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In the sentence

Du bist einer Maus ähnlich.

Why is ähnlich at the end of the sentence?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Ähnlich is placed there, because one of its uses is to compare:

Objekt1 Objekt2(Dat) ähnlich sein ~ Object 1 is similar to object 2.

In this use, ähnlich is said to be nachgestellt (put after, as some prepostions are). Moreover it is not qualifying, it's compairing the objects.

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I have never heard of a grammatical term "nachgestelltes Wort" ... do you have a link for that? –  Emanuel Oct 17 '13 at 10:25
    
@Emanuel well, there exists the term nachgestellte Präposition –  c.p. Oct 17 '13 at 11:06
    
That's true... that's interesting because that would make "ähnlich" a preposition. However, prepositions can't stand alone, while "ähnlich" can. –  Emanuel Oct 17 '13 at 11:13

We have to see ähnlich as part of the verb. The verb is not sein but ähnlich sein. This is strongly supported by the fact that it rules its own case. Sein alone does not call for Dative at all. Adjectives however do not rule a case. In a different universe it might just be written as one word - ähnlichsein. It is similar to Fahrrad fahren or zurückgehen. There is no logical reason why one is written as 2 words and the other as one. Or even better... zumachen and zu sein

Ich mache die Tür zu.

Die Tür ist zu.

For all verbs there is a different level of adhesion between defining adverbials. For ähnlich it is not very strong and yet just as Fahrrad or the prefix ein, ähnlich is the "rest" of the predicate and thus at the end.

Du bist einer Maus ähnlich.

Just as with all verbs, I can add qualifiers ...and also particles.

Die Tür ist nicht/kaum/schon/doch/ja/noch zu.

Du bist einer Maus nicht/kaum/schon ähnlich. (not all of them work here)

And I can make comparisons with regular prefixes... although this is somewhat colloquial

Ich mache die Tür zuer als du sie je gemacht hast.

Officially, this is wrong but it does not trigger a grammar alert as "den Tür" would do.

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Könnte es sein, dass das Problem darin besteht, dass "sein" im Gegensatz zu "machen" ein Kopula ist. Stell dir mal vor das Linking Verb nimmt das "zu" an. Wenn also "zusein" ein Wort wäre. "Die Tür zuist". Und wie klingt erst die Frage? "Zuist die Tür?" - Dann doch lieber ist "Wie/Was ist die Tür? Sie ist zu". –  Em1 Oct 17 '13 at 11:04
    
@Em1... ja, das kann schon sein, dass das wegen dem Kopula Charakter nicht so leicht/gut funktioniert. Aber Vorsicht. "Ich weiß, dass die Tür zuist." ... ok, das sieht komisch aus. Aber "Zuist die Tür?"... das würde nie passieren. Denn wenn, dann wäre "zu" ein trennbarer Präfix "Ist die Tür zu?" –  Emanuel Oct 17 '13 at 11:09

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