Meine Oma, die hatte ein Haus.

This is correct topicalization/fronting.
But can we have [meine Oma] as the direct object and still append [die hatte ein Haus]?

So instead of saying

Ich mag meine Oma, die ein Haus hatte.

We say

Ich mag meine Oma, die hatte ein Haus.

I do know that it would be correct to split it into two:

Ich mag meine Oma. Die hatte in Haus.

  • 3
    Please do not vandalize your questions. This is unfair to those who put effort into answering it. Also see this FAQ.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Dec 17, 2022 at 9:43

2 Answers 2


I had to look up "fronting" because it doesn't seem to be a common term in German grammar. It is used in English grammar; the example from the online Cambridge Dictionary was: "I bought a new camera. And a very expensive camera it was." Normally in English the predicate noun, "a very expensive camera", would come after the verb and the subject, "it", would come first. Fronting means that the sentence order is different from what you'd expect in English. But German word order is more flexible than English, and you can rearrange the sentence elements without resorting to special grammatical jargon. It didn't take long to find examples in the DWDS usage database; this came up first: Dein Job ist es, ihn zu bändigen. Roughly: "It's your job to tame him." (Or "her" or "it", German has different rules for gender so it's hard to tell without context.) Notice that the German word order is "Your job is it", which sounds like Yoda in English, but it's just normal flexible word order in German.

Also note that it's better to forget about your ideas of "direct" and "indirect" objects in German. Again, this terminology is borrowed from English grammar and isn't really applicable to German. Identify an object by it's case, so (usually) "accusative object" or "dative object". An Object introduced by a preposition is called "prepositional object" in both languages.

  • yes, that. 'Fronting' is a word to describe English grammar, not German grammar. And the same holds true for direct and indirect objects. Conversely there is no Akkusativ and Dativ in English and it doesn't make sense to use these to refer to any English grammatical entity. Interestingly 'fronting' doesn't even have a very good English wikipedia page - and it has no German one. Dec 16, 2022 at 23:25

I downvoted because the question made no sense to me, personally, and it already had an answer from a reliable user. To add insult to injury, if it helps:

Häuser an der Zahl hatte meine Oma eins

"? Ein Haus hatte Oma eins [an der Zahl]."

In the former case, "an der Zahl haben" would be a phrasal verb that has a different valance than "haben", an der Zahl is bound as the null subject(?) not unlike es regnet.

In the latter case, "an der Zahl" is an adposition and irrelevant. In a coursory glance it seems from search results (about 3 in number) that the phrase is often used in parantheticals. So it doesn't change the valence. Granny is still the subject as is required by the active verb.

In principle, there is no need to add a relative pronoun, so I'd intuitively argue that your example is fairly unnatural, unless intonated and punctuated accordingly as you have already shown. Compare the Die Ärzte song meine Freunde (text verändert wegen copyright)

Meine Freunde ...

sind heterosexuel /

Meine Freunde ...

sind alle kriminell!

Sie kloppfen sich ganz einfach so /

gegenseitig auf die Schulter /

und das macht ihnen auch auch noch Spaß /

— dürfen die das?

The relative pronouns don't appear before the conclusion. Since die is often used like a personal pronoun, the consequences for your example seem negligable, anyway.

I am not a linguist, all mistakes are subject to correction, etc. etc.

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