Looking at the table for declension of "mein" on Wiktionary, it has separate tables for:
- attributiv (vor Substantiv)
- nicht attributiv, ohne Artikel
- nicht attributiv, mit Artikel

Could you give example sentences where the different uses would apply? I have also read https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_declension#Attributive_adjectives which talks about strong, weak and mixed declension attributive adjectives, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_adjectives which explains in general what an attributive adjective is, but I can't understand what a non-attributive use of "mein" would be, or why one would ever have an article.

1 Answer 1


Wiktionary is a bit of a mess here. Usually, attributive vs. non-attributive is a distinction made for adjectives. Attributive adjectives accompany a noun and show agreement, non-attributive adjectives are used as predicatives or adverbs and do not show agreement. Also note that am + -en in the superlative only occurs in the non-attributive use.

attributive: das neue Auto, die beste Idee
non-attributive: Das Auto ist neu. Diese Idee finde ich am besten.

Wiktionary's page for mein uses "non-attributive" to indicate that there is no noun present. This subsumes two grammatically quite different cases:

possessive pronoun: Dein Wortschatz ist größer als meiner.
possessive adjective: Dein Wortschatz ist größer als der meine.

In the first example, meiner is a possessive pronoun which shows anaphoric agreement with Wortschatz; in the second meine is a possessive adjective, with weak inflection triggered by the definite article der.

What Wiktionary calls "attributive" is the possessive article.

possessive article: Dein Wortschatz ist größer als mein Wortschatz.

  • Ah, thank you. I was completely unfamiliar with the "Dein Wortschatz ist größer als der meine" form. That makes much more sense now.
    – Vicky
    Apr 23, 2019 at 15:47
  • @Vicky We actually just had a question about this. I think it should be considered old-fashioned.
    – David Vogt
    Apr 23, 2019 at 18:23
  • I saw that question in HNQ which was actually why I was reading the Wiktionary page in the first place! My German is best described as “rusty” but my son is learning it now and I am trying to get it back so I can help him.
    – Vicky
    Apr 23, 2019 at 19:21

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.