In this post, I understood that verbs determine the case of nouns and prepositions determine case of prepositional objects. And in this answer, the three group of relative pronoun is discussed.

My question is, how do we figure out what is the case of a relative pronoun when writing a German sentence? I can't see how can one extrapolate the idea in the first post to this one.

1 Answer 1


The relative pronoun takes the case depending on the role it has in the relative sentence. This can be seen when you transform the relative sentence in a full sentence:


  1. Ein Satz, der stimmt. → Der Satz stimmt.


  1. Ein Satz, dessen Anfang ich vergessen habe. → Ich habe den Anfang des Satzes vergessen.


  1. Ein Satz, dem ich glaube. → Ich glaube dem Satz.


  1. Ein Satz, den ich schreibe. → Ich schreibe den Satz.
  • So are all usages of relative pronommen actually a contraction of a longer sentence Apr 3, 2022 at 10:51
  • I see your second example as accusative.
    – Carsten S
    Apr 3, 2022 at 11:00
  • @Buraian: Relative sentences are not contractions, but they can be transformed into full sentences. See relative clause - Wikipedia for more information.
    – mach
    Apr 3, 2022 at 16:52
  • 1
    @CarstenS: The relative pronoun «dessen» and the corresponding phrase «des Satzes» are genitives. The main use of the genitive is for possessive attributes.
    – mach
    Apr 3, 2022 at 16:54
  • Yes, you are right. I think I wanted an example in which "dessen" is an object, but there is really no reason for that because, as you say, that is not the main use of the genitive.
    – Carsten S
    Apr 3, 2022 at 18:43

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