Translating from I, Robot by Asimov with a German-speaking friend, I said:

Die meisten Regierungen weltweit verboten Robotereinsatz auf der Erde von 2003 bis 2007, aus irgendeinem anderen Grund außer wissenschaftlichen Forschungen. Die Menschheit hatte die dumme und unnötige Einstellung.

But my friend said that the second sentence needed to be corrected to:

Diese Menschheit hatte die dumme und unnötige Einstellung.

What is the basis for this correction?

  • 6
    Are you sure your friend did not say that the sentence should rather read "Die Menscheit hatte diese dumme und nötige Einstellung"? The Akkusative object needs back reference to the previous sentence. Sep 16, 2022 at 16:06
  • Yes, you are probably correct. That makes more sense. Although, wouldn't "eine dumme und unnötige Einstellung" also work (no back reference), or is a back reference required. I suggest you make your response an answer.
    – user44591
    Sep 16, 2022 at 17:34
  • 1
    Stattdessen hätte er anderes korrigieren sollen: "den Robotereinsatz" oder "Robotereinsätze" in Teilsatz 1, "aus anderen Gründen außer" in Teilsatz 2, oder "aus einem anderen Grund, außer wissenschaftlicher Forschung". "Irgendeinem anderen Grund" passt gar nicht - "aus jedem anderen Grund" dagegen wäre gut, wenn "Grund" überhaupt gut wäre, aber "zu jedem anderen Zweck" scheint hier doch passender. Sep 17, 2022 at 16:17

1 Answer 1


Diese vs Die:

If you say "this table" you would speak about this one special table you (mentally) point on. If you say "the table" you speak about the table in a more functional way. It is not important that it is this special table, it is simple some surface you can place objects on.

With "diese" (this) and "die" (the) "Menschheit" it is similar. If you speak about "die Menschheit" you do so in a more general way. It is not important or probable, that there could be others. But with "diese Menschheit" you point on this (special, unique) one and no other. It implies there may be others, but you do not speak about them.

In context of the "Einstellung", "die" is one (not special) of a pool. But "diese Einstellung" points to a special one. In your text it points to the sentence before, judging the ban of robots as silly and not useful.

Concluding I would agree with planetmaker's view: change from "die" to "diese" would affect the sentence more in context of "Einstellung" than of "Menschheit".

  • 2
    In general i agree with this, but "diese Menschheit" does indeed make sense: it could mean "humanity in this very state/form" as opposed to in another state of affairs, i.e. "humanity in the times of Sokrates", etc..
    – bakunin
    Sep 19, 2022 at 14:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.