Definite Articles - Genitive


The genitive is the second of the German cases. In other languages, as in English, French or Spanish, we mostly have to use prepositions if we have a genitive attribute.

Here are the definite articles in the second case (genitive):

Singular Forms Definite Article (with Noun) Phonetic Script English Translation
masculine des (Mannes m) [dɛs] of the (man)
feminine der (Frau f) [de:ɐ] of the (woman)
neuter des (Kindes nt) [dɛs] of the (child)
Plural Forms Definite Article (with Noun) Phonetic Script English Translation
masculine   (Männer m pl)   of the (men)
feminine der (Frauen f pl) [de:ɐ] of the (women)
neuter   (Kinder nt pl)   of the (children)

There is only one plural form of the definite article ("der") for every noun, no matter if it is masculine, feminine or neuter.


Genitive object

There are some verbs which are followed by the genitive. Then we have a genitive object.

German Phonetic Script English
Ich gedenke des Freundes m. ç gə'dɛŋkə dɛs 'frɔyndəs] I remember the friend.
jemandes (jds) gedenken ['je:mandəs gə'dɛŋkən] to remember someone


Genitive attribute

The genitive attribute is a construction of two nouns of which one noun stands in the genitive case. This noun mostly indicates the owner. Here is one example:

German Phonetic Script English
Das Kleid nt des Mädchens f ist rot. [das klait dɛs 'mɛ:tçəns ɪst ro:t] The dress of the girl is red.

While "Das Kleid" is the subject in the nominative case because it is is the acting part of the sentence, "des Mädchens" is the genitive attribute. She is the owner of the dress. So in this sentence, the genitive attribute also indicates a property.

The respective question would be: Whose dress is red? Answer: The dress of the girl.


Prepositions with genitive

There are also some prepositions which are used with the genitive form.
Example: trotz + genitive = in spite of
Example: aufgrund + genitive = because of
Example: anstelle + genitive = instead of

If you are insecure which case is used with a certain preposition, simply look it up in a dictionary.