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Erleidet einer meiner Leute Schaden, werde ich ...

I wonder if this amounts to saying:

Wenn einer meiner Leute Schaden erleidet, werde ich ...

If so, is this omission of wenn commonly seen?

  • seylbvste esiytbv – wogsland Mar 20 '17 at 1:36
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Yes, this is indeed an unmarked conditional clause, i.e. wenn or falls (to indicate conditionality) are missing.

These clauses are actually really interesting because they are one of the few examples in which the finite verb occupies first position — as in a question. Grammatically, they are actually main clauses due to the lack of a subordinating conjunction (wenn/falls) which is also why the verb needs to shift in final position if you add wenn in your example.

The construction is fairly common, but in my humble opinion marked conditional clauses are much more frequent.

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You can say so. In German we usually omit the "wenn" if we do not see the need for it. But if we want to stress that this sentence is conditional, there is no omission.

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The construct is possible, but would normally call for subjunctive, both in English and in German to be text-book grammar quality. Colloquial speech often replaces the subjunctive with simple present.

Sollte einer meiner Leute Schaden erleiden, werde ich...

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Yeah. It is possible. We have pretty much the same thing in English when we say for example:

Had it not been for my lawyer, we would have lost the case.

When we use it in German, the verb comes into the first position.

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