Lesson 5 - Genitive Case

The German genitive case is used to either indicate possession, or ownership. However, in spoken German the genitive is often regarded as old-fashioned and too formal. A more common way to replace it is by using the preposition 'von' + dative.

One very important thing you should know about genitive, is that it's different than English when it comes to word order. Whereas in English the genitive construction comes first, in German it usually follows the noun it refers to. An example would better illustrate it:

  • Hier ist das Auto meines Vaters - Here is my father's car

Endings in the Genitive case

Out of all four German cases, the genitive case has the most endings, both associated with words linked with the noun, and with the noun itself. These endings replace the apostrophe 's' used in the English language (even when referring to a person by name).

Endings in the Genitive case
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Definite Articles des Mannes der Frau des Kindes der Tiere
Indefinite Articles eines Mannes einer Frau eines Kindes - Tiere
Negative Articles keines Mannes keiner Frau keines Kindes keiner Tiere
Possessive Articles meines Mannes meiner Frau meines Kindes meiner Tiere

Note that in Genitive, masculine ane neuter nouns take either an '-es' ending or a '-s' ending (usually with nouns having two or more syllables).

Genitive case after certain prepositions

Certain prepositions always take the genitive case no matter their position in the sentence, and even if there will be more than one genitive noun within the sentence.

Genitive Prepositions
trotz despite
während during
wegen because
(an)statt instead of

Examples

Here are a few example sentences in which the genitive nouns are pointed out:

  • Das ist das Auto meines Vaters - This is my father's car
  • Der Beruf des Mannes ist Arzt - The man's job is a doctor
  • Trotz des Regens spielen wir Fußball - Despite the rain we're playing football