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I was reading the sentence

Er hat den Film im Fernsehen verpasst und ihn deshalb später in der Mediathek geguckt.

and it seemed relative easy to first translate and make sense:

He missed the film on TV and he therefore later watched it on catch-up TV

but I'm confused by ihn.

I would have thought that since "und" connects two main clauses, the second main clause would be

Er deshalb später in der Mediathek geguckt.

I know that ihn is the accusative of "er" but I can't see which verb requires "he" to be in the accusative, and also because "he" is the subject performing the action.

Why is "ihn" used over "er"?

  • Possible duplicate of this question, which got closed as off-topic. – guidot Jan 26 at 21:59
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Ihn refers to the film, not to the person watching it: wen oder was hat er geguckt (sich angeschaut)? --> den Film.

  • Hi there, I'm just confused still. If Ihn [from (er)] is referring to the film, why not use "es" to get "and watched it later in the media library."? – vik1245 Jan 26 at 20:10
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    because the film is masculine (der Film) in German; – Stef Jan 26 at 20:11
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    also: Er hat die Folge im Fernsehen verpasst und sie später in der Mediathek geguckt. Er hat das Lied im Radio gehört und es sich später auf CD gekauft. – Stef Jan 26 at 20:15
  • so the reference to ihn is not to the subject (he), but a link to the gender of the item (der Film) which is masculine? hence I am referring to the film (gender-based pronoun usage)? – vik1245 Jan 26 at 20:19
  • yes, exactly (see my answer above) – Stef Jan 26 at 20:55
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Your misconception comes from the English language, that only persons qualify for masculine or feminine pronouns. This is not the rule, but the exception as even a short look into German, French, Spanish dictionaries will reveal.

Here Film is masculine (dictionary entry therfore Film, m., ...) and den relates to film.

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The original sentence is a shortened version of the this sentence, which just is two full main clauses joined together with und (and) (I put square brackets around each main clause to make them better visible):

[Er hat den Film im Fernsehen verpasst] und [er hat den Film deshalb später in der Mediathek geguckt].

[He has missed the movie on TV] and [therefore he has watched the movie later in the media library].

An even better translation would be: "He missed the movie ..." (without "has") but I need the auxiliary verb "has" for didactical reasons.

The subject er (he) and the auxiliary verb hat (has) can be omitted in the second part of the original sentence, just to make it shorter, giving:

Er hat den Film im Fernsehen verpasst und den Film deshalb später in der Mediathek geguckt.

He has missed the movie on TV and therefore watched the movie later in the media library.

But to avoid repeated words, you can replace one of the appearances of the object with a personal pronoun. But since »der Film« is a masculine noun in German, while »the movie« is neuter in English, this pronoun has to be masculine in German (which gives one of: er, seiner, ihm, ihn) but neuter in English (which gives one of: it, its).

Now you only have to find the correct case, which is easy in English (it can't be genitive case, so the pronoun can't be »its« and so it has to be »it«). In German you must know which case the verb »gucken« (to watch) wants for its object. It wants its object in accusative case, so the pronoun has to stand in this case, and therefore it must be: »ihn«

So, this is the correct translation:

Er hat den Film im Fernsehen verpasst und ihn deshalb später in der Mediathek geguckt.

He has missed the movie on TV and therefore watched it later in the media library.

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