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Welche Art von Filmen schaust Du Dir denn am liebsten an?

I'm still not familiar with German sentences structure.

In this sentence I don't understand why there is not a sort of "that" between Du and Dir.

Is denn behaving like a sort of "that" postponed or denn could even be completely omitted?

Could you help, please?

Thanks.

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  • Why should there be a “that”? For which parts of the sentence have you been able to identify their grammatical role? (subject, objects, verb, …)
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 15:32
  • de.wiktionary.org/wiki/anschauen Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 15:53
  • @Carsten S: I'm not sure. It's like something "that you like the most". "What type of films you watch that you like...". Something like this. It's "Dir" including "to you", "that you"?. Thanks.
    – David R
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 15:55
  • In its current form I consider the question as unclear, since the sentence is fine as stated and does not require any subordinate clause (if that is the intention of inserting that). For the DU/Dir construct also mentioned in the title see this question.
    – guidot
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 16:01
  • @guidot: maybe I'm starting to understand something. If I say: "What type of films you watch you like the most" would that be correct without a "that"? In this case, with the inversion of the verb "What type of films watch you you like the most" -> would be "schaust Du Dir..."?
    – David R
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 16:04

3 Answers 3

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It seems you didn't parse the sentence correctly.

  • Welche Art von Filmen: accusative (direct) object - Which kind of movies
  • schaust: predicate / verb - watch
  • Du: subject - you
  • Dir: dative (indirect) object, reflexive - for yourself
  • denn: adverbial particle - pray tell
  • am liebsten: adverbial clause - as your favourite
  • an: pending prefix of anschauen

So everything is there. There is no room in the structure of the sentence for an extra pronoun.

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  • Thank you for breaking it down piece by piece. Yes, as I wrote in another comment I was thinking something like this: "What type of films that you watch you like that most?" But the verb inversion troubled me as I was thinking something like: "What type of films watch you you like the most?". So I felt the need to separate those 2 pronouns by something.
    – David R
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 18:15
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While i agree with @tofro s answer generally i take objection to "denn" being mere decoration.

The difference between:

Welche Art von Filmen schaust Du Dir am liebsten an?

and

Welche Art von Filmen schaust Du Dir denn am liebsten an?

is that the latter implies a similar question has had been answered by the one asking before, like i.e.:

Q: "Welche Art Filme magst Du?"

A: "Ich mag Filme über deutsche Grammatik. Welche Art von Filmen schaust Du Dir denn am liebsten an?"

In general, "denn" changes the mood of a question:

Was ist das?

Was ist das denn? (alt: Was ist denn das?)

The first is a neutral question, the second is a rhetorical question expressing astonishment, disbelief or even disgust.

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There are two questions in one:

  1. Is there some sort of article missing between "du" and "dir" in the example sentence? - No, there isn't. "sich etwas anschauen" is a verb in reflexive usage, just like "to wash oneself" in English ("to watch" can't be used reflexively). And just like in the English "he's washing himself" there's no article nowhere, and, in particular, the "denn" in the sentence is in no way acting as such (and has absolutely nothing to do with the reflexive usage).
  2. What's the function of "denn" in German questions? - Nothing but decoration. "denn" as used here is a particle, a German speciality to "decorate" sentences and express (in this example) particular interest (sic). There is a rarely used comparable example in English questions "why [then] are you ..." that does similar things.
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  • I disagree with denn being mere decoration. It is a typical modal particle, hinting at the attitude of the speaker towards the statement or (in this case) the question. Denn used in a question indicates that the questioner is truly interested in the answer.
    – RHa
    Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 19:06

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