I want to translate a sentence to German, but I'm having some difficulty regarding the position of the words.

The sentence is: "have you found the man you were looking for?"

I guess I could translate it using the Präteritum as "Fandest du den Mann, den du suchtest?". But, if I were to use the Perfekt tense, how should I say it? Would it be "Hast du den Mann gefunden, den du suchtest" or "Hast du den Mann, den du suchtest, gefunden?". Google Translate uses the first option, but I'm not sure if I should trust it.

  • Basically the two posted answers seem to be saying you were on the right track! But it might be good to use that other past tense, "hast du gefunden" instead of the simple past, "fandest du." Commented Jan 20, 2018 at 20:45

2 Answers 2


Google is right as today nested sentences (Schachtelsätze) are usually avoided. So the preferred way to say it is Hast du den Mann gefunden, den du suchtest? (Or more colloquially: Hast du den Mann gefunden, den du gesucht hast?)

However, as already pointed out by infinitezero, Hast du den Mann, den du suchtest, gefunden? is not wrong. In the 19th century it was common to write long, deeply nested sentences of this kind, but today writers usually try to make it easier for the reader and avoid nesting clauses.


German offers different possibilities.

Hast Du den Mann gefunden, den du gesucht hast?

Hast Du den Mann, den du gesucht hast, gefunden?

The Präteritum is rarely used in verbal communcation. However, for completeness:

Fandest Du den Mann, den du suchtest?

You can also avoid the relative clause altogther:

Hast Du den gesuchten Mann gefunden?

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