Demonstrative pronouns

German demonstrative pronouns can be translated as ‘this’ or ‘these’ and ‘that’ or ‘those’:

  • dieser, diese, dieses - this, that
  • diese - (pl) these, those

They can be used with or without a noun.

They are declined like the definite article (der, die, das, die).

mfnpl
Nominativedieserdiesediesesdiese
Accusativediesendiesediesesdiese
Genitivediesesdieserdiesesdieser
Dativediesemdieserdiesemdiesen
Question

Here are some examples of demonstrative pronouns with a noun (nominative). What do they mean?

  • dieser Mann
  • diese Leute
  • diese Stadt
  • diese Schuhe
  • dieses Buch
  • dieser Mann - this/that man
  • diese Leute - those/these people
  • diese Stadt - this/that town
  • diese Schuhe - these/those shoes
  • dieses Buch - this/that book
Question

Now look at these sentences showing examples of demonstrative pronouns with the accusative and dative. What do they mean?

  • Ich will diesen Pulli nicht anziehen.
  • Sie möchten in diesem großen Haus wohnen.
  • Wir fahren nicht mit diesem alten Auto in Urlaub.
  • Er hilft immer diesen alten Leuten.
  • Ich will diesen Pulli nicht anziehen. - I do not want to wear that jumper.
  • Sie möchten in diesem großen Haus wohnen. - They would like to live in that big house.
  • Wir fahren nicht mit diesem alten Auto in Urlaub. - We are not going on holiday in this old car.
  • Er hilft immer diesen alten Leuten. - He always helps those old people.

When used without a noun, demonstrative pronouns mean ‘this’ and ‘that’. However, dies und das is more often used nowadays to mean ‘this and that’ or ‘all sorts of things’, just like in English.

  • Wo ist deine Jacke? Nimm diese. - Where is your jacket? Take this one.
  • Ich fahre nicht gern mit den alten Skiern. Ich fahre viel lieber mit diesen. - I don’t like skiing with the old skis. I much prefer to ski with these.
  • Was machst du? Dies und das. - What are you doing? This and that.

Did you know?

Dies und das is a children’s book from the 1920s by the Jewish writer Josefa Metz.

Germany and Austria were for years the homes of many influential Jewish people: Karl Marx, Albert Einstein, Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Kafka, Heinrich Heine, Sigmund Freud.

It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in modern Germany and the Jewish population there is now the third largest in Europe. Since Reunification in 1989, German Jewish literature has gained prominence and is becoming increasingly popular outside Europe.

Stolpersteine (literally: stumbling stones) are laid in the pavements of many German cities to commemorate those who died during the Holocaust. There is a Stolperstein dedicated to Josefa Metz in the town of Bielefeld.