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In Slow German Podcast #176 the following sentence occurs:

Nicht jeder hat verstanden, worum es dabei geht.

I am wondering if darüber would be equally correct?

Nicht jeder hat verstanden, worum es darüber geht.

If not, why not, and if so is the a reason to choose one over the other?

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    Why do you think, ,darüber could be correct? It's not and it's totally unclear why you wonder. – Olafant Sep 15 '19 at 2:28
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The second sentence would be wrong, because "darüber" aims to answer a different question, so to speak.

In the sentence

"Nicht jeder hat verstanden, worum es [blank] geht"

i.e.

"Not everyone has understood what [blank] is about"

the information missing is what it is that , and "dabei" provides the answer (even though here it's basically just "that", referring to some earlier statement).

"Darüber", on the other hand, would be used like "about that", so your second sentence would read something like

Not everone understood what about that is about.

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  • Yes, clear and very helpful. Thank you. – user38158 Sep 15 '19 at 14:08
  • @Marc Vaisband darüber is not a particle. – Dan Sep 15 '19 at 20:20
  • @Dan Fixed it, thanks – Marc Vaisband Sep 15 '19 at 20:40
  • @MarcVaisband your explanation of "dabei" eludes my understanding. Rephrase maybe? Aus meiner Sicht ist das nicht really "missing information", weil man es auch weglassen kann ohne dass sich der Sinn wesentlich ändert. – Dan Sep 15 '19 at 20:44
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No it woudln't. Certain verbs (also nouns and adjectives) tend to be used exlusively with certain prepositions. English examples: "looking FOR something", "firing AT something", "looking at somebody"(and not "on"!). This is something called preposition government or Rektion der Verben (in German). Please note that separable verbs aka Präfixverben such as "aufstehen", "herunterladen" etc. are an entirely different topic!

Now to the point: the preposition "über" is not used with the verb "gehen" in the meaning from your context. The preposition it is optionally used with besides the obligatory (for this meaning) "um" is "bei", e.g. "Bei diesem Gespräch geht es um den Klimawandel" (in this conversation, climate change is discussed). The meaning of this preposition would be "in this context, in this conversation, in this situation" and can be superceded with a da-word "dabei" used adverbially, that is, without the need to specify the noun like "Gespräch" above. "um etwas gehen" has a synonym, "sich um etwas handeln". Here an example where it's also used with BEI: Bei der Kopie handelt es sich nicht um Originalsoftware. A further example of verbs used with multiple prepositions at once would be bewerben, e.g. Ich bewerbe mich um eine Stelle bei dieser Firma - I'm applying for a job (place) at this company.


Specific grammatical topics answering your question are "Rektion der Verben" and demonstrative pronouns buildt from the basis da- or wo- (the so called da- und wo-Wörter) and the respective preposition typically used with the verb in question.

In your example we have the verb GEHEN in the meaning "to involve something, to be relevant, to be talked about now". In this meaning it is only ever used with the preposition "UM", and, optionally, "BEI" (see above). In a basic sentence, we would say: "Es geht um dein Auto" (we are talking about your car, it affects your car). If you didn't hear it well, you would reply: "Worum geht es?" or "Ich habe nicht verstanden, worum es geht".

Useful links:

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  • Very informative and helpful. Thank you. – user38158 Sep 15 '19 at 14:22

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