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"Weißt du, die Frage, wer von uns beiden die cooleren Eltern hat, hat sich für mich irgendwie erübrigt."

In the above sentence, how do we know that the conjugated verb "hat" comes at the end in the phrase "wer von uns beiden die cooleren Eltern hat" and at the beginning in the phrase "hat sich für mich irgendwie erübrigt."?

2 Answers 2

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First of all, “weißt du” does not change the word order of the rest of the sentence, so let us remove it.

Die Frage, wer von uns beiden die cooleren Eltern hat, hat sich für mich irgendwie erübrigt.

Now, “wer von uns beiden die cooleren Eltern hat” is a relative clause (or some other kind of subordinate clause, I am actually not sure about the terminology) with the verb at the end. The main clause has the finite verb in second position, as is the rule, and the whole phrase “die Frage, wer von uns beiden die cooleren Eltern hat” occupies the first position. It would perhaps seem simpler if the relative clause was removed:

Die Frage hat sich für mich irgendwie erübrigt.

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  • Yes except... I don't think it's a true relative clause. It's more a kind of parenthetical. Or indirect speech, perhaps. The "wer" does not reference "Frage". But the word order feels natural because it feels like a relative clause. You could put it in quotes with a different word order: "Die Frage »Wer von uns beiden hat die cooleren Eltern?« hat sich..." Jun 7 at 18:17
  • I think the correct terminology for the subordinate clause would be: w-Fragesatz (form) functioning as Attributsatz (function); see grammis.ids-mannheim.de/systematische-grammatik/1643#frage.
    – David Vogt
    Jun 7 at 20:39
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When we reduce the clause (in this case, everything after "Weißt du") to just subject and verb, we get the following:

Die Frage hat sich erübrigt.

"Hat" is here a form of the auxiliary "haben".

What question?

Die Frage, wer von uns beiden die cooleren Eltern hat, hat sich erübrigt.

The "hat" in the relative clause depends on "wer". The second "hat" (the auxiliary) still depends on "Die Frage".

For whom?

Die Frage, wer von uns beiden die cooleren Eltern hat, hat sich für mich erübrigt.

This does not change anything that affects the verbs, just like adding "irgendwie". "Für mich" may also be inserted elsewhere, but this may actually change the word order; for example:

Für mich hat sich die Frage, wer von uns beiden die cooleren Eltern hat, [irgendwie] erübrigt.

The "hat" that moved to more forward position in the sentence is the auxiliary and it "pulled" the reflexive pronoun "sich" with it.

(You can add "Weißt du" at the start of the sentence again without changing the word order.)

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