I came across this sentence:

Er ist mein zu Hause geworden.

First off, what does the preposition zu add to the meaning of the verb werden?

Secondly, Why is mein left by itself here? Can it be replaced by mir and still convey the same meaning?

  • 3
    This "zu" shouldn't be a preposition, but is probably part of the word "zuhause" which means home. It sholdn't be written apart. I'm not sure what the pronomen "er" is referring to, but I'm sure there are maskuline words for places to live. Otherwise I'd use the neuter "es". You could also write "Es ist mir ein zuhause geworden" as you suggest. In the first case it translates to: "It has become my home" and in the other case " It has become a home for me" – Beta Aug 5 '16 at 4:14
  • 2
    Would have been a lot clearer to you probably if it had been written correctly as "mein Zuhause". German makes it obvious which words are nouns, but only if you get it right! Other than that I'd only add to Beta's answer that "er" might metaphorically refer to a person. He became my reference point, my comforter etc. Though of course inanimate masculine objects can also be "er" in German. – see sharper Aug 5 '16 at 6:17
  • @Beta: "but is probably part of the word 'zuhause' which means home. It sholdn't be written apart." - You mean Zuhause, which means home. zu Hause (which means at home) should be written apart, cf. Duden: "Von Duden empfohlene Schreibung: zu Hause" – O. R. Mapper Aug 7 '16 at 11:39

You probably have a typo or grammatical error in that sentence. I'd assume it meant to read

Er ist mein Zuhause geworden.

which would translate as something like

He became my home.

"Zuhause" is a "Zusammenrückung" (compound or composition) of "zu Hause". An English example of the same principle would be something like "bystander" (from "someone who stands by") or "onlooker". As those, "Zuhause" is a noun. You can think of it as a short form of "wo ich zu Hause bin" ("where I am at home"), which is my "Zuhause" (my "home").

Regarding your second question, "mein" could be replaced by "mir". That would be a different grammatical construction. "mein" denotes a genetive, as in "my home". With "mir", the sentence would rather read

Er ist mir ein Zuhause geworden.

and translate as

He became a home to me.

Grammatically, the genetive is replaced by a dative. And as far as the meaning is concerned, I'd say it's somewhat weaker. "Er ist mein Zuhause geworden" has a connotation of "He became my one and only home", while "Er ist mir ein Zuhause geworden" means more something like "he's a valued home right now, but not necessarily the only one, and it can change down the line".

(h/t to @Beta and @see-sharper who mentioned some of this already in the comments to your question)

| improve this answer | |

The fixed adverbial phrase "zu Hause" (at home) is in the classic spelling version of what can also be written as a one-word adverb 'zuhause' (per orthographic reform of 2006, but who does that, anyway…). The noun version would be '(das) Zuhause', meaning: the place one is/feels at home.

Er ist mein "zu Hause" geworden.


He / It has become my (being at) home.

(It's "he", if the pronoun stands for a male person, but "it", if "er" stands for a masculine noun.)

While it technically should be the noun 'Zuhause', the author may have chosen to write "zu Hause" deliberately (it's allowed for 'zu Hause') to emphasise it as a key phrase, so as to express the quality of being at home (that is: having found a place to really call 'my home') as an important emotional state.

Sentence structure:

 ┏━━SUBJECT━━┓ ┏━━AUXILIARY━━┓ ┏━━━━━━━OBJECT━━━━━━━┓ ┏━━━MAIN VERB━━━━┓
      Er          ist            mein Zuhause           geworden.
    masculine     present tense           Prädikativ            past participle

The sentence is in the present perfect tense (Perfekt): "ist" = auxiliary verb 'sein' (to be) in the singular 3rd person, present tense + "geworden" = past participle (2. Partizip / Partizip Perfekt) of 'werden' (to become).

About the case of the object: The phrase »mein "zu Hause" / Zuhause« is in the nominative case – this is called Gleichsetzungsnominativ or prädikativer Nominativ – the nominative of equation or the predicate nominative: An object of one of the copular verbs (Kopularverben) sein, werden, bleiben is equated with the subject (Er), and that puts the object phrase in the nominative case (Er ist wer oder was geworden? Mein "zu Hause".)

| improve this answer | |

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