Ich erwähne dieses Beispiel, weil gerade in ihm zum Ausdruck kommt, dass ...

Above sentence is from Canoo.net Pronominal adverbs refer to "non-persons"

My question is about not understanding the subject of the above bolded sentence, though I have written my assumption below.

Is the subject es ignored in the above bolded sentence? Like if I write the sentence with es as below, would it have the same meaning as the sentence above:

weil es gerade in ihm zum Ausdruck kommt, dass...

1 Answer 1


The subject is the clause starting with dass. In general, es can be used to indicate that a sentential subject or object follows. In German, this is known as Korrelat (Wikipedia).

Dass du nicht kommen kannst, ist so gesehen bedauerlich.
So gesehen ist es bedauerlich, dass du nicht kommen kannst. (Korrelat-es)

In the example you cited, however, es does sound quite bad. At first, I thought this was because es could be interpreted as referring back to dieses Beispiel:

Ich erwähne dieses Beispiel, weil es schwierig ist. (anaphorisches Personalpronomen)

I then tried to show that Korrelat-es could be used with zum Ausdruck kommen:

Es kommt zum Ausdruck, was das eigentliche Problem ist. (Platzhalter-es)

However, this is nonsense! The word es in the above example is limited to position 1 and cannot occur after the verb (the asterisk in the following example indicates ungrammaticality):

*Dort kommt es zum Ausdruck, was das eigentliche Problem ist.

This type of es is known as Platzhalter (see this question).

The question that remains is: Why is there no Korrelat allowed in the last example? I now think this may be related to the following fixed expression:

Es kommt zu X. – There is X; X happens, comes to pass. (unpersönliches Es)

Es kam zu Tumulten. – There were riots.
Wie kam es denn dazu? – How did that happen?
Und so kam es, dass wir uns verliebten. – And so it came about we fell in love.

Hypothesis: Because there is a fixed expression involving unpersönliches Es, kommen zu does not allow Korrelat-es.

  • Zur neuen Rechtschreibung genötigt!
    – David Vogt
    Jan 29, 2019 at 9:57
  • 1
    So haben wir beschlossen: german.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/831/…
    – Takkat
    Jan 29, 2019 at 11:58
  • Tyrannei der Mehrheit...
    – David Vogt
    Jan 29, 2019 at 12:27
  • How "weil" would be understood in the sentence because I have not encountered with sentence whose main clause start with conjunction (weil) when subordinated clause is a subject of the sentence?
    – ughi tudhi
    Oct 28, 2019 at 12:46

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