Handout: Possessive Adjectives

We’ve been using a few possessive adjectives already (mein, dein), but now it’s time for you to learn all of them. They’re really fairly simple, there are just two questions you need to ask yourself before deciding on which possessive adjective will be correct:

1) Who ‘owns’ the object you’re talking about? Is it mine, yours, his, hers? Answering who owns the object will tell you what base form possessive to use (mein, dein, sein, ihr, etc).

2) What gender, number, and case is the object (NOT the owner)? This will determine the endings that need to be added on to the base form. For example, in the sentence “His mother is young” -- mother is feminine singular and is in the nominative case, so the ending is just -e: Seine Mutter ist jung.

The endings for the possessive adjectives are exactly the same as the endings for ein and kein, so you should already be familiar with the basic idea here:

      (no ending)   (-en)   (-e)   (no ending)   (-e)
ich   mein   mein   meinen   meine   mein   meine
du   dein   dein   deinen   deine   dein   deine
er   sein   sein   seinen   seine   sein   seine
sie (sg)   ihr   ihr   ihren   ihre   ihr   ihre
es   sein   sein   seinen   seine   sein   seine
wir   unser   unser   unseren   unsere   unser   unsere
ihr   euer   euer   euren   eure   euer   eure
sie (pl)   ihr   ihr   ihren   ihre   ihr   ihre
Sie (form)   Ihr   Ihr   Ihren   Ihre   Ihr   Ihre

There are three common problems students sometimes have when learning these forms. Please note:

1) “euer” drops its middle -e- when any endings are added (eure, not euere). This is just a quirk of German spelling and pronunciation.

2) “unser” has an -er as part of the base form. Thus that -er will always be present, PLUS any case endings that occur after it (unseren, unsere).

3) The owner of the object only determines what word to use, NOT what endings to use. For example, “his mother” -- it doesn’t matter that HE is masculine (that only shows that you need to use sein). Since mother is feminine, you need to add an -e to the base form of sein (seine Mutter).

Now let’s try some fill-in-the-blank sentences.

1.Hast du ____________________ (my) Telefonnummer (f)?
2.Laura liest ____________________ (her) Buch.
3.Kinder, wo ist ____________________ (your, pl) Fernseher?
4.Das sind ____________________ (our) Großeltern.
5.____________________ (his) Freunde (pl) heißen Karl und Josef.
6.Ich sehe ____________________ (your, sg) Buch.
7.Konstanze besucht morgen ____________________ (her) Tante.
8.Die Kinder lieben ____________________ (their) Opa Frank.
9.Sehen Sie ____________________ (our) Vater?
10.Herr Obermann, ____________________ (Your, formal) Studenten (pl) lernen alles!
11.Trinkst du jetzt ____________________ (my) Wein?
12.Die Kinder essen ____________________ (their) Bananen.
13.Das ist ____________________ (your, sg) Uhr, nicht wahr?
14.Ich sehe ____________________ (your, pl) Schwester nicht.
15.Das Buch ist alt, und ____________________ (its) Titel (m) ist unlesbar.
16.Florian hört ____________________ (his) Professor nicht.