • Directly as an independent pronoun, which is very common in spoken language and relatively rare in written form:
      • „Mein Computer ist kaputt. Kann ich deinen benutzen?“ (My computer’s broken. Can I use yours?)
      • „Nicht schlecht, ihr habt ein großes Haus. Unseres ist viel kleiner.“ (Not bad, you’ve got a big house. Ours is much smaller.)

How are possessive pronouns declined (inflected)?

Possessive pronouns need to be declined (inflected) in most cases. The table shows all forms using the example ‘unser’, although the endings are the same for all other possessives.


Grammatical case Possessive with a masculine noun with a feminine noun with a neuter noun
Nominative unser Ball (our ball) unsere Brille (our glasses) unser Auto (our car)
Genitive unseres Balles unserer Brille unseres Autos
Dative unserem Ball unserer Brille unserem Auto
Accusative unseren Ball unsere Brille unser Auto


Information: For each grammatical case, the endings remain the same for masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns.

Grammatical case Suffix Possessive with a masculine noun with a feminine noun with a neuter noun
Nominative -e unsere Bälle (our balls) unsere Brillen (our glasses) unsere Autos (our cars)
Genitive -er unserer Bälle unserer Brillen unserer Autos
Dative -en unseren Bällen unseren Brillen unseren Autos
Accusative -e unsere Bälle unsere Brillen unsere Autos

Further explanations referring to ‘Possessive pronouns’

The following explanations are related to the topic ‘Possessive pronouns in German grammar’ and may also be helpful: