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While playing Squad in german servers, I would often say the following, when asked about what we'll do as Squad:

Wir werden ein HAB setzen.

meaning that we will set up / build / construct a HAB (Hesco Active Bunker, masculine)

I have some questions:

  1. Is this correct? Because "setzen" is "set" but not "set up". I feel like I'm missing a part of the verb (an/auf/ein, etc)
  2. I read that after "werden" we always have to use nominative, so would be "einen HAB" incorrect? Given that "wir" is the subject and HAB the direct object I feel like it's accusative?
  3. If I want to say "at the marker", would it be before the second verb? How would it be declined? I was thinking "Wir werden ein HAB auf dem Marker setzen" but probably it is wrong as I don't know yet how to decline that part.

2 Answers 2

1

1

setzen, aufsetzen (to set, to set up)

I don't know the game squad, so I'm not familiar with the terminology used inside this game. But I googled a little bit and found out that a Hesco seems to be a basket filled with earth, stones, sand or similar materials and that you can use them to build bastions, walls and also primitive bunkers.

So, since a Hesco bunker is something that needs to be built to come into existance you can say:

Wir werden einen Bunker/HAB bauen. = We will build a bunker/HAB.
Wir werden einen Bunker/HAB errichten. = We will build a bunker/HAB. (Literall: We will erect a bunker/HAB.)

But in Computer terminology you also sometimes use the verb aufsetzen to bring something into existance:

We will set up a new server. = Wir werden einen neuen Server aufsetzen.

Before computer area the German Verb aufsetzen never was used in the sense of building or creating something. It only was used in these meanings:

  • Markus wird heute einen Hut aufsetzen. = Markus will put on a hat today.
  • Maria wird einen Topf Suppe aufsetzen. = Maria will put a pot of soup on the stove.
  • Du musst den Container ganz vorsichtig auf den Boden aufsetzen. = You need to put the container on the ground very carefully.
  • Ich muss heute noch einen Brief aufsetzen. = I have to draft a letter today.

The meaning of building/creating something came into German language only by the direct (and originally false) translation of the English term to set up something. And as far as I know this meaning is still strictly reserved to the realm of information technology. So you can use it also in this meaning:

  1. einen Server aufsetzen = to set up a server
  2. ein Programm aufsetzen = to set up a program/application

But even #2 is used very rarely. This is much more common:

ein Programm installieren = to install a program/application

But since computer games are played on computers, often by people who are familiar with IT related language, maybe also IT related terms might be used in in-game terminology. And then you could say:

Wir werden einen HAB aufsetzen. = We will set up a HAB.

But in this context to me (not being a gamer) it sounds more familiar to just set a HAB like you set a flag:

Wir werden einen HAB setzen. = We will set a HAB.


2

werden, nominative case, direct object, ...

Please learn and remember forever:

German has no direct or indirect objects

There is not a single textbook written in German language about German grammar that uses the terms "direct object" or "indirect object". No German native speaker did ever learn about direct or indirect objects in school. And for both facts there is a very good reason: German does not have direct or indirect objects. Maybe some other languages have these kinds of object, but German doesn't.

German has 4 kinds of objects. These are:

  • genitive objects

    Das entbehrt jeder Logik.
    Dr. Schneider wurde seines Amtes enthoben.
    Wir gedenken der Verstorbenen.

  • dative objects

    Er hilft seiner Mutter.
    Der Bürgermeister gratuliert dem glücklichen Gewinner.
    Martin antwortet dem Lehrer.

  • accusative objects

    Der Arzt untersucht den Patienten.
    Der Lehrer fragt den Schüler.
    Ulrike kauft eine Tasche.

  • prepositional objects

    Georg denkt an seine Frau.
    Lisa kommt zur Sache.
    Hans lacht über den Witz.

(Sometimes also Gleichsetzungsnominativ is called nominative object which is not the official term: »Herr Schuster ist ein Bäcker.«)

Forget anything you heard about direct or indirect objects. This is misleading. It might help in 90 or even 95% of all sentences, but for the rest this concept guides you in a wrong direction. (How should this concept help you when a verb needs a genitive object?) Better use existing terms when you learn German grammar.


The verb werden is an auxiliary verb. It is just here to indicate a certain grammatical tense. Here it indicates Futur I. It behaves exactly like the English auxiliary verb will which also indicates future tense:

Wir werden etwas tun. = We will do something.

There is no case of any object depending on this auxiliary verb. Only full verbs need certain types of objects (see the examples above). The full verb in »wir werden einen HAB aufsetzen/setzen« is aufsetzen or setzen.

Both verbs (setzen and aufsetzen) need an accusative object. It are these full verbs that make this case mandatory.

And note, that never a whole sentence is in any case. Only objects are in cases, never the whole sentence. This is easy to remember, because (almost) every sentence has a subject, and in German grammar the subject also is in a case, and the subject's case is always nominative case while all object have another case.

Wir werden einen HAB setzen.

  • Wir
    Subject in nominative case (a personal pronoun in first person plural)
  • werden
    auxiliary verb that indicates the tense Futur I. (first person plural)
  • einen HAB
    object in accusative case. Consists of:
    • einen
      indefinite masculine article in accusative case, singular
    • HAB
      masculine noun in accusative case, singular
  • setzen
    infinitive form of a full verb
    It is this verb that dictates the case of the object.

3

auf dem/den Marker

German has grammatical cases and other features that make it easy to identify the grammatical function of different parts of speech independent from their position. This is different from English where the position within a sentence is much more important to identify which words have which function. For example when a man eats an apple, you have to put the man at the beginning of the sentence and the apple at the end:

The man eats the apple.

If you do it the other way round, you are telling a story about a monster apple that is killing a person, which is not what you really wanted to say:

The apple eats the man.

But in German you use nominative case to identify the subject and another case to identify what is not the subject, and you can do this in any order:

Der Mann isst den Apfel.
Den Apfel isst der Mann.

Both sentences are correct and will be understood by anyone who speaks German, because in both sentences only der Mann is in nominative case, and therefore only this part can be the subject (the eater in this example) while the part in accusative case (den Apfel) is the thing that is eaten.

And so you also have the choice in your sentence:

Wir werden einen HAB auf den Marker setzen.
Wir werden auf den Marker einen HAB setzen.
Auf den Marker werden wir einen HAB setzen.
Einen HAB werden wir auf den Marker setzen.

All 4 sentences are correct. Only the finite verb (which is the auxiliary verb werden in this sentences) must be the second part of speech and the subject must be at position 1 or 3, and all verbs that are not finite (here the full verb setzen) must be at the very last position.


But there is one more thing to mention:

The prepositional object »auf den Marker« consists of a preposition (»auf«) and an object (here: »den Marker«) in a grammatical case, that depends not on a verb but on the preposition. But the preposition »auf« can go with dative case or with accusative case. Prepositions that can have their object in 2 possible cases are called Wechselpräposition. And when ever there is a Wechselpräposition the case depends on a feature that doesn't play any role in English grammar, but is important in German grammar:

Is it a place (no movement) or a direction/target (with movement)?

If you move something (if it's a direction or a target) you need accusative case. If you don't move something you need dative case:

  • accusative case = a movement from elsewhere

    Wir werden einen HAB auf einen Marker setzen.

    This means: You already have a HAB and once you have it, you set it onto the marker. So, the HAB was somewhere else before you put it to its new location. This "somewhere else" can also be "nowhere." So, in a game it is possible that the HAB comes to existence only in the moment when you put it on the marker. This can be interpreted as a movement and therefore allows you to use accusative case.

  • dative case = no movement from elsewhere

    Wir werden einen HAB auf einem Marker setzen.

    This means: First you go to the Marker. When you are there you do something at this place (on this marker) and when you do what ever you do, you don't move anything from somewhere else to the marker. So you also can build the HAB on this marker without leaving or entering the marker. This means there is no movement towards the marker, and in this situation you can use dative case.

So, both cases are correct in this setting.

2

Well, 2 is easy. It's only when werden is used in the sense of "to become" when you'd use a nominative object. In your sentence werden is a helping verb forming the future tense, and the object cases will match the cases required by the main verb, which is setzen. You're thinking of something like Du wirst ein Mann where ein Mann is a predicate noun, meaning a noun that the verb is equating with/comparing to something else in some way. In German, the case of a predicate noun matches the case of the person or thing it's being compared with, and since du is nominative, ein Mann is nominative as well. This is different from English where a predicate noun is always in the object case. Of course ein HAB would be correct either way if HAB were neuter. (It seems that the German speaking players have some idea that HAB stands for Hesco Aktiv Bunker; the German Bunker is masculine.)

I think you'd need to have played the game to answer 1 and 3 correctly. It's possible that setzen is correct since it can mean "to set" or "to place". Alternatives are platzieren and legen, possibly bauen, errichten. It might be that auf is correct with Marker since it kind of depends on its size and shape and its relationship with the HAB when it's been placed there. I pretty sure that auf dem would be wrong, auf can use accusative or dative, and since the Marker is a destination you'd use the accusative auf den with such a preposition. (Search for Wechselpräposition for more details.) I think your best bet is to pay attention to what the other players say and copy them.

Not that you asked, but I'm worried about using the future tense here. It might be more polite to say Setzen wir einen HAB. This is more of a suggestion, "Let's set a HAB", than a direction, "We will set a HAB". Also, German tends to favor the present tense more than English, so it might be possible that the present tense would be better, assuming you're not going with Setzen wir (first person plural imperative). Again, I'd pay attention to what the other players say and copy them.

Anyway, this sounds like a great way to practice your German skills; just be sure to thank your teammates every so often for their patience :)

5
  • "Hilfsverb" heißt "auxiliary (verb)" auf Englisch. Jan 9 at 6:55
  • I would doubt that "setzen" is correct but often players of some game have their own jargon, so it's not impossible.
    – RHa
    Jan 9 at 10:04
  • if it is a building or installation you set up or build at the place of the marked position on a map, I'd go with "Wir stellen einen HAB beim Marker auf" or as suggestion "Lass uns einen HAB beim Marker aufstellen" Jan 9 at 10:30
  • jonathan.scholbach: I'm pretty sure both can be used in English, see Wiktionary
    – RDBury
    Jan 9 at 16:20
  • @RHa: It depends on the game. For some to build a house you take a house from your inventory and place it on a grid square like a chess piece, for some you have to gather the materials and actually build it wall by wall.
    – RDBury
    Jan 9 at 16:32

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