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  • IPA(key): /ˈdɛsən/, [ˈdɛsən], [ˈdɛsn̩]
  • (file)


dessen (relative or demonstrative)

  1. genitive masculine/neuter singular of der
    1. (relative) whose, of which
    2. (demonstrative) his, its, the latter's

Usage notes[edit]

  • Since dessen and deren do not occur in vernacular German, unexercised users of literary German often make grammatical mistakes in using these pronouns. The most common mistake is to use dessen where deren would be correct (or occasionally vice versa).
  • Another common mistake is a double-genitive construction such as the following: Nach dem Tod seines Vaters wurde er Leiter dessen Betriebes. — “After the death of his father, he became the director of the latter’s company.” Since dessen/deren are substantival pronouns, not determiners, they can never have another genitive noun following them. The correct phrase reads: Nach dem Tod seines Vaters wurde er Leiter von dessen Betrieb. The mistake is from hypercorrection: the exaggerated desire to avoid the preposition von (of).


Declension of der
masculine feminine neuter plural
nominative der die das die
genitive dessen deren
younger also: derer
dessen derer
dative dem der dem denen
accusative den die das die

Further reading[edit]