https://www.duolingo.com/eva.hannah

Definite nouns and possessive pronouns

Hi, I'm trying to wrap my head around definite nouns in possessive structures.

Let's say that I want to say "I have a cat. My cat is 5 years old." So first I introduce the topic (a cat) with an indefinite article, and then I provide more details on it - the topic is known already, so I use the definite article. Which of the following translations is correct? And if both are ok, which one is more common?

  1. Jeg har en katt. Katten min er 5 år gammel.
  2. Jeg har en katt. Min katt er 5 år gammel.

Thank you!

October 23, 2018

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/James238581

They are both fine! I believe the second is a little more demonstrative? eg you could use it to say "That's MY cat, not yours!" Most common is the first for general use I think.

October 23, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/mannutenland

There are two things to note in your question:
First - both of your translations are correct. And as James notes, the second form puts a little more emphasis on the possession - it's as though you're responding to someone who just told you they have a 3 year old cat and you are making clear that you're talking about yours.

But along with that, I just want to be clear that indefinite form isn't so much about when you introduce a topic. Consider your example, just rephrased a bit:
That cat is mine, it is five years old. Den katten er min, den er fem år gammel.
In this case, we use definite-form even in the introduction of the topic. It works pretty much exactly like English grammatically.

October 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/eva.hannah

Thank you!

October 24, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/RobsLassie

I had the same question. Thanks for asking it!

October 25, 2018
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