To express possession you normally say

Das gehört mir.


Das ist meins.

But there are regions where people regularly say

Das ist mir.

Which are these regions and is there are terminus technicus for this dialectic form?

  • Das ist mir... geläufig. Also in ripuarischen Dialekten kommt's vor.
    – Em1
    Apr 7, 2014 at 20:32
  • 5
    Ripuarisch. Definitely. I grew up near Cologne. I moved to Northern Germany to attend university. My friends helped me shift flats in the uni town from a furnished place to a new apartment. They needed to identify what was to stay and what they should pack. Friend: "Der Stuhl da?" - Me: "Der ist mir." - Friend: "Der ist meiner." - Me: "Nein, das ist nicht dein Stuhl. Der ist mir!" That pattern went on for a while until I clocked that they were correcting my grammar.
    – teylyn
    Apr 8, 2014 at 6:50
  • 3
    @teylyn, und wem war der Stuhl nun wirklich?
    – Carsten S
    Apr 8, 2014 at 7:50
  • 3
    @CarstenSchultz, mir natürlich. Der war nicht dem!
    – teylyn
    Apr 8, 2014 at 9:47

3 Answers 3


There is a north-south difference, which means the north tends to deny the ist mir construction while the south (including Hesse, Thuringia and Saxonia) feels it as common phrase.(1)(2)(3)

The terminus is "Anzeige von Besitzverhältnissen mit dem Verb sein".


I don't know whether "possessive dative" is a current grammar term, but one might called the thing in this way. "Das ist mir" - I would consider this use as regional and substandard, but I don't know in which regions this expression is used. But "Das ist doch dem Paul sein Fahrrad" is colloquial language. I even remember the title of an older dictionary: Dem deutschen Volk sein Wörterbuch.

I just see that Die Grammatik (Duden, 8th edition) also has the term "possessive dative". In the register: Dativ, possessiv. In paragraph 1275 Duden says that possessive dative has been known in the whole of the German speaking area for a long time, but it is not standard language ( Duden should add "in written language").

  • 1
    So you're saying that "Das ist mir" is said all over the country with similar frequency? I doubt that. "Dem sein" is one thing, "das ist mir" is another thing, even if they can be described with the same grammatical term.
    – Emanuel
    Apr 8, 2014 at 10:13
  • I wrote "Das ist mir" is regional and I don't know where it is said. Duden says the possessive dative is known everywhere, but he means constructions with dative + sein/e as in Das ist dem Maier sein Auto/seine Frau.
    – rogermue
    Apr 8, 2014 at 10:29
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    @rogermue... well, then I don't see how this is an answer because OP wanted to know WHAT regions this is asked in. The answer got accepted for some reason but I don't think it matches the question very well.
    – Emanuel
    Apr 8, 2014 at 10:34
  • @Emanuel I answered mainly the question is there an accepted term. At first I used a term I would use, but then I found that the Duden grammar uses this term as well. As to where "Das ist mir" one should consult the Deutscher Sprachatlas, but I hadn't the time.
    – rogermue
    Apr 8, 2014 at 10:49
  • @rogermue: It's frequently used in Swiss German. Since that is Alemannic language zone, I'd say you'd probably meet the expression in Southern Germany and Western Austria, too.
    – Quandary
    Apr 9, 2014 at 11:54

I'm from Hesse(n) and I use "Das ist mir" all the time, even when I try not to.

Fun fact, I didn't know this wasn't standard German until I started university. I just thought it was colloquial. I wouldn't have written it down in an essay, but I thought it was used that way everywhere in Germany. Oops.

But "das ist meins" und "das gehört mir" still sound very stilted to me.

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