Wer Kants Hauptwerk »Die Kritik der reinen Ver­nunft« im Original lesen möchte, sollte oder gar muß - der findet hier einen hilfreichen Wegbegleiter für den Einstieg in eine faszinierende, aber nicht leicht zugäng­liche Lektüre.

(Ralf Ludwig, Kant für Anfänger: Die Kritik der reinen Vernunft)

Is the correlation of wer ... der in this quotation the same as the English he who; and, if so, why is it separated like this in German?

  • "Whoever wants to read xyz finds a helping... here".
    – Alex
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 14:21
  • 2
    @Alex As far as I know, "whoever" translates into German as "wer auch immer." Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 14:56
  • @ΥΣΕΡ26328 In this case, "wer" equals "wer auch immer".
    – Em1
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 15:17
  • Btw. the hypen in the quote is wrong. But that's obviously not your mistake.
    – Em1
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 15:19
  • @Em1 Obviously... Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


For ease of understanding, I would translate the construction as: "Whoever X, that person Y," where X and Y are predicate clauses.

"Wer Kant lesen möchte, der findet hier..."

"Whoever wants to read Kant, that person finds here..."

There are two separate predicates (reads Kant and finds here), and that's why they are separated in German.

In English, you can use the construction, "He who reads Kant finds here..." by combining the two predicates after the combined "nominative" (he who) but in German you don't do this. You use the construction nominative predicate, nominative predicate that is wer predicate...der predicate.

  • 2
    Der, der Kants [...] muss, findet [...] is a common alternative following the English He who pattern. It seems the writer of the paragraph didn't like the doubling of der, though it's perfectly okay to write like that.
    – Janka
    Commented Jul 17, 2017 at 20:47
  • @Janka So my translation of it as He who... is OK then, right? Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 9:24
  • Wer alone already translates into He who. The der introducing the second part is an optional demonstrative pronoun. This is the same in my example: the first der is a demonstrative pronoun, while the immediately following der is relative pronoun. Overstressed, it reads Jener, welcher ….
    – Janka
    Commented Jul 18, 2017 at 9:52

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