Pronouns

Personal pronouns

Pronouns stand in for nouns. They have person (1st, 2nd, 3rd) and number (singular, plural).

The German personal pronouns. When we get to verb conjugation, these words will be a key element you should know very well.

Nominative


Singular

    ich
    I
    du
    you
    er, sie, es
    he, she, it

Plural

    wir
    we
    ihr
    you
    sie, Sie
    they, you (formal)

Accusative


Singular

    mich
    me
    dich
    you
    ihn, sie, es
    him, her, it

Plural

    uns
    us
    euch
    you
    sie, Sie
    them, you (formal)

Dative


Singular

    mir
    me
    dir
    you
    ihm, ihr, ihm
    him, her, it

Plural

    uns
    us
    euch
    you
    ihnen, Ihnen
    them, you (formal)

You - du / Sie (informal vs formal)

As you study the vocabulary, pay attention to the difference between asking a formal (Sie) and a familiar (du/ihr) question. German speakers tend to be much more formal than English speakers.

While in many countries people may use first names with people they have just met or only know casually, German speakers do not.

When a German speaker is asked his or her name, the reply will be the last name, not the first name. The more formal question, Wie ist Ihr Name? as well as the standard Wie heißen Sie?, should be understood as What is your last name?
Naturally, within the family and among good friends, the familiar you pronouns du and ihr are used, and people at first name terms. But when in doubt, you should always err on the side of being too formal, rather than too familiar.

This way, you can see that you really don't need to learn as many unique reflexive forms as you might have thought.

Reflexive pronouns

There are also reflexive pronouns that basically mean yourself, himself, herself, etc.

Accusative


Singular

    mich
    myself
    dich
    yourself
    sich
    himself, herself, itself

Plural

    uns
    ourselves
    euch
    yourselves
    sich
    themselves, yourself (formal)

Dative


Singular

    mir
    myself
    dir
    yourself
    sich
    himself, herself, itself

Plural

    uns
    ourselves
    euch
    yourselves
    sich
    themselves, yourself (formal)

It is important to note however, that when we use a reflexive pronoun in German, this is not necessarily the case in English. In the examples below, none of the German reflexive examples are are reflexive in English.

Dative reflexive examples

Jeden Tag lese ich langsam die Zeitung zu Hause .
TIME MANNER PLACE

Posessive pronouns

We often speak of the possessive pronouns, which are actually possessive adjectives — we say 'pronoun' because like real pronouns they have person and number and stand in for the person who owns/possesses something. They are, however, adjectives (they modify nouns), and take adjective endings.

Genitive


Singular

    mein
    my
    dein
    your
    sein, seine, sein
    his, her, its

Plural

    unser
    our
    euer
    your
    ihr, Ihr
    their, your (formal)

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