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Was ist richtig?

Finde die falschen Sätze unter den Untengeschriebenen.

Finde die falschen Sätze unter den unten Geschriebenen.

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  • Any idea on your own what might or might not be the case and why? Commented Mar 15 at 10:52
  • Ask yourself whether a noun as das Untengeschriebene makes sense. There's das Aufgeschriebene but on the other hand there's no das Obengeschriebene or das Hintengeschriebene in the dictionary. Likely das Aufgeschriebene has nothing to do with the location auf.
    – Janka
    Commented Mar 15 at 10:55
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    You rarely use "unten" or "oben" in written texts, as that could possibly introduce confusion depending on page breaks ("unten" is then further up on the next page). Typically, "vorstehend" and "[nach]folged" would be used.
    – tofro
    Commented Mar 15 at 11:05
  • @Janka: I think you argue from the native speakers POV and the "feel for the language" that goes along with it. I could call what you wrote "das Obengenannte" as your comment is positioned higher than mine and I'd say that "Obengenannt" and "Obengeschrieben" (or analogue with "Unten") makes about equal sense for someone learning German.
    – bakunin
    Commented Mar 15 at 13:47
  • That's why I suggested to get a feel for it by pondering about it and by looking for similar words.
    – Janka
    Commented Mar 15 at 17:20

1 Answer 1

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Composites in German are as ubiquitous as they are complicated, because they don't follow a coherent pattern. Sometimes the meaning of a phrase even changes its meaning, depending on being written together or not. The probably most prominent example for this phenomenon is:

ein viel versprechender Politiker (a politician who promises much)
ein vielversprechender Politiker (a very promising politician)

On the other hand even composites formed the same way may have different rationales, see the following joke:

"Papa, warum heißt das 'Putenschnitzel'?"
"Na, weil das ein Schnitzel aus Fleisch von der Pute ist."
"Verstehe! Und ein Rindsschnitzel ist dann vom Rind?"
"Richtig!"
"...und das Kalbsschnitzel ist vom Kalb?"
"Genau! Jetzt hast Du es verstanden!"
"Papa, ich mag mein Kinderschnitzel nicht mehr."

So, there is no general principle which forbids "Untengeschrieben" to exist, but the word doesn't. My suggestion is that you stay away from creating composites on the fly (as native speakers do all the time) until you get a good feeling for the German language. I couldn't even give you a good reason why certain composites "feel right" and others don't but fact is "Untengeschriebenes" feels wrong and doesn't exist. Use "das unten Geschriebene".

Btw.: you write as second possibility

Finde die falschen Sätze unter den unten Geschriebenen.

In this case "geschriebenen" is small, because "Sätze" is implied and "geschriebenen" is only an Adjektiv to it. You could equally say:

Finde die falschen unter den unten geschriebenen Sätzen.

or (cumbersome but grammatically correct):

Finde die falschen Sätze unter den unten geschriebenen Sätzen.

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  • Should it not actually be Finde die Falschen...? Commented Mar 16 at 16:32
  • @Жёлудь-мистэ́р: no, actually this is the point: you can make a Nomen out of an Adjektiv: das Falsche, der Richtige, ... But in this case it is "die falschen Sätze" and "falsch" here is still a normal Adjektiv.
    – bakunin
    Commented Mar 16 at 23:28

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