Grammar books seem to overlook this particular usage of German possesive adjectives such as mein, dein, ihr etc.

The following feels correct, but I couldn't find any proof. Is it?

  • Das Haus / das Buch ist mein/dein/ihr/unser/euer.

  • Die Katze ist meine/deine/ihre/unsre/eure.

What if the subject is in plural?

  • You can find examples of all genders + plural here, near the bottom of the page, the lines starting with "Wem gehört..." (Maybe; the page is in German and uses a lot of jargon so I'm not following it completely). Note that meines can be abbreviated to meins. See also the Wiktionary entry for mein in German and the usage note in English. This Duolingo discussion thread seems relevant as well. – RDBury Sep 15 '20 at 17:42

You can use possessive pronouns in two different ways:

  1. instead of an article:

Das ist mein Haus.
Sein Schlüssel ist verschwunden.
Unsere Straße liegt im Stadtteil Neckarau.

  1. instead of a substantive that was used before

Siehst du die beiden Häuser dort? Das rechte ist meins.
Mehrere Leute haben Schlüssel. Aber nur seiner verschwindet immer.
Es gibt viele hässliche Straßen in Neckarau, aber unsere ist ganz schön.

The declination is different between these two cases in German (and also in English, by the way, for example "my" vs. "mine" or "her" vs. "hers").

Like it is with adjectives, the verb "sein" is a special case. With "sein", it's always the replacement pronoun form that is used.

Das Haus ist meins.
Das ist Murat. Der Schlüssel ist seiner.
Die Straße ist unsere.

Das sind die Reifen unseres Autos. Das Auto ist unseres, die Reifen sind seine.

So it is:

masc.: Der Schlüssel ist meiner/deiner/seiner/ihrer/seiner/unserer/eurer/ihrer.
fem.: Die Katze ist meine/deine/seine/ihre/seine/unsere/eure/ihre.
neutr.: Das Haus ist meins/deins/seins/ihres/seins/unseres/eures/ihres.
plural: Die Hunde sind meine/deine/seine/ihre/seine/unsere/eure/ihre.

A full table can be found here: https://deutsch.lingolia.com/de/grammatik/pronomen/possessivpronomen

  • In the phrase "Es ist meins" the noun (das Haus, das Auto etc) is replaced by the pronoun "meins". If the phrase "Das Haus ist meins" is correct, what is replaced by "meins"? Shouldn’t it be "Das Haus ist mein", where “mein” is a possessive adjective, not a pronoun? – yewgeniy Sep 15 '20 at 19:48
  • You're right, I didn't cover that. The problem is that there is no such thing as a possessive adjective, they're always used like an article. I can't say "das meine Haus" (which would be the adjective usage), it has to be "mein Haus". And similarly, I can't use "mein" like an adjective in a clause with "ist". In the special case of "sein" the replacement-type possessive pronoun is used (same as in English "The house is mine"). I'll edit the answer. – HalvarF Sep 16 '20 at 7:24
  • I'd say that "Das Haus ist mein" is possible, but archaic (see e.g. Der Schatz ist mein ) – Lykanion Sep 16 '20 at 7:47
  • 1
    @Lykanion 2: that would be the adjective form, yes (also: die Katze ist mein, die Hunde sind mein. So basic form, no declination, like with an adjective with "ist"). I don't think you can say that any more except maybe for poetic effect. Might be regional though. – HalvarF Sep 16 '20 at 8:04
  • 1
    It old German, you would use this form, like in "Der Schatz ist mein", to especially stress that something is yours in contrast to someone else's. "Wir haben die Schlacht gewonnen, das Königreich ist unser!", "Lass ab von meinem Verlobten, Gunter ist mein!". Today you would use "... gehört mir" for that purpose. – HalvarF Sep 16 '20 at 8:44

I feel that Das Haus ist meins is correct but your Die Katze ist meine is correct, too.

If you have plural it is:

Die Häuser sind meine/deine/seine/ihre/unsere/eure/ihre

Die Katzen sind meine/etc.

Die Bäume sind meine/etc.

  • 2
    Welcome to German.SE. Do you have more arguments than "I feel"? Maybe some rules for further reading (and maybe a keyword/link to it)? A feeling alone can change, a ruleset can be used regardless. Thanks. – Shegit Brahm Sep 15 '20 at 14:55
  • "mein" is not a pronoun here, is it? – yewgeniy Sep 15 '20 at 14:56
  • @yewgeniy: Ist is a pronoun. Here is a site that explains the difference between possessive articles (»Das ist meine Katze«) and possessive pronouns (»Die Katze ist meine.«): Unterschied zw. Possessivpronomen und Possessivartikeln – Hubert Schölnast Sep 16 '20 at 7:29

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