6

I was reading a story book where I found this

... und natürlich viele Münchner, die wie er den Samstagnachmittag hier genießen.

that translates in English to:

... and, of course, many people from Munich who, like him, enjoy the Saturday afternoon here.

My question is, why the Nominative pronomen er is used in the above example instead of Akkusativ Personalpronomen ihm? As far as I understand er stands for he in English and ihm stands for him.

  • 4
    The Akkusativ personal pronoun of er would be ihn. Ihm is the Dativ pronoun. Both Akkusativ and Dativ pronoun can be translated as him. "Ich sehe ihn." (I see him). "Ich gebe ihm ein Geschenk." (I give him a present). – infinitezero May 2 at 12:44
  • @infinitezero oh yeah, just mixed up ihn and ihm in my mind. Thanks for the correction. – Khadim Ali May 2 at 12:47
  • The real question should be why it is "like him" in English and not "like he". "er genießt - viele Münchner genießen", "many people enjoy - he enjoys". So, why "like him"?.. – Eller May 2 at 13:11
  • Why would it be Akkusativ? It is the subject of the subordinate clause, why would you use Akkusativ (hint, using him in English for the above is wrong). – gented May 2 at 13:21
  • 1
    @gented: No, you must be thinking of "as". "Like" in English is standardly treated as a preposition that takes the objective case (like "with" or "to"). – sumelic May 2 at 19:11
16

'like' functions as a preposition in this English sentence, and while (all?) prepositions in German decline the noun they're acting on, the word 'wie' is not a preposition. Rather, it is a conjunction; in this case, while your translation is more idiomatic, the grammar function of 'wie' corresponds more to the English 'as':

... and, of course, many people from Munich who, as he, enjoy the Saturday afternoon here.

5

Yes, and just to supplement Glorfindel's answer with a little further explanation:

The er in the German sentence is not only not the object of a preposition (as already explained), but it is the subject, naturally nominative, of a verb that has been left implicit, since the conjunction normally introduces a clause. A close English equivalent completed with the corresponding verb would be:

... and, of course, many people from Munich who enjoy the Saturday afternoon here, as he does.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.