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Personalchefs stört ein Berufs- oder Studienwechsel der Bewerber nicht so sehr.

I thought I am good at identifying subject, akkusativ and dativ until I came across this sentence. The part I have marked bold is considered subject.

I think the bold part is accusativ and subject is Personalchefs. stören = disturb or bother

who is not bothered by what/whom? who= personalchef= subject

Can anyone explain why that bold part is subject and personalchef isn't?

3 Answers 3

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If Personalchefs were the subject, the verb would have to be in plural, because Personalchefs is plural.

Also, if the bold part were accusative, it would have to be einen Berufs- oder Personalwechsel, because the accusative masculine singular form of ein is einen.

In this case the sentence would be:

Personalchefs stören einen Berufs- oder Studienwechsel der Bewerber nicht so sehr.

But this would mean that the head of HR won't interfere with a change of profession or field of study, which is obviously not the intended meaning.

You wrote:

who is not bothered by what/whom? who= personalchef= subject

Well, here you used the passive voice (being bothered) but the German sentence above uses active voice. So the Berufs- oder Studienwechsel (subject) bothers the Personalchef (object).

You were probably lead astray by the fact that the head of HR is the first part of the sentence. But remember that the subject does not have to be first in a German sentence. It's also possible that the object is the first part.

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  • Thank you for making me understand passive and active mind thinking. and my bad I ignored Beruf is masculine. Thank you for response :) Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 7:29
  • It's not the gender of Beruf that matters but that of Wechsel. The gender of a compound noun is determined by the last noun.
    – RHa
    Commented Jun 2, 2023 at 18:14
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You can tell that "Personalchefs" isn't the subject because as a subject, it would have to agree with the verb, and it doesn't ("Chefs" is plural but "stört" is singular).

The underlying reason is that this sentence is in the active voice, while your English gloss is in the passive voice. The passive voice reverses the association of subject/object (surface phenomena) to THEME/EXPERIENCER (semantic aspects).

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You seem to be confused by two things:

  1. Word order: Most Western languages tend to follow an SPO order. This sentence follows German (V2) word order, so the object comes first. Re-write the sentence to a more "generic" form like

    Ein Berufswechsel stört Personalchefs nicht sehr.

    and analysis will probably become easier.

  2. You seem to first translate, then analyze the sentence. And (admittedly, because "to bother" is more often used in passive voice than active in English) "automatically" transfer the German active voice sentence into an English passive one. If you translate before analyze, then translate more literally:

    A change of occupation doesn't bother hiring managers a lot

    And it should become much more obvious where subject and object are.

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