Previous Lesson 22 Next

Dative Pronouns in German


This page is part of the step-by-step German learning A2 level course. To see the complete grammatical details of German pronouns, please visit the page German Pronouns under the section Summary of German Grammer.

This lesson contains topics:

  1. Personal pronouns in the dative case
  2. Sentence structure in the dative
  3. Dative verbs
  4. Demonstrative pronouns in dative case
    1. Declension of demonstrative pronoun "dies"
  5. Possessive pronouns in dative case
  6. Reflexive pronouns in dative case

1. German personal pronouns in the dative case

The German language more clearly identifies the indirect object than English. In English, personal pronouns for indirect objects (dative) are the same for direct objects i.e. me, you, her, him, it, us, and them but in German, there is a further declension of pronouns. Personal pronouns in the dative case are:

On small screens, please drag the following tables right or left to view the full width.
Nominative Accusative dative
1st Person (Singular) ich (I) mich (me) mir (me, to me)
1st Person (Plural) wir (we) uns (us) uns (us, to us)
2nd Person, familiar form
(Singular)
du (you) dich (you) dir (you, to you)
2nd Person, familiar form
(Plural)
ihr (you) euch (you) euch (you, to you)
2nd Person, polite form
(Singular)
Sie (you) Sie (you) Ihnen (you)
2nd Person, polite form
(Plural)
Sie (you) Sie (you) Ihnen (you)
3rd Person (Singular) er (he)
sie (she)
es (it)
ihn (him)
sie (her)
es (it)
ihm (him, to him)

ihr (her, to her)

ihm (it, to it)
3rd Person (Singular) sie (they) sie (them) ihnen (them)

2. Sentence structure in the dative case

In lesson 20 (Dative case), we have already discussed the word order of nouns in the dative case but we haven't discussed the word order of pronouns in the dative case. Pronouns have different word order in the dative. Please see the following three different situations:



  1. If both, the direct and indirect objects are nouns, the indirect object precedes the direct object.
    Ich bringe dem Mann einen Kuli. (I bring the man a pen.)
  2. If one object is a noun and the other is a pronoun then the pronoun precedes the noun.
    Ich bringe ihm einen Kuli. (I bring him a pen.)
    If we replace the noun "Kuli" (pen) with a pronoun:
    Ich bringe ihn dem Mann. (I bring it to the man.)
  3. When both objects are pronouns, the direct object precedes the indirect object.
    Ich brigne ihn ihm. (I bring it to him.)

3. Dative verbs

(Verbs followed by dative)
There are certain verbs that are followed by just dative, for example,

antworten (to answer), Sie antworten mir bitte. (Please answer me.)
danken (to thank), Ich danke dir sehr. (I am so thankful to you.)
gefallen (to like), Dein Kuli gefällt mir. (I like your pen.)
gehören (belong), Dieses Auto gehört mir.(This car belongs to me. This car is mine.)
glauben (believe), Ich glaube euch. (I believe (all of) you.)
gratulieren (to congratulate), Ich gratuliere ihnen. (I congratulate you)
helfen (to help), Ich helfe dir. (I help you.)
passen (to fit, to suite), Diese Hose passt mir. (These pants fit me. These pants suits me.)
vertrauen ( to trust), Ich vertraue dir. (I trust you.)
schmecken (to taste), Das schmeckt gut. (This tastes good.)

4. German demonstrative pronouns in dative case

German demonstrative pronouns are the same as definite articles i.e. der, die, and das. However, when used as demonstrative pronouns their meanings change. Der, die and das represent "that". In the dative case (indirect objective case) the masculine demonstrative pronoun "der" and neuter demonstrative pronoun "das" changes into "dem", feminine pronoun changes into "der" and plural changes into "denen". Only the plural demonstrative pronoun "denen" in the dative case is different from the plural definite article "den".

On small screens, please drag the following tables right or left to view the full width.
English German
Singular Nominative Accusative dative
that der (masculine)
die (feminine)
das (neuter)
den (masculine)
die (feminine)
das (neuter)
dem (masculine)

der (feminine)

dem (neuter)
Plural Nominative Accusative dative
that die die denen

For demonstrative pronouns, we can use examples from lesson 20 (Dative) that we used for definite articles.

Ich gebe dem Mann ein Buch. (I give that man a book.)

Ich gebe dem Mädchen ein Buch. (I give that girl a book.)

Ich gebe der Studentin ein Buch. (I give that (female) student a book.)

Please note that the plural demonstrative pronoun in the dative case is "denen" and not "den".
Ich gebe denen Studenten die Bücher. (I give the books to those students.)

4.1 Declension of demonstrative pronoun "dies"

On small screens, please drag the following tables right or left to view the full width.
English German
Singular Nominative Accusative Dative
this dieser (masculine)
diese (feminine)
dieses (neuter)
diesen (masculine)
diese (feminine)
dieses (neuter)
diesem (masculine)

dieser (feminine)

diesem (neuter)
Plural Nominative Accusative Dative
these diese diese diesen

Examples of demonstrative pronoun "dies"

Bitte geben Sie diesen Männern die Bücher. (Please give these men the books.)
Please note the declension of the noun "die Männer" into "diesen Männern".
(der Mann plural: die Männer, das Buch plural: die Bücher)

Bitte gibst du dieser Frau zwei Bücher und einen Kuli. (Please give this woman two books and a pen.)

Ich erkläre diesem Mädchen alle Geschichte. (I tell this girl all the story.)
Ja, bitte erklären Sie ihm von a bis z. (Yes, please tell her from a to z.)
Please note that the pronoun "ihm" here for "das Mädchen" (girl). As "das Mädchen" is neuter noun in german so, the pronoun in the dative declines to "ihm". Don't let the English translation confuse you.

5. German possessive pronouns in dative case

  1. When a possessive pronoun comes before an indirect object (dative) which is a masculine or neuter noun, the ending "-em" is added to the pronoun.
  2. When a possessive pronoun comes before an indirect object (dative) that is a feminine noun, the ending "-er" is added to the pronoun.
  3. When a possessive pronoun comes before an indirect object (dative) that is a plural noun, the ending "-en" is added to the pronoun.
On small screens, please drag the following tables right or left to view the full width.
Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative
(Singular)
mein (my) | unser (our)
dein (your) | euer (your)
Ihr (your) | Ihr (your)
sein/sein/ihr (his/it/her) | ihr (their)
meine | unsere
deine | euere
Ihre | Ihre
seine/seine/ihre | ihre
mein | unser
dein | euer
Ihr | Ihr
sein/sein/ihr | ihr
Nominative
(Plural)
meine | unsere
deine | euere
Ihre | Ihre
seine/seine/ihre | ihre
Masculine Feminine Neuter
Accusative
(Singular)
meinen (my) | unseren (our)
deinen (your) | eueren (your)
Ihren (your) | Ihren (your)
seinen/seinen/ihren (his/it/her) | ihren (their)
meine | unsere
deine | euere
Ihre | Ihre
seine/seine/ihre | ihre
mein | unser
dein | euer
Ihr | Ihr
sein/sein/ihr | ihr
Accusative
(Plural)
meine | unsere
deine | euere
Ihre | Ihre
seine/seine/ihre | ihre
Masculine Feminine Neuter
Dative
(Singular)
meinem (my) | unserem (our)
deinem (your) | euerem (your)
Ihrem (your) | Ihrem (your)
seinem/seinem/ihrem (his/it/her) | ihrem (their)
meiner | unserer
deiner | euerer
Ihrer | Ihrer
seiner/seiner/ihrer | ihrer
meinem | unserem
deinem | euerem
Ihrem | Ihrem
seinem/seinem/ihrem | ihrem
Dative
(Plural)
meinen | unseren
deinen | eueren
Ihren | Ihren
seinen/seinen/ihren | ihren

Examples of German possessive pronouns in the dative case

Bitte geben Sie meiner Frau die Bücher. (Please give my wife the books.)

Bitte gibst du meinem Sohn zwei Bücher und einen Kuli. (Please give my son two books and a pen.)

Ich bringe heute euren Eltern ein Auto. (I bring a car to your parents today.)
"euren Eltern" means, your (plural) parents in the familiar form.

Ich bringe heute deinen Eltern ein Auto. (I bring a car to your parents today.)
"deinen Eltern" means, your (singular) parents in the familiar form.

Dieses Auto gehört Ihren Eltern. (This car belongs to your parents.)
"Ihren Eltern" means, your (plural or singular) parents in the polite form.
jemandem gehören (belong to someone)

6. German reflexive pronouns

Singular Plural
Accusative
1st Person mich uns
2nd Person dich euch
2nd Person
Polite
sich sich
3rd Person sich sich
Dative
1st Person mir uns
2nd Person dir euch
2nd Person
Polite
sich sich
3rd Person sich sich

Examples of German reflexive pronouns

Ich war allein und verletzt. Ich musste mir helfen. (I was alone and hurt. I had to help myself.)
"musste" is the past participle form of "muss" (modal verb müssen).
Ich bin allein und verletzt. Ich muss mir helfen. (I am alone and hurt. I have to help myself.)

Man muss sich selbst glauben. (One has to believe in oneself.)

Previous Lesson 22 Next