If I want to say, I want to show it to you, do I say, Ich will dir es zeigen, or, Ich will es dir zeigen?

Which is the grammatically correct word order?

(I'm mainly interested in how the formal version of the language uses this construction.)

Based on other similar examples which I've lately been reading, I would say the correct version is the first one, with the indirect object coming straight after the main verb, but I'm still not sure if that is the case, which is why I'm asking you.


1 Answer 1


The correct version is the second:

Ich will es dir zeigen

When the objects are pronominalized (personal pronouns, not demonstrative ones) the Akkusativobjekt usually goes before the Dativ.

Quelle: Link

  • That is only partially correct... if the pronoun is das instead of es situation changes and dir comes first
    – Emanuel
    Commented Jul 28, 2013 at 18:53
  • @Emanuel Since it says "usually" this doesn't make my statement less correct, but you are right, of course. You are free to edit my answer or add a more complete answer yourself. I'm sure this would be much appreciated.
    – bouscher
    Commented Jul 28, 2013 at 20:26
  • Ok, the rule says "Pronomen vor dem Substantiv", and if this doesn't help (because both implied words are nouns or both pronouns), then one chooses according to "Subjekt-Dativ-Objekt". So @Emanuel, are you saying that in Ich will dir das zeigen, das is the object (but in the original sentence es was subjekt). Am I right?
    – c.p.
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 6:32
  • There is not really a rule... there are just tendencies: - if both are nouns - first dat then acc; if one is pronoun - pron. first; if both are personal pronouns - acc first; if one pronoun is demonstrative - first dat... I recommend not thinking in rules when it comes to word order because German doesn't work that way
    – Emanuel
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 10:21
  • @c.p. 'es' is not subject on the original sentence, Emanuel didn't say that. 'es' and 'das' are both Akkusativobjekt.
    – bouscher
    Commented Jul 29, 2013 at 11:16

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