Personal Pronouns in German (Personalpronomen)
In this lesson, we’ll be learning personal pronouns in German.
Personal Pronouns in German
A pronoun is a word used instead of a noun or noun phrase. In particular, they stand for nouns or noun phrases that have already been mentioned or are so well-known to the speaker and the listener that they do not need to be repeated in full.
Since pronouns are used in place of nouns, they are naturally affected by what nouns are affected by, i.e. case, plural and gender.
A personal pronoun is a pronoun typically used to refer to a speaker or to the people or things a speaker is referring to. The German personal pronouns in the nominative case are shown in Table 1.1:
As you can see in table 1.1, second-person pronouns in the German language have two categories:
|Familiar||du (you)||ihr (you)|
|Polite||Sie (you)||Sie (you)|
❗ The personal pronoun Sie, capitalized in German, means you, used in a formal and polite format, and the initial is always capitalized wherever it is in the sentence.
❗ The pronoun Sie can be used either singular or plural.
Hr. Einstein, was sind Sie von Beruf?
Mr Einstein, what is your profession? (singular)
Hr. und Fr. Einstein, was sind Sie von Beruf?
Mr and Mrs Einstein, what is your profession? (plural)
❗ Note the use of pronouns for nouns with definite articles (der, die, das) in German.
|der ➡️||er||⬅️ he|
|die ➡️||sie||⬅️ she|
|das ➡️||es||⬅️ it|
der Stuhl (chair) ➡️ er (it)
der Mann (man) ➡️ er (he)
die Frau (woman) ➡️ sie (she)
die Blume (flower) ➡️ sie (it)
das Mädchen (girl) ➡️ es (she)
das Buch (book) ➡️ es (it)
German Personal Pronouns and Their Cases
In German, “personalpronomen” is one of the most important topics studied by students as it is extensively used in spoken and written German. They have different forms depending on the grammatical gender, number and person they refer to.
There are four noun cases in German: nominative, accusative, genitive and dative. The German personal pronouns in the cases are shown in Table 1.2:
❗ The genitive forms of personal pronouns are only used in formal registers.
❗ In German, the subject pronoun is “der Nominativ”, and the object pronoun is “der Akkusativ”.