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German word order

"Die Menschen leben nicht davon, dass sie fuer sich selbst sorgen. Sie leben von der Liebe, die im Menschen ist. In wem Liebe ist, in dem ist Gott."

The word structure in yellow is pretty weird. Can someone explain why the grammar structure and the translation?


November 23, 2016


  • "Wenn sie kommt, essen wir,"
  • "In wem Liebe ist, in dem Gott ist,"

First sentence has the verb on the corner next to each other. But why the second doesn't?



It doesn't sound completely wrong to me in a poetical context (just unusual), but it would be wrong in daily conversation.


I agree, the word order is strange. I would say "In wem Liebe ist, in dem ist Gott." It translates (roughly) to "Who has love inside himself, has God inside himself." Maybe the author wanted to stress the parallel?


Well, this second example is a pretty old sentence. The word order is because of the rhetorical parallel construction. Though being a bit weird this would be possible for poetic purposes even today.
Normal word order:
In wem Liebe ist, in dem ist Gott. -- God is in everyone who loves.


Can someone translate all of those sentences?

My guess: "The people does not live on them for themselves to care. they live from the love that is in the people. God is inside one, whom love is inside,"?


"Humans do not live by caring for themselves. They live by the love that is inside a human. God is in those, in whom is love."


why is there 'sie' after the 'dass'? It's not in your english translation either (?)


The German is literally "by that they care for themselves" rather than "by caring for themselves".

Good German style tends to use verbs rather than nouns -- includings gerunds such as "caring" which are noun forms of verbs.

Also, German gerunds can't really take objects the way English ones can, so the equivalent would be leben nicht vom F├╝rsichselbstsorgen (or F├╝r-sich-selbst-Sorgen or something like that) which is clunky.


In wem [interrogative? PRONOUN-DATIVE CASE (whom)] Liebe (Love) ist (is), in dem [back-reference matching DATIVE CASE to wem (them)] ist (is) Gott (God). In whom is love, in them is God. Who has love inside them, has God inside them.

Pretty straightforward.

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