13

______ Hemden sind weiß.

This was an exercise in the Duolingo app where you had to fill in the blank, and there were two options given:

1) Mein
2) Meine

I selected

Mein

which I found to be incorrect. In the discussion thread somebody who claimed to be a native speaker mentioned that if some adjectives are used directly before the noun, then it should be 'Meine'. But here no adjective is used before the noun, Hemden, but still 'Meine' is correct. I don't understand why.

24

In German, possessive pronouns adjust themselves according to the noun they are referring to. In your example, you have 'Hemden', which is plural and neutral in gender ('Das Hemd'). This changes 'Mein' to 'Meine'.

The list for gender and numerus is:

  • 'Mein' for singular masculin/neutral noun
  • 'Meine' for a singular feminine noun
  • 'Meine' for a plural masculin/neutral noun
  • 'Meine' for a plural feminin noun
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  • 8
    To be precise that's correct for 'Nominativ'. Possessive pronouns are also subject to declension: dict.cc/deutsch/mein.html – Piohen Feb 27 '15 at 14:26
3

Have a look at declension tabels:

http://www.wissen.de/rechtschreibung/deklinationstabellen

Whereas English "my" is invariable, the German possessive adjectives (and other article words) have endings that show the gender of the following noun (masculine, feminine, neuter), the number (singular/plural) and case (nom/gen/dat/acc).

Your naive rule that you use "meine" + adj + noun is simply wrong:

  • mein alter Vater

  • meine liebe Mutter

  • mein krankes Kind

  • meine vielen Bücher

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