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Eine solche Versicherung deckt Schadensfälle, die durch eigenes Verschulden an fremden Eigentum entstanden sind, ab und entlastet so den Verursacher genauso wie den finanziell Geschädigten in der Abwicklung des Schadensfalls.

Could someone explain the gramar of the bolded part? "...,ab und .." .

Thanks.

3 Answers 3

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That ab belongs to decken. The relative clause is put inbetween.

Eine solche Versicherung deckt Schadensfälle … ab.

abdecken — to cover

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The words, that you marked bold, do not belong together.

This is the basic sentence (in present tense, without modal verbs):

Eine solche Versicherung deckt Schadensfälle ab.
Such an insurance covers cases of damage.

The same sentence in future tense ...

Eine solche Versicherung wird Schadensfälle abdecken.
Such an insurance will cover cases of damage.

... or still in present tense, but with a modal verb:

Eine solche Versicherung will Schadensfälle abdecken.
Such an insurance wants to cover cases of damage.

In these versions you can see, that »ab« is the prefix of the separable verb abdecken ("to cover" in English). When there is an auxiliary verb, like in future tense, or when there is a modal verb, then the separable verb appears as one verb in its infinite form at the end of the sentence, while the auxiliary verb or the modal verb is the inflected verb at position 2.

But if there is no modal or auxiliary verb, then separable verbs are separated, and the former prefix remains at the end of the sentence, while only the core of the verb is in position 2 and is inflected.

But we now had only an accusative object (the word »Schadensfälle«) between the position 2 and the last position. But there can be more. Much more! Here is an example:

Nothing between position 2 and the last position:

Kurt wird einschlafen. Kurt schläft ein.
Kurt will fall asleep. Kurt falls asleep.

Now with additional stuff, that all must be placed between position 2 and the last position:

Kurt schläft trotz des Lärms, den Sabine macht, auf dem alten Sofa im Wohnzimmer, dessen Bezug schon so ausgebleicht ist, dass man die ursprüngliche Farbe kaum noch erkennen kann, laut schnarchend ein.
Despite the noise Sabine makes, Kurt falls asleep snoring loudly on the old sofa in the living room, the cover of which is already so faded that you can hardly make out the original color.

And the same mechanism is in place in your sentence:

Eine solche Versicherung deckt Schadensfälle, die durch eigenes Verschulden an fremden Eigentum entstanden sind, ab.
Such an insurance covers cases of damage caused by the insured's own fault to the property of others.

  • "eine solche Versicherung" = subject
  • "deckt ... ab" = verb
  • "Schadensfälle" = accusative object
  • "die durch eigenes Verschulden an fremden Eigentum entstanden sind" = relative clause
    This relative clause must stand behind "Schadensfälle" because it is a further description of "Schadensfälle", and it must be enclosed in commas, because it is a relative clause.

Another sentence, that is contained in your example sentence is this:

Eine solche Versicherung entlastet den Verursacher genauso wie den finanziell Geschädigten in der Abwicklung des Schadensfalls.
Such an insurance relieves the causer as well as the financially injured party in the settlement of the claim.

But these two sentences share the same subject, and so you can join them together using a technique called "coordination ellipsis" or "coordination reduction". This just means, that you join the two sentences with a conjunction like »und« and omit the second instance of the subject. The same mechanism is also available in English:

Markus trinkt eine Tasse Kaffee. Markus telefoniert mit seinem Chef.
Markus trinkt eine Tasse Kaffee und (omitted subject) telefoniert mit seinem Chef.
Markus drinks a cup of coffee. Markus talks to his boss on the phone.
Markus drinks a cup of coffee and (omitted subject) talks to his boss on the phone.

And this is also the case in your example:

Eine solche Versicherung deckt Schadensfälle, die durch eigenes Verschulden an fremden Eigentum entstanden sind, ab. Eine solche Versicherung entlastet so den Verursacher genauso wie den finanziell Geschädigten in der Abwicklung des Schadensfalls.

Eine solche Versicherung deckt Schadensfälle, die durch eigenes Verschulden an fremden Eigentum entstanden sind, ab und (omitted subject) entlastet so den Verursacher genauso wie den finanziell Geschädigten in der Abwicklung des Schadensfalls.

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  • Thank you so much for this detailed answer! Just a quick question: if I were to say "Eine solche Versicherung deckt Schadensfälle ab, die durch eigenes Verschulden an fremden Eigentum entstanden sind", would it sound completely wrong to German ears, or would it be accepted orally (umgangssprachlich)? Nov 23, 2023 at 12:31
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    @SylvainGadenne: That is also correct standard German. Behind the last position of a sentence or clause, there is another place that is usually empty. It is called Nachfeld (literally: after-field). Under certain conditions, it is allowed to move parts of speech that are normally in the Mittelfeld (lit.: center field) between the second and last position into the Nachfeld, i.e. behind the "last" position. This movement of larger parts of speech from the Mittelfeld to the Nachfeld is ... Nov 23, 2023 at 15:31
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    ... called Ausklammern (lit.: de-bracketing), because position 2 (where the finite and inflected verb resides) and the "last" position (where all other verbs and prefixes of separable verbs are collected) are together called »Verbklammer« (lit.: verb bracket). So Ausklammerm means to remove an extensive part of speech from this bracket and place it after it. Nov 23, 2023 at 15:31
  • Thank you so much Hubert! Nov 26, 2023 at 14:12
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"ab" is pushed next to the conjunction because of the relative clause.

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