6

I wanted to say "I forgot what I wanted to google". But I'm not sure whether I should say...

a-) Ich habe vergessen, was ich googeln wollte.

or

b-) Ich habe es vergessen, was ich googeln wollte.

The "was" in the sentence makes me unsure, as I think, it introduces a Nebensatz. Is the "Es" really necessary? Why?

I appreciate any help. Thank you.

  • No, es isn't necessary in "Ich habe vergessen, was ich googeln wollte.". – πάντα ῥεῖ Aug 20 '19 at 14:58
  • next to bestimmt / unbestimmt, this is among the most difficult areas of everyday speech grammar for learners of German to master. I know many advanced learners who achieve almost native fluency, but keep getting this wrong. good question. – dlatikay Aug 20 '19 at 21:05
  • No worries, really. Hochdeutsch is a synthetic language and such tiny glitches may be common in at least one dialect. – Janka Aug 21 '19 at 1:14
8

It's neither neccessary nor preferred.

Your example is tricky as was (and other question words, too!) can both introduce an object clause and a relative clause:

Ich sehe, was du nicht siehst.

This was du nicht siehst is clearly an object clause. It is used as the accusative object of sehen.

Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst.

Here, the first was is the accusative object to sehen, and the following clause is merily an explanation to the was. It's a relative clause.


Your example works the same:

Ich habe vergessen, was ich googeln wollte.

Here, was ich googlen wollte is an object clause.

Ich habe das vergessen, was ich googeln wollte.

Here, was ich googlen wollte is a relative clause referring to the demonstrative pronoun das. In sloppy speech, one may use es instead of das and make it a very weak accusative object. The meaning is the same.

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  • In my opinion only Ich habe vergessen, was ich googlen wollte sounds natural to me. The rest sounds kinda clumsy although it might be grammatically correct. – infinitezero Aug 20 '19 at 21:13
  • Ich sehe was, was du nicht siehst. is the literal name of a children's game. So this pattern is obviously also common. – Janka Aug 21 '19 at 1:17
  • Muss im ersten Beispiel das Komma stehen? – Dan Aug 23 '19 at 7:53
  • Es handelt sich bei dem Teil nach dem Komma um einen Objektsatz, daher ja. – Janka Aug 23 '19 at 19:05

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