Sign up ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Does (did) German have something like what they call possessive apostrophe in English?
If not, what does the role of it in German language?

For example:

This is my father's hat.
My best friend's husband.

share|improve this question
Well, we do have the Deppenapostroph... – Jan Sep 19 '11 at 14:50
@Jan: Doh! I should had searched it in Wikipedia's German version. – user508 Sep 19 '11 at 14:52
I've just read in that article that interestingly enough, we actually had the possessive apostrophe for some foreign words until about 2 centuries ago, even though it's no longer correct today. I never knew that... – Jan Sep 19 '11 at 14:56
@Jan: What about posting an answer? ;-) – user508 Sep 19 '11 at 15:23
Whoops, I actually misread that from the article. Disregard my comment about the foreign words, it's total and complete bull :-) So sorry @Gigili, we won't get an answer out of this... – Jan Sep 19 '11 at 15:29

2 Answers 2

up vote 15 down vote accepted

German attaches the genitive suffix without an apostrophe.

Das ist meines Vaters Hut / Das ist der Hut meines Vaters

Der Mann meiner besten Freundin

Julias Mann. Martins Frau.

You will occasionally see " 's " as a genitive ending in German,

Toni's Imbiss

but that is - to put it mildly - inspired by English orthography, and incorrect in German.

share|improve this answer
you might add, that if the name ends with an "s", like Hans, the possessive "s" isn't just added. The car of Hans is: Hansens Auto or Hans' Auto (apostrophe at the end). – Hinek Sep 20 '11 at 13:44
Not to mention "Toni's Imbis's - Alle's mus's rau's" – Hagen von Eitzen Feb 22 '14 at 15:12

No, it doesn't. German has a possessive -s without the apostrophe.

Das ist der Hut meines Vaters.

Der Mann meines besten Freunds.

Using a possessive apostrophe anyway is a fairly common mistake, especially by people whose native language is English, but it's certainly not correct.

share|improve this answer
Should read: especially by people who got the main part of their education from RTL and BILD. I doubt that most persons mentioned in advertisings like "Gabi's Nagelcenter", "Petra's Hairstudio" and so on do speak english. BTW, a Deppenapostrophsteuer could save either the Euro or the german language. – Ingo Sep 20 '11 at 17:12
"certainly not correct"... yet. A prevalent error will become correct. Okay, maybe not in Germany, but that's how languages usually work. ;-) – Jürgen A. Erhard Sep 20 '11 at 22:39
@Jürgen: Well, Willi's Würstchenbude is already recorded in the Duden, see rule 16.2.b). – Hendrik Vogt Sep 21 '11 at 10:04
@Hendrik: so... does that mean what I think it might? That it's actually... permitted? There's no explanation for "Willi's" like there is for "Andrea's"... – Jürgen A. Erhard Sep 21 '11 at 10:12
@Jürgen: In my opinion it means that the Duden switched to just recording the common mistakes :-) – Hendrik Vogt Sep 21 '11 at 10:14

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.