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  5. "We are drinking his milk."

"We are drinking his milk."

Translation:Wir trinken seine Milch.

November 23, 2017



I posted this on a similar translation, so perhaps it will help here too:

When choosing the right word to use, it might be clearer for you to think of it as a couple of 'steps'. Here is the simple version. Look at the bottom for a more complete explanation:

Step 1 - choose the correct main word

Who does it belong to?
"His..." = sein-
"Her..." = ihr-

Step 2 - choose the correct ending

Is the noun masculine, feminine or neuter (or plural)?
Masculine = no ending
Feminine = -e ending
Neuter = no ending
Plural = -e ending, regardless of the singular gender

This is all you need to correctly choose the right possessive pronoun for nouns in nominative case belonging to a male or female person. Read on for more complex situations:

Step 3 - modify the ending according to case

Nominative case is described above (the 'default').

Accusative case:
Masculine noun? Use -en ending instead
Feminine noun? No change from nominative
Neuter noun? No change from nominative
Plural noun? No change from nominative

Dative case:
Masculine noun? Use -em ending instead
Feminine noun? Use -er ending instead
Neuter noun? Use -em ending instead
Plural noun? Use -en ending instead

Genitive case:
Masculine noun? Use -es ending instead
Feminine noun? Use -er ending instead
Neuter noun? Use -es ending instead
Plural noun? Use -er ending instead

Note that -en and -er endings are added even if the main word ends in "n" or "r" already, giving things like seinen and ihrer.

After some practice you can combine steps #2 and #3 together to save time.

But what if you want to say not just "his" and "her", but things belonging to you, me, us, them, or you want to be extra polite?

Bonus for Step 1

"Your..." = dein- (talking to one person informally)
"My..." = mein-
"Our..." = unser-
"Their..." = ihr- (yes, the same as for "her...")
"Your..." (to a group) = euer-
"Your..." (polite) = Ihr- (always capitalised)

Note that euer- and unser- have modified spellings when they have endings to make it look nicer: eure instead of 'euere', unsrem instead of 'unserem' for example.

And that's it!

This altogether is called the declension pattern for attributive ein- words. It is very closely related to the declension pattern for der- words... Can you spot the difference? Hint: RESE NESE MRMN SRSR. That's a very useful mnemonic if you understand what it means.

You can find this written in tables on Wikipedia and many other sites.


Why not dein Milch


deine Milch = your milk (in nominative or accusative case)


The endings of the possesive pronouns change by the gender of the word. "Milch" is a feminine word (here: case=acusative), the correct ending would be "-e". --> Wir trinken deine Milch.

See how it change:

  • Wir trinken deinen Saft. (masculine word)
  • Wir trinken deine Milch. (feminine word)
  • Wir trinken dein Wasser. (neuter word)

In addition "dein.." is the word for "your", but we drink "his milk" and not "your milk".

  • Wir trinken meine Milch. (my milk)
  • Wir trinken deine Milch. (your milk my friend)
  • Wir trinken seine/ihre Milch. (his/her milk)
  • Wir trinken unsere Milch. (our milk)
  • Wir trinken eure Milch. (your milk, the milk of you all)
  • Wir trinken ihre Milch. (their milk)

  • Wir trinken Ihre Milch. (your milk, polite form, both sg. and . pl.)
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