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Mein Freund, mit ______ Hilfe es mir überhaupt nur möglich war, diese ganze Zeit zu überstehen , hat mich für heute Abend in ein tolles Restaurant eingeladen.

The available options are:

  1. der
  2. dessen
  3. seiner

Please explain why dessen is the only correct answer.

1 Answer 1

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In general, a Kasus is (or describes) a certain relation a Nomen has to something else. In case of the Genitiv this relation is: is part of or belongs to. For instance:

das Dach des Hauses
ein Tropfen des Meeres
der Besitz meines Vaters

The roof is as well part of the house as it "belongs" to the house, the same for the droplet and the sea (here it is primarily the "part-of" aspect) and the property and the father (where the "belongs-to" aspect is dominant).

In your example the help you received is "part of" your friend (everything he does, thinks, etc., "belongs" to him and is part of him) and this is marked by the Genitiv case. You use the demonstrative pronoun ("der"/"dieser") here to refer to "mein Freund", which is used in the main sentence, but in Genitiv case, because of the "being-part-of" relationship described above.

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  • Thank you for the explanation! "Mein Freund mit seiner Hilfe hat mir über die schwierige Zeit hinweggeholfen" this sentence is correct and takes seiner but because there is a relative clause, it is "whose," and "dessen" is the correct answer. Is my understanding correct?
    – Emily John
    Commented Jun 9 at 23:48
  • @EmilyJohn: "mit seiner Hilfe" is another function (Dativ), which "mit" requires. Yes, "dessen" is the correct answer, because "dessen" is the Genitiv of "dieser".
    – bakunin
    Commented Jun 11 at 9:20
  • @EmilyJohn Just a side note: the example sentence in the comment should be ordered differently, e.g. Mit seiner Hilfe hat mir mein Freund über die schwierige Zeit hinweggeholfen. Otherwise it sounds a bit weird.
    – Sursula
    Commented 2 days ago

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