7

Maybe the answer is too obvious, but I want to know if it's possible, without ambiguity and fitting still a good style, to substitute, say,

mit verletztem Mund und verletzter Nase

by

mit verletzten Mund und Nase

or

mit nassem Hemd und nassem Handtuch

by

mit nassen Hemd und Handtuch


If so, then consider feminine singular nouns:

... kluge Jutta und Ela (both in nominative, without preceding article)

What would you understand from this last one?

  1. Only Jutta is smart.
  2. Both Jutta and Ela are.
  3. You cannot tell, because it's context dependent.
  4. The expression is either incorrect or no native speaker wouldn't use it.
  • As written in Matthias’ answer, it should be mit nassem Hemd und Handtuch – Jan Jun 9 '15 at 11:40
  • 1
    @Jan Maybe you didn't understand my point: your phrase is grammatically correct, but you can't expect people to understand it the way that both shirt and towel are wet. IMHO most people would understand that only the shirt is said to be wet, so it is not a good substitute for the original phrase. – Matthias Jun 9 '15 at 18:41
  • @Matthias I didn’t want to imply that that would give an understandable sentence, I just wanted to point out that nassen would not work at all for being ungrammatical. – Jan Jun 9 '15 at 18:55
6

mit verletzten Mund und Nase

This doesn't work. Here you are using verletzt in plural dative. Since in German adjectives have to agree with their noun on number, case and gender, there must be something in plural that verletzten can refer to. Mund und Nase, however, do not form a plural entity (at least not to my ears). The same holds true for Hemd und Handtuch, so you second example doesn't work either.

There are rare cases where this does work, e.g.

die berühmten Siegfried und Roy

In this example the names of the two artists appear like the name of a group that can be used like a plural word.

mit verletztem Mund und Nase

as it was suggested in another answer, might work – but only because "mit Nase" alone doesn't seem to make sense at all, so that a reader might accept the error in agreement (Nase is feminine, while verletztem is masculine) in exchange for more reason. But the error still lingers around, making this phrase sound wrong somehow. Compare

mit gebrochener Nase und Sonnenbrille

Nobody would think of broken sun glasses here, even though agreement rules would be obeyed. And that's not only because one would use "zerbrochen", not "gebrochen" for glasses.

Another example:

Ich esse gerne frischen Fisch und Käse.

Again, frisch is only applied to FischKäse stands on its own and is not described in detail.

And finally:

kluge Jutta und Ela

It's similar to the Fisch/Käse example, so I'd say it's option 1) – and 4), because I cannot figure how someone would use it without an article. But maybe someone might come up with a context where this phrase, without article, does sound natural and can be understood in the way of 2), so you could also say it is 3) ;-)

7

In both cases I would tend to avoid the proposed phrases. For the first example:

mit Verletzungen an Mund und Nase

sounds somewhat better.

mit verletztem Mund und Nase

would also be viable in my opinion, since the mere existence of a nose is unquestionable and occuring in this sentence clearly indicates it also to be covered by verletztem.

The second example is therefore more ambiguous, since Ela may be simply mentioned or also categorized as klug, so I tend to (3). To resolve ambiguity one could use something like

die klugen Frauen Jutta und Ela.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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