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I am reading a document for renting an apartment in Germany through a real-estate company, and I stumbled upon the abbreviation, o.g. What does it mean, and what are the original words?

The context is as following:

Honorarbestätigung Mietinteressenten

Interessent: Herr norio

Makler: MMM GMBH

Mietobject:

Xstraße z in xx Dresden, 1-Zi.-Wohnung im 1.Obergeschoss, WE x.xx

Der Mietinteressent bestätigt, o.g. ihm unbekannte vermietbare Wohnung vom Makler nachgewiesen sowie komplette Daten erhalten zu haben.

I guess it means abovementioned, and I expect that the sentence should mean something like

The prospective tenant certifies that he has been shown the abovementioned rentable apartment by the broker and has received complete data.

However, for this to be the case, I would expect that o.g. comes at a different position in the sentence, namely before unbekannte.

I am also not sure if “Der Mietinteressent bestätigt, … ihm … Wohnung … nachgewiesen … zu haben.” may be translated as “The prospective tenant certifies to have been shown the apartment”. I think it would mean that “The prospective tenant certifies to have shown the apartment.” Could you explain the structure of the sentence as well?

  • Note that you usually should ask only one question per question. However, it is good that you documented your research regarding the meaning of the whole sentence. The meaning of nachgewiesen or nachweisen, respectively, in this context is actually deserves its own question as even I as a native speaker had to look it up (it’s bureaucratese, not regular German) and am not very happy with the result. – Wrzlprmft Sep 12 '14 at 16:14
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    I also want to mention that the sentence in question is horribly structured. In regular German it would be: “Ich bestätige, dass der Makler mir o. g., unbekannte, vermietbare Wohnung nachgewiesen hat und dass ich die kompletten Daten erhalten habe.“ – Wrzlprmft Sep 12 '14 at 16:49
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    I asked a separate question regarding the meaning of nachweisen in bureaucratese (it’s German only for now, but do not hesitate to ask for a translation). – Wrzlprmft Sep 12 '14 at 22:50
  • As noted by Chris in a comment to the other question, there also should be a bekommen after nachgewiesen. – Wrzlprmft Sep 13 '14 at 19:04
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You are right about the meaning of o. g.: It stands for obengenannte (or any inflected form) which translates as abovementioned. So the relevant segment of in your is:

obengenannte ihm unbekannte vermietbare Wohnung.

This is the noun Wohnung (appartment) which is described by three adjectives:

  • obengenannte (abovementioned)
  • ihm unbekannte (unknown to him)
  • vermietbare (rentable)

The word order is correct, as placing o. g. between ihm and unbekannte would not make sense.

Two things might have confused you:

  • You may have thought that ihm belongs to nachgewiesen instead of unbekannte. This is not far fetched, as a very similar sentence structure would be used, if it were you who has proven¹ something to somebody, e.g.:

    Ich bestätige, ihm meine Aufenthaltsberechtigung nachgewiesen zu haben. – I confirm that I have proven him my right of residence to him.

    (where ihm/him is somebody else).

  • The adjectives have the same rank (as you could place an und between them) and therefore should be separated by a comma, which would have clarified the whole structure:

    obengenannte, ihm unbekannte, vermietbare Wohnung

    You would only drop the commas if there were a lot of apartments to which one or two of the adjectives apply and you want to specifically refer to the only one to which all three apply (which is not the case here).


¹ Note that I translate jmd. etw. nachweisen as to prove sth. to sb. here for simplicity. The actual meaning of nachweisen in this context cannot be easily translated into one English word (and does not matter for this aspect).

  • Just a side remark... technically the "ihm" could function as a "target"-indicator for all 3 adjectives ... something like that "to him abovementioned", "to him unknown" , "to him rent-able ". The reason this is not the case is that it is not idiomatic in case of the last one and not the desired message in case of "abovementioned" as the flat wasn't mention specifically to him but to whoever reads the contract. On the subject of rank... I'm not so sure. I think the latter two are just closer descriptions while o.g. singles out exactly one flat. Not a lawyer though – Emanuel Sep 12 '14 at 21:12
  • I don't think that's the right way to read this. A comma means that I can replace it with "und". If I do that, the sentence says that the flat is "A and B and C". I think that "obengenannte" makes a reference and the other two describe... so maybe a comma should be put between "unbekannte" and "vermietbare".... I tried to find some law-text that conatins a situation like this ... without success. But I am really quite skeptical with regards to the commas and unless you have a source, I think you should make it clear that it's your very own personal opinion as opposed to rules. – Emanuel Sep 12 '14 at 22:09
  • @Emanuel: Suppose you place a comma only between unbekannte und vermietbare. Then you could bracket the structure as follows: “obengenannte {unbekannte, vermietbare Wohnung}” (as obengenannte has a higher rank than the other adjectives). So there are many aforementioned appartments, but this is about the one that is identified by being unknown and rentable. See also the examples to § 71 E1 of the spelling rules. – Wrzlprmft Sep 12 '14 at 22:27
  • @Wrzlprmft I don't think that the three adjectives have the same rank. "o.g." identifies the appartment, the other two describe it further. You could write it as "... o.g. Wohnung, welche ihm unbekannt und vermietbar ist, ...". - Looking at § 71 E1 and extending one of the examples there: what would be the difference between "eine neue blaue handgenähte Bluse" and "eine neue blaue, handgenähte Bluse"? Maybe we should make it a new question. But not tonight - time for bed... – Matthias Sep 12 '14 at 23:19
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You’re right, “o.g.” means “obengenannte”, i.e. “abovementioned”. Full translation is

The prospective tenant certifies that the abovementioned, previously unknown to him, rentable apartment, was pointed out to him by the broker, and that he has received complete data.

“o.g.” is in the correct spot, as it refers to the entire phrase “ihm unbekannte vermietbare Wohnung”. I could not name a concrete rule (things are similarly tricky in English), but the order of adjectival phrases here is one that intuitively looks like the correct one to native speakers.

“nachgewiesen” is indeed a passive construction, due to the preposition “vom”.

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