First of all, both she and they translate to sie. In most sentences we can tell them apart by looking at the verb. But I got really confused today while doing an assignment. I need to translate They are taking their clothes from me.

Using the little knowledge I have, I translated it to Sie nehmen von mir ihre Kleidungen. But this also means They are taking her clothes from me.

Would anyone let me know how to translate these two sentences from English to German unambiguously?

  • 5
    Context will tell, as it does with English you. Without further context the possessive ihre will refer to the personal pronoun sie which is the subject of the sentence. Btw., Kleidung doesn’t get a plural ending, but there’s Kleidungsstücke. PS: In this case a better and unambiguous, but not literal, translation would be “Ich geben ihnen/ihr ihre [eigene] Kleidung”.
    – Crissov
    Jan 27, 2016 at 19:32
  • @Crissov: Ich gebe ihnen/ihr ihre Kleidung. Ich richte meine Waffel auf Sie! Jan 28, 2016 at 1:40

1 Answer 1


In this scenario, context would be used to differentiate the two. There really isn't a way to decide between ihre as their and ihre as her. In fact, if it weren't written down, you would equally be able to say that sentence translates to "you are taking your clothes from me." If I were speaking and what I was trying to say was ambiguous, I would phrase the sentence like this: Sie nehmen von mir Katjas Kleidung. In other words, being more specific would solve your problem.

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