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In a recent essay about school I wrote:

Ich hatte Fächer, die mir ganz gut gefallen: Deutsch, Mathe und Chemie, deren mein Lieblingsfach Deutsch ist.

It was all marked as correct other than the "deren" to which a '?' was written.
I was intending to say:

I had fun lessons: German, Maths and Chemistry of which my favourite is German.

Although this is perhaps too advanced for my level, I was intending to use a genitive plural relative pronoun. What is the correct way of saying this?

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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I would say von denen rather than deren.

Deren would mean "whose..."

As a side-note, I would say this instead:

Ich hatte Fächer, die mir ganz gut gefallen: Deutsch, Mathe und Chemie, von denen Deutsch mein Lieblingsfach ist.

(Notice the change in word-order from "...of which my favourite is German," to "...of which German is my favourite."

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Thank you! Is 'von denen' just a more natural way of saying then? –  Sebiddychef May 27 '13 at 8:42
    
Not quite. Denen is the plural dative relative pronoun, and von is, in this case, "of." Deren/dessen = whose; dem/der/dem/denen=that, which, etc. –  Dustin May 27 '13 at 8:43
    
OK I get it, like how you can use 'von' in saying 'das Buch von der Frau' for the 'Woman's book' –  Sebiddychef May 27 '13 at 8:47
    
The meaning of the word "of" in the two scenarios is a bit different, but in essence, yes. :) –  Dustin May 27 '13 at 8:48
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The suggestions of the other answers are correct. Firstly, here are some additions of what people might also say and write:

..., von welchen Mathe....

..., wovon Mathe...

In either case, I think the best choice is not to use any of those constructions and rather go for a simple "und":

Ich hatte Fächer, die mir ganz gut gefallen [haben is missing to my ears]: Deutsch, Mathe und Chemie und (von den dreien war) Deutsch (war) mein Lieblingsfach.

This sounds less stilted and it is certainly correct. I think people would unconsciously go for this as the majority (including myself) does not know which of the suggested solutions (von denen, derer, von welchen) is correct and stylistically sound.

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You could also say:

Ich hatte Fächer, die mir ganz gut gefallen: Deutsch, Mathe und Chemie, derer mein Lieblingsfach Deutsch ist.

But this is a little bit ranted.

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What exactly is 'derer' (it's not a relative pronoun is it?) –  Sebiddychef May 27 '13 at 14:32
    
It is a relative pronoun, but sometimes it sounds very old school. Some other examples are: "die Toten, derer wir heute gedenken" or "Kriterien, anhand derer entschieden wird" –  Chris May 27 '13 at 14:55
    
I think it is plural Genitive relative pronoun –  Emanuel May 27 '13 at 16:26
    
derer mein klingt für mich völlig falsch... –  gamag May 27 '13 at 18:55
    
You should not use derer here. See http://www.institut1.de/502_derer_oder_deren.html –  Mackie Messer May 27 '13 at 22:37
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