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I understand that adverbs are not declined, but in this case it seems to me that these adverbs can only be used in relation to the typical traits of the four cases. Here it seems like...

  • da = nominative + dative
  • dahin = accusative
  • daher = genitive

or is this just a coincidence/misunderstsanding?

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  • Here's what I understand: The da words act like objects for verbs to 'eat', so, it must be that the da words must be able to satisfy compatibility (eg: case which verb take in) Apr 26 at 8:06
  • The words da, dahin, daher are not different forms of the same word, but have different meanings. All three can have a meaning of location: da = at this location, daher = from this location, dahin = to this location. Furthermore, da and daher also have totally different meanings. For example, da can also mean because. Please show some context.
    – Bodo
    Apr 26 at 12:56
  • Note there is a dahin meaning with no object at all: "Der ganze Lottogewinn war nach 2 Monaten schon dahin" (in the sense of gone)
    – tofro
    Apr 26 at 14:15

1 Answer 1

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These are NOT declinations but in fact separate words, although i understand that - given their usage - they are closely related to certain ''Kasus''.

  • da
    means "here", in a static sense and denominates a place. It also implies some distance from where the one speaking is right now (otherwise you would use "hier", similar to "there" and "here"). "Wo lebst du? Da!" (To express that he lives where the dialogue takes place the person would maybe point to the ground and answer "Hier!".)

  • dahin
    implies a motion towards there. It means "to" or "towards [there]". Notice that this differentiation between place and direction doesn't happen in English: ''I am there - i go there'' whereas: ''Ich bin da - ich gehe dahin (da hin)''. Also notice that this difference is also reflected in the related asking particles: ''Where are you? - Where do you go?'' but: ''Wo bist du? - Wohin gehst du?''

  • daher
    is similar to ''dahin'' but the implied direction is reversed. It means ''from [there]''. In a derived meaning it is also used synonymously to "because" (from there [it follows, that...]).

Notice that "daher" and "dahin" are basically composite words (from "da", "hin" and "her") and - as is custom for composite words - can be broken up into their parts to form a "bracket":

''Da'' komme ich ''her''. From there i come.

''Da'' gehe ich ''hin''. There i go.

Both these sentences could also have been phrased "Daher komme ich." and "Dahin gehe ich."

On an additional note, "da" can also be used meaning "because", but that is a different meaning and not related to "dahin" or "daher".

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  • Der Duden kennzeichnet die getrennte Verwendung als umgangssprachlich.
    – Roland
    Apr 26 at 13:44
  • Daß man dahin kommt, den Duden in diesen Beziehungen nicht so ernst zu nehmen, da will ich hin. Ecco!
    – bakunin
    Apr 27 at 10:07
  • @Roland: außerdem ist zwischen "Er geht dahin." und "Er geht da hin." ein Unterschied, der keineswegs jenem zwischen Umgangs- und korrektem Deutsch geschuldet wäre - Duden hin oder her.
    – bakunin
    Apr 27 at 16:18
  • Natürlich ist da ein Bedeutungsunterschied. Es sind ja auch unterschiedliche Wörter. Im zweiten Beispiel sind "da" und "hin" zwei Wörter und kein getrenntes "dahin".
    – Roland
    Apr 28 at 5:07

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