Indefinite 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 indefinite articles in the second case (genitive):

Singular Forms Indefinite Article (with Noun) Phonetic Script English Translation
masculine eines (Mannes m) ['ainəs] of a (man)
feminine einer (Frau f) ['ainɐ] of a (woman)
neuter eines (Kindes nt) ['ainəs] of a (child)
Plural Forms Indefinite Article (with Noun) Phonetic Script English Translation
masculine - (Männer m pl) - of (men)
feminine - (Frauen f pl) - of (women)
neuter - (Kinder nt pl) - of (children)

There is no plural form of the indefinite article. Regarding the use of the plural forms of the nouns, you can use the forms of the nouns indicated in the table only if the nouns are additionally accompanied by an adjective.

Here is one example of the declension in the genitive plural:

German Phonetic Script English
die Wünsche schöner Frauen f pl [di: 'vʏnʃə 'ʃø:nɐ 'frauən] the wishes of beautiful women


However, if no adjective stands between article and noun, you have to use the preposition von + dative, for example in this sentence:

German Phonetic Script English
die Wünsche von Frauen f pl [di: 'vʏnʃə fɔn 'frauən] the wishes of women


Genitive object

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

German Phonetic Script English
Es bedarf einer Erlaubnis f. [ɛs bə'darf 'ainɐ ɛɐ'laupnɪs] A permission is required.
einer Sache gen bedürfen ['ainɐ 'zaxə bə'dʏrfən] to require/need something


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
Die Arbeit f eines Arztes m ist wichtig. [di: 'arbait 'ainəs 'a:ɐtstəs ɪst vɪçtɪç] The work of a doctor is important.

While "Die Arbeit" is the subject in the nominative case because it is is the acting part of the sentence, "des Arztes" is the genitive attribute.

The respective question would be: Whose work is important? Answer: The work of a doctor.


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.