Du hast den Richter überzeugt, sie zu begnadigen?

or: Du hast den Richter davon überzeugt, sie zu begnadigen?

Erinnerst du dich nicht, dass wir einst ein Paar waren?

or: Erinnerst du dich nicht daran, dass wir einst ein Paar waren?

Wenn ich mich nicht entschieden hätte, dir zu helfen, wärst du ...

or: Wenn ich mich nicht dazu entschieden hätte, dir zu helfen, wärst du ...

When a zu or dass clause follows, I wonder if it is more common to omit "davon/daran/dazu/etc"?

Or, does some grammatical rule determine whether you can leave them out in certain cases but not in the others?


These da- particles (and hier- particles, too) have a demonstrative function. You are pointing fingers here. If you feel you don't need to point to something, you can always leave them out. (Hint: da translates there, hier translates here, which is the pointing finger.)

This is the case for all your examples. They are correct with or without the particles. The meaning is also the same because you explain the thing in question in the following clause.

But when you aren't explaining the thing in question, things get complicated.

Er hat etwas davon genommen.

He has taken something of it.

Er hat etwas genommen.

He has taken something.

Both sentences are grammatically right. But the second has no finger pointing to the thing in question. So you can't leave davon out here without changing the meaning. Same for all other da- particles.

And finally there are sentences in which such a da- particle cannot be left out because it drops into the function of an object:

Davon habe ich noch nie gehört.

I've never heard of it.

Damit geht es los.

This is where it starts.

One could rearrange the German sentences ("Ich habe noch nie gehört" and "Es geht los") but both the meaning and the structure are changing so let's assume these are completly different sentences.

  • Danke! So ... Am I correct in assuming that you cannot omit the "davon/daran/dazu/etc" particles if they refer to an element mentioned in a preceding sentence? Whereas you can omit them if they refer to an element mentioned in a subsequent clause, (as is the case with all the three examples above)? – Con-gras-tue-les-chiens Apr 13 '17 at 22:52
  • 1
    You cannot leave them out when the sentence structure requires an object and the particle functions as that object. "Wir waren einst ein Paar. Erinnerst du dich nicht daran?" means exactly the same with or without the daran because erinnern can be used with a prepositional object but it doesn't need to. – Janka Apr 13 '17 at 23:38

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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