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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.

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6  
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
2  
@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 14 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.

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9  
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
1  
Not to mention "Toni's Imbis's - Alle's mus's rau's" –  Hagen von Eitzen Feb 22 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.

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1  
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

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