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Are all of these ways to say "Places where you can celebrate your birthday" correct? Which sentence sounds the best?

  1. Orte, wo man (seinen) Geburtstag feiern kann.
  2. Orte, an denen man (seinen) Geburtstag feiern kann.
  3. Orte zum Geburtstag feiern.

Also, in examples 1 and 2, should I use seinen or not?

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    In the current form this question may be closed as asking for opinions. Why not offer your choice and the reasons for it? This would enhance the question significantly.
    – guidot
    Commented Mar 25 at 19:00

1 Answer 1

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First off: all three variants are not "sentences" - at least not complete ones! But then, the english template you worked from isn't a sentence either. A sentence would be:

Places where you can celebrate your birthday are hard to find.

and hence:

Orte an denen man Geburtstag feiern kann sind schwer zu finden.

But maybe you meant to ask not about the correctness of these sentences but these phrases? (If so: it would be nice if you could edit your question to reflect this.)

Now, all three phrases are - in a colloqial sense - correct. In a written text you should use number 2.

"Orte, wo", like in 1, is a poor choice of words and considered a stylistic error. "Orte, an denen", as in 2 is preferable.

"Orte zum Feiern" (3) is also a poor choice, which can be used (and is even common) in spoken language but I'd rather not use it in written text.

Your second question, about using "seinen": yes, that is correct. The "man" has no real counterpart in English, the closest are constructions with "one" and there also the generic masculine pronoun is used - a common trait of indo-european langugages, e.g.

a place where one can celebrate his birthday

Notice this "generic masculine" is true with other indefinite constructions, in English and in German alike:

Jemand hat seine Tasche liegenlassen.
Somebody has left his bag.

Notice though, that it changes the meaning a bit: without the "seinen" you ask about places where the celebration is possible, with the "seinen" about places where one can celebrate his own birthday. (thanks @O. R. Mapper for the catch)

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    'Your second question, about using "seinen": yes, that is correct.' - well, it does change the meaning a bit. Commented Mar 26 at 18:21
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    @O.R.Mapper: correct, I have edited my answer. Thanks.
    – bakunin
    Commented Mar 26 at 18:26
  • A distinction that is probably mostly relevant to parents of young children ;) Commented Mar 26 at 18:27
  • About the generic masculine thing.. I'm not a native english speaker, but I have learned recently that I should rather say "Somebody has left their bag" in this case to remain gender-neutral for political correctness. Is that grammatically actually a thing, or simply an attempt for change by a part of the population?
    – kscherrer
    Commented May 14 at 13:13
  • @kscherrer: as "their" is plural and "somebody" is singular it is ungrammatical and - if the one, whoever it is, is indeed not a group but a single person - also factually wrong. But never mind, the freest and least oppressed women, as we all know, live in Turkey and Azerbidjan, because the languages spoken there have no genus at all, right? If a female physician doesn't feel included by "die Ärzte", does a male individual have to feel included by "die Personen", hm?
    – bakunin
    Commented May 14 at 18:16

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