der Genitiv


I’m glad to communicate that we are at the final step of our “Marathon of German Grammatical Cases” (MGGC)!!!! LOL

The genitive case in German shows possession, is used with some verb idioms and with the genitive prepositions. In English, it is expressed by the possessive “of” or an apostrophe-s (‘s). The genitive only has two forms: des/eines (masculine and neuter) or der/einer (feminine and plural).  Click here for more informations.

der Genitiv - Charlie Brown


  1. Some masculine nouns add an –en or –n ending in the genitive and in all other cases besides the nominative. ⇨ ,,des Architekten” (architect)
  2. Feminine and plural nouns do not add an ending in the genitive.
  3. The adjectives almost always have an –en ending. ⇨ ,,des neuen Autos” (the new car)
  4. The genitive form of most neuter and masculine nouns in German have either –es or –s ending (almost all nouns ending in sssßschz or tz must end with -es in the genitive). ⇨ ,,das Auto meines Bruders” (my brother’s car) or ,,der Titel des Filmes (Films)” (the title of the film)

The question word in the genitive is wessen (whose):

,,Wessen Buch hast du?” (Whose book do you have?)

A common error made even by native-speakers of German is to use an apostrophe in possessive forms (just like in English). For instance, they will often write “Maria’s Haus” instead of the correct form, “Marias Haus”.


The genitive is also used in some idiomatic or formulaic expressions (which are not usually translated into English with “of”).

 Idiomatic or Formulaic Expressions
Deutsch Englisch
eines Tages one day, some day
eines Nachts one night (note irreg. genitive form)
eines kelten Winters one cold winter
erster Klasse fahren to travel in first class
letzten Endes when all is said and done
meines Wissens to my knowledge
meines Erachtens in my opinion/view


Some German prepositions are governed by the genitive case.

,,Während der Woche arbeiten wir.” (During the week we work.)

,,Trotz des Wetters fahren wir heute nach Hause.” (In spite of the weather we’re driving home today.)

Genitive Prepositions
Deutsch Englisch
anstatt instead of
außerhalb outside of
innerhalb inside of
trotz despite, in spite of
während during, in the course of
wegen because of
angesichts in view of
beiderseits on both sides of
diesseits this side of
jenseits on the other side of
laut according to


  1. The genitive prepositions listed above are often used with the dative in spoken German, particularly in certain regions:

,,trotz dem Wetter” (in spite of the weather)

,,während der Woche” (during the week) (same as genitive)

,,wegen den Kosten ” (because of the costs)


The genitive ending is omitted with:

  • Many foreign words:

,,des Atlas” (Atlas)

,,des Euro(s)” (the euro)

  • Most foreign geographical names:

,,des High Point” (of High Point)

,,die Berge des Himalaja(s)” (the Himalayan mountains)

  • Days of the week, months:

,,des Montag” (of monday)

,,des Mai/Maies/Maien” (of May)

,,des Januar” (of January)

  • Names with titles (ending on title only):

,,des Professors Schmidt” (of Professor Schmidt)

,,des Herrn Maier” (of Mr. Maier)


,,des Doktor (Dr.) Müller” (of Doctor (Dr.) Müller) ⇨ “Dr.” is considered part of the name


The genitive is used more in written German than in spoken form. It is usually replaced by a von-phrase (von + dative) or (particulary in Austria and southern Germany) a possessive pronoun phrase:

,,Das Auto von meinem Bruder.” (My brother‘s car.)

,,die/der Maria ihre Freunde.” (Maria‘s friends.)

The genitive is preferred in place of a von-phrase…

  • when it may have a dual or ambiguous meaning:

,,von meinem Vater” (of/from my father) ⇨ von-phrase

,,des Vaters” (of my father) ⇨ genitive

The genitive is often replaced by a von-phrase…

  • to avoid repetition:

,,der Schlüssel von der Tür des Hauses” (the key from the door of the house)

  • to avoid awkward language situations:

,,das Auto von Fritz” (rather than ,,des Fritzchens” or ,,Fritz’ Auto“) (the car of Fritz)

  • in spoken German:

,,der Bruder von Hans” (the brother of Hans)

The genitive MUST be replaced by a von-phrase with…

  • pronouns:

,,jeder von uns” (each of us)

,,ein Onkel von ihr” (an uncle of her)

  • a single noun without an article or declined adjective:

,,ein Geruch von Benzin”  (a smell of gasoline)

,,die Mutter von vier Kindern” (the mother of four children)

  • after ,,viel” or ,,wenig“:

,,viel von dem guten Bier” (much of the good beer)

Das ist alles, Leute!!! (That is all folks!!!) 😀

4 thoughts on “der Genitiv

  1. eines Tages ist right, “eine Tages” is not German

    anstatt is right “anstattstat ist ein Schreibfehler, is not German

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