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  5. "Das Hemd des Mannes ist klei…

"Das Hemd des Mannes ist klein."

Translation:The man's shirt is small.

February 18, 2014



So about this "es" added to Mann, is that the possessive ending or do I dare ask, do nouns in certain cases get endings?


It is the genetive object marking the possessive.

the man - der Mann; the man's - des Mann(e)s (sometimes the e is shortened)


Is it just masculine and neutral nouns that get these endings correct?


Yes however, it would not be German, if there were not a few complications.

Some German male and neuter nouns take other endings. -en, -ens

Der Therapeut/des Therapeuten (therapist), der Praktikant/des Praktianten (intern), der Mensch, des Menschen (human), das Herz, des Herzens


The female does not get an ending in genetive singular. The genetive case for female gender nouns is still seen in articles and adjectives.

der schönen Frau - of the beautiful woman (definite article)

einer schönen Frau - of a beautiful woman (indefinite article)

großer Freiheit - of great freedom (no article, the adjective ending changes)

In singular the female genetive forms are the same as in dative case.


I tried "The husband's shirt is small" but Duolingo rejected it. Does my translation make sense?


Der Mann - should be translated as "the man".

If the meaning is "husband" you usually see it with a possessive.

Mein/Dein/Ihr Mann. My/your/her(your) husband.


And if someone is saying, the husband, it would be der Ehemann, right?


"the shirt of the man is short". Why Duo marked it as wrong?

I know, specifically short in german is "kurz". But in this sentence, "short" instead of "small" also perfectly make sense, isn't it?

Or is it the problem with "shirt of the man" instead of "man's shirt"?


No, I believe the problem is not related to the forms of the possessive you mentioned. I wrote "The man's shirt is small" and also got marked wrong.

Apart from this question, I totally agree with your comment and questions.

Could someone that is a native speaker comment on the possible differences between "short" and "small" in relation to this talk?


"Short - kurz" would be used if the shirt fits overall but is just a bit short.

"small - klein" is used when the proportions are fine but the overall size does not fit.


@ Android app, Seriously, "The shirt of the man's small" cannot be the right translation. It's too awkward! http://imgur.com/VnNWfRK


The German version sounds a little awkward, too. The genetive case is about to disappear in spoken German. While this is fine for written German the spoken version would more like be:

"Das Hemd von dem Mann ist klein." avoiding genetive and throwing in another preposition+Dative.


I had a bit of a giggle when I was in Austria last time. Their English was so formal. 'With whom are you traveling with?' etc... I assume if I went to Austria and spoke in the genitive case, people would have similar reactions! haha.


With whom are you traveling with?

Formal, but redundant!


Is the genitive case also disappearing in modern written German?


Yes, but less so. There are a lot of prepositions that need the genetive and that are more common in offical writing but not in speech. (gemäß, trotz, wegen). The pure genetive without a preposition is mostly used for the possessive like "das Hemd des Mann(e)s". There are also competing forms, the ones on -es are more archaic than the ones on -s.

Der Duft des Weins/Weines. The wine's scent/the scent of the wine.

There are very few verbs that need a genetive objekt.

Wir gedenken der Toten. We commemorate the dead. (gedenken)

Ich beschuldige ihn des Mordes. Ich accuse him of murder.


Yes, but less so.

I beg to disagree. The genitive case in written German is not disappearing at all. Written German is teaming with genitives, to the point where it's almost distracting, and there is no sign of this changing.

Comparing the usage patterns of dative masculine/neuter indefinite article with the respective genitive one shows no pattern of decline, quite the opposite in fact: In 1800, there were 0.64587107236 eines for every einem, by 2008 this increased to 0.7077656541.

The Standard German genitive is nearing the end of a state of flux, during which the genitive object of verbs and adjectives was rapidly crushed into oblivion, which is bad news for the genitive personal pronouns (wir harren ihrer -- wir warten auf sie). We have long since hit the point of no return, and such elegant constructions as "die Biene freute sich der Blumen" belong to the past, and what remaining genitive verbs will disappear soon. When people give an example of a genitive verb, the first thing they think of is gedenken, which is one of the very few genitive verbs that actually have some place in contemporary German, but gedenken is already increasingly being followed by the dative, and this is considered more and more acceptable with time. Other genitive objects are being replaced by prepositional objects (sich einer Sache annehmen -- sich um eine Sache annehmen), alternative constructions (sich jemandes erbarmen -- Erbarmen mit jemandem haben), or simply falling into disuse and being replaced by synonyms that don't cause genitive (einer Sache bedürfen -- eine Sache brauchen/benötigen).

On the other hand, genitive attributes (das Bild eines Hundes) have increased considerably, and especially prepositional genitives have simply exploded enormously in modern German; never have they been so common. Overall though, the losses and gains balance out, so that the genitive hasn't actually declined. Nevertheless, I find this somewhat of an unfortunate change, as I personally prefer genitive objects to verbs over those to prepositions (trotz des Wetters, wegen meines Bruder, innerhalb zweier Jahre).

At any rate, the spoken genitive is undeniably "auf dem absteigenden Ast" and you'll hear it less and less. It's no longer considered a mistake to substitute the genitive in colloquial Standard German. This is neither new nor surprising. Take a look at any German dialect, Ripuarian, Austro-Bavarian, Swabian, etc. The genitive case in these is non-existent, and it's been this way for a long time. The genitive has been declining here for easily 300 hundred years, but probably more, maybe 500 or more. Nobody knows exactly of course. The Standard German language is somewhat of an artificial language for this reason, as it has a highly productive genitive case, despite being essentially based on dialects in which the genitive was already weak.

The genitive is largely a feature of educated language, and not dialects. This can be seen in the development of Low German (not a dialect of German, which descended from Old High German, while Low German descended from Old Saxon). For example, the genitive saw use in Middle Low German which was the "official language" of the Hanseatic league, so it was very important and was a high language, of education and such. After the Hanseatic league, the genitive seems to not be used anymore in Low German. Why? Because it isn't a high language anymore, just a group of dialects, which suggests that Middle High German's genitive case was probably largely restricted to the formal written register.

Either way, will the German genitive survive? Obviously not forever, but it will continue to exist for a long time in the formal standard language. Who knows? It may even be replaced by English constructions given the amount of inflence English has on German in the modern age; we already start to see such constructions as "mein Bruders Rechner" or "meine Freundin's Sohn" in colloquial German, particularly in the north if I'm not wrong, when really it should be meines Bruders Rechner, or even better: der Rechner meines Bruders. This could in theory expand to the written language.

Wow, I just realized how much I've written. Rant over.


Hi kchecks, my question is out of topic but could you tell me which mobile phone you are using please? How can you capture the screen :D? I enjoy using Duolingo of Android rather than that of IOS. The Android version is embedded with comments and report flag.


I think the algorithm for suggesing a correct sentance picks the one from the database that is closest to the one you have written. And even though it looks wierd, it's correct.


Could i translate this as "the shirt of the man is small?"


das hemd des mannes ist kleines?? why not we add es to klein here?danke sehr


That is because it is a predicative noun.

Attributive adjectives are the normal ones that are directly attached to the noun.

Das kleine Hemd.

This use of adjectives gets endings depending on case, number, gender and article (Declension of Adjectives.)


Predicative adjectives are not attached to a noun but part of the verb, usually with "sein" (to be). The complete verb would be "klein sein" (to be small), where "klein" is the predicative and "sein" is called the kopula verb. Predicative adjectives never get an ending.

Das Hemd ist klein. The shirt is small.

Das Hemd scheint klein. The shirt seems small. (an exampe without "sein")

This is similar to predicative nouns, which also confuse people, because they are usually in the same case as the subject (nominative), when many German learners would expect an accusative object.

Du bist ein Mann. Subject kopula-verb predicative noun (in nominative). You are a man.

Du siehst einen Mann. Subject verb accusative object. You see a man.


danke sehr,i got the idea but will search further in your link :)


It concentrates on the declension of adjectives which only applies to attributive adjectives. Predicative adjectives are never inflected so they might not be covered. Here is something on predicatives.



Was pretty sure "The shirt of this man is small" was right. buzz Wrong!


Your translation is mostly correct, but "this" should be replaced with "the", resulting in "The shirt of the man is small."

But this grammatical structure is pretty uncommon in English, I assume, and can be shortened to "The man's shirt is small."


The shirt for men is wrong. Why?


Can we say " das Hemd von den Mann ist klein" ?


Almost. "von" is a preposition governed by Dative (dem Mann).

Das Hemd von dem Mann ist klein. The shirt of the man is small.

"von" + Dative is a common way to substitute for the genetive, which is less used in colloquial speech.


so Das hemd des mannes are seprate..


"Der Manns hemd ist klein." Is that correct?


No, it is not.

I think you were aiming for Des Mannes Hemd ist klein (with genitive article des agreeing with Mannes), but that's archaic.

The usual word order is Das Hemd des Mannes.


sorry but confused here. I am asking this question based on following information from Duolingo:-


In contrast to common nouns, proper names precede the noun.

Peters Fahrrad ist neu.

Do not add an apostrophe unless the name already ends in -s or -z. In the latter case, the apostrophe comes at the very of the name.

Hans’ Fahrrad ist alt.


There is no proper name in the above sentence.


Achso.. Alles Klar... Danke.. :)

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