4

Regarding this sentence:

Du hast immer Fragen gestellt und darauf bestanden, dass ich antworte.

I’m really confused because intuitively I would say that dass is right, but it doesn’t really initiate the subordinate clause, does it?

9

It may sound surprising, but the subclause marked by dass can in fact be governed by verb, a noun or a substituting pronoun.

Most common form:

Ich verlange, dass du mir antwortest!

Subclause governed by noun:

Die Vorstellung, dass ich dir antworte, ist abwegig.

Subclause governed by pronoun:

Ich bestehe darauf, dass du mir antwortest!

The set of pronouns that work like this is small and closed, and they tend to be compounds of da-.

1

It is correct.
If it were das instead, what word would be targeted by the article/pronoun?

0

I don’t really see your problem, but of course there is a subordinate clause and it is initiated by dass. You can tell that it is one because:

  • There is a subject (nominative ich) and a conjugated verb (antworte);
  • if you extend it with an object, you realise that the verb is last:

    […] dass ich dir antworte.

And it has to be dass (and not das) for a variety of reasons, including:

  • There is no neuter word that is directly referenced. Compare:

    Das Wort, das ich dir sage, ist die Antwort.

  • It can stand all on its own which is not possible for relative clauses starting with das:

    Was verlange ich?
    Dass ich dir antworte.

    Was ist mit dem Wort?
    Das ich dir sage.
    Das Wort, das ich dir sage, ist die Antwort.

  • It cannot be replaced by welches (which is an almost certain indicator for das and not dass):

    Du bestehst darauf, welches ich dir antworte.

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