1

In the sentence

"An diesem Haus ist nun mehr als zehn Jahre gebaut worden."

Why is "An" needed? To me,

"Dieses Haus ist nun für mehr zehn Jahre gebaut worden."

sounds more natural.

  • 1
    It should be: "An diesem Haus ist nun mehr als zehn Jahre gebaut worden." – Björn Friedrich Oct 4 '17 at 12:04
  • 1
    @BjörnFriedrich duden.de/rechtschreibung/nunmehr – Eller Oct 4 '17 at 12:24
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    @Eller Offensichtlich ist nicht das Wort nunmehr gemeint, sondern die Wendung nun mehr als im Sinne von jetzt mehr als oder schon mehr als. – Björn Friedrich Oct 4 '17 at 21:04
  • @BjörnFriedrich Offensichtlich ist das nicht. – Eller Oct 5 '17 at 8:17
2

1) Your second sentence is incomprehensible, since it remains unclear, what mehr relates to. It is impossible to relate to zehn, since this would require an als.

2) An could indicate that

  • the house existed before and now was improved for ten years
  • (inclusive or:) the house is not finished despite the ten years attempting it

In colloquial context in both of these cases herumgebaut could have been used instead of gebaut to emphasize this.

This usage of an is the same as in

An der Fertigstellung des Flughafens BER wird seit zehn Jahren gearbeitet.

Duden list the meaning for an [Präposition] as 3rd, "creating a relation to an object or attribute".

3

The "an" is needed because it changes the meaning.

  • etwas bauen means to build something (obviously). If you add a time span, it is implied that this span covers the complete building process, from breaking ground.

Dieses Haus ist nunmehr in zehn Jahren gebaut worden.

The construction of this house took ten years, the house definitely didn't exist before, and it is fully completed now.

  • an etwas bauen is slightly different: It is closer to to work on something (where this work is exclusively limited to building).

An diesem Haus ist nunmehr zehn Jahre gebaut worden.

Work on this house took ten years. This work does not necessarily include the complete construction process, the house itself could very well be hundreds of years old and was merely renovated in these ten years. Or the house didn't exist before just as in the other sentence, but the "an" indicates that the building process isn't completed yet. This sentence could even have the same meaning as the other one (but in that case, the "an" really would be redundant).

Side-note: "nunmehr" is NOT the same as "nun [für] mehr als" as well ( and "nun für mehr" doesn't make sense without "als"), you have to keep using it the way it is in your alternative sentence.

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