Which one is correct:

Vielen Dank für die Datei. Wir haben die angeschaut.


Vielen Dank für die Datei. Wir haben sie angeschaut.


It depends on the construction of your sentence. With two separate sentences, having the structure of your example, you need a simple personal pronoun (Personalpronomen), which is "sie":

Vielen Dank für die Datei. Wir haben sie (uns) angeschaut.

"die" would be either a demonstrative pronoun, or a relative pronoun. But to use either a demonstrative or a relative pronoun in your sentence, you have to adapt the sentence structure. Furthermore, there's a slight change in meaning:

  • Demonstrative pronoun:

    „Die Datei? Ja, die haben wir (uns) angeschaut.“ (Aber die Dokumentation dazu nicht).

    This structure has its emphasize on "Datei". In my "extended" example, this structure helps to distinct between different objects ("Datei" and "documentation"). Here we have two separate sentences too, but the emphasis is better expressed with the pronoun at the very beginning of the sentence, in contrast to the usual subject - predicate - object structure.

  • Relative pronoun:

    „Die Datei, die wir uns angeschaut haben, entsprach in jeder Hinsicht unseren Erwartungen.“

    Here, the pronoun introduces a subordinate clause ("die wir uns angeschaut haben").

  • 3
    I disagree in parts. It might be colloquial, but the use of an article instead of a personal pronoun as in "Wir haben die angeschaut" appears to me to be quite common in spoken language, having exactly the same meaning as with "Wir haben sie angeschaut".
    – Ray
    Nov 24 '11 at 12:27
  • 4
    @Ray: you may be right that using "die" is quite common, but in my opinion deliberately choosing "die" sounds quite disrespectful (in german i would choose the old-fashioned „despektierlich“) - especially when speaking about another person, nut just an object. So, i wouldn't recommend it as a equivalent option to "sie".
    – tohuwawohu
    Nov 24 '11 at 12:54
  • 3
    @tohuwawohu: It might be used as a form of disrespect, but usually (and especially with objects) not. At exxample when talking about movies: "Ich habe den gesehen!" is probably far more common than "Ich habe ihn gesehen!". The answer "Ich habe den in Köln getroffen" is not meant to speak derogative of the person the speaker had met in Cologne.
    – Ray
    Nov 24 '11 at 14:57
  • @Ray: ok, here i agree with you.
    – tohuwawohu
    Nov 24 '11 at 15:00


It depends. In spoken German, both sentences can be (and are) used. In written language, use "sie" or "diese" instead of "die".

Vielen Dank für die Datei. Wir haben diese angeschaut.

The use of the single demonstrative pronoun "diese(r,s)" is sublime language and often used in formal correspondence or press articles.

Dieser war bis zu seiner Entlassung Ministerpräsident von Schleswig-Holstein.

Even in spoken language, "die" sounds quite narrow in constructions with two sentences, except when used at the beginning of the second sentence.

Very good after interjections:

Die Datei? Ja, die habe ich angeschaut.

or just

Dort war ein Mann. Der kam mir sehr verdächtig vor.

  • "Diese" is still poor style, in my opinion. It is severely overused by people trying to sound smart.
    – fzwo
    Nov 25 '11 at 12:04
  • Indeed? I was not sure about the speculative part by hindsight, so I removed it. Nov 28 '11 at 17:07
  • @fzwo Thanks for your suggestion. I definitely think it is sublime language, but bad style? If you have evidence, I will think it over. Nov 28 '11 at 17:27
  • 1
    @Jan-Frederik I don't have evidence. It is poor style because it is sublime, which is out of place in most day-to-day language. That doesn't mean it doesn't have its applications, of course. I didn't mean to condemn usage of diese entirely - only generally. If you're trying to sound "official", by all means use diese(r/s). Or, of course, if you want to distinguish between these and those: Diese und jene.
    – fzwo
    Nov 28 '11 at 17:38

Gestern kam eine Datei im MS-Office-Format. Die konnten wir nicht öffnen. Heute schickten Sie uns eine Datei im OpenOffice-Format. Die konnten wir anschauen.

Das "die" im vierten Satz unterstreicht den Unterschied zur ersten Datei. Solange es überhaupt nur eine Datei gibt, von der die Rede sein kann, würde ich 'sie' sagen.

In der Regel würde man aber nur zwei Sätze bilden:

Gestern kam eine Datei im MS-Office-Format, die wir nicht öffnen konnten. Heute schickten Sie uns eine Datei im OpenOffice-Format, die wir anschauen konnten.

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