I'm just a bit stuck with this sentence:

Ich werde mir das Doppelhaus neben dem meines Bruders kaufen.

I can translate this to be:

I will buy myself the house next to my brothers.

The use of the definite article puzzles me here.

Is the definite article here used because of the case, and why does "dem" - the masculine dative article follow after neben?

My logic was that the sentence would partly be translated to:

... near the my brother.

Which made no sense.

I would have thought

Ich werde mir das Doppelhaus neben meines Bruders kaufen

seemed more appropriate.

  • dem is not an article. It's a substituting pronoun corresponding to "the one". Definite articles and substituting pronouns (and, indeed, relative pronouns) share the same surface forms, and context decides what role such a form plays in a sentence. Jan 21, 2019 at 7:12
  • That's one interpretation, but another is that "dem" stands for "dem Haus", so "dem" is indeed an article, but the noun has been omitted.
    – RHa
    Jan 21, 2019 at 7:51

1 Answer 1


I will buy myself the house next to my brother's.

is shortened from

I will buy myself the house next to my brother's house.

If you postpone the genitive you get

I will buy myself the house next to the house of my brother.

which can be shortened to

I will buy myself the house next to that of my brother.

which fits the German version

Ich werde mir das Haus neben dem meines Bruders kaufen.

where dem stands for dem Haus, just like that stands for the house.

(Neben is a Wechselpräposition: If the question is Where?, it takes the dative.)

  • 1
    You know, quite honestly, I wish there were lessons in German where such golden content could be found. You've literally saved me days and weeks trying to work out that question. How silly I was! Thanks!
    – vik1245
    Jan 21, 2019 at 0:50
  • @Bob Smith Um ... if it's true that you are staying in Saarland, as you say in your profile, there are dozens of possibilities to attend German classes there although the Saarland is a small federal state. The books that are being used in Germany are full of "golden content". You only have to make the first move. ;-) Jan 21, 2019 at 18:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.