This is the sentence from "Die Verwandlung".

Aber dann ging natürlich wie immer das Dienstmädchen (festen Schrittes) zur Tür und öffnete.

Are the words in the bracket genitive or dative, plural or single? Why does the sentence use "festen Schrittes" instead of "mit festen Schritten" ?


1 Answer 1


I am not sure if "why" is a good question. Anyway, there are many phrases using the genetive singular in a similar manner:

leichten/schweren/klopfenden Herzens

guten Mutes

allen Ernstes

I daresay they all describe the "mode" of doing something.

For me as a very oldfashioned native speaker it is absolutely natural to somewhat freely form phrases of this kind:

Zornigen Blickes nahm er seinen Hut und verliess das Zimmer.

But the number of combinations that sound native is very limited. I would never say:

Schweren Armes hob er sein Schwert.

It would be good to know if this ever was standard practise. I tend to assume that.

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