This sentence is from the Frankfurter Allgemeine.

Nicht nur wegen Athleten wie Reus oder den Kugelstoß-Assen Christian Schwanitz und David Storl blickt der Deutsche Leichtathletik-Verband ...

Why is it "den Kugelstoß-Assen Christian Schwanitz und David Storl", seemingly in dative? Shouldn't it be genitive after "wegen"?

  • related : german.stackexchange.com/questions/329/…
    – Emanuel
    Jul 30, 2014 at 9:47
  • also related: german.stackexchange.com/questions/8433/…
    – Emanuel
    Jul 30, 2014 at 9:48
  • Actually, @Emanuel is right, that this is a duplicate. That said, the accepted answer to the other question is not (entirely) correct. Many people would disagree with using dative being correct at all, so why recommend using dative.
    – Em1
    Jul 30, 2014 at 13:40
  • @Em1.. because that's how people talk. Who says "wegen meines Vaters". It's actually amiguous because it could be a possessive too. Or "wegen dir"... I actually feel like there might be a distinction in meaning... "Ich muss wegen dem Wetter mit dir reden" Wetter is the direct cause. "Ich muss wegen des Wetters mit dir reden." Wetter is the topic.
    – Emanuel
    Jul 30, 2014 at 14:56
  • @Emanuel I do. But I don't see how the Genetiv can be misconstrued as a possessive here, and also there is no distinction with Dativ as you claim (maybe this is emerging due to consistent abuse, but it's not a rule). If you want to talk about the weather and avoid ambiguity, say "Ich muss mit dir über das Wetter reden." -- "wegen" describes cause, not purpose.
    – Raphael
    Jul 31, 2014 at 6:24

3 Answers 3


Canoo.net is of help here:

Generally with dative in standard German of the southern part of the German-speaking area

Frankfurt, as you know, is in the southern part of Germany.

But they also note:

This use of the dative after wegen is not accepted by everybody. Therefore it is better to avoid it in written standard German.


Definitely; "wegen" always requires Genitiv. Thus, correct would be:

Nicht nur wegen Athleten wie Reus oder der Kugelstoß-Asse Christian Schwanitz und David Storl blickt der Deutsche Leichtathletik-Verband ...

However, as other answers note, use of Genetiv has been declining overall and seems to be vanishing in particular with "wegen". You often hear phrases like "wegen dem Wetter".

So while not correct (in the strict, conservative way), using Dativ with "wegen" will not raise (m)any eyebrows.

  • You might want to watch this belleslettres.eu/artikel/wegen-genitiv-dativ.php whether you agree or not, you'll have to concede that Dative is not just plain lazy wrong.
    – Emanuel
    Jul 31, 2014 at 9:30
  • @Emanuel Agreed, interesting. I did not watch the whole thing but it seems clear that the author starts with a particular set of premises one might not share. (I can't comment on factual accuracy.) Apparently, there are differing "feels" of what "correct" German should be at work, depending on region.
    – Raphael
    Jul 31, 2014 at 10:08

You don't always use genitive after "wegen" (although probably in most cases). In this case, because of the plural ("die Kugelstoß-Asse") there is no or you cannot recognize the genetive and it sounds like dative.

In a singular case it clearly would be genetive: "...wegen des Kugelstoß-Asses..."

Take a look at Duden, section "Grammatik".

  • 1
    Isn't genetive plural "der Asse" ("die Zahl der Asse"), not "den Assen"? :-)
    – dirkt
    Jul 30, 2014 at 8:49
  • 2
    @dirkt is right. The example sentence is clearly dative. You would recognize genitive. Also, in singular the newspaper editor would still go with dative.
    – Em1
    Jul 30, 2014 at 12:31
  • @dirkt: that's what I was trying to say, the genitive case is indistinguishable of the dative case.
    – Stefan
    Aug 8, 2014 at 19:30
  • @Em1: No, in singular most germans working at a newspaper would not use dative, but the genitive.
    – Stefan
    Aug 8, 2014 at 19:33
  • Why the down vote?
    – Stefan
    Aug 8, 2014 at 19:33

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.