Have a look at these examples:

Das Kleid der Frau ist teuer.

Das Auto des Mannes ist neu.

In English, we first say owner then owned eg: The man's car. Does german in comparison keep the owned and then the owner? If not, examples please.

Secondly, Should the owner come right after in position after the owned? If not, examples please.

  • Quote: "In English, we first say owner then owned". This is not true, as this example shows: "The car of the man is new." Similarly, there is no general order in German: "Roberts Auto ist neu." Nov 28, 2021 at 15:23
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    @Björn Friedrich: Comparing English and German can be problematic here. While you can often translate "of" to the genitive case, you can't necessarily go the other direction and "the car of the man" borders on being ungrammatical. English requires the "'s" possessive before the noun, so "the man's car" but never "the car man's". Meanwhile the "of" possessive always goes after the noun, so "at the foot of the mountain" but never "at the of the mountain foot". In general I think "of" works more like von than the genitive.
    – RDBury
    Nov 28, 2021 at 16:22

1 Answer 1


You can swap places of the genetive with what it describes, resulting in slightly different wording:

Das Auto des Mannes

Des Mannes Auto

The latter is more unusual and has a more elevated or posh touch to me. The genitive usually comes right after what it refers to. The reverse is true when you look at names in the genitive. They usually go before the object they describe:

Roberts Auto (mind: no article!)

or if the name goes 2nd it's usually not in genitive any longer:

Das Auto von Robert

Das Auto Roberts

is a very uncommon word order, yet it will be understood.

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    This is not generally true. For example, "Roberts Auto" is more usual than "das Auto Roberts". Nov 28, 2021 at 15:25
  • you're right. With names it seems to be the reverse... I hope you don't mind that I stole your example. Nov 28, 2021 at 16:05
  • no, I don't mind. ;-) Nov 29, 2021 at 8:57

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