From what I have seen on grammar specialized websites das and dies are not declined when they are used as subjects in combination with sein. Example: Dies sind Zeitungen.

Apart from this, are there any other instances where das/dies can't be declined?

For example when the object of the action is a masculine noun and we wish to replace it with das/dies:

Ich habe einen Hammer gefunden.

With das/dies:

=》Ich habe das/dies in der Garage gefunden.


=》Ich habe den/diesen in der Garage gefunden.

Are diesen/den in accordance with the grammar rules here? Do you think das/dies would fit better?

Edit: I would much apreciate some other examples of sentences in which the pronouns das and dies are not declined and don't act as subjects, if there are any.


3 Answers 3


The words das or dies are declined regularly. There are no rules that restrict their declension.

The subject of a sentence is almost always in the nominative case (exceptions are extremely rare). So when the words das/dies function as the subject of a sentence, they will take their nominative declension form. When they are used in other grammatical functions that have other cases, they will take other declension forms in the appropriate case.

Being neutrum pronouns, the accusative form of dies/das is the same as the nominative form:

  • Nominative/accusative: dies/das
  • Genitive: dieses (rare)/dessen
  • Dative: diesem/dem

Examples with dative:

Ich kann diesem/dem nicht zustimmen.

Von diesem/dem halte ich gar nichts.

Examples with genitive (note that a pronominal use of the genitive dieses would be extremely unlikely and confusing because it sounds the same as nominative dieses):

Dessen Einfluss nimmt zu.

Ich entsinne mich dessen.

What happens with the case you have given as an example is that it does not use neutrum das or dies at all, but masculine der or dieser instead:

Ich habe diesen/den in der Garage gefunden.

This can be shown by transforming the sentence into the passive voice:

Dieser/der ist in der Garage gefunden worden.

With neutrum dies/das, the sentence would be as follows:

Ich habe dies/das in der Garage gefunden.

  • Intense. But wasn't the question about rules that restrict declension, if they exist ?
    – user41853
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 13:27
  • @a_donda: As I had said in the first sentence, they are declined regularly. But I will take your advice and try to make this more obvious still.
    – mach
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 14:26
  • Ok(+1), that would mean that the question is based on a wrong assumption ? It felt like it wouldn't answer that ... but I may as well be wrong.
    – user41853
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 14:35
  • @a_donda What do you mean by "It felt like it wouldn't answer that"??
    – Nico
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 14:45
  • It does not answer "are there any rules that restrict the declension of pronouns"
    – user41853
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 15:02

This question cannot be answered without an available context. If you went into your garage and found something surprising such as a pistol, for example, you would show the item to someone and say "ich habe das in der Garage gefunden!". In contrast, if someone asked you to look for a pistol in your garage, you would show the item and say "ich habe diese (feminine) gefunden" because the feminine word "Pistole" constitutes common background for speaker and hearer.

  • 1
    What is wrong about this answer? The donvoter is kindly asked to give a reason! Thanks!
    – Nico
    Commented Apr 18, 2020 at 14:42
  • Beim nächsten Mal könntest Du einen Revolver finden. Oder einen Colt. Commented Apr 19, 2020 at 6:02

im a native german and here is my answer: Actually, most germans dont know the difference themselves, so the answer really is that you (when talking normally) almost never say "dies", but im not shure however, how much of a formal german you learn

  • Welcome to German SE. Unfortunately I'm not convinced, that an answer is helpful, which I would paraphrase as: Since few people know the difference, it does not matter. I suggest to either improve the answer by enriching it with some hard facts or delete it by yourself.
    – guidot
    Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 20:50

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