There is a series of German memes that open with 'Wenn dir klar wird', e.g.:


Wenn dir klar wird, was der Brexit wirklich bedeutet.

The meaning is clear:

When it becomes clear to you, what Brexit really means.

But there doesn't seem to be a subject in that first sentence in the German. Am I right in thinking that there is an implicit 'es'? So

Wenn es dir klar wird, was der Brexit wirklich bedeutet.

says exactly the same thing (and is grammatically 'more correct')?


No there isn't (necessarily).

Reflexive constructs in German work quite well without the "es". English needs an "it" here, while German can live with or without the "es"

Es ist mir klar, dass ...


Mir ist klar, dass ...

work equally well and are both correct. The "Es" can be a help to people who struggle to find a subject in the sentence, though.

Note that mir ist klar ... is a similar grammatical construct than mir ist kalt - which would translate to "I am cold" - similarily, mir ist klar can be translated to "I am aware".

  • 2
    Should the answer then not be "yes"? The question is "implicit 'es'" and "exactly the same thing" - in my opinion you answer both with yes? Only the "grammatically more correct" in parentheses is "no".
    – IQV
    Mar 30 '17 at 5:47
  • 1
    That's a bit too simple. The "es" is a helper word for people who absolutely cannot live without a subject in a sentence. But: There are sentences without a subject that cannot be "repaired" with "es": "Hier wird Ihnen geholfen"
    – tofro
    Mar 30 '17 at 5:59
  • Please elaborate on your last comment and make it a part of the answer.
    – Beta
    Mar 30 '17 at 8:28
  • Thanks for the answer. With regard to your point in the comments, could you not put that as 'Es wird Ihnen hier geholfen'?
    – advert2013
    Mar 30 '17 at 15:34

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