When I speak, it often happens that pronoun/article homonyms crop up after each other.

So viele Katzen! Ich mag die, die den Hut trägt.

Ich mag die, die die Mütze trägt.

Welches Kätzchen findest du am süßesten? Ich denke, dass das, das das Kleid trägt, am süßesten ist.

To which extent should such constructs be avoided in speech and writing?

  • I'd like a tag for questions like these, that do not concern grammar but still "correctness". – Tim May 30 '11 at 16:16
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    Ist das das das das, das das das so schwierig macht? ;) – splattne May 30 '11 at 16:20
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    Aren't some of those supposed to be dass? – Tim May 30 '11 at 16:25
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    @Tim: No. There's a variant of the sentence that goes like Ich weiß, dass das Das das Das ist.... though. – OregonGhost May 30 '11 at 16:28
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    @OregonGhost: The question is about style, not about grammatical correctness. – Phira May 30 '11 at 16:50

You can use welches as pronoun:

So viele Katzen! Ich mag die, welche den Hut trägt.

Ich mag die, welche die Mütze trägt.

Ich denke, dass das, welches das Kleid trägt, am süßesten ist.

I personally don't like the use of welches though and prefer duplicate die, die. Technically nothing wrong with that. If you don't like the duplication, you may change the sentence:

Ich mag die mit dem Hut.

Ich mag diejenige, die eine Mütze trägt.

Ich finde, dass das kleidtragende Kätzchen am süßesten ist.

  • Thanks, didn't know about using welcher as a personal pronoun. Can I say/write "dass das, das das" without its being awkward? – Tim May 30 '11 at 16:24
  • @Tim: I'd try to avoid more than two duplicate words. – OregonGhost May 30 '11 at 16:27
  • The one with the hat reminds me of the elefant with a hat in the board game Kings & Things. Don't do this to real kitties though. Please. – OregonGhost May 30 '11 at 16:30
  • Was spricht gegen "Ich denke, dass jenes, welches das Kleid trägt, am süßesten ist."? – I'm with Monica Oct 2 '12 at 14:07
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    @AlexanderKosubek: Es klingt recht umständlich. Falsch ist es nicht. Abgesehen davon, dass es eher finden statt denken sein sollte ;) – OregonGhost Oct 9 '12 at 11:17

The repetitions of pronouns in the examples you provided actually sound perfectly fine to me. However, if you want to put it differently, you might want to try something like this:

So viele Katzen! Ich mag die mit dem Hut.

Ich mag die mit der Mütze.

Welches Kätzchen findest du am süßesten? Ich denke, dass das mit dem Kleid am süßesten ist.

In spoken/colloquial German, you'll probably find these more often since they make a shorter sentence by avoiding the verb.


I think that the first two sentences are quite natural, but the last one isn't (though grammatically correct and possible to say with very good stress).

"Welche" is correct, but not used much in informal speech.

Besides the excellent suggestions in the second part of OregonGhost's answers I want to point out that most people will repeat the noun if the number of repetitions is too high.

  • Repeat as in "dass das Kätzchen, das das"? That's a nice solution. – Tim May 30 '11 at 16:51
  • @Tim: Yes, exactly. – Phira May 30 '11 at 16:52
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    +1: True, the noun may also be repeated. Note that you typically don't repeat the same noun or verb too often in written German (as my Technical English professor put it, for the sake of Abwechslung). You may of course also use a synonym instead. Though I didn't mention it in my answer, my third alternative example actually just repeats the noun, without me realizing it. Guess that happened because it just felt unnatural, as thei said ;) – OregonGhost May 30 '11 at 17:51

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