Genitive Case is the sixty-sixth (assuming left to right) skill in the German language tree. In these two lessons, the student of German learns about the last of the four German grammatical cases: The genitive.

Grammar notesEdit


The genitive case in German is used to indicate possession of a noun. The best way to understand it is to insert the word "of" before the determiner or article.

The four cases in their entirety are:

Case Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative der/ein die/eine das/ein die
Accusative den/einen die/eine das/ein die
Dative dem/einem der/einer dem/einem den
Genitive des/eines* der/einer des/eines* der

As before, the possessive pronouns (which are technically the genitive pronouns) follow "ein," while the rest tend to follow "der."

  • The word "des" needs the noun following it to end in -(e)s. For example: Mein Onkel ist der Bruder meines Vaters.

Alternatives to the GenitiveEdit

The vast majority of German speakers will not talk in the genitive with you. Instead, they will (somewhat) incorrectly use the dative with the preposition "von" ("of").

For example, the sentence above would commonly be spoken as:

Mein Onkel ist der Bruder von meinem Vater.

In written work, however, the genitive will always be used.


Duolingo Lesson:

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