Demonstrative Pronouns in German Grammar

Introduction

Demonstrative pronouns, also indicative pronouns, can replace previously mentioned nouns in a sentence. We use them to emphasise or distinguish something like this/that, these/those in English Grammar. In German grammar, demonstrative pronouns are declined to reflect case, gender and number. A different form is often prefered in spoken German.

Learn about demonstrative pronouns online with Lingolia then put your knowledge to the test in the exercises.

Dieser/Jener

Use dieser/diese/dieses and jener/jene/jenes to choose something specific out of a group.

Example:
Welches Auto möchten Sie kaufen, dieses oder jenes?Which car would you like to buy, this one or that one?
Welches Kleid soll ich anziehen? – Dieses.Which dress should I wear? - This one.

In spoken language, German speakers generally prefer to use der/die/das da or der/die/das dort instead of jener/jene/jenes,

Example:
Möchten Sie diese Schuhe anprobieren? – Nein, lieber die dort.Would you like to try on these shoes? - No, I’d prefer those ones.

Der/Derjeniger/Derselber

Use der/die/das, as well as derjenige/diejenige(n) or derselbe/dieselbe/dasselbe to emphasise something.

Example:
Wer ist der Junge? – Das weiß ich nicht. Den kenne ich nicht.Who is that boy? - I don’t know that. I don’t know him.
Derjenige, der das Rätsel zuerst löst, bekommt einen Preis.The one who’s first to solve the puzzle gets a prize.
Hat sie einen neuen Freund? – Nein, es ist derselbe wie neulich.Does she have a new boyfriend? - No, he’s the same one as last time.

The demonstrative pronouns der/die/das are declined in the same ways as relative pronouns. Pay attention to the dative plural.

Example:
Wie geht es Jan und Linda? – Keine Ahnung, von denen habe ich lange nichts gehört.How are Jan and Linda doing? - No idea, I haven’t heard from them in a long time.

Demonstrative Adjectives and Nouns

We can also use demonstrative pronouns in front of nouns. In this case, they differentiate themselves from normal articles by emphasising something specific. Therefore, we also emphasise the demonstrative pronoun when speaking.

Example:
Mit der Kleidung kommst du nicht in den Club!You won’t get into this club in that outfit!

With a different outfit, you could get into this club; and maybe with this outfit you could get into another club, but not with this outfit in this club.

Declension Table: Demonstrative Pronouns

The table provides a simple overview of the declension of masculine, feminine, neuter and plural demonstrative pronouns in nominative, accusative, dative and genitive.

masculinefeminineneuterplural
nominative dieser/der
derjenige
derselbe
diese/die
diejenige
dieselbe
dieses/das
dasjenige
dasselbe
diese/die
diejenigen
dieselben
accusative diesen/den
denjenigen
denselben
diese/die
diejenige
dieselbe
dieses/das
dasjenige
dasselbe
diese/die
diejenigen
dieselben

dative diesem/dem
demjenigen
demselben
dieser/der
derjenigen
derselben
diesem/dem
demjenigen
demselben
diesen/denen
denjenigen
denselben
genitive dieses
desjenigen
desselben
dieser
derjenigen
derselben
dieses
desjenigen
desselben
dieser
derjenigen
derselben