I have a question about pronominal adverbs. From what I could understand from the articles that I've read on the topic, it seems that pronominal adverbs can replace the construction [preposition]+[definite article] in subclauses (NOTE: pronominal adverbs cannot replace this structure if people are referred to). Here is an example to illustrate my point:

"Ich habe den Hammer, mit dem ich die Tür eingeschlagen habe" > "Ich habe den Hammer, damit ich die Tür eingeschlagen habe" (here the pronominal adverb "damit" replaced "mit dem" ([preposition]+[definite article])).

Does this mean that pronominal adverbs always replace the construction [preposition]+[definite article] in subclauses? E.g. "Ich sehe den Kugelschreiber, damit ich den Text geschrieben habe" or "Ich habe die Küche gemalt, darin du gerade stehst".

Or would "Ich habe den Hammer, mit dem ich die Tür eingeschlagen habe" still be correct?

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    "Ich habe den Hammer, mit dem ich die Tür eingeschlagen habe" is the only one that is correct. Unfortunately your suggestion with "damit" is wrong.
    – IQV
    Mar 27, 2017 at 13:21
  • All right, thank you for your comment. Could you elaborate on why it's wrong? When would one then use "damit" as a pronominal adverb (I know it can be used to mean "so that"/"in order that" but I'm referring to instances when "damit" is used specifically to replace "mit"+[definite article])? Mar 27, 2017 at 13:23
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    The problem is that you are trying to use a pronominal adverb as a relative pronoun. That doesn't work, for relative pronouns it's always "preposition + bare relative pronoun (der/welcher/dieser)". As the name "adverb" suggests, you use it like this: "Dieser Hammer? Damit habe ich die Tür eingeschlagen / Ich habe damit die Tür eingeschlagen."
    – dirkt
    Mar 27, 2017 at 14:57

1 Answer 1


You cannot use damit/darin this way in your example, but womit/worin works in such constructions, because it is another variation of mit welchem/mit dem/in der which of course is also valid.

Ich habe den Hammer, womit ich die Tür eingeschlagen habe...

Ich sehe den Kugelschreiber, womit ich den Text geschrieben habe...

Ich habe die Küche gemalt, worin du gerade stehst...

Although it sounds a bit clumsy, which means mit dem/in der fits best.

  • Beispiel bei Goethe: [...]der Freund solle aus diesen Zeichen die Ungeduld sehen, womit er erwartet werde, und nach der Eile, womit der Brief geschrieben, die Eilfertigkeit seiner Reise einrichten. (Die Wahlverwandtschaften, 2. Kapitel) Heute wirkt das allerdings ein bisschen antiquiert, man würde wohl mit der vorziehen.
    – RHa
    Jul 16, 2017 at 15:04

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