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I was speaking to a friend of mine about another person and I almost used "davon" to refer to a human. Is this allowed?

For example:

I realise it is legal for the following to take place:

Ich hab ein neues Auto.

Hast du Bilder davon?

In the above example, I used davon to refer to an object, but can I refer to a human in the same way?

Kennst du meinen Bruder?

Ich bin nicht sicher. Hast du Bilder davon?

I hope I have articulated my question clearly enough but if not, my apologies in advance.

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1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Usually you'd say

Hast du Bilder von ihm?

Davon is used for objects, not for humans. You can, however, use davon in the following context:

Mein Bruder ist gestern in den Fluss gefallen.
Witzig! Hast du Bilder davon?

You can use it here, because davon does not refer to the brother, but to the act of him falling into the river.

On your question whether this rule can be generalized:

Well, you can't say that in general, as most of the pronomial adverbs listed here for example would not be used when talking about humans in the first place, but very well on actions connected to humans, for example

Mein Bruder war auch dabei.
Ich habe nichts dagegen, dass dein Bruder mitkommt.

However, you can not say

Magst du meinen Bruder?
Ich habe nichts dagegen.

Instead you'd say

Ich habe nichts gegen ihn.

On the other hand you could safely say (for example when showing a photograph):

Das sind mein Bruder und mein Vater. Daneben/davor/dahinter/dazwischen steht meine Schwester.

Or also

Neben/vor/hinter/zwischen ihnen steht meine Schwester.

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Of course! First take pictures before even attempting to get him out of there! –  PMF Jan 15 '14 at 9:06
Well, the Facebook timeline needs food ;-) –  Thorsten Dittmar Jan 15 '14 at 9:07
Thank you! Does this object-only rule apply to all the pronominal adverbs? –  Dustin Jan 15 '14 at 15:43
I changed my answer to give some more examples. –  Thorsten Dittmar Jan 15 '14 at 16:04

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