A text I am reading has the following sentence:

Wer gerne in die Berge geht und sie aus sportlichem Interesse besteigt, der ist ein Bergsteiger.

I note that the relative clause, der ist ein Bergsteiger, does not have the word order I would expect, in that the verb does not appear at the end. How is this correct? I quote Dartmouth Univ. here,

In relative clauses, just as in dependent clauses, the finite verb goes to the end.


  • 8
    @πάνταῥεῖ Why don't you just read the question? It cannot possibly me made any clearer what anonymous would expect: "In relative clauses, just as in dependent clauses, the finite verb goes to the end." It's all there. (Are you also the one who downvoted the question and voted to close it as "unclear"?)
    – johnl
    Nov 11, 2019 at 20:07
  • @johnl So you can answer that? Please do so. Nov 11, 2019 at 20:09
  • 7
    I can't understand why so many questions are proposed as "unclear what you are asking" when the question is obviously based on a misunderstanding by the OP. Nov 12, 2019 at 0:58

2 Answers 2


If der ist ein Bergsteiger was a relative clause, what would the main clause be? Let's look at a simplified version of the sentence, with the finite verbs highlighted.

Wer gerne in die Berge geht, ist ein Bergsteiger.

What we have here is a subordinate clause in the first position of a main clause. The page you linked has lots of similar examples:

"wer" can be used only in the sense of "he who" or "whoever" - this is not technically a relative pronoun, since it has no antecedent; rather the whole clause in which it occurs occupies the position of a subject or an object. Similarly, "was" can mean "that which" or "whatever":

Wer zuerst kommt, mahlt zuerst. He who comes first, grinds [his flour] first (i.e., First come, first served).

Wer eine Grube gräbt, fällt selbst hinein. Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein.

Wen der Herr liebt, den züchtigt er. Whom the Lord loveth, He correcteth.

Was mich ärgert, ist, dass sie sich nicht entschuldigt hat. What annoys me is that she didn't apologize.

Was er Ihnen gesagt hat, war eine Lüge. What he told you was a lie.

In your example, der is added as a resumptive pronoun. Resumptive pronouns can help identify whether a clause is a subject (der, as in your example) or an object (den). Compare:

Wer in die Berge geht, den respektiere ich.
Wen ich nicht kenne, den gibt es nicht


Short answer: "... der ist ein Bergsteiger" is not a relative clause. The structure of the sentence is:

So einer ist ein Bergsteiger

so einer meaning So ein Mann.

You have: so einer = subject, ist = verb/copula, ein Bergsteiger = predicative.

So einer? Was für einer denn?

Well, einer, der gerne in die Berge geht und sie aus sportlichem Interesse besteigt.

That means:

Wer gerne in die Berge geht und sie aus sportlichem Interesse besteigt = subject

der = "Korrelat" (correlate?) of the relative clause wer gerne in die Berge geht... and (again) subject in the main clause. Der can be omitted.

ist = verb/copula

ein Bergsteiger = predicate.

So you mixed up main clause and relative clause. Wer can be a relative pronoun meaning 'whoever', and der in your sentence is a demonstrative pronoun correponding to wer. In Wer schläft, der sündigt nicht you have the same structure.

Other examples:

Wer das sagt, (der) lügt.

Wer wagt, gewinnt. - Who dares, wins.

Wer nicht hören will, muss fühlen. - If you don't want to listen, find out the hard way.


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