Could you please help me decipher what's going on with this sentence?

Im Bergwerk Gittersee wird vor der Schließung im Raubbau noch rausgeholt was geht.

I don't get neither the meaning nor the word order of this sentence...

  • 5
    was geht is a relative clause, and there is a comma missing in front of it.
    – RHa
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 12:28
  • 2
    im Raubbau belongs to rausgeholt (colloquial), not to Schließung as one might conclude from the word order.
    – guidot
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 13:06
  • 1
    Raubbau is a technical term (de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raubbau_(Bergbau)) which means taking only the easily-won coal while compromising future mining. I don't know of an English equivalent phrase.
    – grahamj42
    Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 16:33
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    While it is most definitive not the case here, "Was geht?" can also be utilised as a very informal way to ask "What's up?" as a greeting. I'm noting this in a comment for anyone who might be surprised by that usage after reading through the excellent answers here. Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


"Was geht" in this context means "what is possible" or "as much as possible".

Actually the bing translator delivers an almost understandable phrase:

In the Gittersee mine, what is possible is still being extracted in the overexploitation before the closure.

By changing a few words and their order the meaning becomes clearer:

Before the closure of the Gittersee mine, as much as possible is being extracted in overexploitation.

(BTW: Is "in overexploitation" proper english?)

The translation doesn't seem ideal to me, but should be clear enough to understand the sentence ;-)


Was geht is a relative construction that has been traditionally called free relative clause. It functions as a noun phrase that serves as the subject of the original sentence. To further simplify things, put in the active:

Man holt (das) raus, was geht.
They are extracting what is possible.

Gehen in this context means be possible: https://www.dwds.de/wb/gehen#d-1-13.

The rest are just adjuncts (Angaben).

(place) im Bergwerk Gittersee
(time) vor der Schließung
(manner) im Raubbau

  • 1
    The comma is still missing.It is required because was geht is a subordinate clause.
    – RHa
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 14:03
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    If "was geht" serves as the subject of the sentence, would it be correct to say something like: »Mir gefällt was du trägst« ?? Or maybe »Bei Alzheimer wird vergessen was täglich passiert« ?? Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 14:18
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    @KeNSmilePachI Sure!
    – David Vogt
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 14:46
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    @KeNSmilePachI "Mir gefällt was du trägst" - nearly, again, as RHa points out, a comma is missing: "Mir gefällt, was du trägst." Commented Jun 20, 2022 at 12:20

The word order is straightforward. "Im Bergwerk Gittersee" is in the first position and then, as we know, the verb should be in the second position and in this case, it's "wird".

Then "vor der Schließung" means before the closing.

"was geht" coupled with "wird", in this context, helps to convey the meaning that "what can be extracted is being extracted".

The meaning of the whole sentence is

In the Gittersee mine, what can be extracted is still being extracted before the mine closes.

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