I've got three sentences with the same problem:

"Geht man von zwei Sätzen aus und verbindet (man) sie mit einer Konjunktion, dann erkennt man, dass [...]."

"Betrachtet man eine Menge X und ordnet (man) sie so, dass [...], dann [...]."

"Ordnet man eine Menge X, schließt zwei bestimmte Elemente mit ein und definiert (man) x':=1-x für jedes Element x aus X, dann erhält man [...]."

Does the "man", which I've put in ( ), have to be written or is it redundant?

2 Answers 2


If you combine two clauses with a conjunction and the clauses share the same subject, you can basically choose whether to repeat the subject or not. Both versions are correct.

Stylistically, I'd omit the second occurence if the "distance" to the first one is relatively small. In that case, repeating the subject would seem unnecessarily wordy. If the distance is rather large, it might be helpful to repeat the subject, as kind of a reminder for the listener or reader.

  • Thanks for the explanation and your answer! Do you know how the rule that is the basis for your explanation is called?
    – Studentu
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 16:43
  • 2
    @Studentu The omittance of the second subject would be a Subjektbinnenellipse. But I'm not sure most Germans even know this term, outside of linguistic circles. I had to look it up myself ;) This is something people use in everyday speech without much of a formal rule. Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 17:00
  • 1
    The same occurs in English as well, see Ellipsis (linguistics). For example the second example in English is "If you look at a set of X and (you) arrange them that way..." where the second "you" is optional. I don't know if there's a difference between a subject dropping Ellipsis in German vs. one in English, but I've never noticed any.
    – RDBury
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 12:03
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    @HenningKockerbeck I disagree with your 'distance' advice. All three of OP's sentences sound very strange/old with the included 'man', independent of the distance.
    – iron9
    Commented Oct 24, 2021 at 23:16
  • @iron9 Those examples are relatively short, and opinions may vary, how large the "distance" needs to be to warrant a repeat. But in my opinion, the second example is on the brink where a repeat of the subject may be a service to the reader, because the first occurence was relatively "long ago". A similar principle may be applied to multi-part predicates: Instead of "Ich sage das Gedicht, das ich damals in der Schule gelernt und seither niemals wieder vergessen habe, auf" something like "Ich sage das Gedicht auf, das ich damals in der Schule gelernt und seither niemals wieder vergessen habe." Commented Oct 25, 2021 at 8:42

It's redundant and it's even better style to leave it out.

  • Thanks for your answer! Do you know according to which rule one can leave it out?
    – Studentu
    Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 16:41
  • @Studentu, there is no such rule. It is simply good style. Commented Oct 14, 2021 at 18:24

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