The personal pronouns

HA1

 

Personal pronouns indicate the three grammatical persons. They are inflected according to person, number and case. In the third person singular they are additionally inflected according to gender.

 

Example 1
Ich
kann
euch
das Buch nicht leihen.
1. person
 
2. person
 
singular
 
plural
 
nominative
 
dative
 
       
Example 2
Ihr
habt
ihn
gestern besucht.
2. person
 
3. person
 
plural
 
singular
 
nominative
 
accusative
 
   
masculine
 

 

 

 

Personal pronouns are inflected as follows.

 

singular
 
1. person
2. person
3. person
masculine
feminine
neuter
nominative
ich
du
er
sie
es
genitive*
meiner
deiner
seiner
ihrer
seiner
dative
mir
dir
ihm
ihr
ihm
accusative
mich
dich
ihn
sie
es

 

plural
 
1. person
2. person
3. person
nominative
wir
ihr
sie
genitive*
unser
euer
ihrer
dative
uns
euch
ihnen
accusative
uns
euch
sie

 

* Genitive types are rarely used.

 


 

 

Note 1

 

First-person personal pronouns indicate the speaker, second-person pronouns indicate the person being addressed and third-person pronouns a person other than the speaker and the person being addressed. First-person and second-person personal pronouns refer to people but third-person personal pronouns may or may not refer to people (but also to animals, abstract ideas etc.).

 

Example
Mein Vater hat einen neuen Wagen gekauft.  
nouns
Er
hat
ihn
gestern gekauft.
third-person personal pronoun
person
 
not a person
   

 

When using a third-person personal pronoun, it is possible that a noun, which has already been mentioned, is omitted.

 


 

 

Note 2

 

In the German language, the formal/polite and the informal/familiar types can be used in the second person. The formal/polite type is always written with a capital first letter and is usually used when addressing an adult. It expresses politeness, respect or lack of intimacy/familiarity.

 

Examples  
Peter, was hälst du davon, dass wir eine Band gründen? informal/familiar type of address
Herr Meier, möchten Sie einen Kaffee trinken? formal/polite type of address

 

 

In the following table the informal/familiar types and the formal/polite types are presented, in the singular and the plural number. One can easily conclude that the formal/polite types are identical both in the singular and the plural, which means that they remain unchanged, independent of the number of people that are being addressed (one or more).

 

formal/polite type of address
 
informal/familiar type of address
 
singular / plural
singular
plural
 
Sie
du
ihr
nominative
Ihrer
deiner
euer
genitive *
Ihnen
dir
euch
dative
Sie
dich
euch
accusative

 

Genitive types are rarely used.

 


 

 

Note 3

 

The pronoun es has a range of functions wider than those of a personal pronoun. For this reason, it will be introduced separately.