Genitive case is confusing me. Let's consider the following two sentences:

Das ist das Auto deiner Schwester.

Das ist die Frau, deren Bruder krank ist

In the first sentence, it is taking the gender of the second word, Schwester to write deiner. If it took first one, Auto, it would have been deines.

In the second sentence, it is taking the gender of the first word, Frau to write deren. If it had taken the second one, Bruder, it would have been dessen.

There seems to be no consistency in which word is used, to determine what pronoun to use. Am I missing a rule??

  • Thanks, corrected. Only 2 examples are enough to show the problem then. Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 13:32
  • 2
    I still didn't get the problem. The car of your sister and the woman whose brother. There are two different words with different meanings, placed in differently formed phrases. So there is no rule how to use one single word in which case. You should go into more details about your question.
    – puck
    Commented Aug 13, 2018 at 13:54

1 Answer 1


In both your examples it is using the gender of the person that the (grammatical) objects belong to.

Example 1: Who owns the car (Wessen Auto ist das?) -> your sister (deine Schwester) -> [...] das Auto deiner Schwester

Example 2: Who has a sick brother (Wessen Bruder ist krank?) -> the woman (die Frau) -> [...] die Frau, deren Bruder [...]

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