The meaning of the word is "about it" but it does not fit in a proper sentence structure. One sentence I found was
er beklagt sich darüber, dass er betrogen wurde but if I try to fit the meaning "about it" then it does'nt make sense. Anybody having proper idea of this word?

3 Answers 3


In German grammatical terminology, such a word is called Korrelat. It represents a subclause within a main clause.

For example:

Ich wusste, dass er Deutsch lernt.

Ich wusste es, dass er Deutsch lernt.

Both sentences are valid. In the second sentence, the es represents the subclause (dass er Deutsch lernt).

In the given example:

Er beklagt sich darüber, dass er betrogen wurde.

darüber represents the preposition über, plus the subclause (dass er betrogen wurde).


First a little friendly advice: German is German and English is English. It's easier said than done, but try not to understand German based on what makes sense in English: the more German you learn, the less useful the logic of English will be.

Anyway, here is one way to think of sentences like "er beklagt sich darüber, dass er betrogen wurde":

Some example sentences from the internet:

"Er beklagt sich über sein geringes Gehalt."

"Er beklagt sich über korrupte Politiker."

"Er beklagt sich über Lastwagen und Baustaub."

These all have the form "er beklagt sich über + noun phrase". But what happens if, instead of a noun phrase, we want to use a noun clause, such as "dass er betrogen wurde"?

Here are some more examples from the internet:

"Er beklagt sich darüber, dass Erika ohne Abschied und Erklärung verschwand."

"Er beklagt sich darüber, dass nach dem Krieg niemand mehr über die Geschehnisse reden will."

"Er beklagt sich darüber, dass er viel Geld für nichts ausgegeben hat."

Here we have a slightly different form: "er beklagt sich darüber, + noun clause".

So judging from these examples, we choose the bare preposition "über" to introduce a noun phrase and the correlative "darüber" to introduce a noun clause.

Is this principle generalisable?

"Ich sehne mich nach dem Sommer," but "Ich sehne mich danach, dass wir alle zusammen Weihnachten feiern."

"Er hat nichts gegen den Ex-Schwiegersohn," but "Er hat nichts dagegen, dass sein Bruder Fussball spielt."

"Erinnere dich an deine Heimat," but "Erinnere dich daran, dass ich dich liebe."

Here we have "nach / gegen / an + noun phrase", but "danach, / dagegen, / daran, + noun clause"

So, in general terms, we can say that German uses a preposition to introduce a noun phrase, but a "correlative"—i.e. da(r) + preposition—to introduce a noun clause.

Be careful though, this is only part of a much bigger picture; many correlatives have additional idiomatic meanings and uses…

  • 1
    "Er beklagt sich darüber." kann auch alleine stehen ohne einen weiteren Satz einzuleiten. Allerdings gibt es dann vorhergehende Sätze, die das 'darüber' ausführen. Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 10:37

The best site I found to give explanations of this type of topics is this one. I will paraphrase what is giving there.

The verb klagt wants to 'eat' a noun, always. Suppose you had not written darüber, you would have:

er beklagt sich, dass er betrogen wurde

In the above, there is no no 'object' which the verb acts on. This is not syntactical in German grammar. So, you need keep the darüber word which acts a prepositional object so that the noun has something to act.

  • Yes, but no. You can leave out the darüber without changing meaning or getting grammatically wrong. Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 6:03
  • Hmmmm you would be contradicting what is said in the article, he says that it is required.. could you say how I could reconcile what the article author is saying and what you are saying? @planetmaker
    – Babu
    Commented Apr 10, 2022 at 6:17

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