I have come across this usage in the ARD drama Sehnsucht nach Rimini.

Context: A travel company is experiencing financial hardship. A business competitor is proposing a merger. The owner of the company is arguing with her daughter about the proposed merger. The mother suspects that the competitor has ulterior motives. The daughter is more open to the competitor's proposal.

At 15:52, the following dialogues occur:

Mutter: "Er will billig an die Busse ran!"

Tochter: "Das käme er bei einer Zwangversteigerung."

The meaning is obvious: The competitor could get hold of the buses anyway at a forced auction (if this financial situation continues).

My question is with the use of 'kommen' in the second sentence. 'kommen' seems to be used here to mean 'bekommen'. Is this standard usage? I couldn't find this in the dictionaries I tried.

  • 7
    I guess, it is assumed for the reader/listener, to supplement kommen in the mother's statement resulting in rankommen, so käme from the daughter connects to that verb. As written I consider both sentences as colloquial (ran on its own is sufficient to indicate that), and would not recommend to imitate this pattern.
    – guidot
    Apr 14, 2020 at 16:07
  • 3
    @guidot, please do not answer in comments
    – Carsten S
    Apr 14, 2020 at 16:26
  • 1
    Just for completeness, the actual dialogue is "Der will billig an unsere Busse ran!" - "Das käme er bei einer Zwangversteigerung auch." which adds the meaning of "anyway". But the construction works the same way with or without "auch".
    – tmh
    Apr 15, 2020 at 15:36

1 Answer 1


It's neither about kommen nor about bekommen, but about the separable verb rankommen. In the following sentence, ran is an ellipsis of rankommen:

Mutter: „Er will billig an die Busse ran(kommen)!“

The answer could have been

Tochter: „Ran käme er bei einer Zwangsversteigerung.“

Instead, the demonstrative pronoun das was used, to emphasize that the entire action of billig rankommen is referred to. In this special case, the separable prefix must be omitted.

Tochter: „Das ran käme er bei einer Zwangversteigerung.“

  • 3
    Thanks, I haven't come across this type of construction before.
    – PBH
    Apr 14, 2020 at 16:49
  • 5
    Das is a substitute here for "billig ran".
    – kutschkem
    Apr 15, 2020 at 9:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

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