Inti qieghed hawn: Grammar > Pronouns > The alternative possessive

The alternative possessive
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Tradott mill-Ingliz minn ...

On the previous page, we discussed the Dutch equivalent of English 'yours', 'mine', 'ours', etc. In Dutch, we have another way of saying that something belongs to someone. In English, we do not say: "This book is of me" but in Dutch this is a very common expression.

English Dutch
mine van mij
yours van jou
yours [formal] van u
his van hem
hers van haar
ours van ons
yours van jullie
theirs van hen

In Dutch, we do not have a separate form for 'its'. The translation of 'of it' is 'ervan' (see pronominal adverbs?). If we want to stress that something belongs to 'it', we say 'hiervan' (of this) or 'daarvan' (of that).

However, its use is more limited than the forms in the table above. You can compare it to English. You can say: "This is the front side of that" (Dutch: "Dit is de voorzijde daarvan"), but you would not say: "This front side is of that". It is the same in Dutch; we do not say "Deze voorzijde is daarvan".

Examples

Die jas is van mij. That coat is mine.
Het idee was van jou. The idea was yours.
Die foto is van hem. That photo is his.
Die hond is van haar. That dog is hers.
Dat project is van ons. That project is ours.
Het kantoor is van jullie. The office is yours (plural).
De school is van hen. The school is theirs.

Die/dat van mij

Suppose we both possess a mobile phone. We have the same ring tone. One of our phones is ringing. Whose phone is it? I check my bag and learn that I am the person who is being called.

Telling you that the phone is mine is not a suitable remark in this case. I want to say that it is MY phone that was ringing, not YOUR phone, which could very well have been the case since we have identical ring tones.

Therefore, I look at you and say: "Het is die van mij" (It is the one that belongs to me) and I answer the call.

Note that for this construction, we only use die and dat (that, those), we do not use deze and die (this, these).

[De jas]
Het is die van mij (niet die van jou).
[The coat]
It is the one that belongs to me (not the one that belongs to you).
[Het idee]
Het is dat van jou.
[The idea]
It is the one that belongs to you.
[De foto]
Het is die van hem.
[The photo]
It is the one that belongs to him
[De hond]
Het is die van haar.
[The dog]
It is the one that belongs to her.
[Het project]
Het is dat van ons.
[The project]
It is the one that belongs to us.
[Het kantoor]
Het is dat van jullie.
[The office]
It is the one that belongs to you [plural].
[De school]
Het is die van hen.
[The school]
It is the one that belongs to them.

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L-ahhar aggornament June 28, 2008 ::