Ein Held, der sich heute bei euch die Ehre gibt

It's a line from song "Prinz Ali" ,and when I translated it I got

A hero who pays his respects to you today

The dictionary tells me that the verb is "eingeben" not "sich geben", is that right? And if it's, why?

  • 1
    There's plenty of verbs in the "geben" family, what exactly did you look up in the dictionary to arrive at that conclusion?
    – DonHolgo
    May 3, 2021 at 7:30
  • 1
    clearly "eingeben" is not correct - because the sentence doesnt even contain "ein" - the one you might spot is an undetermined article to "Held" - (similar to your "a hero" ) - so I think your translation is good - though it does not get the implied haughty attitude displayed by the hero / as if he is expecting something for showing up
    – eagle275
    May 3, 2021 at 18:51
  • The verb is 'naht' : Hey, du, hör' mal zu, denn jetzt naht ein Star Ein Held, der sich heute bei euch die Ehre gibt
    – TaW
    May 3, 2021 at 20:23

2 Answers 2


"Sich die Ehre geben" is an idiom. It means something in the lines of "to take pride in gracing an event with an appearance" or is used as a fancy way to say "to be there", "to attend" for persons who are an honor for the event. In a broader sense, it means "to do oneself the honor of doing sth", but it's mosty used for attendance.

Viele bekannte Persönlichkeiten, unter anderem die Bundeskanzlerin, gaben sich bei der Premiere in Bayreuth die Ehre.


Ein Held, der sich heute bei euch die Ehre gibt, ...

means something like

A hero who proudly graces you with his presence today ...


Let me add that this example is of course not a full sentence but only a fragment. "Der sich heute bei euch die Ehre gibt" is a full subordinate clause that just further describes "Ein Held". Your translation in the question already reflects that so you're probably aware of that.

  • 1
    In what manner does this posting answer the question? ("What is the verb in this sentence?") May 3, 2021 at 7:27
  • 1
    This answers the question very well, simply because the verb in this fixed idiom is geben. In contrast, your essay, dear @HubertSchölnast, on what makes a full sentence, does not answer the question at all. May 3, 2021 at 8:08
  • @HubertSchölnast: I edited in a paragraph on that, thanks. The translation in the question already reflects that it's only a Relativsatz.
    – HalvarF
    May 3, 2021 at 8:29

This is not a sentence. A sentence has (most often) a subject and always a predicate. But in this group of words there is no predicate. The core of a predicate is a verb, but although the word »gibt« is a verb, it still is not the sentence's predicate (or a part of it).

A full sentence might be:

Ein Held, der sich heute bei euch die Ehre gibt, trägt einen grünen Hut.
A hero who pays his respects to you today wears a green hat.

This sentence has these parts:

  • ein Held, der sich heute bei euch die Ehre gibt
    These 10 words together are the subject of the sentence, and this subject occupies position 1 of the sentence.
  • trägt This is the predicate, and it consists of only one word which is a verb. It occupies position 2 of the sentence. Position 2 is the place where you always will find a verb in any correct German statement (not in commands or questions).
  • einen grünen Hut
    The verb trägt doesn't need just a subject, but also an object in accusative case, and these 3 words are together the accusative object of this sentence.

So, let's have a deeper look on the subject, which is identical to the phrase from your question:

  • ein Held
    This is a nominal group in nominative case, and it consists of a determiner (here: an article) and the core of the nominal group, which is a noun (this is why we call it a nominal group)
  • der sich heute bei euch die Ehre gibt
    This a right attribute of the nominal group which contains some more details about what is described by the nominal group itself. And this right attribute is a "relative clause" (In German: »Relativsatz«) In German we use the term Satz for full sentences but also for clauses, which might be confusing. Just know, that a »Relativsatz« (relative clause) is not a »ganzer Satz« (full sentence)

A German relative clause always starts with a relative pronoun (here: »der«) and always ends with a verb (here: »gibt«). But this verb belongs only to the relative clause. It has no connection to the other parts of the sentence outside the relative clause, so it can't be part of the full sentence's predicate.

But there is a way to convert the phrase in discussion into a full sentence, and then the former relative clause's verb will become the full sentences finite verb and therefore must be located at position 2:

Ein Held gibt sich heute bei euch die Ehre.
A hero pays his respects to you today.

Now we have a full sentence, and it has it's verb »gibt« where it belongs to: at position 2.

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