I read the following article: https://www.tagesschau.de/ausland/europa/grossbritannien-asylsuchende-wohnschiff-100.html

Look at the last paragraph. It uses the word "je" twice: "...Die Strafen sollen von 15.000 auf 45.000 Pfund (52.000 Euro) je illegal beschäftigtem Arbeiter steigen. Wohnungsbesitzer sollen statt 1.000 künftig 10.000 Pfund je unerlaubtem Mieter zahlen."

Meanwhile, I am also looking at: https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/je_pro

And I see that "je" should be followed by the accusative, as in "je erwachsenen Teilnehmer" & "je beschäftigten Arbeiter".

But then why is je followed by the dative in the article? je illegal beschäftigtem, unerlaubtem?

  • 2
    I (a native speaker who doesn't know rules but speaks by feeling) would use dative too, as tagesschau does. The duden examples sound odd to me. Perhaps I am missing context that explains why accusative should be used in this particular case. Or also it could be a regional difference.
    – puck
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 6:07

2 Answers 2


Je is used with Akkusativ, Dativ or sometimes Nominativ.
Dudenband 4 (2009), 916.

Dudenband 9 (2016) however notes only Akkusativ and Nominativ as correct, which is in line with the Duden website. Dudenband 9 (2021) is in line with it as well.

However, usage and corpus-analysis that result in "rules" you find in Duden are not always a perfect mirror of how language is really used. Duden even notes this at the start of their book to good language usage. The distribution of usage can be exactly opposite(!) of the corpus data.

A very large difference is in Dativ and Akkusativ usage. One example:

bestehen auf
Er besteht auf der/die Rückgabe seines Autos.

Opposite to what the corpus showed, only 18% voted for Dativ (der Rückgabe).


I find the Duden rule a bit astonishing, I prefer dative here. Just my intuition. This is perhaps in line with "appositive dative", which is also denounced as substandard by the Duden but which I find entirely normal. ("Das Bild des Mannes, einem Künstler aus Indien..."). Apposition is maybe more similar to the "je"-construction, which is also a kind of a dangling constituent. If I use "pro" instead of "je", the dative seems even more necessary. -- So the answer to your why-question seems to be: because there is variation among speakers.

  • Actually, the new Duden grammar (2022) says that "pro" is more often followed by dative than accusative; "je" is not mentioned there (p. 819 f.)
    – Alazon
    Commented Aug 8, 2023 at 8:08

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