Why is it Ihre here (is this an error)?

40 - Sharon und ihre Familie

“Sie leben weiter wegals ihr Bruder und Ihre Schwester”

the english version of this mini story has the text

“They live farther away than her brother and sister.”

which would suggest it should be “ihr” both times, though I could be mistaken.

edit: to clarify, by “ihr” both times, I am not confused about why its ihre, im wondering why it is capitalized, if this might be a mistake as Ihre would be for formal Sie.

Because Schwester is feminine and Bruder is masculine.

Actually, what I don’t understand is because “ihr” is not “ihren”.

They are both possessive pronouns.

Both should be in accusative case, right?

ihren Bruder und ihre Schwester.

I think it is because when you use als you can decide based upon the wide context which to use.
Accusative or nominative case after “wie”/“als” - German Language Stack Exchange

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From Hammer:

“noun phrases after “als” are in apposition to the noun they refer to, i.e. they are normally in the same case”


Thanks for the very interesting answers.

Follow up.
In this case, both are in the nominative case then.
However, now I don’t understand another thing.

Are they both possessive pronouns right?
Both nominative after “als”.

I don’t understand why the first “ihr” doesn’t have any declension. It is correct but if I look at the declension tables, it should be “ihrer”. What am I missing?

It declines if brother or sister are the direct or indirect object, but in the comparison situation they treated as if they are the subject. (based on my reading, I’m definitely not an expert!)

I also asked chatgpt if any of the sentences were correct using ihrer or any other declension and it says:

No, that sentence is not correct. In German, the comparative phrase “weiter weg als” (further away than) requires the nouns that follow to be in the nominative case because they are the subjects being compared. Therefore, both “Bruder” (brother) and “Schwester” (sister) should be in the nominative case. The correct possessive pronouns for the nominative case would be “ihr” for masculine and neuter nouns and “ihre” for feminine and plural nouns, not capitalized unless they are at the beginning of a sentence or used in formal “you” address.

So the correct sentence is:

  • Informal: “Sie leben weiter weg als ihr Bruder und ihre Schwester.”
  • Formal: “Sie leben weiter weg als Ihr Bruder und Ihre Schwester.”

Here, “ihr” and “ihre” are used to mean “her” or “his” (informal) or “your” (formal) depending on context.


I asked chatGPT as well, and the sentence above is the one I don’t understand.

“ihr” is not the nominative case for the possessive pronouns. There has to be something else that changes the declension table for the possessive pronouns making them behaving in a different way?

Isn’t this table below the declension for the possessive pronouns?
At the nominative is ihrer!

I think I got it. It is because they are not possessive pronouns (chatGPT is wrong and not only on that), but they are possessive adjectives.

I don’t know what the names are (I don’t even remember every hearing the word possessive adjective or article or determiner (another word I saw).

However, possessive adjectives CAN take on different cases as well. You may not be showing the full chart.

The second part of the sentence (after als) in the instance above requires the nomitive case for the possessive adjective. If “her brother” or “her sister” were direct objects or indirect objects the possessive adjective would be in a different case. Likewise with certain prepositions that demand a certain case.

when I said “which would suggest it should be “ihr” both times”, I meant it seems like it should be lower case both times, I understand ihr vs ihre.

Yes, I have only posted the nominative case option for the possessive adjective because the other cases were not important in this situation and the table was too long. However, I posted the link in the previous post.

There is a big difference between those concepts, but I have been having a bad toothache in these days so I let myself being confused by the AI (I have the cheap version). :smiley:

@entiretwix : yes, as far as I could understand, it should be minuscule both times: ihr and ihre. Eric posted this as well, in both variations.

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I see what you’re saying. I think probably the person who typed it out just did it out of habit.

@davideroccato , apologies if this already got resolved, I sort of skimmed through the thread.

I think you are getting confused between “her [brother]” and “[this one is] hers”. The first one is the determiner “ihr [Bruder]”, and it’s the one being used here. The second one is the pronoun “[dieser ist] ihrer”, which is what you’re probably looking at on that table.

On the original subject of the thread: yes, it should not be capitalized here. Capitalizing makes it a formal “your”. To be fair, this is a slip-up that many a native speaker has made, myself very much included.

@entiretwix , there also should be a space between “weg” and “als”. Was that a mistake of yours, or is it in the lesson as “wegals”?


@fabbol yes, the fact is that I asked ChatGPT at the beginning and I was mislead to think they were possessive pronouns. I asked many times and it gave me many variations confirming that. Then I had a couple of hours without my current toothache killing me and I realised they were possessive adjectives.
ChatGPT was also giving me the declension for possessive pronouns nominative masculine to be “ihr” when it is “ihrer”. It even gave me a table that was wrong to confirm what it was saying.
But it’s all good, at least we can improve by helping each other.

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I think part of the problem here is that there’s some terminological mismatch across languages/theorists as to what is or isn’t a pronoun. German grammatical thinking considers both “her” and “hers” as possessive pronouns, and I still feel an inner resistance to calling “her/ihr [Bruder]” something other than a pronoun.

In that kind of terminological confusion it’s easy to see how ChatGPT would mix them up, too!