Today I came across 2 sentences like this "Da bin ich mir sicher" and "Dessen bin ich mir sicher" What do "Da" and "Dessen" mean in these and please tell me if these 2 sentences are grammatically correct or just colloquial also we can't use "Das" instead of "Da"

  • 1
    Why do you assume you can replace 'da' or 'dessen' with another random word? Feb 5, 2023 at 6:58

1 Answer 1


Some verbs can have an object in Genitiv case. For example the reflexive verbs "sich entsinnen", "sich bewusst sein", and "sich sicher sein":

Ich bin mir [des Regelwerks] bewusst.
Ich kann mich [des Regelwerks] nicht mehr entsinnen.
Ich bin mir [des Regelwerks] sicher.

We can replace the noun with a demonstrative pronoun:

Ich bin mir [dessen] bewusst.
Ich kann mich [dessen] nicht mehr entsinnen.
Ich bin mir [dessen] sicher.

Let's rephrase by putting the genitive object into the Vorfeld (the first position of the sentence in this case), and the subject into the Mittelfeld:

[Dessen] bin ich mir bewusst.
[Dessen] kann ich mich nicht mehr entsinnen.
[Dessen] bin ich mir sicher.

So, your second sentence is perfectly fine! It is nothing more than a demonstrative pronoun in the Genitiv case. What it refers to, however, is something you can only know from context - most likely the preceding sentence.

For your first sentence, I thought of similar constructions.

Ich bin [davon] überzeugt.
[Davon] bin ich überzeugt.
*[Da] bin ich überzeugt [von]. (colloquial)

... came to mind.

It makes clear, what "da" is supposed to be: A Pronominaladverb! In fact, your first sentence is colloquial!

To sum it up: First sentence is colloquial, second one is standard German.

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    A stray da commonly refers to the situation as a whole. If I had to translate it, in this example I would put it as That in mind, ….
    – Janka
    Feb 5, 2023 at 7:55
  • @Janka: Indeed, if I had to "expand" "Da bin ich mir sicher." into a "longer form" to express the same sentence, I'd first think of "Bei dieser Sache bin ich mir sicher." Feb 6, 2023 at 11:11

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