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I was wondering whether the sentence using "was für" would be Nominativ or Akkusativ

for example:

  • Was für ein warmer Winter!

  • Was für einen warmen Winter!

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possible duplicate of Meaning of "Was für ein"? –  DerPolyglott33 Jan 27 at 8:25
    
I don't think this question is a duplicate. This one asks about the case and the other question only talks about meaning. –  thekeyofgb Jan 27 at 12:02
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1 Answer 1

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Was für is an interrogative pronoun and synonymous with welcher, welche, welches and welch Duden It translates to "what [kind of]" or "what [a]" in English.

The pronoun itself doesn't tell you anything about which case to use. You need to pick the one appropriate in the context. In your example, which is an exclamation, it's simply Nominative.

If you were to say, "What a warm Winter we're having this year!" things would be different:

"Was für einen warmen Winter wir dieses Jahr haben!"

Here, it's Accusative, because haben takes an Accusative object.

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Can you provide additional information? I was taught differently and I learned the opposite: the preposition (rather than the pronoun) does determine the case: german.about.com/library/anfang/blanfang14b.htm Unless we're talking about two different things, it seems to me only the second example given by the OP is correct since für is an accusative preposition. –  Dustin Jan 29 at 6:18
    
@Dustin; No problem: You've been taught correctly and in general, the rule you're citing is right. The thing is that "was für" should be treated as a unit here - the whole phrase acts as a pronoun, so "für" isn't really a preposition in this case; it's a part of the pronoun. A similar example in English would be "passersby", where "by" acts as a part of the word rather than as a preposition. (Not an ideal example, but I can't think of a better one off the top of my head, sorry :)) –  Mac Jan 29 at 9:52
    
Thanks very much for the explanation. That makes complete sense to me. :) –  Dustin Jan 29 at 22:44
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