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Could you explain the grammatical structure of this sentence?

Genau das habe ich gestern gegessen.

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closed as too broad by Baz, chirlu, Em1, c.p., Vogel612 Jul 18 '13 at 11:28

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Your question is very broad. What aspect/part of the sentence are you having difficulty with? –  chirlu Jul 18 '13 at 3:32
grammatically it is a Verbzweitsatz. –  Emanuel Jul 18 '13 at 9:59
You are not providing any thoughts about the grammaticality of the sentence itself and why it is written in this way. Put as it is, the question is not only broad but also non-constructive. –  martina Jul 18 '13 at 10:14

2 Answers 2

Let me give it a try with just a very basic breakdown:

Basically the sentence is:

Ich habe gestern genau das gegessen.

So very basic structure:

(Subject): Ich

(Akkusativ Object): Genau das

(Finite Verbal Phrase with adverbial specification of time): habe gestern gegessen

The front position of the Object is a legitimate way to stress the fact that it is exactly this food, that the person has been eating.

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I know it is often taught that position 1 is used to emphasize things However, I disagree. The genau puts a strong emphasis on the element no matter where it is placed and I see no particular difference between "Ich habe genau das..." especially when I stress "genau das" hile speaking. I think the placement is mainly on account of text reasons. The dish has been mentioned before, maybe the last sentence ended with it so having "genau das" joins parts together by taking up the element that we all know (which is also a tendency that rules German word order - known ---> new) –  Emanuel Jul 18 '13 at 10:03
@bouscher In what cases such a sentence (affirmative with the second position occupied by the object instead of the verb) is acceptable? –  martina Jul 18 '13 at 10:16
@martina: the second position is not occupied by the object... it is a regular verb second sentence. The object is "genau das". Genau das qualifies the pronoun. You can test that by moving just the "das" somewhere else. The sentence will be still grammatical but the genau will qualify the "ich" then... ergo... "genau das" is one constituent. –  Emanuel Jul 18 '13 at 10:29
@Emanuel I agree. "The known information precedent to new information" is the only reason to phrase the sentence like this. –  Em1 Jul 18 '13 at 12:12
Counter Example: Somebody says:"Das Zeug schmeckt nicht." Answer: "Ich hab genau das gestern gegessen, ich fands gut." Imagine the "Ich" stressed. The connection "Das Zeug"<->"genau das" is well established, the reason to put "Ich" in front is imho to stress the fact, that oneself is of different opinion. But I agree that the establishment of a connection is a major factor here. –  bouscher Jul 18 '13 at 12:17

I think your problem is that you think of das as an article.
But in this context, it actually is a pronoun (rückbezügliches Pronomen/Für-Wort - reflexiv pronoun) .

Exactly this is it that I have been eating yesterday. 
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