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75 votes

Using gender specific pronouns for inanimate objects

Yes, gender applies to pronouns as well. It is a grammatical feature, not a biological. Correct: Ich habe meine Tasche gesucht, aber ich habe sie nicht gefunden. Grammatical gender in English exists ...
Hubert Schölnast's user avatar
35 votes

"es" ("it") for a woman

Below is a map from the Atlas der deutschen Alltagssprache1 that shows how article forms for females are distributed. As you can see, neutral article forms (yellow and pink dots) are common in western ...
Björn Friedrich's user avatar
25 votes
Accepted

"es" ("it") for a woman

I am from a region where it is normal to refer to a woman with the pronoun "es" (Region of Kaiserslautern). After joining university I was asked that question by some people not familiar ...
patrick95's user avatar
  • 366
19 votes

"Ihr kleinen Monster?" How come?

This is an area where German grammar shows some instability. First, note that ihr is a second person plural pronoun in the nominative (accusative and dative would be euch). The appositive noun phrase ...
David Vogt's user avatar
  • 26.5k
19 votes

Construction I need help clarifying in Otfried Preußler's "Krabat"

It's not ihr es, but ihrs / ihres (theirs). I think, today you would rather say something like: Sie dachten sich ihren Teil dabei. They had their own thoughts on the matter. But as you see: der Teil ...
Olafant's user avatar
  • 8,919
18 votes
Accepted

Why is “der” used in this excerpt instead of “er”?

A little more context: Der Junge wußte nicht recht, was er tun sollte, deshalb blieb er einfach stehen und schaute den Mann mit großen Augen an. Schließlich klappte der sein Buch wieder zu - ...
Roland Illig's user avatar
  • 1,394
17 votes

Appropriate pronoun for “you” and “someone else who’s not here right now.”

Gehen du und Bob zur Party? Is the right answer here. If they were both standing right in front of you you say Geht ihr zur Party? But one of the people is not there, so you are talking about a ...
Polygnome's user avatar
  • 1,229
17 votes
Accepted

Why "Ihre" and not "Ihrer"?

Using the genitive is one method to express possession: Barbaras Katze war krank. Die Katze des Königs war krank. However, we also have possessive pronouns to do the same job, and these don't ...
Kilian Foth's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

When would you use "er" or "sie" instead of "es", specifically with the meaning of "it"?

Auf die Frage Ist das deine Jacke? ist die im Deutschen übliche Antwortformulierung: Nein, das ist nicht meine Jacke. Wenn du "Sie ist nicht meine Jacke" sagst, erkennt jeder, dass du Deutsch ...
Christian Geiselmann's user avatar
14 votes

Can I also say: 'ich tut mir leid' instead of 'es tut mir leid'?

You should know that "es tut mir leid" is a kind of formula whose phrasing is fixed. (Languages tend to have many such "fixed phrases".) For example German grammar allows the word ...
RDBury's user avatar
  • 11.7k
13 votes
Accepted

The differences between “je”, “jeder”, “jegliche”, and “jeweilig”

Maybe these examples can help you: je (1) (Adverb) Only in questions: at any time? Gibt es Bigfoot wirklich? Hat man ihn wirklich je gesehen? Is Bigfoot real? Has anybody ever seen him? ...
Hubert Schölnast's user avatar
12 votes

Two questions on one sentence from »Der Spiegel«

With different word order: Die Bundesregierung kann nicht ganz sicher sein, dass sie einen Auftritt Erdogans in Deutschland verhindern kann. The sie refers to die Bundesregierung. I hope that this ...
Carsten S's user avatar
  • 21k
12 votes
Accepted

"Respektiere jeder die Lage, in der er ist: so ist jedem gedient."

Answers: Is 'Respektiere' in the imperative? Yes, sort of, at least that is what it means. It is the Jussiv, a replacement form for imperative that uses Konjunktiv 1 as the verb form. Jussiv is a ...
tofro's user avatar
  • 65k
12 votes
Accepted

Why is ‘eines’ used in the sentence ‘Eines gleich vorweg’?

Here eines is not genitive and not an article. Instead "eines" is a pronoun, and its neuter form is eines. You can translate this sentence as One thing right from the start ...
IQV's user avatar
  • 11.5k
11 votes
Accepted

What is the function of the ‘es’ in this sentence?

You have stumbled across the use of es as a syntactical expletive. German sentences (main clauses only; within the context of this answer unless otherwise mentioned) are split into three parts by ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 38.7k
11 votes

When would you use "er" or "sie" instead of "es", specifically with the meaning of "it"?

I checked with a friend who is a German. This was the answer I received: If you are saying "This (thing that isn't a jacket) is not your jacket" = "Es / Das (Ding) ist nicht deine Jacke"... ...or.....
Ryan Mortensen's user avatar
11 votes

Appropriate pronoun for “you” and “someone else who’s not here right now.”

I don't really think this works in German as planned. Workarounds would be to mentioned Bob beforehand (A), clarify along the way (B) or rephrase it entirely (C). (A) Was ist mit Bob? Geht ihr ...
infinitezero's user avatar
  • 18.4k
11 votes

Can I exchange relative pronouns and articles in this way?

Note that Wenn Sie Fragen haben, lassen Sie es mich wissen. does not mean If you have questions, let me know them. but rather If you have questions, let me know (that fact). The fact that you ...
tofro's user avatar
  • 65k
11 votes
Accepted

Ambiguity in determining the owner of a genitive personal pronoun

You can't tell that from grammar alone. Seiner may refer to an arbitrary masculine or neuter noun. Only context tells which noun it is.
Janka's user avatar
  • 62k
10 votes
Accepted

Benutzt man "manch" mit Singular oder mit Plural?

Der Facebook-Satz ist falsch. Das Wort »manch« ist ein Indefinitpronomen, das sowohl im Singular als auch im Plural verwendet werden kann. Dabei muss es aber natürlich dekliniert werden. Dabei gibt ...
Hubert Schölnast's user avatar
10 votes
Accepted

The order of dative and accusative in a sentence

You already stated the rule: The dative object precedes the accusative object (not subject), except if the accusative object is a personal pronoun. In this case the pronoun goes first. So: Ich ...
RHa's user avatar
  • 16k
10 votes

„Alles aussteigen bitte“: Warum „alles“?

DWDS bietet als Synonyme für alles an: die Gesamtheit · was auch immer Das scheint auch bei Alles auf die Plätze oder Alles, was Odem hat, lobe den Herrn zu passen. Ein weiterer Vorteil ist, dass ...
guidot's user avatar
  • 28.9k
10 votes
Accepted

Engelmacher means someone who helps with abortions?

It's a euphemism Some people believe, that when you die you go to heaven and become an angel. Originally Engelmacherin was used to describe women, who took children in their care (e.g. orphans) but ...
infinitezero's user avatar
  • 18.4k
10 votes
Accepted

Gottemeitschi is from which German language?

I speak the language, Gottemeitschi means goddaughter. Meitschi is a Term for Mädchen (Girl) commonly and specifically used around Bern. Most Swiss German speakers in northeastern Switzerland would ...
fpatrik's user avatar
  • 116
10 votes

Can possessive pronouns ever come on their own after a noun?

For example, in English (though one may find it increasingly outdated to do so), one might intentionally place their possessive pronoun after a term of endearment, when addressing another ...
jcsahnwaldt Reinstate Monica's user avatar
9 votes
Accepted

Can ‘sie’ be used to refer to ‘Mädchen’?

The grammatically correct personal pronoun is "es", because "Mädchen" as it is a neuter substanctive. Words with -lein or -chen are diminutive forms of words and always neuter. ...
Iris's user avatar
  • 8,547
9 votes

Why did they look stupid? And who are »they«?

Dumm aus der Wäsche gucken does not exactly mean "looking pretty stupid". I do not know the best translation, but it can be explained as: You have a very good idea how a situation should evolve. You ...
Thorsten S.'s user avatar
9 votes

»Es braucht« statt »man braucht«

Als jemand aus dem (Süd-) Westen Bayerns, kurz vor der Sprachgrenze zum Schwäbischen, kommt mir es braucht überhaupt nicht seltsam vor. Ich bin allerdings auch noch relativ jung, kann also nicht sagen,...
Jan's user avatar
  • 38.7k
9 votes

Is können a dative verb?

The word ihr can both be the Nominatve of ihr, the 2nd Person Pl. pronoun, and the Dative of sie, the 3rd Person Sg. pronoun. It can also be either the 3rd Person Sg. or Pl. (or the formal 2nd Person) ...
sgf's user avatar
  • 2,361

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