During my learning I have noticed one sentence:

Bis Ende des Monats

I have found an information that we create genitive case for maskulinum and neutrum by using des and adding s to a noun. So, in my opinion, the sentence above matches this description. But my problem is that I do not see any genitive case here.

From what I know, genitive case answers the question wessen?. While, in my opinion, in the sentence above we have nominative case: wer? was? -> Monat.

So why is genitive case used here? Am I wrong in my way of thinking?

  • 7
    "Ende des Monats" translates to "end of the month". Just ask yourself why there is an "of" in the English version and you will find the answer to your question.
    – RHa
    Jul 1, 2021 at 19:09
  • 4
    Maybe you could even say "the month's end", though it sounds a bit strange in English.
    – Photon
    Jul 1, 2021 at 19:15
  • I am not sure if it applies in all cases but I usually think that a genitive noun is just like putting "of" in front of the noun in English. Jan 31, 2023 at 16:08

1 Answer 1


I give you some examples:

Das Schweigen der Lämmer
The silence of the lambs

The part »der Lämmer« is a genitive attribute. We are talking about a silence and the genitive attribute says whose silence we are talking about. (English: Whose silence? German: Wessen Schweigen?)

Der Herr der Ringe
The lord of the rings

The part »der Ringe« is a genitive attribute. We are talking about a lord and the genitive attribute says whose lord we are talking about. (English: Whose lord? German: Wessen Herr?)

And the same pattern works for:

Das Ende des Monats
The end of the month

The part »des Monats« is a genitive attribute. We are talking about an end and the genitive attribute says whose end we are talking about. (English: Whose end? German: Wessen Ende?)

  • I think the problem here that is while German genitive and English possessive do have considerable overlap, and it's easy for a learner to confuse the two, they aren't quite the same. So while Unser Haus liegt am Fuß eines Berges. uses the genitive of Berg, there's no English version that would use the possessive of "mountain".
    – RDBury
    Jul 2, 2021 at 6:53
  • @RDBury By possesive you are referring to the pattern x's y only or also to y of x? Because Our house is located at the foot of a mountain would obviously fit into the pattern from the answer as well. So do you mean at a mountain's foot is not possible and hence native English-speakers have trouble to identify that the genitive is applicable here in German? Jul 2, 2021 at 18:18
  • @amadeusamadeus: I mean "'s" as the possessive. To me, the phrase "at a mountain's foot" would sound very unusual if not ungrammatical, while am Fuß eines Berges seems to be idiomatic German. (English isn't completely consistent though, for example you might say "There's a mountain at the north end of the lake, and our house is located at its foot.") But, yes, it was my overall point that English speakers don't start with an intuitive feel for when the German genitive is applicable, though I hope developing one comes with time and practice.
    – RDBury
    Jul 3, 2021 at 14:29

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