In the following sentence:

Augen sind die Fenster der Seele

What case is "die Fenster" and what case ist "der Seele"?

I suspected that "der Seele" is in genitive, but the problem is that "der" is only used in genitive with the plural case, and "Seele" is clearly singular. Therefore, the only two options that I can imagine are

  • The sentence is wrong
  • "Der Seele" is not in genitive

Which one of these two is right? Or am I missing something else?

  • 5
    You could improve this question by at least telling us what is your best guess for an answer. Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 12:21
  • 1
    You are right, sorry. I have updated the question with a more concise question about my doubt. Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 18:00
  • 3
    "..."der" is only used in Genitive with the plural case": That is simply wrong. It's also used with feminine singulars, and "Seele"is feminine. Commented Dec 8, 2017 at 8:57

1 Answer 1


In the sentence "Die Augen sind die Fenster der Seele",

  • "Die Augen" is the subject and is therefore in nominative case;
  • "die Fenster [der Seele]" is a predicative expression following the copula "sind"; this phrase is in the nominative case;
  • "der Seele" is a genitive that is part of the above predicative expression.

When you translate "die Fenster der Seele" as "the soul's windows", you get the Anglo-Saxon genitive.

  • Your answer unfortunately ignores the fact, that the sentence itself is purely wrong: it should be: die Fenster ZUR Seele instead of die Fenster DER Seele. Second error: You translate die Fenster der Seele with the souls eyes. If you really need to translate that wrong sentence, then it would be the souls windows...
    – Tode
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 12:43
  • 5
    @TorstenLink Die Fenster zur Seele is just different- Not any better.
    – tofro
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 13:11
  • 1
    @TorstenLink Can you please provide evidence for the statement that "die Fenster der Seele" is wrong? The phrase is used a lot and has even be contributed to Hildegard von Bingen. (The attribution may be wrong, but I have not found any sources that question the grammaticallity of the expression.)
    – Tsundoku
    Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 14:25
  • I also suspected that Seele was in genitive case, but looking at the declination of the determinate article, the only case for "genitive" and "der" is the plural, when in this case seems to be in singular. That is what I am not understanding. Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 17:57
  • 1
    @EnriqueMorenoTent: No, genitive singular of "die Seele" is "der Seele". (deutsch.lingolia.com/de/grammatik/deklination/genitiv) Commented Dec 7, 2017 at 21:47

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