I want to say in German, "the student of Mr. X.".

  • I thought I might use the genitive case, and found "des Herrn" in my dictionary, but all the examples containing that phrase referred to God.
  • Pages linked from related questions on genitive case do not contain examples with "Herr".
  • "der Student von Herrn X" also sounds wrong, but my ears are relatively untrained in German.

How does one say this?

  • 1
    "Der Herr" without a name often refers to God, indeed. Just like "the Lord" in English. Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 15:47

2 Answers 2


Herrn is correct, and it does not refer only to otherworldly persons. It can well be used for normal earthlings.

Das ist das Haus des Herrn Müller. / Das ist Herrn Müllers Haus

Das ist der Hut des Herrn dort drüben. Bringst du dem Herrn seinen Hut?

Das ist Fritz. Er ist Herrn Professor Müllerhubers Promotionsstudent.


Der Student von Herrn X


Der Student des Herrn X

are both grammatically correct, but the first variant is more common.

  • 2
    Well, it depends. You can use (1) in (sloppy) oral communication, but definitely not in more refined written texts. On the other hand (2) if used in everyday oral communication may sound a bit over-precise. Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 12:46
  • The first option sounds wrong and uneducated to me, therefore downvote. Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 14:48
  • 6
    "Von" is used most of the time in everyday speech and less formal writing, so I don't see why it should be wrong. For example "Der Student von Herrn Müller hat die Prüfung bestanden." and "Der Student des Herrn Müller hat die Prüfung bestanden." both sound fine to me. A living language comprises more than just formal writing. Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 15:19
  • 1
    Related: »Der Student vom Wildgruber« / »Der Student vom Fischer Manfred«. Even those cannot be classified as utterly wrong.
    – Pollitzer
    Commented Oct 12, 2018 at 19:10
  • 1
    Or even "Dem Herr Müller sein Student". Not formal, but still correct in the sense that many native speakers in certain regions will say exactly that and will be understood. Nothing in language is "wrong" if people use and understand it.
    – Philipp
    Commented Oct 13, 2018 at 11:10

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