Personal pronouns (nominative) -Personalpronomen (im Nominativ)

Personal pronouns are, in German, called “Personalpronomen” or “persönliche Fürwörter”, meaning they can be used in a sentence construction to represent a person or a thing.

In German, these pronouns are declinable, this means they have a different form depending on whether you are using the nominative, genitive, dative or accusative.

For our step 1 (personal information – talking about yourself), you need to know more about the nominative. This means, if you ask questions concerning  “Who…?” (Wer…?) or “What..?” (Was…?), you can use one of these pronouns instead of using the name of a person or a thing in your answering sentence.

 

Some fictional examples:

-on a road-

Dennis asks a random person he doesn’t recognise:  “Who are you?”

The person answers: “I am your lawyer. You should know me by now!”

 

– in the zoo –

Anne asks her mother, while pointing at a big snake: “What is that?”

Her mother replies: ” She is an anaconda.”

 

In German this is called “der Nominativ”.

The question words are “Wer…?” or “Was…?”.

and these are the relevant personal pronouns (“persönliche Fürwörter /Pronomen”):

1. person singular 2. person singular 3. person singular
ich du er (male),
sie (female),
es (neutral)
1. person plural 2. person plural 3. person plural
wir ihr sie

This means, if someone asks  you : “Wer sind Sie?” Your answer will be: “Ich bin…”

And if you don’t remember who you are, and ask someone who should know about it: “Wer bin ich?” He or she will answer you: “Du bist… .” (or “Sie sind…. .” , if the person doesn’t know you well and wants to be polite.)

You see where I’m going with this…

If you ask someone about a third person the answer will be: “Er ist… .” or “Sie ist… .” or even “Es ist…”

 

The same pattern applies to plural forms:

You ask ” Wer… ?” or ” Was..?”

And the answers will start with

Wir sind… .”, (if the speaker is part of the group he/she is talking about)

Ihr seid…” or (if you are a part of the group the speaker is talking about)

Sie sind… “.  (if neither you nor the speaker are part of the group)

 

 

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