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It is common to use halber to indicate a cause, a reason or an end for something.

Der Einfachheit halber hier ein einfacher Beispielsatz.

Now 'Einfachheit' is feminine, so 'halber' is absolutely correct. For a masculine noun it would be:

Des Friedens halben hier ein freundlicher Beispielsatz.

I feel very uncomfortable writing that. And I'd never use it in a conversation and I really only once heard it beeing used (and that was in a play from Goethe). Is it just uncommon or is it wrong to decline it? May masculine nouns be combined with 'halb'? Would it be (for some reason) more correct to not decline it and say:

Des Friedens halber ein freundlicher Beispielsatz.

I know that I can always circumvent using it by using more common phrases. Still I'd like to know if there is something wrong with the masculine case. And if so: what.

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"Des Friedens halber" does indeed sound weird, but not because it's wrong. There are alternatives, however. – Raphael Jun 10 '14 at 10:47
I wouldn’t call halber anything close to “common”. It’s rather sophisticated (hence stylistically marked), as is the genitive case for most non-possessive uses, but der Einfachheit halber may count as a “common” fixed expression. – Crissov Jun 12 '14 at 11:47
@Crissov I feel there are a lot of fixed expressions working with halber: der Ordnung halber, der Vollständigkeit halber, der Fairness halber, der Form halber... With so many fixed expressions build with it, halber can hardly be that sophisticated, can it? – Einer Jun 12 '14 at 11:54
Actually it can if used productively, i.e. outside fixed expressions. That’s why des Friedens halber sounds weird to @Raphael. I agree, though, that there are other common combinators than just Einfachheit. – Crissov Jun 12 '14 at 12:08
@Crissov I attributed the weirdness to the fact that Frieden is masculine. Every commonly heard expression with halber I can think of is feminine. But if you say it's sophisticated outside that expressions... well I take your word for it! – Einer Jun 12 '14 at 12:18

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

"halber" does not (grammatically) derive from "halb" (as in "ein halbes Brot"). It's a preposition that is not inflected.

Des Friedens halber...

Des Friedens wegen ...

Des Friedens zuliebe ...

Um des Friedens willen ...

These all mean the same thing and the preposition never changes with the gender of the noun.

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But you do say meinethalben, don't you? That said, let me quote from Jacob Grimm, Deutsche Grammatik, Bd. 4, S. 797: "die nhd. form schwebt zwischen halb, halben, halber: meinthalben, ehren halber, des friedens halber, und wird oft noch mit der präp. um verknüpft: um des friedens halber". – Ingmar Jun 10 '14 at 10:47
@Ingmar Yes, but that's just another "fixed" word that is not inflected. In particular, it is not associated with a noun in the sentence (it's point of reference is "ich" which is wrapped in the word itself). – Raphael Jun 10 '14 at 10:49
So what you are saying is, that "des Friedens halber" is actually right? It surely feels very... well it makes me feel very uncomfortable, too. But thanks for the clarification! – Einer Jun 10 '14 at 11:05
@Einer As far as I can tell, it is, yes. There are certainly no other forms of "halber" in this use case. – Raphael Jun 10 '14 at 12:02
So good ol' J. Wolle Goethe took some artistic freedom Wouldn't be the first time he did this. Thanks for your answer! – Einer Jun 10 '14 at 12:09

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