Basically, which of these is correct?

Jeffs graues Messer

Jeffs graue Messer

1 Answer 1


If you are talking about one knife, the first phrase

Jeffs graues Messer (one knife)

is correct. The second phrase cannot be interpreted as a singular. However, it is the correct plural form:

Jeffs graue Messer (multiple knives).

In the title you are referring to the strong declension and whether it is used after Jeffs. The answer is yes. Jeffs does not act as an article but could be replaced by another genitive construction:

des Mannes graues Messer

Please be aware that the genitive can be moved to the back; then an article is needed. In summary, the following forms are acceptable German:

(1) Jeffs graues Messer
(2) des Mannes graues Messer
(3) das graue Messer Jeffs
(4) das graue Messer des Mannes

Phrases (1) and (4) are perfect German; (2) sounds old-fashioned; (3) uses a somewhat atypical positioning.

  • If you are learning to speak German, however, restrict yourself to using (1) and, in writing, (4), because (2) and (3) are usually replaced by von + Dat constructs nowadays: das graue Messer von Jeff / dem Mann, so you basically only need to know them to understand older texts.
    – Crissov
    Jul 14, 2015 at 20:25

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