(Pronouns and their classification in German grammar)

Table of contents – pronouns

On this page you will find the following:

  1. What are pronouns?
  2. Further explanations and exercises

What are pronouns?

Pronouns (German name: Pronomen) are replacement/substitute words for nouns as their prefix ‘pro’ suggests (which originates in the Latin ‘pro’, meaning ‘for / on behalf of’). Therefore, they are used instead of them and stand for persons, things, animals, names, etc. However, they can also function as grammatical modifiers and then define a noun more precisely. This use is helpful to avoid repetitions in written and spoken language. Most pronouns are inflectable or, more specifically, declinable.

A distinction is made between different types of pronouns:

  1. Personal pronouns (German name: Personalpronomen):
    • ich (I), du (you), er (he), sie (she), es (it), wir (we), ihr (you), sie (they), dich (you), euch (you), etc.
      • „Das macht uns nichts aus.“ (We don’t mind.)
  2. Possessive pronouns (Possessivpronomen):
    • mein (my/mine), dein (your), euer (your), unser (our), sein (his), ihr (her), etc.
      • Mein Telefon ist kaputt.“ (My phone is broken.)
  3. Demonstrative pronouns (Demonstrativpronomen):
    • dieser (this), selbst (self), derselbe (the same), solcher (such), jener (that), derjenige (that), etc.
      • Jenes Auto dort gehört meinem Vater.“ (That car over there belongs to my father.)
  4. Reflexive pronouns (Reflexivpronomen):
    • meiner (me), dir (yourself), mir (myself), uns (ourselves), euch (yourselves), sich (himself), etc.
      • „Er hat sich neue Schuhe gekauft.“ (He has bought himself new shoes.)
  5. Reciprocal pronouns (Reziprokpronomen):
    • sich (themselves), uns (each other), etc.
      • „Wir sehen uns leider nicht sehr oft.“ (Unfortunately, we don’t see each other very often.)
  6. Relative pronouns (Relativpronomen):
    • der (who), dessen (whose), dem (whom), welcher (which), deren (whose), denen (to whom), auf den (to who), etc.
      • „Der Flug, auf den ich warte, wurde gestrichen.“ (The flight I’m waiting for has been cancelled.)
  7. Interrogative pronouns (Interrogativpronomen):
    • wer (who), was (what), welcher (which), wem (whom), wessen (whose), was (what), etc.
      • Welches gefällt dir am besten?“ (Which one do you like best?)
  8. Indefinite pronouns (Indefinitpronomen):
    • alle (all), andere (other), jeder (everybody), niemand (nobody), jedermann (everyone), man (someone), etc.
      • Irgendetwas stimmt hier nicht.“ (Something’s wrong here.)

Further explanations relating to the ‘Pronouns in German grammar’

The following explanations are related to the topic ‘Pronouns and their subdivision in German grammar’ and could also be interesting: