An acquaintance is tortured by the fact that "einige Ländereien" is not immediately after the verb "sind" (where he expects the subject to be). As was explained in another post of mine today, the subject is not there perhaps because of the question of emphasis.

Jan, however, pointed out to me that "einige Ländereien" is actually not the subject in this sentence. In that case, is it "die Büdner" in the last phrase "im Dorfe wegen ihrer Weidefreiheiten abzufinden"? All of the previous phrase is a subordinate clause?

In den Domainen sind jetzt auch sehr häufig denjenigen Büdnern, welche früher bloß hundert Quadratruthen Gartenland besaßen, einige Ländereien in Erbpacht, oder auch wohl in Zeitpacht, beigelegt worden, besonders wenn es wegen eingetretener Separation der Bauerhufen nothwendig wurde, die Büdner im Dorfe wegen ihrer Weidefreiheiten abzufinden.

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    Also note that the subject doesn't need to be after the verb. Word order in German (except positioning of verbs) is very flexible.
    – dirkt
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 7:53
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    Our convention is, to start questions immediately without greeting, excuse or introduction and end without greetings, thanks, begging and such. Please use the internal layout possibilities. If you refer to other questions, link them. Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 9:03
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    I thought “take s.o. out of his misery” is a euphemism for a mercy killing.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 9:05
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    It is, Carsten - but it is used in jest in other contexts as well. Although I wouldn't say it is just to relieve someone's feeling of suspense, as it suggests in this dictionary entry that follows. I am sure that you can find other definitions that expand its definition in a similar way: idioms.thefreedictionary.com/…
    – Krysiulek
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 16:39
  • I realise I misread the sentence (multiple times). Sorry for the confusion.
    – Jan
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 20:55

2 Answers 2


The sentence is long and complex, consisting of a long main clause and a long subclause overned by "wenn".

The subject of the main clause is "einige Ländereien". It's a passive subject, which means that semantically it is a theme or topic rather than the more usual agent, but syntactically it's a subject lik any other.

The subject of the subclause is an entire verbal clause, "die Büdner im Dorfe wegen ihrer Weidefreiheiten abzufinden". This is what became necessary. However, this subject doesn't occupy the traditional Vorfeld position, and instead the semantically empty element "es" has been added to that position. So you could say that the surface syntax has "es" as a subject and the deep structure has the clase as a subject.


The core of this sentence is:

in den Domainen sind Ländereien beigelegt worden

Everything else is a subordinate clause.

This sentence is identical to:

Ländereien sind in den Domainen beigelegt worden

So yes, Ländereien is the subject here.

The reason it's not directly behind the verb is because certain adverbs also go directly behind that verb:

ein Tier ist gesehen worden.
im Dorf ist ein Tier gesehen worden.
im Dorf ist jetzt auch ein Tier gesehen worden.

In this sentence that's the most normal word order, but if the subject is a preposition this order puts a lot of emphasis on the subject as you suspected:

im Dorf ist jetzt auch er gesehen worden

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