Seiner liegt auf dem Tisch.

Sein liegt auf dem Tisch.

Do you happen to know what is the difference in meaning between personal pronouns in genitive and possessive pronouns? Does the position of the pronoun matter when determining said difference? Thanks.

  • 7
    Example 2 is grammatically wrong. A substantive is sorely missing, compare to Sein Schlüssel liegt auf dem Tisch. Therefore the question would benefit from some clarification.
    – guidot
    Feb 12, 2023 at 20:11
  • Without making clear what "seiner" relates to you wouldn't want to use the first example either - at least not in certain regions. Some dialects treat "seiner" without any reference as code for "[his] penis".
    – bakunin
    Feb 13, 2023 at 5:34
  • I vote to close. This question needs clarification.
    – Olafant
    Feb 13, 2023 at 11:14
  • My understanding is that the genitive of personal pronouns are rarely used, so rarely that it's questionable whether it's worthwhile learning the inflections for that case. Verbs and prepositions which used to require a genitive have switched to another case, and almost any sentence can be rephrased to use a possessive pronoun instead. Something similar occurs in English; when Sinatra sings "I've got you deep in the heart of me" it's for rhyme and meter, no one would actually say that.
    – RDBury
    Feb 13, 2023 at 19:35
  • @guidot I am talking about possessive pronouns, not possesive articles. Refer to "Meine ist jünge als seine." deutschplus.net/en/pages/Possessivpronomen
    – Rare
    Feb 13, 2023 at 21:19

1 Answer 1


It is the same as in English between "my" and "mine", "your" and "yours", "her" and "hers", etc. You use "seiner" when that is the entirety of the noun phrase, "sein" when it describes what comes after it.

Your second example is grammatically wrong, like "My is lying on the table" would be in English. (It unfortunately doesn't work with "his" because in English those happen to be the same.)

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