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In one of Rammstein's most famous songs, "Du hast", the lyrics go like this:

Willst du bis der Tod euch scheide

Treu ihr sein für alle Tage?

Nein!

Now, I am a bit puzzled why there is no t in the end of scheide. Der Tod is 3rd person singular, so I would expect the verb to be in the appropriate form. Is it just for the sake of the rhyme or is there any grammatical explanation?

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Which rhyme? Willst du bis der Tod euch scheide/ treu ihr sein, der Tage beide? –  user unknown Apr 17 '12 at 3:44
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2 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

A Google Search gave me some information which motivated me to hear the song again and I perceived an interesting fact which I've never recognized before. I should listen more carefully to songs in future. :D

There is a wordplay (if it is good or not you can decide on your own). The second to last repetition says:

Willst du bis zum Tod der Scheide

Sie lieben auch in schlechten Tagen

instead of

Willst du bis der Tod Euch scheidet,

Treu' ihr sein für alle Tage

That means, they refer to the female genital! And I think that Sie lieben (also sang once) will mean to make love rather than to love.

Note that this is the only time they omit the t. In the other parts before they don't elide the t. Also become aware of the fact that the whole song is based on another wordplay, namely haben (to have) vs hassen (to hate). In second person they are equally pronounced.

Du hast

Du hasst

And they repeat Du hast mich which wouldn't make sense (why everyone would think of to hate), not until they complete the sentence:

Du hast mich gefragt

As you already said, songs does not necessarily follow the grammatical rules. Same for poetries, etc. For the benefit of rhyme, metric or whatever the sentences can be rephrased in such a way that the are still understandable but are not perfect German (same for English).

Regarding the rules of German (and which was my first (wrong) interpretation):
Talking in indicative you are right. Then there would be a t at the end of the word. But if they leave out the t the sentence would be phrased in subjunctive (for the reason given in previous paragraph) and as you can see on wiki the subjunctive of 3rd person singular (present active) is er/sie/es scheide.

In subjunctive the sentence is grammatical but, of course, there is a semantic error or at least the sentence is semantically disputable.

EDIT:
A short overview of the song on wikipedia says that the part is Willst du bis zum Tod, der scheidet, sie lieben auch in schlechten Tagen?. I heard the part again and again but I can't hear a t so I insist that the t is elided and the wiki article is wrong (not least because there are enough Google hits which agree).

EDIT2:
I hope I'm allowed to link Youtube videos here. Have you already listen to the English version of the song? That's absolutely not ambiguous:

Will you 'til death be her rider

her lover too, to stay inside her

Also have a look on this overview.

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>made a Google Search which leads to an interesting fact - do I have to google myself or could you link to your resources? :) –  John Smithers Apr 16 '12 at 14:35
    
Thank you for your answer. Could I ask you to please explain how do they refer to female genitalia by "Willst du bis zum Tod der Scheide Sie lieben auch in schlechten Tagen" ? –  Armen Tsirunyan Apr 16 '12 at 14:50
    
„Scheide" (normally English "sheath" like for a knife) is also a slang word for the vagina. You can maybe picture the connection of a knife and a sheath. –  Kevin Apr 16 '12 at 17:06
    
They're basically asking if you want to be faithful to her until you're separated in death and do you want to still love her even after the sex is gone. –  Kevin Apr 16 '12 at 17:12
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@Kevin: "Scheide" isn't slang, but the normal term when you don't want to use the medical term "Vagina", which sounds quite "technical". See e.g. de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vagina –  Landei Apr 16 '12 at 18:26
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The verb form "scheide" is the subjunctive mood, quite similar to the English translation "till death do us part". The verb form "scheidet" (indicative mood) is nowadays far more common, and "scheide" might be seem as slightly archaic, but definitively not grammatically incorrect.

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