die kirche des allmächtigen gottes

I read the above as "The church the almighty god" but if you plug this into google translate, you get:

The Church of Almighty God

Now, why does 'des' mean of here?

  • 1
    It's a good idea to use proper capitals avoid confusion. Both Kirche and Gottes are nouns so they are capitalized in German.
    – RDBury
    Nov 24, 2021 at 21:25

1 Answer 1


"des" is simply the genitive form of the definite article "der/die/das", and German encodes possession/attribution between noun phrases as a genitive. English does the same, but since there are (almost) no nominal inflections left, prepositions are used as case hints ('of' hints at a genitive function, 'to' at a dative). Therefore, "A des B" (or "A der B" if B is feminine or plural) usually corresponds to "A of B".

  • German can also use the article where English leaves it out, especially with the genitive. That said, I don't think using an article with Gott is that common, as least for monotheists. But an article is generally needed when you'd use one in English.
    – RDBury
    Nov 24, 2021 at 21:19
  • 1
    An article is commonly used with Gott when prefixed with an adjective. "Kirche Gottes" but "Kirche des allmächtigen Gottes", "Geist Gottes" but "Geist des lebendigen Gottes" and so on. Nov 25, 2021 at 1:26

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