I wanted to write the German equivalent of

"I have sent Wolfgang a letter, please let him open it (himself)"

So I wrote

"Ich habe Wolfgang einen Brief geschickt, bitte lass Ihn den öffnen"

Is this correct? It bothers me that both "Ihn" and "den" are in the accusative.

  • Two accusatives are perfectly legal, but I'm unsure about the the global conext: remind him to open the letter? Permit him to open the letter despite something [like scheduled meeting]? In any case ihn has to be lower case.
    – guidot
    Jan 8, 2018 at 12:59
  • 3
    They are both accusative, but they belong to different verbs (lassen, öffnen), so nothing funny is going here. (There are funny verbs though, look up lehren).
    – Carsten S
    Jan 8, 2018 at 13:02

3 Answers 3


You can have two accusatives for two reasons: 1) You have two verbs 2) Both of those verbs take the accusative.

In the phrase, "lass ihn den öffnen," "ihn" is the accusative of "lass" and "den" is the accusative of "offnen." The other thing is that "lassen" and "offnen" both have accusative objects. Some other verbs, ("helfen" comes to mind) would take a dative object, so the phrase would be, "hilf ihm den öffnen."


Ich habe Wolfgang einen Brief geschickt, bitte lass ihn den öffnen.

These are two concatenated main clauses, let's only look at the second clause:

Bitte lass ihn den öffnen.

The predicate is lassen, which is a modal verb. It takes an accusative object, which is the person or thing which is allowed/encouraged to do something.

The verb öffnen, the action allowed by lassen, takes another optional accusative object which is the thing opened.


"lass ihn den öffnen" is not correct. It rather would be "lass ihn ihn öffnen" (is ugly, but more correct). First "ihn" for Wolfgang, the second for the letter.

  • 1
    Why do you think this is "more correct"? It isn't.
    – tofro
    Sep 13, 2019 at 16:04
  • To be honest, it may be not fully incorrect. But a native speaker saying it this way would appear to use a very low language level. Writing it would appear even worse.
    – Nick
    Sep 13, 2019 at 16:09

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