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On a learning site I asked how I could translate this sentence into German.

I offered my own version of it, as I thought it could be grammatically correct:

Alles, was ich tat, war dank deiner.

Alles, ... , war dank deiner meaning Everything ... was thanks to you.

... was ich tat ... meaning ... what I did ...

But I was told that my translation was not grammatically correct even though all the words were correctly chosen; so I was offered a paraphrase instead:

Alles was ich erreicht habe, verdanke ich dir.

But I don't understated why my translation is not correct when the pattern Alles, was + Subject + Predicate is so common in German, as Google so amply shows.

  • 1
    Regarding your other question: what do you think the answer could be? – IQV Jun 28 '17 at 11:57
  • Dank is followed by the dative: Alles, was ich tat, war dank dir. – Björn Friedrich Jun 28 '17 at 15:11
  • @Björn Friedrich: Duden says otherwise: "Präposition mit Genitiv und Dativ, im Plural meist mit Genitiv" – NetwOrchestration Jul 29 '17 at 9:15
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In your first translation almost everything is correct except for "deiner". "Deiner" is a possessive pronoun and not an indirect object or "Dativ". The expression "thanks to you" translates to "Dank + Dativ ".

You can say "Dank deiner Hilfe / Unterstützung" = thanks to your help / Support.

  • The personal pronouns in the genitive case is also meiner, deiner, seiner etc. – Ad Infinitum Jun 28 '17 at 12:27
  • Yes that is true. But it is not the intended meaning of the sentence as shown by the second translation. – nesrine ghajati Jun 28 '17 at 12:38
  • meines, deines, seines – Björn Friedrich Jun 28 '17 at 15:08
  • @nesrineghajati I agree. The indirect object here is the person in question, thus "dank dir". It would be different if it were something in their (figurative) possession, e.g. thanks to your patience, "dank deiner Geduld". In that case, the genitive case applies. Edit: actually, come to think about it, that could also be a Dativ^^ – Sir Jane Aug 1 '17 at 14:27
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I have researched a little bit about your suggestion and I have found that the usage of the personal pronouns with Dank + Genitive case combination is also possible but not popular anymore. The corresponding text, which claims what I have written here, is;

In aktuellen Texten findet man fast nur Beispiele mit Dativ: dank mir, dank dir, dank ihr, dank ihm, dank uns, dank euch/Ihnen, dank ihnen . Dennoch ist dank mit einem Personalpronomen im Genitiv nicht unmöglich, aber sehr selten belegt. Dank mit einem Personalpronomen im Genitiv beschränkt sich heute auf die Formen dank meiner; dank deiner; dank seiner. Dank mit Personalpronomen im Genitiv wirkt gehoben, gelegentlich aber auch ironisch oder spöttisch.

Basically, the author of the text means that it is possible to say dank meiner or dank deiner etc. However, it will be more perceived as ironic or mocking than gratitude.

That is to say, the person, who said that your translation is not correct even if the individual words are correct, may think that it is not suitable to the specific context.

  • So is my translation correct or not? – ΥΣΕΡ26328 Jun 28 '17 at 12:32
  • @User26328 Correct but not popular and if you use it like that, you "may" be understood wrong. – Ad Infinitum Jun 28 '17 at 12:33
  • How wrong? Why? – ΥΣΕΡ26328 Jun 28 '17 at 12:35
  • @User26328 Nobody can answer why that usage is old-fashioned. Some words or grammar rules that were common in the past are no longer in ordinary use. – Ad Infinitum Jun 28 '17 at 12:41
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    For native speakers, the translation should actually be fully understandable, but sound a bit 19th-century. I think that's all that could be criticised – tofro Jul 28 '17 at 13:56

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