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A pronoun in German as well as in English is like a shortcut to refer to a noun, a word that stands for or represents a noun or noun phrase, a pronoun is identified only in the context of the sentence in which it is used. So you must have a prior idea about who "he or she" "er or sie" is. In English we find "I, her, what, that, his", In German pronouns use is governed by cases (nominative, accusative, dative, genitive), number and gender. All these three factors can affect the pronoun.
Types of pronouns include personal pronouns (refer to the persons speaking, the persons spoken to, or the persons or things spoken about), indefinite pronouns, relative (connect parts of sentences), reciprocal or reflexive pronouns (in which the object of a verb is being acted on by verb's subject), demonstrative, and interrogative pronouns.
German Personal Pronouns
The personal (subject) pronouns in German are (ich, du, er, sie, es, wir, ihr, Sie, sie.), and make the equivalent of (I, you, he, she, it, we, you people, you all, they) in English, usually they take the nominative form, since they’re the subject of the sentence. They’re very important and therefore they must be memorized by heart.
I have a pen = Ich habe einen Kugelschreiber.
German Object Pronouns
Object pronouns replace the object of a sentence; direct object pronouns take the place of the direct object nouns, let’s take this example “I see a man”, “a man” can be replaced in English by the direct object pronoun “him” and not “he”, so it would be “I see him”, the same thing happens in German:
Ich sehe einen Mann becomes Ich sehe ihn.
Note that the direct object pronoun in German is associated with the accusative case:
The indirect object pronouns (IOP) are used to replace nouns (people or things) in a sentence to which the action of the verb occurs. In English usually it is preceded by a preposition, “I give the book to Katja”, the name “Katja” is an indirect object noun, to replace it with a pronoun we would say in English “her”, in German we would say “ihr”, note that since the IOP is associated with the dative, the preposition “to” that we would usually use in English is not used in German, or rather we would say that it’s mixed with the pronoun (look at the table below to understand the concept better), for example “to her” in German will become one word “ihr”.
German Possessive Pronouns
The possessive is another aspect that you need to master in German, the possessive pronouns indicate ownership and they replace a noun just like in English, example: “it is my house” becomes “it is mine”. but while in English you can use “mine” to the singular and feminine, in German you have to add an “e” to for the feminine,
Now we will look at possessive adjectives, which are used more than the pronouns we’ve seen above. And since we’re talking about “adjectives” it means that they will take different forms in different cases. For example let’s have a look at “my” and “our” in German:
Note that we add an “e” when we deal with the feminine, either in the singular or the plural; I put it between parentheses above.
As we have learned in the verbs section, reflexive verbs express an action that acts upon the subject, and with the reflexive verbs you will find reflexive pronouns, which are placed after of the conjugated verb, for example: Ich washe mich (I wash myself). Ich stelle mir vor (I imagine “myself”). Note that these pronouns have two forms, one with the accusative and another with the dative. When to use each one of them will depend on the verb, some reflexive verbs are associated with the accusative, and some others are associated with the dative, you can check the verbs page to learn more.
A brief summery of the pronouns we’ve learned so far:
German Demonstrative Pronouns
Demonstratives usually refer to a previously mentioned noun in a sentence, just like adjectives they must agree with the gender and number of the noun. The equivalent to them in English would be “this/these”.
Relative Pronouns: in German they are der, die, das (who, that, which), wer, was (who, that) and welcher (who, that). The gender, number, and case of the relative pronoun should agree with its antecedent.
Interrogative Pronouns: the most important in German are: wer (who), wen (whom), wem (to whom), wessen (whose), was (what), welcher (which).
Indefinite pronouns are: all- (all), ander- (other), einig- (one), etwas (some), jed- (each), kein- (no), nichts (nothing), man (we, one), niemand (no one).
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German pronouns, personal, object, possessive, reflexive, relative, indefinite, and interrogative pronouns.