Is there any rule governing the position of object in the following sentence:

Es ist wichtig, dass man für den Antrag ein Foto, Geld und den Ausweis mitbringt .

I mean can we write the above sentence as:

Es ist wichtig, dass man ein Foto, Geld und den Ausweis für den Antrag mitbringt .

Thanks in advance for the explanation.

  • 1
    There is neither a "direct object" in German, nor an "indirect object". German has accusative object, dative objects, genitive objects and prepositional object. In some grammar book you also might find nominative objects. But there is no direct object in German grammar, and there is no indirect object. Please don't learn things that don't exist! This is like studying zoology and learning about dragons and unicorns. Jun 22, 2019 at 12:34

2 Answers 2


German verbs have no direct and indirect objects. These are terms applying e.g. to English and French. In German, they only lead to confusion. Forget about them. German verbs have accusative, dative, genitive and prepositional objects. It depends on the verb which types of objects it takes.

Your example sentence has the list ein Foto, Geld und den Ausweis as the accusative object. The item für den Antrag is a free adverbial. Either order is okay. The item more close to the end of the clause gets slightly more emphasis.

Things get more complicated as soon more than one object is involved:

Sie gibt ihm den Schlüssel.

Sie gibt ihn ihm.

The preferred order of objects is pronouns before nouns, and accusative pronouns before dative pronouns. That's not a hard rule but a tendency however.

Sie beschuldigt den Täter des Diebstahls.

Accusative object before genitive object.

Es lehrt uns Geduld.

The verb lehren takes two accusative objects. The first one is the receiver of the lesson, the second one the thing taught. Fortunately, there are only a handful of such verbs.

  • isn't für die Antrag a dative object? What does free adverbial refer to? Jun 22, 2019 at 7:20
  • Für is a preposition, so this could be at most a prepositional object. But it isn't because the verb mitbringen does not specify a prepositional object. A verb which does is e.g. danken für. In your example für den Antrag gives a reason why that procedure is required. Such additions aren't considered to be objects.
    – Janka
    Jun 22, 2019 at 9:27
  • What will happen in this sentence: Ich bringe der Kuli für Jack. Would für Jack be a dative or a reason why the procedure is required? If the later is the case, can you give me an example for the akkusativ and dativ together in a sentence? Jun 22, 2019 at 16:07
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    If you said Ich bringe den Kuli für Jack. Jack isn't a receiver. You don't give der Kuli to Jack but a third person. Für Jack is an adverbial of reason.
    – Janka
    Jun 22, 2019 at 17:13
  • 1
    Consider Susanne, ich bringe dir den Kuli für Jack. Susanne is the receiver of der Kuli. Dir is the dative object referring to Susanne, the person addressed. She receives der Kuli, and the reason you do this stunt is she should pass it later to Jack.
    – Janka
    Jun 22, 2019 at 17:16

Es ist wichtig, dass man für den Antrag ein Foto, Geld und den Ausweis mitbringt.

This is the way to go, if the whole package (Foto, Geld and Ausweis) is needed for the Antrag. The average reader will take it like this.

Es ist wichtig, dass man ein Foto, Geld und den Ausweis für den Antrag mitbringt.

This version (also grammatical) is ambiguous, some readers will think that only the Ausweis is needed for the Antrag. If this was the case, one should rephrase the message, e. g. like that:

Es ist wichtig, dass man ein Foto und Geld mitbringt, außerdem den Ausweis für den Antrag.

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