Is the sentence after 'meinen" a Nebensatz?...

Why does he say here "so richtig was bauen"...., why not:

"Ich meine, so richtig bauen was man dann nachher benutzen kann"

2 Answers 2


The sentence

„Ich meine, so richtig was bauen, was man dann nachher benutzen kann“

is very colloquial and typical for spoken German. In written form, you would more likely say something like

„[...] Damit meine ich, so richtig etwas zu bauen, das man dann nachher benutzen kann“


„[...] Ich meine damit, so richtig etwas zu bauen, was man dann nachher benutzen kann“.

Thus, in the original sentence, the first was is short for etwas, and the second was is a relative pronoun. It is also clear now that the sentence cannot stand alone; it rather explicates something, referred to by the word damit, which has been said before.

To answer the introductory question: Indeed, the part „so richtig etwas zu bauen“ is a Nebensatz, which is constructed with an infinitive with zu, but where zu was simply left out.

  • 1
    Die Antwort spricht mir aus dem Herzen. Man könnte aber noch hinzufügen, dass ein Satz wie dieser niemals für sich alleine steht sondern nur in einem Kontext Sinn hat: einem Kontext nämlich, auf den sich das "Ich meine" bezieht, also eine Aussage ähnlicher Intention, von der der Sprecher dann aber meint, sie sei möglicherweise nicht präzise genug verstanden worden. Nov 27, 2017 at 9:07
  • @ChristianGeiselmann, ich hab's mit eingebaut. :-) Nov 27, 2017 at 11:22

This is colloquial spoken German.

The sentence doesn't work by itself, but relies on an implied subject and verb from a previous sentence, probably a question.


[Will er das wirklich?][Kann er das?]. Ich meine, so richtig etwas...
will er so richtig etwas...
kann er so richtig etwas...

The rest of the sentence is full of colloquialisms:

  • *Ich meine" means "I mean" and it's used in the same sense as it would in English

  • "So richtig" means "really", "so" just emphasizes "richtig"

  • "Was" is short for "etwas"

  • "Was" is used instead of "das" to start the subordinate clause

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