Zum Glück kommt Felix nach seinem Vater.

How does it compare to saying:

Zum Glück kommt Felix seinem Vater nach.

{or}: Zum Glück kommt seinem Vater Felix nach.

I usually see a separable prefix "nach/aus/ab/etc" placed at the end, but in this example, "nach" is followed by the dative case "seinem Vater".

I wonder how this word order compares to when "nach" is placed at the end?

2 Answers 2


Nachkommen is a tricky verb:

Zum Glück kommt Felix seinem Vater nach.

Fortunately Felix obeys his father.

Zum Glück kommt Felix nach seinem Vater.

Fortunately Felix is like his father.

Nachschauen is similar:

Zum Glück schaute Felix nach seinem Vater.

Fortunately Felix watched over his father.

Zum Glück schaute Felix seinem Vater nach.

Fortunately Felix watched his father leaving.

  • Hi. I wonder if the same goes for: "ich komme nach Ihnen = I'm after you" vs "ich komme Ihnen nach = I agree with you"? May 25, 2017 at 16:46
  • Yes. But Ich komme ihnen nach would usually be understand as I obey them, with "them" being rules or wishes someone had.
    – Janka
    May 25, 2017 at 16:51
  • Oh, I see. Beim Objekt des Verbs "nachkommen" handelt es sich nicht um Personen, sondern um Sachen. May 25, 2017 at 17:08
  • 1
    Ja, meistens ist das so. Wenn es eine Person ist, heißt das, dass man den Wünschen oder Anweisungen dieser Person nachkommt.
    – Janka
    May 25, 2017 at 17:16
  • 1
    Im Satz »Felix kommt nach seinem Vater« kommt das Verb »nachkommen« gar nicht vor. Oder irre ich mich da? May 27, 2017 at 8:36

What you see here is a problem in the German language:

Felix kommt nach mir.

The verb here is not "nachkommen" but "kommen". The word "nach" is a separate word in this sentence which does not belong to the verb at all.

Felix kommt mir nach.

In this sentence the verb really is "nachkommen".

The same is true for the word "nachsehen" (or "nachschauen") in the Janka's answer.

-- Edit --

Let's convert the examples from Janka's answer to future tense:

Zum Glück wird Felix nach seinem Vater schauen.

Zum Glück wird Felix seinem Vater nachschauen.

In future tense you can see that in one case the verb is the separable verb "nachschauen" and in the other case the verb is "schauen" and "nach" is a separate word.

  • 1
    Hi. So in "Felix kommt nach mir", the "nach" is a preposition, correct? May 25, 2017 at 16:56
  • The problem is dictionaries tend to list both meanings for nachkommen, and not for kommen.
    – Janka
    May 25, 2017 at 17:00
  • @Janka, they do not: dwds.de/wb/nachkommen versus dwds.de/wb/kommen (interpretation 10) Jun 20, 2017 at 7:00
  • duden.de/rechtschreibung/nachkommen, Bedeutung1 vs. Bedeutung 4.
    – Janka
    Jun 20, 2017 at 8:33
  • @Janka This would not influence the answer original question: When using "Bedeutung 4" of "nachkommen" the word order would be: "Felix kommt mir nach.". You see that in the example at duden.de. The word order of "kommt" and "nach" is always the same if the verb "nachkommen" is used. According to duden.de the verbs "jmd. nachkommen" and "nach jmd. kommen" (actually: "kommen") can be used as synonyms here. Jun 20, 2017 at 9:05

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