October 2016

German Emphasizers and Modal Prticles

German Classes

German Emphasizers

An emphasizer is a word which will emphasize or change the meaning of a sentence. Emphasizers are commonly used in the German language. Unfortunately it’s not always possible to translate emphasizers directly. That’s why we tried our best to explain to you the most common German emphasizers in this blog . The most common emphasizers are: aber, denn, doch, ja, mal and schon. Let’s look at them closer. Learn to speak German


Aber, meaning “but”, is used to emphasize a statement, making the statement more important or have a bigger impact. For example: Das ist aber nicht meine Tasche. – This bag is really not mine. Das ist aber schade. – That’s a real pity.


Denn, meaning “then” is used to emphasize the meaning of a sentence to bring more clarity. It is also used as a conjunction which we won’t explain in this blog. For example: Wo ist denn die Party? – Where is the party then? Was ist denn passiert? – What’s happened here then?


Doch, which has no direct translation, can be used in three different ways. a) It is used as a positive reply to a negative statement or question. For example: Hast du nicht die Zeitung gelesen? – Doch! – Haven’t you read the newspaper? – Yes, I have! Du kannst nicht fahren – Doch! – You can’t drive – Yes, of course I can! To use doch in these cases, the question or statement must be a negative and the answer must be a positive disagreement with it. b) It is used to make a question out of a statement. For example: Das kannst du doch? – You can do this, can’t you? c) It is used to emphasize a command/imperative. For example: Hilf ihm doch! – Help him then!


Mal is used to emphasize time specific (now) commands or conversations. For example: Hilf mir mal! – Help me now! Schauen Sie mal… – Look here now…


Ja (yes) is used to positively emphasize a statement. For example: Er kann das ja zu Hause machen. – He can do this at home. Das ist ja einfach. – This is easy.


Schon, meaning already, is used in informal statements often to emphasize something that has just happened or about to happen. For example: Wieso macht sie das schon wieder. – Why did she do that again?

Modal Particles

“Particle” is a catch-all term for words that have no clear part of speech, like “hmm.” (Many English particles are also described as “interjections.”) A modal particle is a word that’s used in speech to convey extra emphasis or emotion, without any real grammatical function. In any case, the exact definition of a modal particle is complicated, but hopefully you’re getting the idea. For our purposes, let’s just define them as any common verbal flourish in spoken German. (Another way to think of them is as ‘verbal emoticons.’) You’re going to hear a lot of these if you talk to native speakers, so it’s useful to know them. Some can have different emphatic meanings, so they appear under more than one heading below.
Affirmation/ Agreement aber aber gerne! with pleasure!aber sicher! most certainly
wohl Das ist wohl wahr! That’s certainly true!
ja Das ist ja eine tolle idee! That’s really a great idea!
na Na klar komme ich! You bet I‘m coming!Na logisch! Of course!
Contradiction/ Disagreement doch Du bist doch nur zugekifft. You’re just [saying that because you’re] high.Q: Das ist doch nicht dein Ernst, oder? A: Doch! Q: You’re not being serious, are you? A: I am!
Special Emphasis/ Focus gerade Dass ich das gerade von DIR höre… That I’m hearing that from YOU (of all people)…Gerade heute musste es schneien! It had to snow today (of all days)!
eben Ich versuche, eine Antwort auf eben die Frage zu formulieren. I’m trying to find an answer to [just] that very question.
Resignation eben So ist es eben. / Es ist eben so. That’s just how it is.
naja Naja, was hast du erwartet? Ah well, what did you expect?
halt Ich war halt besoffen. (What can i say?) I was drunk.
Surprise aber Das war aber nett von dir! That was nice of you! [I wasn’t expecting it]
etwa   Ist das etwa für mich? Is that for me?
Interest denn Wie alt bist du denn? [to a child] So how old are you?
mal Guck dir das mal an! Take a look at that!
Intensifiers schon Das ist schon viel! It’s more than you think/more than it seems
ja Du bist ja blöd! Are you ever dumb!
aber Das ist aber völliger Quatsch! That’s complete nonsense!
Exasperation/ Anger nur Wie konntest du nur? How COULD you?Was hat er sich nur dabei gedacht? What WAS he thinking?
schon Was will er schon von mir? What in the world does he want from me?
nun Was soll das nun bedeuten? Now what’s that supposed to mean?
Softening/ Casual halt Es war halt ein Vorschlag. It was just a suggestion.
mal Warte mal. Wait a sec.

German Adverbs (das Adverb)

Adverbs are words that do not change (they are not declined) and they modify the verb’s meaning, an adjective or other adverb.

       Types of adverbs

Temporal adverbs dealing with the day

Adverb Meaning
vorgestern the day before yesterday
gestern yesterday
heute today
morgen tomorrow
übermorgen the day after tomorrow

Subjective Temporal Adverbs

Adverb Meaning
damals then
früher earlier
jetzt now
sofort immediately
gleich immediately
bald soon
später later
dann after/then

Temporal adverb gerade

The adverb gerade is used to make the present continuous in German:

Ich lese gerade die Zeitung I am reading the newspaper

Adverbs of Frequency

Adverbs of Absolute Frequency

Adverb Meaning
immer always
fast immer almost always
meistens most of the time
häufig frequently
oft often
ab und zu once in a while
manchmal sometimes
selten rarely
fast nie almost never
nie never

Adverbs of daily frequency

Adverb Meaning
morgens in the morning
nachmittags in the afternoon
abends in the evening
nachts during the night

Adverbs of weekly frecuency

Adverb Meaning
montags on Mondays
dienstags on Tuesdays
mittwochs on Wednesdays
donnerstags on Thursdays
freitags on Fridays
samstags on Saturdays
sonntags on Sundays

Other adverbs of frequency

Adverb Meaning
täglich daily
wöchentlich weekly
monatlich monthly
jährlich yearly/annually

Forming temporal adverbs by adding an -s

Often, temporal adverbs of frequency are formed from nouns with an “–s” added on. At first, this construction creates a bit of confusion among students of German.
Noun Adverb
der Abend the evening abends in the evenings
der Halbtag half a day halbtags half-day
der Feiertag the holiday feiertags every holiday

Locative Adverbs

oben und unten

Locative adverbs of place

Adverb Meaning
vorn / vorne in front
hinten behind
links on the left
rechts on the right
oben up
unten down
innen inside
außen outside
hier here
da there
dort there
überall everywhere
nirgends nowhere
hinein Locative adverbs with the particles “hin” and “her”. The particles “hin” and “her” denote the direction of movement with respect to the person that is speaking. These particles are used often to make adverbs. Here are some examples so that you understand better:


If my child and I are outside of the house and I want to tell him to go inside (for example, to do his chores), I’d say:

Geh hinein! Go inside!



If I am outside of the house and my child is inside and I want him to come out (for example, to cut the grass), I’d say:

Komm heraus! Come outside! herein


If I am inside the house and my son is playing in the garden and I want him to come in (for example, to eat), I’d say:

Komm herein! Come inside! hinaus


If my child and I are inside the house and I want to tell him to go out (for example, to play in the garden), I’d say:

Geh hinaus! Go outside!

Locative adverbs that indicate movement

Adverb Meaning
aufwärts upwards
abwärts downwards
vorwärts forwards
rückwärts backwards
heimwärts homeward
westwärts to the west
bergauf uphill
bergab downhill

Construction of locative adverbs by adding an -s

In German, locative adverbs are also formed by adding an “–s” to nouns.
Noun Locative adverb
das Rechte right rechts to the right
die Linke left links to the left

Causal Adverbs

Causal adverbs indicate the reason or origin of an action.
Adverb Meaning
deshalb therefore
darum therefore
deswegen therefore
folglich thus/consequently
daher therefore
Causal adverbs serve as a connection between two sentences, given that they’re Konjunktionaladverbien

Ich möchte in Deutschland leben, deshalb lerne ich gerade Deutsch I would like to live in Germany, therefore I am learning German

It must be emphasized that adverbs occupy a position and by placing them at the beginning of a sentence, they move the subject to the 3rd position. Main Article: Sentence structure

Adverbs of manner

Adverb Meaning
erstens firstly
zweitens secondly
drittens thirdly
auch also
ebenfalls as well
ansonsten otherwise
außerdem in addition

Restrictive adverbs

Adverb Meaning
nur only
wenigstens at least
hingegen on the other hand

Adverbs of quantity

Adverb Meaning
sehr very
kaum hardly

gern / gerne

The adverb “gern” is used often in German and it’s equivalent is “gladly”. The construction “Ich hätte gern…” is very common in German and means “I would like to” and is used to politely order something. gern or gerne are exactly the same but gern is used more often.

Pronoun Adverbs

Pronoun adverbs are the combination of a preposition and a pronoun and are used only to refer to things (not for living things).

Adverbs “da-” + preposition

The adverbs “da-” + preposition are used very often and their translation depends greatly on the context:

Ich habe nicht daran gedacht I didn’t think about that

Adverb Meaning
daran (or dran) at it (preposition an)
darauf (or drauf) on it (preposition auf)
daraus from it (preposition aus)
dabei present (preposition bei)
dagegen against it (preposition gegen)
darin in it (preposition in)
damit with it (preposition mit)
darüber about it (preposition über)
darum therefore (preposition um)
dazu additionally (preposition zu)
The prepositions are not exactly the same in German and English and thus the translation is not exact. Check out prepositions to get the best translation in every case.

Adverbs hier + preposition

The adverbs “hier-” + preposition have practically the same meaning as adverbs da + “preposition” though they are used much less often. Their meaning depends greatly on the context.
Adverb Meaning
hieran at this (prepoition an)
hierauf on this (preposition auf)
hieraus from this (preposition aus)
hierbei with this or at this (preposition bei)
hiergegen against this (preposition gegen)
hierin in this (preposition in)
hiermit with this (preposition mit)
hierüber about this (preposition über)
hierzu for this (preposition zu)

Interrogative adverbs

Main article: Interrogative particles The most important interrogative adverbs are:
  • Wann(when)
  • Warum(why)
  • Wieso (why)
Wie (how)
  • Wie alt (how old)
  • Wie viel (how much/many)
  • Wie lange (how long)
  • Wie oft (how often)
  • Wie teuer (how expensive)
  • Wie weit (how far)
Wo (where)
  • Woran (whereof)
  • Worauf (where upon)
  • Woraus (what from)
  • Wobei (in which/ whereat)
  • Wogegen (against what)
  • Worin (wherein)
  • Womit (whereby)
  • Worüber (what about)
  • Worum (what about)
  • Wozu (what for)
  • Wohin (where to)
  • Woher (from where)

Comparative and superlative with adverbs

Some adverbs can make comparatives and superlatives like adjective. This is the case with “bald”, “gern”, “oft”, and “wohl”.
Adverb Comparative Superlative
bald soon eher sooner am ehesten soonest
gern gladly lieber preferably am liebsten most preferably
oft often öfter more often am häufigsten most often
wohl well wohler better am wohlsten best

Adjectives functioning like adverbs

In many cases, adjectives can function like adverbs:

Das Auto ist schnell [schnell as an adjective] The car is fast

Sie isst schnell [schnell as an adverb] She eats fast

Spoken German

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We can divide adverbs into various categories, depending on whether they provide information about place, time, reason, or manner. We call these, respectively, locative adverbs, temporal adverbs, causal adverbs, and modal adverbs. Besides these types, there are also relative adverbs and conjunctional adverbs.
Gestern war ich mit Freunden auf einem Rockkonzert. Rolf und ich kamen später. Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht da auf uns, wowir uns verabredet hatten. Als wir ankamen, standen unsere Freundeganz vorn an der Bühne. Aber dortdrängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen. Als das Konzert anfing, begannen die Fans, laut zu kreischen. Man verstandkaum ein Wort, worüber ich mich ärgerte. Aber die Besucher des Konzerts waren größtenteils junge Mädchen, die bereits beim ersten Songreihenweise umfielen. Somit lichteten sich die Reihen und wir standen baldbei unseren Freunden.

Locative Adverbs

Locative adverbs can be the answer to the questions “Where/Where … to/Where … from?”
Als wir ankamen, standen unsere Freunde ganz vorn an der Bühne.
Aber dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.
Some important locative adverbs are, for example:
German English
aufwärts upwards
außen outside
da here/there
dort there/over there
drinnen inside
fort away
hier here
hierhin up to here
hinein into
hinten behind
irgendwo somewhere
links left (of)
nebenan near
oberhalb above
überall everywhere
unten below
vorn in front

Temporal Adverbs

Temporal adverbs are the answer to the questions “When/How long/How often/Until when/Since when?”
Gestern war ich mit Freunden auf einem Rockkonzert.
Aber die Besucher fielen bereits beim ersten Song reihenweise um.
Some important temporal adverbs are, for example:
German English
bald soon
bereits already
bisher until now
danach thereafter
davor beforehand
einst once
endlich eventually/finally
freitags on Fridays
gestern yesterday
immer always
inzwischen meanwhile
neulich recently/lately
nie never
oft often
regelmäßig regularly
sofort immediately
stets constantly
täglich daily
vorhin earlier
zurzeit at the time

Modal Adverbs

Modal adverbs are the answer to the questions “How/How much?”
Als wir ankamen, standen unsere Freunde ganz vorn an der Bühne.
Man verstand kaum ein Wort.
Die Besucher des Konzerts warengrößtenteils junge Mädchen, die bereits beim ersten Song reihenweise umfielen.
Some important modal adverbs are, for example:
German English
anders different
äußerst extremely
beinahe nearly
bekanntlich famously
ebenfalls likewise
fast almost
folgendermaßen as follows
ganz completely
genauso exactly like
genug enough
gern gladly
größtenteils mostly
hauptsächlich mainly
hoffentlich hopefully
kaum hardly
leider unfortunately
möglicherweise possibly
reihenweise row after row, by the dozen
sehr very
so so/thus/in that way
vielleicht perhaps
wirklich truly/really

Causal Adverbs

Causal adverbs are the answer to the questions “How so/For what reason/Why/Under what condition?”
Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht auf uns.
Darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.
Somit lichteten sich die Reihen.
Some important causal adverbs are, for example:
German English
also so, therefore
anstandshalber for decency’s sake
dadurch through that/because of that
darum therefore/because of that
demnach thus/according to that
demzufolge whereby/accordingly
deshalb therefore
folglich consequently
sicherheitshalber preventatively
somit thus/therefore
trotzdem despite that

Relative Adverbs

We use relative adverbs in relative clauses. Relative adverbs usually refer to part of a sentence.
Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht da auf uns, wo wir uns verabredet hatten.
Man verstand kaum ein Wort, worüberich mich ärgerte.
Some relative adverbs are, for example:
German English
wo where
womit with which
wofür for which
worüber about which

Conjunctional Adverbs

We can use some adverbs to tie clauses together. Because these adverbs serve as conjunctions, they are called conjunctional adverbs. The clause that begins with a conjunctional adverb has the following form: conjunctional adverb + finite verb + subject + rest of the clause
Dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.
Some conjunctional adverbs are, for example:
German English
außerdem besides
danach thereafter
deshalb therefore
folglich consequently
schließlich finally
trotzdem despite that
zuvor previously
Conjunctional adverbs can never be made comparative.

To Note

The conjunctional adverbs are the same as the causal adverbs in many cases (deshalb, daher, trotzdem, …). The difference in their categorisation depends on which meaning is more important. When we want to emphasise that an adverb gives information about a reason, we describe it as a causal adverb.
Rolf und ich kamen später. Unsere Freunde warteten deshalb nicht auf uns.
Aber dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.
If, however, we want to differentiate the type of connection between two parts of a sentence (is it a conjunction, subjunction, or a conjunctional adverb?), then we use the term conjunctional adverb.
Rolf und ich kamen später, deshalb warteten unsere Freunde nicht auf uns.
Aber dort drängten sich die Fans, darum blieben Rolf und ich hinten stehen.

German Capitalization & Punctuation

German Language Classses

Capitalization & Punctuation

  • As you may have noticed by now, all nouns are capitalized in German, wherever they appear in a sentence. This is a nearly unique feature in a contemporary language, and it’s helpful in parsing sentences when there are words you don’t know. We used to do it in English, as you can see in old documents like the U.S. Constitution.
  • Sie (the formal “you”) is always capitalized. This also applies to the related forms Ihnenand Ihr, although not to the reflexive pronoun sich.
  • Unlike the English I, the first-person singular pronoun ich is not capitalized unless it begins a sentence
  • Unlike in English, adjectives describing nationality, ethnicity and religion (the American car) are not capitalized in German (das amerikanische Auto) unless they’re part of a proper noun (Deutsche Bank)
  • As in the rest of continental Europe, decimal points and commas are reversed in writing numbers (e.g. a coffee might cost 1,50€ while a car costs 15.000€)
  • Typically the format for German quotation marks is „___“ (rather than “___”), with the opening quote mark upside down and both of them curling outwards.
  • French chevron-style quotation marks («___») are also sometimes used, although German tends to invert
  • Unlike in English, a comma can link two independent clauses in German
  • du and its related forms (dich/dir/euch) used to be capitalized like Sie, and some people still capitalize them, especially in correspondence. This is certainly not wrong, but’s no longer standard, and you don’t need to do it unless you want to.

German Noun Declension

Regular declension, n-declension and exceptions There are three genders for nouns in German: Masculine (männlich), feminine (weiblich) and neuter (sächlich).

Capitalized Nouns

One important thing as we get started: All nouns are written with the first letter capitalized. “the house” is written as “das Haus”. Regular declension, n-declension and exceptions


There are three genders in German: masculine (männlich), feminine (weiblich) and neuter (sächlich). Usually, the gender of a noun is determined by its ending. The articles der, die and das are used with nouns to indicate their gender:
  • der Mann (the man) [Masculine Noun]
  • die Frau (the woman) [Feminine Noun]
  • das Kind (the child) [Neuter Noun]
It’s not easy to know which gender a noun is. There are a few rules for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns. However, usually there is no choice but to learn each word’s gender.


A noun in English, “house” for example, does not change even if we change the role it plays in a phrase. The house is pretty (“house” is the subject in this case) We bought a house (“a house” is the direct object). As you see, the word house is not declined. You just add “s” in English to make the plural. It’s very simple. Unfortunately, it is not always like this in German. This might cause you a bit of despair when you start learning German. For example, in the phrase, “Erkrankungen des Herzens”, the word “Herzens” (heart in genitive form) does not appear in the dictionary. That is because it is declined and, instead of that word, you have to look for “Herz” (heart in nominative form). It is a bit complicated but don’t worry about it. you will get it.

Regular noun declension

As a general rule, an “-n” or an “-an” are added to all nouns in the dative plural. If the noun in the plural ends with “-n” or “-s,” nothing will be added.

Masculine or Neuter Nouns

An “-s” or an “-es” is added in the genitive singular. Sometimes both options are ok. In general, if a word ends with “-e”, an “-s” is added in the genitive and if it ends with “-s” or “-z” and “-es” is added. Example for a neuter noun:
Singular Plural
Nominative das Gas die Gase
Accusative das Gas die Gase
Dative dem Gas also: dem Gase den Gasen
Genitive des Gases der Gase
Although it is not very common today, sometimes an “-e” is added to the dative singular. Nowadays, you can see this is some phrases:

Ich gehe nach Hause I am going home

Hause is the old declension in the dative singular for das Haus (house).

Dem deutschen Volke For the German people

Volke is the classic declension of Volk (people) in the dative singular.

Feminine Nouns

Feminine nouns do not change in the genitive singular.
Singular Plural
Nominative die Kraft die Kräfte
Accusative die Kraft die Kräfte
Dative der Kraft den Kräften
Genitive der Kraft der Kräfte
Interestingly, a large portion of feminine plural nouns end with “-n,” meaning that luckily the majority of feminine plural nouns do not change.
Singular Plural
Nominative die Lampe die Lampen
Accusative die Lampe die Lampen
Dative der Lampe den Lampen
Genitive der Lampe der Lampen


Some masculine nouns and a few neuter ones have a declension that is different from the usual one and it is called the “N-Deklination” (N-Declension).
Singular Plural
Nominative der Kunde die Kunden
Accusative den Kunden die Kunden
Dative dem Kunden den Kunden
Genitive des Kunden der Kunden
If we look closely at all of the forms except for the nominative singular, they have an “-n” ending. This is why it is called “N-Deklination”. Sometimes, an “-en” is added instead of adding an “-n”. For example, the noun “Mensch”.

Examples of nouns with n declension

  • Most masculine nouns ending with “-e” but not der See or der Käse or der Deutsche and which represents professions or nationalities or people such as der Experte.
  • Many nouns that represent professions or nationalities or people such as: der Herr, der Astronom, der Architekt.
  • Latin or Greek words ending with:-at as in der Soldat, der Advokat, der Diplomat.-ant as in der Elefant, der Diamant, der Lieferant.-ent as in der Student.-ist as in der Journalist, der Zivilist, der Violinist, der Polizist.

N-Deklination + genitive with “ns”

Sometimes, the genitive is formed with “-ns” instead of “-n”.
Singular Plural
Nominative der Name die Namen
Accusative den Namen die Namen
Dative dem Namen den Namen
Genitive des Namens der Namen
Examples of nouns with genitive “-ns”: der Friede, der Name, der Funke, der Gedanke, der Glaube, der Same, der Wille, der Buchstabe.


Doubling the -s

Some nouns that end with “-s” have another “-s” added in the declension.
Singular Plural
Nominative der Bus die Busse
Accusative den Bus die Busse
Dative dem Bus den Bussen
Genitive des Busses der Busse
A short reminder about pronunciation: The “ss” indicates that the preceding vowel is shortened.

Das Herz

“Herz” has an irregular declension. It is also one of the few neuter nouns with the “-n” declension.
Singular Plural
Nominative das Herz die Herzen
Accusative das Herz die Herzen
Dative dem Herzen den Herzen
Genitive des Herzens der Herzen

The genitive case in German

The genitive case has four functions. It is widely rumored that the genitive case is falling out of usage in German. This statement only applies conditionally to certain functions of the genitive; these will be noted below.

1) Possession & relationships

The genitive case indicates that noun belongs to or bears some kind of relationship with someone or something. The genitive is rendered in English as a possessive with an ‘s or with the preposition of.
Die Farbe meiner Augen ist blau.  The color of my eyes is blue. The genitive specifies that a quality –the color — “of my eyes” is being discussed.
Der Beruf des Mannes ist Arzt.  The profession of the man is doctor. The genitive “of the man” indicates whose profession is being discussed.
Der Bruder meiner Freundin heißt Lars.  My girlfriend’s brother is named Lars. The genitive “of my girlfriend” indicates whose brother is being discussed.
Note that the genitive construction typically follows the noun that it modifies (like the English construction using of). An exception to this is the use of proper names in the genitive, which simply add an –s or, if the name already ends in -s, an apostrophe.
Susans Kusine kommt zu Besuch. Arnold Schwarzeneggars Heimatstadt ist Thal in Österreich. Hans Auto ist in der Werkstatt.
In colloquial German, genitives denoting possession and relationships are sometimes replaced by von + the dative:
Die Farbe von meinen Augen ist blau. Der Beruf von dem Mann ist Arzt. Der Bruder von meiner Freundin heißt Lars. Die Kusine von Susan kommt zu Besuch.
In formal standard German, however, the genitive of possession and relationships occurs frequently.

2) Object of a genitive preposition

The object of an accusative preposition takes the genitive case in formal standard German. These are some of the more common genitive prepositions:
(an)statt instead of jenseits on the other side of
anlässlich on the occasion of kraft by virtue of
anstelle in place of laut according to
aufgrund on the basis of seitens on the part of
außerhalb outside of trotz despite, in spite of
bezüglich with regard to während during
innerhalb within wegen because of
Er wohnt außerhalb der Stadt.  He lives outside the city. “The city” is the object of the genitive prep.außerhalb.
Trotz des Regens spielen wir Fußball.  We’re playing soccer despite the rain. “The rain” is the object of the genitive prep. trotz.
Aufgrund dieses Fehlers wurde ich entlassen.  I was fired on the basis of this mistake. “This mistake” is the object of the genitive prep.aufgrund.
In colloquial German, some of these prepositions — wegen, während, trotz, laut — are frequently used with the dative, although this is generally regarded as incorrect in standard formal written German. Note, however, that the genitive and dative forms of feminine nouns are identical.

3) Object of a genitive verb or genitive construction

A number of verbs, adjectives, and idiomatic expressions require a genitive object in German. There used to be many more such genitive expressions in German (as in English to avail oneself of, to take note of), but these have become replaced over time with other verbs and prepositional phrases. In general, the genitive verbs that are still used convey a highly educated tone.
sich annehmen to see to sich enthalten to refrain from
sich bedienen to make use of gedenken to think of
bedürfen to be in need of sich rühmen to boast of
sich bemächtigen to take control of sich vergewissern to make certain of
Er bedient sich einer Metapher.  He makes use of a metaphor. “A metaphor” is the genitive obj. of the verb sich bedienen.
Hartholzmöbel bedürfen einer besondern Pflege. Hard wood furniture is in need of special care. “Special care” is the genitive obj. of the verb bedürfen.
In addition to the genitive verbs, a number of adjectives and other idiomatic phrases are used with genitive objects. Here are some of them:
bedürftig in need sicher certain
bewusst conscious verdächtig suspicious
gewiß certain wert worth
schuldig guilty würdig worthy
Notice that the genitive objects that accompany these adjectives are often rendered in English with an accompanying “of”. There is no need to add an additional preposition to the German sentence, since these meanings are included when the noun or pronoun is declined in the genitive case.
Sie ist des Mordes schuldig.  She is guilty of the murder. “(Of) the murder” is the genitive object of the adjective “guilty”.
Es ist der Mühe nicht wert.  It is not worth the effort. “The effort” is the genitive object of the adjective “worth”.
Anna war sich der Gefahr bewusst.  Anna was aware of the danger. “(Of) the danger” is the genitive object of the adjective “aware”

4) Expressions of indefinite time

Expressions of non-specific time that are (1) not adverbs (e.g., irgendwann, manchmal) and (2) not governed by a preposition (e.g., seiteiner Ewigkeit) take the genitive case.
Eines Tages besuchen wir München.  Someday we’ll visit Munich. “Someday” is an expression of indefinite time.
Eines Abends war ich bei Freunden.  One evening I was at my friends’ place. “One evening” is an expression of indefinite time.

Nouns in the GENITIVE CASE

Finally, here are some examples of nouns in the genitive case. Genitive pronouns are used infrequently and only in elevated speech. Words and endings in red indicate a change in form from the dative.
Nouns Personal Pronouns
masculine feminine neuter plural
des Onkels dieses Onkels eines Onkels keines Onkels unseresOnkels der Tante dieser Tante einer Tante keiner Tante unserer Tante des Buches diesesBuches eines Buches keinesBuches unseresBuches der Kinder dieser Kinder Kinder keiner Kinder unsererKinder not commonly used in the genitive case
[pun:] Geh nicht tief ins Wasser, weil es da tief ist.
The care of one tooth is simple. But you have a couple more of them.
  The Genitive Case in English: English shows possession through the genitive case, which marks the noun in question with “-‘s” (or in a plural already ending in “-s” with just the apostrophe): “the horse’s mouth”; “the books’ covers.” One can also use a prepositional phrase with “of”: “the color of the car” (= “the car’s color”).   Forming the Genitive in German: Like the nominative, accusative, and dative cases, the genitive case is marked by pronouns, articles and adjective endings. In the genitive, there is no distinction between a “der-word” and an “ein-word.”1 As a rule, one-syllable nouns take an “-es” in the masculine or neuter (des Mannes), although colloquial speech will sometime add just -s. Multi-syllabic ones take just “-s”:(des Computers):  
Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
des roten Stuhles der neuen Lampe des alten Buches der roten Stühle
roten Stuhles neuer Lampe alten Buches alter Bücher
Note that the possessive adjectives (mein, dein, sein, ihr, etc.) are not genitive in and of themselves. Nor is the interrogative wessen (= “whose”). As in the accusative and dative cases, the so-called weak masculine nouns take an “-n” or “-en” in the genitive. For example:  
 nom. acc. dat. gen.  der Mensch den Menschen dem Menschen des Menschen [human]  der Nachbar den Nachbarn dem Nachbarn des Nachbarn [neighbor]  der Herr den Herrn dem Herrn des Herrn [lord; gentleman]  der Held den Helden dem Helden des Helden [hero]
 nom. acc. dat. gen.  der Bote den Boten dem Boten des Boten [messenger]  der Kunde den Kunden dem Kunden des Kunden [customer]  der Junge den Jungen dem Jungen des Jungen [boy]  der Experte den Experten dem Experten des Experten [expert]
 nom. acc. dat. gen.  der Jude den Juden dem Juden des Juden [Jew]  der Russe den Russen dem Russen des Russen [Russian]  der Kollege den Kollegen dem Kollegen des Kollegen [colleague]  der Riese den Riesen dem Riesen des Riesen [giant]
Other endings of weak nouns are “-ant,” “-arch,” “-ege,” “-ent,” “-ist,” “-oge,” “-om,” “-oph,” and “-ot.” Some examples:  
 der Buddist [Buddhist]  der Katholik [Catholic]  der Protestant [Protestant]  der Pilot [pilot]
 der Student [student]  der Komödiant [comedian]  der Astronom [astronomer]  der Patriarch [patriarch]
 der Philosoph [philosopher]  der Fotograf [photographer]  der Enthusiast [enthusiast]  der Anthropologe [anthropologist]
Again: note that all of these nouns are masculine. Furthermore, their plural forms are the same as their accusative, dative, and genitive singular forms: e.g., den Studenten, dem Studenten, des Studenten; [plural:] die Studenten, den Studenten, der Studenten.(“Herr” is an exception: den Herrn, dem Herrn, des Herrn; [plural:] die Herren, den Herren, der Herren). Typically, dictionaries identify weak nouns by giving not only the plural but also the weak ending: “der Bauer (-n, -n) farmer, peasant.” The first ending that is cited is that of the genitive case. With weak nouns the accusative and the dative are usually identical with the genitive – but not always. A few weak nouns add “-ns,” for example:  
 nom. acc. dat. gen.  der Glaube den Glauben dem Glauben des Glaubens [belief]  der Wille den Willen dem Willen des Willens [will]  der Gedanke den Gedanken dem Gedanken des Gedankens [thought]  der Name den Namen dem Namen des Namens [name]
One neuter noun is also weak in the dative and takes an “-ens” in the genitive:  
 nom. acc. dat. gen.  das Herz das Herz dem Herzen des Herzens [heart]
  While the Latin accusative and dative forms of Jesus Christus (Jesum Christum, Jeso Christo) are not used in modern German, the genitive is: Jesu Christi. The genitive personal pronouns are rare nowadays, but they do exist (some further examples of their use can be found below):  
 meiner = (of) me  unser = (of) us
 deiner = (of) you  eurer = (of) y’all
 Ihrer = (of) you
 seiner = (of) him ihrer = (of) her seiner  = (of) it  ihrer = (of) them
The demonstrative pronoun, on the other hand, is commonly employed:  
 dessen = (of) him/it (masc.) derer = (of) her/it (fem.) dessen  = (of) it (neut.)  derer = (of) them
Wir danken im Namen derer, die in Nöte geraten sind.  We give thanks in the name of those who have come into hardship.
 Meine Brüder und deren Kinder sind schon angekommen. My brothers and their children have already arrived.
In ambiguous situations, the demonstrative possessive pronoun points to the nearest preceding (i.e. the latter) noun:  
Pauls Sohn und dessen Freunde haben Hunger. Paul’s son and (Paul’s) son’s friends are hungry.
[not: Paul’s son and (Paul’s) friends are hungry].
When such a pronoun depends on a preceding noun, desselben or derselben can be employed:  
Das Mikroskop, Theorie und Anwendung desselben.  The Microscope: its Theory and Use [book title]
 Die meisten Glaubenslehrer verteidigen ihre Sätze nicht, weil sie von der Wahrheit derselben überzeugt sind, sondern weil sie diese Wahrheit einmal behauptet haben. Most doctrinal theologians defend their propositions, not because they are convinced of the truth of them, but because they have at one point asserted that truth. [aphorism by G. C. Lichtenberg]
Further pronoun examples can be found below.
[There is room in this subway car for] 2 bicycles. No bringing [a bike] along when this car is traveling at the front of the train.
Using the Genitive Case in German: Germans will often assert that the genitive is disappearing from the language. It is certainly used less than one or two centuries ago, but it still occupies an important position. Primarily, the genitive designates a relationship between two nouns in which one of them belongs to the other. The former can be in any case, but the latter is in the genitive:  
Was ist die Telefonnummer deiner schönen Kusine? What is your beautiful cousin’s phone number?
Sie hat den Brief ihres Vaters gar nicht gesehen. She never saw her father’s letter.
Das Bild deiner Frau ist besonders gut. Your wife’s picture is particularly good.
Der Motor dieses Autos ist viel zu klein. This car’s engine is much too small.
Die größte Liebe aller deutschen Männer ist Fußball. The greatest love of all German men is soccer.
Das Dach des Hauses war unbeschädigt. The roof of the house was undamaged.
Success is the sum of correct decisions
  Note that the genitive noun comes second. The opposite sounds either archaic or poetic:  
“Das also war des Pudels Kern!” [Goethes Faust] So that was the poodle’s core!
Proper names in the genitive do precede the noun, however. If the name already ends in “-s” or “-z,” then an apostrophe is added:2  
Was hast du mit Roberts altem Computer gemacht? What did you do with Robert’s old computer?
Veronikas neuer Freund ist schön. Veronika’s new boyfriend is handsome.
Heinz’ Hut ist wirklich hässlich. Heinz’s hat is really ugly.
  In colloquial speech Germans often use the preposition von (with the dative, of course) instead of the genitive:  
Ist das der Freund von deinem Bruder? Is that your brother’s friend?
Wir suchen das Haus von seiner Mutter. We’re looking for his mother’s house.
The Dative is the Death of the Genitive. A Guide through the Labyrinth of the German Language [book by Bastian Sick]
This construction with “von” is always used if there is no article to mark the genitive:  
Er ist ein Freund von mir. He’s a friend of mine.
Das Abstellen von Farhrädern ist verboten. The parking of bicycles is forbidden.
Uneducated Germans sometimes use the dative and a possessive adjective to create a genitive effect: Bist du dem Mann seine Frau?  Are you the man’s wife? The genitive is used to indicate an indefinite day or part of the day:  
Eines Tages sollten wir das machen. Some day we ought do that.
Eines Morgens hat er vergessen, sich die Schuhe anzuziehen. One morning he forgot to put his shoes on.
Eines Sonntags gehen wir in die Kirche. Some Sunday we’ll go to church.

Although Nacht is feminine, it here – and only here – assumes an analogous structure: Sie isteines Nachts weggelaufen. She ran away one night.
“I go to Block House [a chain of steak houses] only because of the salad.” “That’s what they all say.”
Prepositions that take the genitive: A number of prepositions take a genitive object. The most common are statt and anstatt [instead of], trotz [in spite of],wegen [because of] and während [during]. In normal speech, German often use the dative after trotz and wegen.The grammar-police find that appalling, but in fact the dative is actually the older form.  
Statt eines Regenmantels trägt er einen Schirm. Instead of a raincoat he carries an umbrella.
Trotz der Kälte wollen wir schwimmen gehen. Despite the cold we want to go swimming.
Wegen der Arbeit meines Vaters mussten wir oft umziehen. Because of my father’s work we often had to move.
Wir machen alles des Kindes wegen. We’re doing everything on account of the child.
Während des Sommers wohnt er bei seinen Großeltern. During the summer he lives with his grandparents.
When just a masculine or neuter noun follows the preposition, there is no genitive “-s”:  
Anstatt Fleisch isst sie Tofu. Instead of meat she eats tofu.
Note also:  
Er entschuldigte sich immer wieder wegen seines schlechten Deutsch. He apologized repeatedly on account of his bad German.
Trotz ihres guten Französisch konnte sie nichts verstehen. In spite of her good French she couldn’t understand a thing.
Less frequently used are außerhalb [outside of], innerhalb [inside of], oberhalb [above], unterhalb [beneath], diesseits [on this side of], and jenseits [on the other side of]:  
Sie wohnen außerhalb der Stadt. They live outside the city.
Nur ein Spieler darf innerhalb dieses Kreises stehen. Only one player is allowed to stand inside this circle.
Oberhalb dieser Linie gibt es ein paar Kratzer. Above this line there are a couple of scratches.
Die Leber sitzt unterhalb der Lunge. The liver is beneath the lung.
Diesseits der Grenze spricht man Deutsch, aber jenseits spricht man Holländisch. On this side of the border German is spoken, but on the other side they speak Dutch.
The grand race of the lowest prices.
George O. Curme’s Grammar of the German Language (New York: Macmillan, 1922) lists a total of 123 prepositions that take the genitive (p. 357), but most are very rare or confined to legal language. They include anlässlich [on the occasion of], angesichts [in the face of; in view of],infolge [as a result of; owing to], ungeachtet [despite; notwithstanding], etc. Genitive prepositions do not form “da-” compounds. Instead we use genitive demonstrative pronouns, getting structures like während dessen [in the meantime], statt dessen [instead of that], and trotz dessen [despite that] – written as one or two words. There is a special form of wegen:  
Wir gehen seinetwegen zu Fuß. We’re going on foot on account of him (for his sake).
Ich mache es ihretwegen. I’m doing it on account of her (for her sake).
Kaufen Sie das nicht meinetwegen. Don’t buy that for my sake.
Meinetwegen könnt ihr es verkaufen. As far as I’m concerned (for all I care), you can sell it.
Verbs that take the genitive: Quite a few verbs once took a genitive object, but over time they have switched to the accusative. One example is vergessen, although the name of the flower Vergissmeinnicht (forget-me-not) remains. Some verbs officially still take the genitive, although many native speakers will use the accusative instead. It is with such formal – some would say stilted – German that you might encounter genitive pronouns:  
Die Angst bemächtigte sich seiner. Fear seized him.
Wir bedürfen Ihrer Hilfe. We require your assistance.
Man muss unter 16 sein, um sich eines VCRs zu bedienen. You have to be under 16 to operate a VCR.
Ich erfreue mich seiner Anwesenheit. I enjoy his presence.
Wir harren ihrer Ankunft. We patiently await her arrival.
Other genitive constructions: Some predicate adjectives are also associated with the genitive:  
Er ist seiner Beliebtheit sehr gewiss. He’s very certain of his popularity.
Ich bin mir dessen bewusst. I’m aware of that.
Ach ich bin des Treibens müde! [aus Goethes “Wandrers Nachtlied”] Oh, I’m weary of this restless activity
Sie ist des Mordes schuldig. She is guilty of murder.
Er ist ihrer nicht wert. He’s not worthy of her.
Certain noun phrases in the genitive act like prepositional phrases:  
Er fährt immer erster Klasse. He always travels first class.
Sie ist meine Cousine ersten Grades. She’s my first cousin.
Wir sind heute guter Laune. We’re in a good mood today
Sie geht guten Mutes nach Hause. She goes home in good spirits.
Er arbeitet festen Glaubens dafür. He works for that with a firm faith.
Meines Erachtens ist das nicht nötig. In my opinion that’s not necessary.
Meines Wissens ist nichts übrig geblieben. As far as I know, nothing was left over.
Sie behauptet das allen Ernstes. She claims that in all seriousness
Du bist heute guter Dinge. You’re in a cheerful mood today.
Wir sind unverrichteter Dinge zurückgekehrt. We returned having accomplished nothing.
Junk disposal of all kinds bulky refuse / plastic, synthetics and scrap metal /clearing out of cellars, attics, and apartments / demolition work / moving service, mini-transport / free inspection / short notice possible Painting jobs. Fast, clean, and reasonably priced.
1 The “ein-words” are ein, kein, and the possessive pronouns: mein, dein, sein, ihr, unser, euer, Ihr, ihr. The so-called “der-words” are the articles der, die, das; dies-, jed-, jen-, manch-, solch-, welch-. Increasingly, Germans are putting apostrophes onto all names, especially in commercial enterprises. This option is unavailable to non-native speakers.
Fränky’s Flowers.

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