Dative Case – Declension of Pronouns in German Grammar

Introduction

The dative case, also known as dative object or indirect object, is the person or thing to whom the action of verb is directed. We use the dative case after certain verbs and prepositions. In English grammar, the indirect object is often indicated by the prepositions to and for or pronouns like me, him, us, them etc. We can use the question words wem/was to ask to whom/what the indirect action of the verb is directed.

Learn dative personal pronouns and the declension of dependent and independent possessive pronouns on Lingolia then practise pronoun declension in the exercises.

Example

Das ist Tobias. In der Kantine hat man ihm sein Essen gegeben, aber das Essen schmeckt ihm nicht.

Hamburger zählen nicht gerade zu seinem Lieblingsessen. Zu meinem auch nicht.

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Usage

In German grammar, pronouns in dative are used:

  • after certain verbs (dative object), e. g. schmecken, helfen, antworten
    Example:
    Das Essen schmeckt ihm nicht.The food doesn’t taste good to him.
  • after certain prepositions e.g. aus, bei, mit, nach, seit, von, zu
    Example:
    Burger zählen nicht zu seinem Lieblingsessen.Burgers don’t belong to his favorite foods.
    Zu meinem auch nicht.Mine neither.
  • as the indirect object in sentences with more than one object
    Example:
    In der Kantine hat man ihm sein Essen gegeben.In the cafeteria, someone gave him his food.

(see also Overview of the Genitive, Dative and Accusative)

Declension Table: German Pronouns in Dative

The table displays a summary of dative personal pronouns and the endings for masculine, neuter, feminine and plural possessive pronouns.

personal pronounsdependent/independent possessive pronouns
masculine + neuterfeminineplural
1st person singular mir meinem meiner meinen
2nd person singular dir deinem deiner deinen
3rd person singular (m) ihm seinem seiner seinen
3rd person singular (f) ihr ihrem ihrer ihren
3rd person singular (n) ihm seinem seiner seinen
1st person plural uns unserem unserer unseren
2nd person plural euch eurem eurer euren
3rd person plural ihnen ihrem ihrer ihren