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I was reading the following sentences in a grammar lesson:

Der Konjunktiv II von "wollen" und "sollen" wird ohne Umlaut gebildet.

Der Infinitiv steht dann am Ende des Satzes.

In the first sentence, we use the word von in the sense of of i.e.

The Konjunktiv II of "wollen" and "sollen" is formed without an Umlaut.

but in the second sentence, I expected the same von, so I thought it should read:

Der Infinitiv steht dann am Ende von des Satzes.

This is what I see quite a lot in German, where these prepositions are taken out. Why is this the case? Why do we not see second version of the second sentence?

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    @CarstenS: why no helping edit? People started to downvote and close vote just because of this simple typing error. – Takkat Jan 17 at 7:31
  • @πάνταῥεῖ the question should be clear and answerable now. – Takkat Jan 17 at 7:32
  • @Takkat, I would not call this a simple typo, and I wanted to make sure that the OP becomes aware of the difference between two prepositions. Perhaps, out of the possible ways to help I did not choose the best one. But I also do not see a harm in closing the question as unclear and reopening it after an edit. – Carsten S Jan 17 at 9:42
  • @CarstenS: errm this question would make little sense if it were asking for a word entirely not contained in a quote that gave rise to that question, would it? – Takkat Jan 17 at 10:46
  • @Takkat, sicher hättest Du recht, wenn Du jetzt sagen würdest, dass die Frage wichtiger ist als der Fragende, aber ich möchte dennoch darauf hinweisen, dass wir von ihm nichts mehr gehört haben, so dass ich vielleicht nicht falsch lag, wenn ich das Gefühl hatte, dass es angemessen wäre, wenn er selbst erst einmal den Arsch hoch kriege, bevor er eine Antwort bekommt. Btw, hatte der andere Smith sein Fragendeputat gerade ausgeschöpft? – Carsten S Jan 17 at 21:58
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German uses genitive supplements for arbitrary "possessive" relations.

Der Infinitiv steht dann am Ende des Satzes.

"Then, the infinitive stands at the sentence's end."

The end "belongs" to the sentence, so the sentence is considered the thing that "possesses the end", so it must be genitive. In English this is considered bad style as far as I know. In German it's considered excellent style. An often used alternative is a combined noun:

Der Infinitiv steht dann am Satzende.


In contrary

Der Infinitiv steht dann am Ende von des Satzes.

is wrong because the preposition "von" needs the dative case. However,

Der Infinitiv steht dann am Ende von dem Satz.

is only acceptable in certain dialects (e.g. Kölsch) and sounds very "street" and uneducated otherwise.


That in mind, it's acceptable style to use von with lists of items. No articles allowed then.

Dies ist eine Frage des Stils.

Dies ist eine Frage des Stils und der Laune. (excellent style)

Dies ist eine Frage von Stil und Laune. (acceptable "telegram" style)

Dies ist eine Frage von dem Stil und der Laune. (street style and dialects)

You can rewrite your first example

Der Konjunktiv II von "wollen" und "sollen" wird ohne Umlaut gebildet.

with a genitive supplement as

Der Konjunktiv II der Verben "wollen" und "sollen" wird ohne Umlaut gebildet.

and it sounds less snappy but more stylish.

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In German there are four so-called "cases":

Nominative: der Satz
Genitive: des Satzes
Dative: dem Satz (in old German: dem Satze)
Accusative: den Satz

In many cases where the word "of" is used in English language, German language uses the Genitive.

However, in modern days, many people replace Genitive words by the word "von" followed by the corresponding Dative word:

Traditional German (Genitive):

Der Infinitiv steht dann am Ende des Satzes.

Today many people say ("von" + Dative):

Der Infinitiv steht dann am Ende vom Satz.

(Note that the word "vom" is the short form of "von dem".)

In the two examples in your question one sentence uses the Genitive while the other sentence uses the combination of "von" and Dative.

Most German language teaching books will use the Genitive instead of the "von"+Dative construction whenever it is possible. This is why the book uses the Genitive in the second sentence:

Der Infinitiv steht dann am Ende des Satzes.

However, using the Genitive in the first sentence would either sound terrible or require additional words:

Der Konjunktiv II "wollens" und "sollens" wird ohne Umlaut gebildet.
(sounds terribly; I'm not even sure if this is correct grammar!)

Der Konjunktiv II der Wörter "wollen" und "sollen" wird ohne Umlaut gebildet.
(requires additional words)

Therefore the author of the book decided to use the "von"+Dative construct instead of the Genitive in this sentence.

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