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What properties does 'das' as in 'that' have?

Hey everyone. Sorry my title might be a bit confusing so I'll explain. All the 'the's' have certain properties like changing when the case changes. They tell you weather you should use 'Dieses' or 'Dieser' or 'Diese'. But what about das? So in English I could say 'I am on top of that cow'. Does 'das' as in 'that' change to 'dem' in this case? Is it treated like 'the'. Or I'm showing my friend the path of a jouney I took. 'Ich hatte zu das Ende Das oder des? Regenwalds'. So would 'that' be changed to des in this case or does it stay 'das'? Sorry if this was a bit confusing I hope you understood. Hope you all have a great day!


January 23, 2018



I don't know if I understood you well, but let's try...

Das changes depending on the case: nominative/accusative = das, dative = dem, genitive = des.

You can use das (= demonstrative that) for all genders if it's not preceding the noun:

  • Das ist ein Haus => That is a house.
  • Das ist ein Vogel => That is a bird.
  • Das ist seine Mutter => That is his mother.

If das precedes a noun, you should adapt it to der, die, das. Alternatively you can use diese(r/s) to remove the ambiguity.

  • Der Mann ist mein Vater => That (or the) man is my father.
  • Die Kiste gehört meinem Bruder => That (or the) box belongs to my brother.

In the examples above you can replace der and die by dieser and diese in order to remove the ambiguity. This seems hard but it's not.


So there are two different usages of "das" in German. One is the normal definite article, which translates to "the" in English and changes according to case, number and grammatical gender.
The other is as a pronoun, usually at the beginning of a sentence. This is usually some form of "this" or "that" in .English.

Then you have the English demonstratives "this" and "that", which are translated to "diese(-r,-s)" and again change according to case, number and gender ("that" can also be translated to "jene(-r,-s)", but this is rather formal and rarely used in spoken language).

Some examples:
- "das Buch" - "the book"
- "Das ist mein Haus. Das sind meine Kinder." - "That's (This is) my house. These (Those) are my kids."
- "I like this food." - "Ich mag dieses Essen."

So your first example would simply be "Ich bin auf dieser Kuh.". I don't know what you mean in your second example, though. "I had to the end the or of the rain forest"?

Anyway, hope that helped a bit.


Sorry I probably should have said 'Ich hatte zu das Ende des Regenwalds gegangen.' My bad. And thanks for the help.


Ich bin (!) zum (zu dem!) Ende des Regenbogens gegangen.

I just changed rain forest to rainbow c-; . Remember that "gehen" has "gegangen sein", not "gegangen haben" as its present perfect tense. This generally holds for verbs of motion.

There is even more uses of das, but that would be too confusing here...


In German you would say "...zum Ende des Regenwaldes".

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