... trotz der Diskrepanz eures jeweiligen sozialen Status ...

At least in English, we expect a plural noun to follow the adjective "respective". Although I sometimes see plural nouns follow "jeweilig" as well, I don't see why in this specific instance a singular noun is used.

Both the singular and plural forms of the noun "Status" stay the same, but the masculine genitive form "eures" (instead of the plural genitive "eurer") indicates that the "Status" is in the singular here.

  • I think it's because Status is an odd word to put into plural in German. In Latin, status is u declination and that means the nominative plural is statūs. As latin is a well-known language among a lot of Germans (required for beginning studies as a medical doctor, lawyer, historian etc.), they may frown upon building the German plural Statusse and look down on people who build the fake latin plural Stati. All plural forms sound awkward.
    – Janka
    Jun 17, 2017 at 10:01
  • @Janka Don't agree: Jeweilig makes the sentence refer to exactly one Status (the one you're looking at). "Die Farbe eures jeweiligen Huts ist grün".
    – tofro
    Jun 17, 2017 at 10:08
  • 1
    Man kann trotz eurer jeweiligen Meinungen auch anderer Meinung sein. Beides ist möglich, je nachdem, ob man auf die Vielzahl oder die individuelle Eigenschaft aufmerksam machen will. Manchmal hilft der Plural auch einfach nur, eine unerwünschte Doppelung zu vermeiden, wie eben hier.
    – Janka
    Jun 17, 2017 at 12:07

3 Answers 3


I think commentator @tofro is right, the noun must be singular since any person has only one social status.

Therefore correct:

(1) Ich habe Schuhe für eure Füße und Hüte für eure Köpfe.

(2) Ich habe Schuhe für eure jeweiligen Füße und Hüte für euren jeweiligen Kopf.

In (1) Füße and Köpfe refer to all feet and heads of all persons.

In (2) Füße and Kopf refer to only one person.


1. All inflected forms of »Status« are equal

The inflection of the German noun Status is irregular in that manner, that it is not inflected at all. It is always Status, in singular and plural, and in all four cases:

  • Singular

    • Nom: Der Status ist unbekannt.
    • Gen: Die Bekanntgabe des Status erfolgt morgen.
    • Dat: Hinter dem Status steckt viel Arbeit.
    • Akk: Ich kenne den Status.
  • Plural

    • Nom: Die Status sind unbekannt.
    • Gen: Die Bekanntgabe der Status erfolgt morgen.
    • Dat: Hinter den Status steckt viel Arbeit.
    • Akk: Ich kenne die Status.

Source: Wiktionary and Duden

So when it's used without article, like in your sentence, you have no chance to tell if its singular or plural.

2. There is no need for the number of pronoun to match with the number of the noun

In ...

trotz der Diskrepanz eures jeweiligen sozialen Status

the bold marked part is a nominal phrase in genitive case. Is is similar to:

  1. deines alten Hutes
  2. deiner alten Hüte
  3. eurer alten Hüte
  4. meiner vergilbten Zeitung
  5. meinen vergilbten Zeitungen
  6. unserer vergilbten Zeitungen
  7. unserer neuen Schule

In this examples, the first word is a personal pronoun, the second is an attributive adjective, and the last is a noun.

The pronoun describes a possession: Somebody (1-2: yousing., 3: youplur. 4-5: I, 6-7: we) is owner of something else (1-3: one ore more old hats, 4-6: one or more yellowed newspapers, 7: one new school)

Very often one person owns one thing (1, 4). But one person also can own many things (2, 5). You also find the case, that many people own many things (3, 6), and you even find situation where many people together own just one thing (7).

This means: Every combination of number (number = singular or plural) is allowed. The pronoun's number and the noun's number are grammatically independent. Only the meaning (semantics) can disallow combinations in certain cases (It's hard to imagine, that 2 or more people are owner of the same nose, eye, or other parts of the body)

3. jeweilig is just a normal adjective

In ...

trotz der Diskrepanz eures jeweiligen sozialen Status

the two bold marked words are both attributive adjectives. There is nothing special with »jeweilig«, you can use it like all other adjectives in any number, any gender and any grammatical case. The adjectives must correspond with the noun, who's attributes they are (here: Status) in gender, number and case.

As shown above, you can't tell if »Status« is singular or plural, but you already know, that in the phrase, quoted by you, it is in genitive case.

If you consult the inflection tables of jeweilig and sozial, you will see, that both adjectives have equal forms in genitive case for singular and plural, and this forms are even equal when the adjective needs to be declined strong, weak or mixed. In Genitive case it always has to be »jeweiligen« and »sozialen«.

Since »Status« never changes its form, I replace it by another word: Auftrag (assignment). And I use it in all four cases:

  • Singular
    • Nom: Der jeweilige soziale Auftrag muss begutachtet werden.
    • Gen: Die Erteilung des jeweiligen sozialen Auftrages erfolgt morgen.
    • Dat: Hinter dem jeweiligen sozialen Auftrag steckt viel Verantwortung.
    • Akk: Durch den jeweiligen sozialen Auftrag wird der Auftragnehmer reicher.
  • Plural
    • Nom: Die jeweiligen sozialen Aufträge müssen begutachtet werden.
    • Gen: Die Erteilung der jeweiligen sozialen Aufträge erfolgt morgen.
    • Dat: Hinter den jeweiligen sozialen Aufträgen steckt viel Verantwortung.
    • Akk: Durch die jeweiligen sozialen Aufträge werden die Auftragnehmer reicher.

The short version is: jeweilig does not demand anything, it is the construction of Diskrepanz + Genitiv that "allows" the singular. Some more details: First of all, let us remark, that jeweilig is not necessary here. We could also write

...trotz der Diskrepanz eures sozialen Status...

Which would be perfectly ok. If you have Words like Differenz, Unterschied, Abstand zwischen,... , which indicate a difference, followed by a genitive, you youse in general the plural form to indicate that you compared multiple things. Some examples:

Der Unterschied der Vermögen

Die Differenz der Preise

Der Abstand zwischen den Positionen

However, you often can also use a singular form, which empathizes in general the category of your comparison. Examples

Der Unterschied des Vermögens

Die Differenz des Preises

Such constructions are more uncommon then those with a plural. I'm not 100% sure, but I think that they are simply the consequence of the fact that you can often separate long german words with a genitive. Keep in mind that you could also say:

Der Vermögensunterschied

Die Preisdifferenz

It is also important to notice that zwischen always needs a plural or two or more words.

jeweilig is an andjective, used to empathize that you mean something specific. Adjectives don't demand anything, they take the gender and the number from the word they refer to.

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