I was speaking to a friend of mine about another person and I almost used "davon" to refer to a human. Is this allowed?

For example:

I realise it is legal for the following to take place:

Ich hab ein neues Auto.

Hast du Bilder davon?

In the above example, I used davon to refer to an object, but can I refer to a human in the same way?

Kennst du meinen Bruder?

Ich bin nicht sicher. Hast du Bilder davon?

I hope I have articulated my question clearly enough but if not, my apologies in advance.

  • You, or I, indeed might be misunderstanding what da- refers to. Comparing "Hast du Bilder dabei" gives a rather abstract sense, just as with daher. So it most often refers to the whole phrase. "Mein Bruder hat Geburtstag gefeiert"-"Hast du Bilder davon". Although, you are not wrong in your perception that it implied the Auto, perhaps as the nearest position of the corefferent. I could nevertheless understand "Hast du Bilder davon, von der etwaigen Bekannschaft?"
    – vectory
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 11:49

1 Answer 1


Usually you'd say

Hast du Bilder von ihm?

Davon is used for objects, not for humans. You can, however, use davon in the following context:

Mein Bruder ist gestern in den Fluss gefallen.
Witzig! Hast du Bilder davon?

You can use it here, because davon does not refer to the brother, but to the act of him falling into the river.

On your question whether this rule can be generalized:

Well, you can't say that in general, as most of the pronomial adverbs listed here for example would not be used when talking about humans in the first place, but very well on actions connected to humans, for example

Mein Bruder war auch dabei.
Ich habe nichts dagegen, dass dein Bruder mitkommt.

However, you can not say

Magst du meinen Bruder?
Ich habe nichts dagegen.

Instead you'd say

Ich habe nichts gegen ihn.

On the other hand you could safely say (for example when showing a photograph):

Das sind mein Bruder und mein Vater. Daneben/davor/dahinter/dazwischen steht meine Schwester.

Or also

Neben/vor/hinter/zwischen ihnen steht meine Schwester.


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