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I am doing an exercise (using Rosetta Stone) in the context of an airport, where a woman gets asked:

Haben Sie ihr Flugticket? Haben Sie ihnen Reisepass?

Why is this, if it is "der Reisepass" and "das Flugticket"?
Or does Rosetta Stone have it wrong?

Quick update - I mis-typed the example above. It should have been "Haben Sie Ihr Flugticket? Haben Sie Ihren Reisepass?", and I now understand why, thanks!

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Hello there. For starters, welcome to German Language! Secondly, are you sure these sentences are correct as of RosettaStone? At least the second one is incorrect in the "ihnen". And thirdly, taglines, thanks, greetings and the like are discouraged on the SE-Network, so I removed them ;) – Vogel612 Jul 13 '14 at 14:51
Die Überschrift fragt nach Ihr und Ihnen, die wohl auf ein falsch Verstehen zurückgeht (Ihr/Ihren). Der Unterschied ergibt sich aus jedem Wörterbuch. Unten wird korrekt das unterschiedliche Geschlecht erkannt. Das erklärt aber ja nun genau, wieso es mal "Ihr" und mal "Ihren" heißt. Auch das sollte in jedem Wörterbuch stehen. – user unknown Jul 13 '14 at 17:25
"Haben Sie Ihren Reisepass?" not "Haben Sie Ihnen Reisepass?" – miracle173 Jul 20 '14 at 8:05
I downvoted because I had missed the update at the end. Now I cannot correct this. I a moderator can and wants to correct it, please feel free to do so. Thanks. – Carsten S Jul 20 '14 at 12:37

If it is formal, 2nd person, singular (i.e. you are speaking to one person, formally), then the correct versions of these sentences are:

Haben Sie Ihr Flugticket?


Do you have your flight ticket?


Haben Sie Ihren Reisepass?


Do you have your passport?

If Ihr is lower-case (ihr) then it means her rather than your (can also mean their). In which case you wouldnt be speaking directly to the woman.

"Haben Sie ihnen Reisepass" makes no sense because ihnen is a dative pronoun, not a genitive pronoun (possessive pronoun, in English).

The -en ending in ihren comes from the masculine noun being in the accusative case. Neutral and feminine nouns do not take on additional endings in the accusative case.

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In this sentence, it has to be Ihr, which is the possessive adjective of Sie (meaning "you"), which means "your". It has no ending before a neuter word (das Flugticket) in the accusative, so no Ihren (which would be masculine accusative): just Ihr.

The word Ihnen is the dative of the polite personal pronoun Sie, meaning "to you". You can't use a dative personal pronoun before a noun. The same applies to ihnen without a capital, which would mean "to them", from sie "they".

Without the capital, ihr is from sie, "she/they", so then ihr would mean "her/their" in this context.

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Why is this, if it is "Der Reisepass" and "Das Flugticket"?

Zusammengesetzte Wörter bekommen das Geschlecht des letzten Teils der Zusammensetzung, also "der Pass" und "das Ticket" => der Reisepass, das Flugticket.

Weiter lässt sich das Geschlecht nicht ableiten. In fast allen Fällen muss es lexikalisch nachgeschlagen werden, weil es keiner Logik folgt.

Nur für wenige Wortgruppen ist das Geschlecht ohne Zuhilfenahme eines Lexikons erratbar. Die meisten Menschengruppen sind weiblich (die Mannschaft, die Gruppe, die Bande, …) und für grammatische Konstrukte sächlich (das Zuspätkommen, das Einparken).

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