German Demonstrative Pronouns

Instructor: Sandra Salajic

Sandra has a master's degree in teaching German. She has taught middle and high school German, and worked on different on- and offline courses with kids and adults.

In this lesson, we are going to talk about the German demonstrative pronouns. We will mention some of the most used German demonstrative pronouns, when to use them and how to decline them correctly.

German Demonstrative Pronouns

'This' is my house and 'this' is my garden. 'These' flowers are beautiful but I don't like 'this' bush. In all these sentences, demonstrative pronouns are used to refer to exactly what is being talked about. Let's see when and how to use them in German!

Demonstrative pronouns in German, just like in English, will be used to point to, emphasize or distinguish something specific within a sentence. A demonstrative pronoun can be used for a person, thing, plant or animal, or even idea, place or event.

They will often place extra emphasis on the thing referred to.

In this lesson, we are going to take a look at some of the most used German demonstrative pronouns and when and how to use them correctly.

Der, Die, Das

Der, die and das (pronounced dehr, dee, dahs) are the German definite articles, but they will often be used as demonstrative pronouns as well. They are used in situations when the person or thing has been mentioned previously, and we know exactly what it's referring to and are mostly translated as 'her', 'him' or 'it.'

For example:

  • Wie findest du die neue Lehrerin? Die finde ich sehr nett. (How do you like the new teacher? I find her to be very nice.)
  • Wer ist der Junge dort? Ich weiß nicht. Den kenne ich nicht. (Who is the boy over there? I don't know. I don't know him.)

Don't forget to 'decline' the demonstrative pronouns, which just means you have to change them to fit the case, number and gender of the noun they are referring to. But don't worry, it's not that difficult, since we decline them like relative pronouns.

This is important to remember especially when using dative plural, since we will use the form denen here. Let's take a look at the full declensions for all three genders:

Case Masculine Feminine Neutral Plural
nominative der die das die
accusative den die das die
dative dem der dem denen
genitive dessen deren dessen deren

Dieser

The demonstrative pronoun dieser (pronounced DEE-zehr) means 'this' or 'this one', when talking about a masculine noun, while diese will be used for feminine and plural, and dieses for neutral nouns in the nominative.

Let's take a look at a few examples:

  • Diesen Film habe ich schon gesehen. (I already saw this movie.)
  • Soll ich dieses Kleid anziehen? (Should I wear this dress?)
  • Welche Jacke möchten Sie kaufen? (Which jacket do you want to buy?) Diese hier. (This one here.)

The declension will be the same as for the relative pronouns and definite articles used as demonstrative pronouns (der, die, das). Here are the declensions for these demonstrative pronouns in all three genders:

Case Masculine Feminine Neutral Plural
nominative dieser diese dieses diese
accusative diesen diese dieses diese
dative diesem dieser diesem diesen
genitive dieses dieser dieses dieser

Translation: This book is thrilling.
book

Jener

Jener (pronounced YEH-nehr) means 'that' or 'those'. But in spoken German, we will often use the pronoun der instead of jener (for masculine), die instead of jene (for feminine) and das instead of jenes (for neutral).

Let's see a few examples:

  • Möchtest du diese oder jene Mütze? (Do you want this or that hat?)
  • Das war sehr wichtig zu jener Zeit. (That was very important at that time.)

And here is the full declension:

Case Masculine Feminine Neutral Plural
nominative dieser diese dieses diese
accusative diesen diese dieses diese
dative diesem dieser diesem diesen
genitive dieses dieser dieses dieser

Derjenige

Derjenige (pronounced DEHR-jeh-nee-geh) is translated like 'that', 'he who' or 'the one who', while diejenige will be used for feminine, dasjenige for neutral and diejenigen for plural nouns.

Here are a few examples:

  • Wer bekommt den Preis? Derjenige, der am schnellsten ist. (Who gets the reward? He who is the fastest.)
  • Ich habe diejenigen eingeladen, die ich gern habe. (I invited those who I like.)

Translation: Is this the one?
woman

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