I read this sentence today.

Das ist die Frau, deren Bruder krank ist

"deren" is a relative pronoun, in genitive. Relative pronouns in genitive work like this:

  • masculine and neutrum: dessen
  • femenine and plural: deren

So if "Bruder" is masculine, why is not using "dessen"?


1 Answer 1


Because deren refers to Frau and not to Bruder.

The sentence translated to english:

This is the woman whose brother is ill.

  • So you mean that in "Die Frau, deren Bruder ....", both "Die" and "dessen" refer to the gender of the "Frau" and none to the gender of "Bruder"?? Aug 12, 2018 at 10:57
  • 2
    @EnriqueMorenoTent Yes. In the case of "deren" and "dessen" gender and singular/plural of the "owner" is important; not of the "owned" object. Aug 12, 2018 at 11:11
  • 2
    You can see that it has to be the gender of the woman if you make it two separate sentences and turn the relative pronoun into a personal pronoun: This is the woman. Her brother is ill.
    – RHa
    Aug 13, 2018 at 10:00

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