Easy Learning German

Personal pronouns: direct object - Easy Learning Grammar German

What is a direct object pronoun?
A direct object pronoun is a word such as me, him, us and them which is used instead of the noun to stand in for the person or thing most directly affected by the action expressed by the verb.

1 Using direct object pronouns

  • Direct object pronouns stand in for nouns when it is clear who or what is being talked about, and save having to repeat the noun.
I’ve lost my glasses. Have you seen them?
‘Have you met Jo?’ – ‘Yes, I really like her!’
  • Here are the German direct object pronouns or personal pronouns in the accusative case:
Direct Object Pronoun (Accusative Case)Meaning
michme
dichyou (familiar)
ihnhim/it
sieher/it
esit/him/her
einenone
unsus
euchyou (plural)
siethem
Sieyou (polite)
 
Ich lade dich zum Essen ein.I’ll invite you for a meal.
Sie hat ihn letztes Jahr kennengelernt.She met him last year.

2 Word order with direct object pronouns

  • In tenses consisting of one verb part only, for example the present and the simple past, the direct object pronoun usually comes directly AFTER the verb.
Sie bringen ihn nach Hause.They’ll take him home.
  • In tenses such as the perfect that are formed with haben or sein and the past participle, the direct object pronoun comes AFTER the part of the verb that comes from haben or sein and BEFORE the past participle.
Er hat mich durchs Fenster gesehen.He saw me through the window.
  • When a modal verb like wollen (meaning to want) or können (meaning to be able to, can) is followed by another verb in the infinitive (the ‘to’ form of the verb), the direct object pronoun comes directly AFTER the modal verb.
Wir wollen Sie nicht mehr sehen.We don’t want to see you anymore.
Key points
  • The German direct object pronouns are: mich, dich, ihn, sie, es, Sie and einen in the singular, and uns, euch, sie and Sie in the plural.
  • The direct object pronoun usually comes directly after the verb, but in tenses like the perfect comes after the part of the verb that comes from haben or sein and before the past participle.
  • When a modal verb such as wollen is followed by the infinitive of another verb, the direct object pronoun comes directly after the modal verb.

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