when someone gives a general rule, the pronoun 'man' is used, for example:

"wenn man Gemüse kauft, sollte man sicherstellen, dass es frisch ist."

= "when you buy vegetables, you need to make sure that they're fresh."

But if I need to say the following:

"When your friends are in trouble, you should help them."

Should I use 'jemandes'? Or should I just invert the positions of the clauses, like:

Man sollte seinen Freunden helfen, wenn sie in Schwierigkeiten sind.


  • 3
    Man sollte seinen Freunden helfen... is entirely fine, even if none of the answers mention this..
    – tofro
    Commented Aug 24, 2017 at 11:22
  • 2
    BTW, you question is about the possesive pronoun, not the genitive. For cases other than the nominative, you replace "man" with "einer", just like English "one". See e.g. canoo
    – dirkt
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 8:11
  • could you please give an answer with an example?
    – Jawad
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 8:18

2 Answers 2


The solution you gave with inverting the positions sounds good. Using "jemandes" would sound rather strange. If you want the original order, I would either translate the English version, so say

Wenn deine Freunde in Schwierigkeiten sind, solltest du ihnen helfen.

or drop the pronoun all together, i.e. saying

Freunden in Not hilft man.


Technically, "man" is not the same as "you(r)" - it's rather the equivalent to using "one(s)".

Example: "When one's friends are in trouble, one should help them."

But concerning your question: The second example sounds pretty good. Avoid using "jemandes", it sounds totally weird & there's a better formulation in 99% of all situations.

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