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  5. "Die Katze trinkt ihre Milch."

"Die Katze trinkt ihre Milch."

Translation:The cat drinks its milk.

December 19, 2012



Remember that "Ihre" can also mean HER... So, the sentence is completely fine. It's "The cat drinks her milk."


I used "The cat drinks its milk" which sounded more logical.


Logical to English speakers. In German it is only "its" if the noun is in the neuter and would be used with "das". The worst is that although many languages consider milk to be feminine. Some languages think of it as masculine. So, the best way to memorize the word is with its determiner: "Die Milch"

Oh, I get what you mean. In English, if the cat is drinking her milk, then the cat is possibly not drinking out of the cat's bowl but out of someone else's bowl. Naughty cat! Some people do refer to their female cats as she and her though. When you are referring to a cat out of context though, it would be it and its, because you just don't know what gender it is and that is safe.

  • 1047

Slavic languages consider milk to be neuter (Latin and Greek too)


How then, do you refer to a male cat?


If we know the cat is a tomcat or male, we may use "he" and "his milk", but if we don't know the gender we would say "its milk". Some people use "its" for animals even when they know the gender, just because they consider animals to be things or because the gender is just not important to the conversation. If we want to specify that the cat is not drinking some stolen milk, we could say "his own milk" or "her own milk" (or "its own milk" if we had multiple cats with gender unknown.)


But die Katze refers to queen cats (female). A tomcat (male) is der Kater


The general word for cat in German is feminine. We cannot be sure that the cat is actually feminine, because the gender of the word does not always correspond with the gender of the animal. The general word for each animal can be masculine, neuter or feminine. If the cat is known to be masculine then you could say "der Kater". If the gender is unknown or feminine or just to talk generally about this animal, it would be "die Katze". http://dictionnaire.reverso.net/anglais-allemand/cat http://germanlanguageguide.com/german/vocabulary/animals.asp https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hauskatze


It's like in English "a dog" can be a male dog or a dog of unspecified sex, but "a bitch" specifically means a female.


I took the lowercase 'ihre' to mean 3rd person singular...like "My girlfriend left a glass of milk on the table and the cat drank it. The cat drank her milk". Duolingo doesn't seem to allow for this interpretation, though. >:-|


I believe that your translation is not correct because you said the drank her milk rather than drinks her milk. I wrote that and it was marked correct.


In that case ihre would be in the genitiv


How could "ihre" be in the genitive???


You would have to change the nominativ feminin ending to a genitiv feminin. so it would be ihrer katze. but that's more advanced.


Milch is the direct object of the sentence; therefor, it requires the accusative case. Also, the word 'ihre' is does not have case, in this sentence it is a personal possessive and is used as a modifier for the word 'Milch'. Since Milch is in the accusative case (not the genitive case), the possessive 'ihr' is required to have the -e ending because Milch is feminine.


But the English use of the possessive 'its' is the correct one here as the cat is not human.


All the explanation is confusing me.

I think this particular sentence is for ihre means her. So they are trying to explain, for Nominative case ihr = her and Accusative case ihre = her. Am I right?


Sounds as if you are confused. First of all, in this sentence "ihr" is a possessive and does not have case. It is modifying the noun "Milch". Milch has case; in this sentence, "Milch" is in the accusative case. Therefor "ihr" acts like an adjective and requires adjective endings to indicate case and gender of the noun it is modifying.


So Milch is faminine as in Die Milch. So do we have to use ihre? What about Masculine and neuter gender. For example

'Die Katze trinkt ??? Wasser' or 'Die Katze isst ??? Esse'


One uses the appropriate adjective ending to show case and gender. Die Katze trinkt ihr Wasser. Accusative case endings: masculine -en, feminine -e, neuter (none), plural -e. Hope this helps.


Die Katze isst ihren Apfel is correct. Richtig!

Just checked with someone in D-land. It would be better to say "das ist nicht meine Suppe". In this sentence, "die Suppe" is in the nominative case because it is a predicate nominative - it is NOT a direct object.


'Die Katze isst ihren Apfel'. I hope this is correct.


What about this sentance 'Die Suppe ist nicht meine.' Can't it be 'Die Suppe ist nicht meinen/mein.'?


Coming back after a year,

According to this site, https://deutsch.lingolia.com/en/grammar/pronouns/possessive-pronouns , The word 'it' for feminine accusative is translated to 'seine'. How come 'ihre' is translate to 'its'? Isn't it should be 'her' or 'Your'?

Ahhh.. The answer is given down below.


I see two words Meiner and Meinen. When one should use Meiner?


I got the answer. That comes under Dative case.


Are you ( sweilan1) a German teacher, or just a natice speaker?


Or just really good with German?


How cat drinking some woman's milk can be fine?? That is sick xD


The cat is drinking her own milk; 'die Katze' is a feminine noun, so the pronoun must be feminine as well.


The solution asks for 'their'


I thought that only capital "Ihre" was your and the other was "its" and "hers." Is this true?


You are right. "ihre" can also mean their

Careful with "its".
If the English "its" refers to a previous noun that is feminine in German (die Katze) than it would be "ihr" in nominative case for a following possessed masculine noun or in nominative or accusative case for a following possessed neuter noun (das Wasser) and "ihre" in nominative or accusative case for a following possessed feminine noun (die Milch) or plural noun . Now a previous feminine noun that owned a following masculine noun in accusative case would use "ihren" (der Saft).

"Die Katze trinkt ihre Milch."

"Die Katze trinkt ihr Wasser."

"Die Katze trinkt ihren Saft."

Although I don't think it is wise for someone to give a cat its own juice, is that healthy for it?

If the English "its" refers to a previous noun that is masculine or neuter in German than it would be "sein" for a following possessed masculine or neuter noun in nominative case and seinen for masculine noun following in accusative case and sein for neuter noun following in accusative case and yes (to hechap below) seine for a following possessed feminine or plural noun in nominative or accusative case.

Here is a website that has helped me. http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/det_04.html http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/det_05.html


So, would it be proper to say: "Der Hund trinkt seine Milch."?


And this could be translated to "The dog drinks its/his milk."


True so far, but "ihre Milch" could also be "their milk".


Ok, so "the cat is drinking its milk" should be correct because when we think of "Die Katze trinkt ihre Milch" as meaning "the cat drinks her milk", the "her" could refer to either another person (like the owner) or to the cat itself; remember the cat is feminine in German. But when we translate the latter interpretation into English it will be "the cat is drinking its milk", because "the cat" is neutral in English.


We commonly say that, unless the cat has jumped on the table and is drinking the milk out of someone's cereal bowl. Naughty cat! Then, we could be telling someone that the cat is drinking "her milk", "your milk" or as the cat continues on to the other bowls left on the table from breakfast "their milk". Of course, I would have grabbed the cat way before that and asked the kids why they did not empty and put their bowl in the dishwasher when they were done. Most of the time, no matter who paid for the milk or poured it for the cat, if it is in the cat's bowl it is the cat's milk and would be "its milk".


That's exactly what I thought. Since the last sentence was "we are eating his bananas", I jumped to the conclusion that the cat was drinking somebody else's milk.


After getting this wrong I think I understand it so to clarify for those that come after me: We shouldn't put "her milk" because the translation is too literal in English we wouldn't refer to a cat (of unknown gender) as her so we must translate it as "its"

Then my problems with the question begin "their" is accepted because (i assume) it could be the owners' milk so if "their" is accepted and it is understood that the cat is drinking someone else's milk by that logic why is "her" not accepted the woman in question could be the cats owner and the speaker is saying "her milk" deliberately just as the speaker would say about "their milk" when discussing two or more people not featured in the sentence, moreover if we know the gender of a cat (or any animal) we refer to it as s/he and use him and her making these translations completely acceptable in English


I think you're misunderstanding the sentence: "Die Katze trinkt ihre Milch." The fact that it uses "ihre" (which is a possessive article) means that the belongingness of the milk is already shown in the sentence, i.e. the question "who does the milk belong to? does it belong to the cat or to some other person, like perhaps its owner?" has already been answered. The use of "ihre" in this sentence shows that the milk belongs to some other person (and not the cat); since, "ihre" can translate as "her" and "their", it further means that the milk belongs to some feminine person or to many people. So, the inflection and case of the article here is important to note.


No, the use of "ihre" in the sentence could also simply be because the word for cat "die Katze" is feminine and would require a form of ihr: ihre in this case because the following noun is also feminine "die Milch". "ihre" can also be translated as "its" for a noun that is feminine in German but neuter in English. So, this "ihre" could be "her" , " their" or "its". You could clarify by saying "The cat drinks its own milk.", then it would be "Die Katze trinkt ihre eigene Milch."


Also, even if we knew the gender of the cat we'd still call it "die Katze" ;)


Yes good grammar means sentences should start with capital letter, but its not enforced anywhere else in duolingo


Why "The cat drinks your milk" is also a right answer? If "ihre" means "your", it should be capitalized as "Ihre", doesn't it? It confused me.


Correct, "your" would be "Ihre" with capital i.


I think that because your milk is in the possessive case, and according to (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_pronouns), the possessive case for "your cat" would be Seine (Genitive): Die Katze trinkt Seine Milch.

I failed, also, because this is a Genitive case and, at this point, Duolingo didn"t teach it to us.


The multiple choice said I missed "the cat drinks your milk" as an answer, but surely that can only be an answer if ihre had a capital 'i' couldn't it?


I think this sentence is set up to go to many versions, multiple choice, listen and type in German, translate from German to English and from English to German. A set of answers for the whole thing could be the problem. They should split out the listening version from the rest as a separate question. People were complaining that when they hear ihre it sounds just like Ihre so both should be accepted. So they fixed that and now it is causing havoc for the rest of the versions. I will report my suggestion and see what happens


So 'her milk' could be the cat's or a woman's depending on the context? You would say the same sentence in both situations?


I assumed "their" was someone else, not the the cat. I got it wrong because i thought it said Die Katzen.


the cat drinks your milk the cat drinks her milk the cat drinks their milk the cat drinks its milk are all correct?


"Your milk" would be "Ihre Milch" - capital I Keep that in mind. DuoLingo is having trouble because there are so many versions of the same question. When people complained in the section in which you hear the sentence that ihre and Ihre sound the same and both should be accepted, they tried to fix that and this is what happened. Their fix did not work for the other sections, especially the multiple choice. I have reported the problem. It might not be an easy fix.


Why are "the cat drinks your milk" and "the cat drinks its milk" correct??? For "...your milk" to be correct, the "i" in "ihre" should be capitalised. And ".... its milk" makes no sense at all!!! Please clarify!!


You're right with "your" / "Ihre". But "its" does make sense: as cat is neuter (-> its), but Katze is feminine (-> ihre), in German you would say "Die Katze trinkt ihre Milch" for "The cat drinks its milk." Of course "ihre" could also refer to another female person or to some other persons.


Major blunder here. Please fix, admins! "Die Katzen trinken ihre Milch" with lowercase ' i ' in ' ihre ' can only mean "The cats drink her / its milk." They indicated the correct answer to be both "The cats drink its milk." and "The cats drink YOUR milk." Incorrect. The letter ' i ' in the possessive pronoun "your" Ihr / Ihre (second person singular or plural) must be capitalized in German. Unless there's another new spelling reform that I'm not aware of. Allowing both meanings to use lowercase ' i ' would makes things ambiguous and confusing as hell. Imagine if they also allowed the use of lowercase ' s ' in Sie (formal)?


I reported it too.


That is what I said. The cat drinks her milk. The program said it's...


what's the difference between Ihr and Ihre?


Within this sentence, the word "ihre" is a possessive pronoun. Possessive pronouns "act" and "have the rights" of an adjective. This means these pronouns are modified to show gender, case, or number of the nouns they are modifying. In this sentence, it is modifying the word "die Katze" which is feminine and in the accusative case; the possessive in this case would require the -e adjective ending which makes it "ihre" instead of "ihr". Remember, these possessives DO NOT have gender, but show the gender of the nouns they are modifying.

The word "ihr" serves many functions in German.

ihr - 2nd personal informal plural - ihr seid froh - you are happy. Ihr geht nach Hause - you are going home.

ihr - 3rd person dative - ich gebe ihr eine Jacke - I am giving her a jacket.

ihr - 3rd person possessive - ich sehe ihre Katze - I see her cat. Ich sehe ihren Hund - I see her dog. Ich sehe ihre Hunde - I see her dogs. Notice the possessive have adjective endings denotating the noun's case and gender.


First of all, I appreciate the posts you've been putting up, sweilan1. They have been very helpful. One line in your post above particularly caught my attention. You wrote (bolding and italics added):

ihr - 3rd person possessive - ich sehe ihre Katze - I see her cat. Ich sehe ihren Hund - I see her dog. Ich sehe ihre Hunde - I see her dogs. Notice the possessive have adjective endings denotating the noun's case and gender.

Previously, I had known "ihr" (and other possessive pronouns) needed to decline for gender, but how it was declining for case wasn't fully registering as an undeniable fact in my mind. Since you wrote it, though, and you seem to really know what you're talking about, I decided to examine it a bit more and finally realized why I didn't recognize that the phrase "ihre" in "ihre Milch" was also declining for case. It is because the nominative and accusative case endings are the same for feminine nouns. If I were to say something like, "The cat added a mouse to her milk," I would need to write "ihrer Milch" not "ihre Milch."

I think part of the problem is that some still aren't solid with case endings, which is understandable if one is just beginning their study of German. So to help out with this particular example, I've added a chart to help visualize what is going on with this structure.

Note 1: If you see "ihr" and its various forms with a capital "I," "ihr" can also mean "your." If "ihr" starts a sentence you won't be able to know whether "ihr" means "her," "their," or "your" without additional contextual clues.

Note 2: I purposely left off the genitive because, after reading through the posts in this thread, I didn't want to further confuse that line of discussion and also because the genitive is so rarely used in German. FWIW, I thought you did a good job of explaining why "ihre" was not in the genitive case earlier.

Hope this helps!


Ihr- masculine Ihre- feminine


"ihr" is still feminine or plural of more persons. "sein" and "seine" is masculine it's like "ihr" and "ihre"


This is simply not clear: "ihr" is for a feminine or plural noun owning a masculine or neuter nominative case or neuter accusative case noun, "ihren" for owning a masculine accusative case noun and ihre for owning a feminine noun or plural noun in either nominative or accusative case.

"sein" is for a masculine noun owning a masculine or neuter nominative case noun or a neuter accusative case noun, "seinen" for owning a masculine accusative case noun, and "seine" for owning a feminine or plural noun in either nominative or accusative case.


How do I know if it's:

The [female] cat drinks her milk


The cat drinks her [my sister's] milk?


Only by the rest of the conversation.


Haha it reminds me of an old French song called "Brave Margot", the girl would breastfeed her cat in public, and all the village folks would gather around to watch, the poor girl thought it was to see her cat.


so if it was das Pferd instead of die Katze , would i use ihr either ?


thank you very much , i guess that page is helpful too http://longua.org/possessivartikel-ubersicht.php


I really like your resource!

Full information for each possessive form can also be found here, but you might want to click on the British flag to have the explanation in English: http://www.canoo.net/inflection/ihr:Pron:Poss:3rd:F:SG http://www.canoo.net/services/OnlineGrammar/InflectionRules/FRegeln-P/Pron-Poss3.html

This includes the charts for the possessives when used in place of a noun with or without a definite article.

You can type in any word and search for it and then click on Wortformen to see the full declension of the word - all its forms. They have several possibilities for ihr as 3rd person singular, 3rd person plural and 2nd person plural (formal form which has capital Ihr).


thanks a lot , links are really useful


"Die Katze trinkt ihre Milch. "

If we were to reference the cat in a following sentence, which personal pronoun should we use, "Es" or "Sie", like in "und SIE/ES isst ihr Futter"?

This specific point in gendered nouns in German is confusing me.


im confused...ihre in this case is in the nominative ? or dative ? i just don't know


can someone explain to me when do i need to put "ihre" and "ihr" etc. ? I don't understand :(


Although i'm enjoying trying to learn German with Duolingo, I have to say again that German seems unnecessarily complex. You only have to look at the amount of comments here about one simple sentence. Mark Twain was right.


And native Germans would agree with you.


when do we use ihr or ihre ihren?


What's the difference between ihr (you guys) and ihr (her)??


i've found that "its" means seine, "ihre" refers to female person


Hi. What's the case here for "Milch"?


Accusative. Like 'Ich esse einen Apfel'. The cat does something to the object milk.


Why "ihre"? In previous sentence it was "ihr". How should I know which one is correct?


Sorry guys but maybe I miss something, how it is possible to have The cat drinks its milk (Die Katze trinkt ihre Milch)

and in a previous sentence The dog drinks its water (Der Hund trinkt sein Wasser)

its, akkusativ (feminin) ---> ihre or seine ?

thank you


For die Katze, the possessive pronoun is ihre because the noun gender is feminine. For der Hund, the possessive pronoun is seine because the noun gender is masculine. Note that this has nothing at all to do with the live animal’s actual biological sex. German and many other European languages use grammatical gender.

See the tips and notes for Unit 1, Basics.


I put. The cat is drinking its milk. What's wrong with that?


The pronoun ihre doesn’t mean “its”. It means “her”.


The cat drinks their milk? No.


That's how I read it too. It's just like; I could eat all of their food.


Yes, its correct despite what Duo shows here.


Of the three answer choices I was given, the only one that was close to making sense (and the credited response) was "The cat drinks your milk." However, I thought that "Ihre" was "your" whereas "ihre" was either "her" or "their"


now i know why "its" is correct .... becouse the cat drinks her own milk ... in german is the cat femine word but in englis the animals are in neuter. Then the sentense must by with "Its".


No, I think that all the definitions of "ihre/Ihre" would work. You could be saying that the cat is drinking milk that he's not supposed to drink. If he's drinking your friend Mary's milk, you'd say "The cat is drinking her milk". The only problem I see with the sentence is that it grammatically cannot mean "The cat is drinking your milk" unless the "Ihre" is capitalized.


I can't distinguish between 'ihre' and 'eure' on this program, and it's been giving me grief! Is it just because I don't have an ear for the language yet or do they sound similar?


ihre sounds like “eera”, and eure sounds like “oy-ra”. No, they don’t sound alike at all.


Try slowing it down, or listening to some of the audio on Wiktionary.

For what it's worth, I'm not having trouble (so far) with this particular combination, and... let's just say I've been able to say "Ich kann ein kleines bischen Deutsch sprechen, aber nicht sehr gut" with deceptive fluency since I was seven. I've heard a lot of it, and have failed to learn it multiple times.


As a cat is an animal the pronoun 'its' should be used and not 'her'.


Unless you know the gender of the particular cat, in which case I think most people would say "his" or "her".


With the exception of use in a literary context that usage whilst common, is incorrect.


I tried it out in a grammar check program and it was fine. Where did you get the information, that it was incorrect?


If you know the gender of the animal, it is correct to use either "its" or the known gender "his" or "her" as appropriate to that animal.

If we were talking about a rock (pet rocks were a fad for a while.), then you would be right. A rock has no gender. (Imagined gender would have been incorrect though common.)


Animals are living creatures, not things. In English, it’s not wrong to say “it” to refer to animals of unknown sex, like that cat that just ran across the park, but a lot of people would say him, or he, in that case rather than it.


or if there is another person, a female who owns some milk, and the cat is drinking that woman's milk.


Translates to drinking "their milk" and "your milk," both being correct in this format of answering the question. Yet when I had to fill in the translation myself, duolingo said I was wrong when I translated that exact sentence to "The cat drinks your milk." I'm terribly confused now. Is this an error in the system, or am I just reading this wrong?


The multiple choice has the error. "your" = "Ihre" with capital i "ihre" is translated to "her, "their" and if gender is unknown in animal or an inanimate object is referred to "its" in English.


I doubt I'll EVER learn German, lots of things I've learned here I'm finding I being marked wrong on!! :/


Wtf i gave the correct answer


Could I say "Die Katze trinkt sie Milch"

In the previous activity it said "sie" can also mean "her"


"sie" is not used for the possessive word "her". "sie" is used for "her" when used as a direct object. http://german.about.com/library/blcase_sum2.htm


how is this wrong die Katze Ihre Milch


What is the difference between Ihr and ihre?


The noun that is possessed also affects the spelling of the word. "ihr" is her or its or their for a possessed noun that is masculine in nominative case or neuter in nominative or accusative case. "ihre" is her or its or their for a possessed noun that is feminine or plural in nominative or accusative case. Scroll up for a chart that someone has posted of the forms of "ihr".


Why can't it be: "The cat drinks your (formal) milk", since "ihre" is the feminine and plural possesive pronoun for "sie", which could mean "she, they or YOU (formal)"??? I feel like I'm missing something.


The forms for the formal you are always capitalized in German "Sie" and "Ihre", etc. http://german.about.com/library/blcase_sum2.htm


Why don't we use 'Ihren' here? It's the accusative case, isn't it?


The "-en" ending is for Masculine nouns in accusative case " Ihren" is for "your" for a masculine accusative noun that is owned.
The feminine noun "die Milch" takes "ihre" for "her", "its" or "their" and "Ihre" for "your".


There isnt any 'her' or 'its'...


I did say the cat drinks it’s milk-


'its', not 'it's'.....


So I put "the cat is drinking it's milk" and it was marked as wrong.Told it should be" drinks". Why? Is doing something has been accepted on many previous occasions and must surely be right.


Why would you say the cat is drinking it is milk? Try 'its' instead of 'it's'.....


Your English sentence is not a correct one. "it's" can only mean "it is". The word needed here is "its" (without an apostrophe).


How come it is sometimes ihr and sometimes ihre, when it's the same sentence structure. It's a lack of consistency


No, it’s not a lack of consistency.

It depends on the gender of the noun following it. Milch is feminine, so we have to say ihre Milch. But der Kaffee is masculine, so there it would be ihren Kaffee if cats drank coffee; and we say ihr Wasser bc das Wasser is neuter. It’s very consistent, in fact.


"ihre" is never its. It is always hers or theirs.


For an animal which is feminine in German (die Katze) and neuter in English it can be translated to "its"!


I live in Germany and speak the language every day. It is never used that way for the cat. When the article is feminine it is always spoken of as a girl. It actually drives me crazy because for example a table is referred to as he.


Yes, of course, because "Tisch" is masculine, so it is "er, der Tisch".


Yes, but when you translate that into English, this will be "it", the table.


Why to me the report of the translation says "their Milk?"not "her" as it's written above, if it's singular?


the cat can be drinking its milk, her (someone else's milk) or "their" (plural others' milk) - naughty cat. ihre can mean all of those and "Ihre" can mean " your"


I totally agree: why and how can I say that we're talking about a female cat??? It's weird......


If one wants to specify the cat is male, one would use "der Kater" instead of "die Katze". Btw, "der Kater" also means hangover. ;-)


So now ihre can mean its?


Not for a German neuter noun, but only for a German feminine noun that is neuter in English and happens to be possessing a noun that is feminine in German (ihre as opposed to ihr, the ending e is for the possessed noun's gender). Be careful when translating from English to German " its" could be "seine" for a German neuter or masculine noun that is neuter in English and is possessing a noun that is feminine in German.

"ihr" or "ihre" can mean "its", "her" or "their" and "Ihr" or "Ihre" would mean "your". http://german.about.com/library/blcase_sum2.htm


I don't understand this, I thought the genetiv case was used to show possession of something?? Its the cats milk so why arent we using the gentiv. Anyone? Please?


If we said "The cat's milk is here." then the word cat would be in genitive case "Die Milch der Katze ist hier." The possessive pronoun is used as a possessive adjective referring back to the owner but describing the possessed item. "Die Katze trinkt ihre Milch." Unlike in English, "ihre" can refer back to the cat "its" (the word "Katze" is feminine in German but neuter in English), to another female person "her" or to a group of people "their", it also shows by the ending '-e' that the item owned is a feminine word in German. (die Milch).


I was ready to report this, as Ihre was, in my head, only "your" second person plural.

I think that because your milk is in the possessive case, and according to (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_pronouns), the possessive case for "your cat" would be Euer (Genitive): Die Katze trinkt Euer Milch. So, as it is Ihre, and as we can see that it is possessive, we can see in the link that the possessive case Ihr is "Her" in english.

I failed, also, because this is a Genitive case and, at this point, Duolingo didn"t teach it to us. It failed us, in his priorities of teaching theory


Would you say in the sentence "My father is here" that father is in the genitive case because of the possessive my? Meines Vaters ist heir. This would be incorret. The sentence would be "Mein Vater ist hier" because father would be the subject and therefor in the nominative case. Another example - "Mein Auto ist rot" - my car is red. "Die Farbe meines Autos ist rot" - the color of my car is red. The first Sentence Auto is the subject and in nom case. The second sentence Farbe is the subject and Auto is in the genitive case. This should clear up gen vs nom case. Any errors in this I blame my phone


This is not genitive case, but accusative case. The noun is the direct object. There is no "of the" relationship like "der Vater des Sohnes" - "the father of the son".


According to the link I posted, You can see that Ihr is present both in Dativ and Genitiv, for the 3rd person singular Feminine. Also, if you translate, the result is : "The cat is drinking HER milk". This is Genitive, despite what you say. The dativ "Ihr" translates to "HERS", or with her, to make more sense (e.g.: Ich treffe mit ihr - I meet with her).

This is Genitive, for "drinking her milk" is possessive, at least in english (the milk is hers)!


Let's try another sentence. The son sees his father - Der Sohn sieht seinen Vater. Father is the direct object so it the possessive pronoun would be seinen (Sein with the -en ending because of the masculine noun Vater. Using your logic and genitive case, the sentence would be Der Sohn sieht seines Vaters with the possessive pronoun sein with the -es ending for genitive case and Vaters (final s required for genitive nouns).

Perhaps you are getting your pronouns confused! Personal pronouns Ich, du, er, sie, es etc; possessive pronouns mein, dein, sein, ihr, sein etc; reflexive pronouns mich, dich, sich etc. Ich sehe ihr and Ich sehe ihre Katze - first sentence ihr is a personal pronoun and the second ihr is a possessive pronoun. Possessive pronouns use endings to show case. Personal pronouns do not have endings - they don't modify anything. I have seen people get confused with 'her' in American Sign Language I see her and I see her cat - the word 'her' is signed differently in the two examples.

Maybe a Moderator could jump in and help explain to you how genitive case works in German.


Your examples are great, so thank you for that. You also take the effort to explain, so then again, thank you. With this being said, I am not misunderstanding the Genitive. However, I understood where the communication is mismatching. According to the Wikipedia link I provided before, the Personal Pronouns INCLUDE the genitive case, that is, the possessive case. UNDER this genitive case, you can also have nominativ, akkusativ, dativ and (again) genitiv. When I am saying it is Genitive, I am refering to the personal pronoun Genitive (first 'layer' of genitive), and not genitiv genitiv. Lets grab your very good examples: " Der Sohn sieht seinen Vater". According to classification, this is personal pronoun genitiv (hence me saying Genitiv)... but yes, this genitiv (possessive case) is applied in the akkusativ form. "Der Sohn sieht seines Vaters" I can't even translate, but it is Genitive (personal pronoun), applied in genitive (+es). This might be strange to you, but for a foreigner to learn this grammar, you need to learn all layers... So it seems that whenever you say Genitiv (+es), you only mean personal pronoun genitiv (possessive case) plus under possessive case, the genitiv again. BUT FOR ME, and as it is explained, personal pronouns "mein, dein, sein, ihr, sein, unser, euer, ihr" are in fact Possessive, and therefore, BOTH the sentences you wrote last are possessive under my eyes (even though the ""mein, dein, sein..." are also personal pronouns). Yes?


I now see where your confusion is. You are misusing common terminology. There is no such thing as genitive pronouns. In English these are called possessive pronouns. Yesterday I asked a group of grammarians about genitive pronouns and everyone was confused. One asked if I meant genitive because Latin and German have Genitive cases. Others pointed out these are called "possessive pronouns". So in the future, I suggest you use common terminology so everyone will understand what you are saying

Also, I checked your links and I failed to see the phrase genitive pronouns; instead the used the common terminology of possessive pronouns. The the closest I saw to your terminology was "genitive case endings for possessive pronouns".

Mein Buch ist gut. Mein - possessive pronoun; Buch - book non case; ist - 3rd person singular conjugation of the verb sein; gut - adjective. No genitive here


for instance, "Mein Buch ist gut" is also possessive (genitiv), even though applied in the nominativ form (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_pronouns)


Got a good chuckle over this. Ich treffe mit ihr - mit requires dative case not genitive. Remember the prepositions which require dative : aus, bei, mit, gegenueber, etc. The cat is drinking her milk - Katze is nominative case because it is the subject. Drinks - verb showing action. Her - possessive pronoun which modifies the direct object. Milk - the direct object which receives the action of the verb (in English the objective case, in German - the accusative case. You seem to be under the impression that the modifier her should be in the genitive case; however in this situation the word "her" does not contain case because it is acting as a modifier and not a noun - it is a personal pronoun which acts like modifier.


There is an error in the multiple choice that has been reported to DuoLingo. Capital i "Ihre" is 3rd person FORMAL polite version of you used with Sie which can be singular or plural but always formal.

The 2nd person familiar plural your is "euere" used with pronoun ihr.
The 2nd person familiar singular your is "deine" used with pronoun du

small i "ihre" is "her" which is the possessive form of the English 3rd person singular feminine "she" which is "sie" in German or "their" which is the possessive form of the English 3rd person plural "they" also "sie" in German.

With the note that some words which are feminine in German may take the neutral form in English "its".

As to case I used only the case that would work in this sentence, which happened to be accusative feminine singular ending to match "Milch".

Here is a list of the personal pronouns.: http://german.about.com/library/anfang/blanfang02.htm

Check the "Tips and Notes" on the top of the DuoLingo lesson page.

a list of the nominative case possessive pronouns: http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/det_04.html

a list of the accusative case possessive pronouns: http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/det_05.html

Scroll down to see the tables which indicate how each looks depending on the gender and number of the noun following the possessive pronoun.


It'd be "die Katze trinkt seine Milch" then


When? Only if the cat were drinking the milk owned by a word that in German is Masculine or Neuter. For example if the cat were drinking the dog's milk or the girl's milk. Der Hund is masculine and "das Mädchen" is neuter (Even though it represents a young female human, the word for this is neuter in German.) Scroll up and down for a lot more information, even a chart.


A single cat can not be drinking in the plural


"The cat drinks its milk." is singular all throughout. "drinks" is third person singular form in English. If you are referring to "The cat drinks their milk." The verb is still singular, but he has been moving around drinking out of many people's bowls.


I think ... they are 3 corrects answers and that are Her/Your and Their but absolutely not Its. The correct sentense with its must be : Die Katze trinkt sein/seine/sein and plural seine Milch


"Die Katze trinkt sein/seine/sein and plural seine Milch" is nonsense, because Katze is feminine, so it's "ihre Milch"; for "seine Milch" Katze needed to be masculine! "Your" milk is not possible with "ihre", only with "Ihre".


Thank you biertopf! You have answered what I was wondering. So even though the cat itself may be male, the fact that the WORD Katze is female, means you still need to use 'ihr' instead of 'sein' as the possessive pronoun (unless of course one switches to the male word Kater).

So,this would be wong then?

'Die Katze frisst sein Fleisch' (for a known male cat eating his meat); and it would therefore have to be either 'Die Katze frisst ihr Fleisch' (or 'Der Kater frisst sein Fleisch')?

I can see there's no problem with 'ihr' when the cat itself is female or in a general case where its sex is unknown or not important.

Can you please confirm all the above?


Generally, yes. Grammatical gender is completely unrelated to natural gender of any living being. So we have to use pronouns that agree with the gender of the noun they refer to.


Sein is for words that are neuter in German. In other words sein is a possessive form used with nouns that use das. In English "its" is not the same, because all objects have no gender in English. So milk which is feminine in German is neutral in English, and table which is masculine in German is neutral in English. All Individual animals in English if the gender is unknown would be it and use its for possessive. So, you cannot translate directly back and forth. Gender must be checked for each language. In German "Die Katze" tells us that cat is feminine in German so you must pick a form of ihr if the milk belongs to the cat. In English all objects are neutral. An animal whose gender is unknown is considered neutral. So, even if cat is feminine in German it is not in English unless we find out that it is a female cat. The English neutral for animals is a temporary situation. If we find out that it is a male cat, then it will become masculine in English.


The cat drinks their milk is grammatically incorrect. This should be fixed.


My bad. This does not necessarily mean the milk is owned by the cat. The milk could be owned by the cat's owner and that is why they used "ihre".


Yes, the naughty cat has been drinking out of other people's bowls.


Non-human animals are not things! Animals (which includes humans) are not "its", or dead objects! One would never say, "the child drinks its milk" or "the adult drinks its milk", even if you didn't know the gender of that human. That's a sign of speciesism. Non-human animals are someONEs, not somethings...thus can not be property.


So, when the gender of an animal is unknown, what would you use? If you use "its", you feel that is not right? If you use "his" when you don't know what gender the cat is, then you would be considered "sexist" if it turns out later to be female, so now what? If you use "her" when you don't know what it is, then you would again be considered "sexist" if it turns out to be female, so what do you do? By the way "The child drinks its milk." is not considered wrong grammatically, so it is just that people let each other know what gender the child is usually and we are expected to know. What about cats that have been neutered? I like cats very much. I found one and named it a female name. However, when I took it to the vet, I felt stupid, because it was a male that had been neutered. "its" is not just for things, but also for unknown gender! I cannot fault people for using "its" with animals if they don't know the gender of the animal. Many small animals are hard to know. My brother and I each had a rabbit, and my little rabbit that I thought was female turned out to be male, while my brother's much bigger rabbit turned out to be female. Both of us had named them poorly.


Ag asseblief tog arialrose!

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