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I keep reading many things about the genitive disappearing, and indeed it's not uncommon to see forms like

das Buch von meinem Bruder

whose correctness (or lack thereof) I haven't been able to determine (or does that have a meaning more along the lines of "the book my brother gave me", ie that came from (von) him?). Besides that, it is my understanding that, even when sticking to the genitive, there are often different forms that can be used; for the above example, I can think of

das Buch meines Bruders

meines Bruders Buch

Also, is it different when proper nouns are involved? That is, are all the following valid:

das Buch von Karl

das Buch Karls

Karls Buch

Thanks.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I think that all of theses forms are correct.

das Buch von meinem Bruder

would be avoided by many in writing, but few would object to it in spoken German. This is a stylistic question, however.

Regarding

das Buch meines Bruders

meines Bruders Buch

the second sounds more stilted. The first would be the form preferred by many in writing.

On the other hand among

das Buch von Karl

das Buch Karls

Karls Buch

the third form is simplest and will usually be preferred over the second. Since it is so simple there is really no need for the first form, even in spoken German. You will still hear it a lot though.

Lastly,

das Buch von mir

will make many people cringe.

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Yes, of course, "das Buch von mir" is simply "mein Buch". –  karoshi Sep 21 '13 at 14:40
    
Yes, I just added it because the construction is analogous to „das Buch von meinem Bruder“ and „das Buch von Karl“, and „mein Buch“ corresponds to „meines Bruders Buch“ and „Karls Buch“. Just acceptance of the constructions differs. –  Carsten Schultz Sep 21 '13 at 14:59
    
maybe worth adding is, that genetive shows posession, but "Das Buch von meinem Bruder" can mean "Das Buch, das mein Bruder mir gab", even though it's bad style –  Vogel612 Sep 21 '13 at 22:26
    
@Vogel612: is it bad style when used to mean "Das Buch, das mein Bruder mir gab" or when used to replace the genitive? –  karoshi Sep 22 '13 at 11:57
    
@karoshi both. And exactly that is why it is considered bad style, as it does not exactly define what happened. –  Vogel612 Sep 22 '13 at 13:17

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