How do you know what demonstrative to use when you are not aware of the gender of the noun you are referring to?

For example I keep seeing questions like this in my exercises:

Er ist der Besitzer dies...

Do I use dieses, dieser or dies?

  • Each post should only contain one question (unless of course they are intrinsically linked in a way that makes splitting them unfeasable). I therefore removed your second question, but do feel free to ask it in a separate post!
    – chirlu
    Commented Aug 29, 2015 at 21:56
  • Was soll hinter 'dies' beispielsweise folgen können? 'Dieses Messers, dieser Gabel, dieses Löffels', ja, aber 'dies ...?' Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 19:22
  • 1
    Er ist der Besitzer davon.
    – Crissov
    Commented Aug 30, 2015 at 19:29
  • In case you’re starting a sentence and are unsure of what the actual word is, I would go ‘Er ist der Besitzer dieses… dieser … dieses … dieser Flasche!’ while lengthening the shwa of dieses/dieser to show my uncertainty ;)
    – Jan
    Commented Sep 12, 2015 at 9:40

2 Answers 2


There simply is no way. You need to know the gender of the word to make a correct sentence:

Er ist der Besitzer dieses Hofes. (der Hof)
Er ist der Besitzer dieser Wohnung. (die Wohnung)
Er ist der Besitzer dieses Hauses. (das Haus)
Er ist der Besitzer dieser Grundstücke. (die Grundstücke, plural of das Grundstück, but the gender does not matter in plural)

Note that it is not possible to omit the noun in this genitive construction, or at least it would be highly unusual to say Er ist der Besitzer dieses.


The simple answer is:

You will not know it.

The gender of the demonstrative pronoun depends on the noun to which it refers. If the noun (or just it's gender) is unknown, the gender of the pronoun (and so the pronoun itself) is unknown.

In this case dies is always wrong, because in Genitiv case you only can have dieser or dieses:

male: Er ist der Besitzer dieses Baums.
female: Er ist der Besitzer dieser Blume.
neuter: Er ist der Besitzer dieses Messers.

plural (all genders): Er ist der Besitzer dieser Bäume/Blumen/Messer.

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