In a recent essay about school I wrote:

Ich hatte Fächer, die mir ganz gut gefallen: Deutsch, Mathe und Chemie, deren mein Lieblingsfach Deutsch ist.

It was all marked as correct other than the "deren" to which a '?' was written.
I was intending to say:

I had fun lessons: German, Maths and Chemistry of which my favourite is German.

Although this is perhaps too advanced for my level, I was intending to use a genitive plural relative pronoun. What is the correct way of saying this?

3 Answers 3


I would say von denen rather than deren.

Deren would mean "whose..."

As a side-note, I would say this instead:

Ich hatte Fächer, die mir ganz gut gefallen: Deutsch, Mathe und Chemie, von denen Deutsch mein Lieblingsfach ist.

(Notice the change in word-order from "...of which my favourite is German," to "...of which German is my favourite."

  • Thank you! Is 'von denen' just a more natural way of saying then? May 27, 2013 at 8:42
  • Not quite. Denen is the plural dative relative pronoun, and von is, in this case, "of." Deren/dessen = whose; dem/der/dem/denen=that, which, etc.
    – Dustin
    May 27, 2013 at 8:43
  • OK I get it, like how you can use 'von' in saying 'das Buch von der Frau' for the 'Woman's book' May 27, 2013 at 8:47
  • The meaning of the word "of" in the two scenarios is a bit different, but in essence, yes. :)
    – Dustin
    May 27, 2013 at 8:48

The suggestions of the other answers are correct. Firstly, here are some additions of what people might also say and write:

..., von welchen Mathe....

..., wovon Mathe...

In either case, I think the best choice is not to use any of those constructions and rather go for a simple "und":

Ich hatte Fächer, die mir ganz gut gefallen [haben is missing to my ears]: Deutsch, Mathe und Chemie und (von den dreien war) Deutsch (war) mein Lieblingsfach.

This sounds less stilted and it is certainly correct. I think people would unconsciously go for this as the majority (including myself) does not know which of the suggested solutions (von denen, derer, von welchen) is correct and stylistically sound.


You could also say:

Ich hatte Fächer, die mir ganz gut gefallen: Deutsch, Mathe und Chemie, derer mein Lieblingsfach Deutsch ist.

But this is a little bit ranted.

  • What exactly is 'derer' (it's not a relative pronoun is it?) May 27, 2013 at 14:32
  • It is a relative pronoun, but sometimes it sounds very old school. Some other examples are: "die Toten, derer wir heute gedenken" or "Kriterien, anhand derer entschieden wird"
    – Chris
    May 27, 2013 at 14:55
  • I think it is plural Genitive relative pronoun
    – Emanuel
    May 27, 2013 at 16:26
  • derer mein klingt für mich völlig falsch...
    – gamag
    May 27, 2013 at 18:55
  • You should not use derer here. See http://www.institut1.de/502_derer_oder_deren.html May 27, 2013 at 22:37

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