Please help with this sentence
I'm confused about the sentence below.
"Er wusste, dass er die Frau, die ihm das Geld gegeben hatte, nie wiedersehen würde."
which translates to....
"He knew that he would never see the woman who had given him the money."
it seems that the "die ihm das Geld gegeben hatte" clause is interrupting the "dass er die Frau nie wiedersehen würde" clause
Wouldn't this be confusing to Germans? Its like your starting a sentence and before finishing it you start another before finally ending the original sentence.
Could it be written as.....
"Er wusste, dass er die Frau nie wiedersehen würde, die ihm das Geld gegeben hatte." ?
Thanks for your help.
Hi Elliot, both german sentences are absolutly correct. It depends on the focus you want to set. In the first sentence is the focus on the fact that he will never see her again. In the second is the focus that she gave him the money.
And no, it isn´t confusing for me at all. Such a sentence is very normal and common. greez Angel
Sorry, it is small minded for me to say that something could be confusing to someone else just because my brain cant comprehend German sentences haha.
Thanks for your help, I'm just gonna have to get used to this.
Hi, it´s not small minded! I´m sorry, don´t get me wrong please! I can totally understand that sentences like this maybe confusing. I just wanted to say that statements like yours are very common. And that you changed the grammar correctly tells me that you understood the scheme. So you will get use to this I´m sure :-)
This is called a "eingeschobener Nebensatz" or a subclause squeezed into a major clause. Germans are accustomed to them, so we don't even see them anymore. That's what makes learning German such an interesting and annoying experience.
wiedersehen means "see again" -- if you used that, it would become "He knew that he would never see the woman who had given him the money again".
There, "see ... again" is also split up by "the woman who had given him the money" in English.
The relative clause "who had given him the money" / die ihm das Geld gegeben hatte properly "belongs" to the noun and "should" stay with it.
But for clarity, if such a sentence is very long, it sometimes gets pushed to the end in German as in your second example.
But in other cases it doesn't work so well -- for example, "The woman who had given him the money is looking for Julia" can't turn into "The woman is looking for Julia who had given him the money" (sounds as if Paul had given money, not the woman). (On the other hand, Die Frau sucht Julia, die ihm das Geld gegeben hatte could work in German, though at least to me you need to stress die as a kind of signal that a modifier is going to come later.)
You can find very similar sentence structures also in English. Take a look:
- He knew that the woman was lying to him.
- He knew that the woman whom he had recently met at the market was lying to him.
So you can see that the more detailed specification of the subject can follow the subject immediately just in the middle of the sentence.
If you start with the basic German sentence
- Er wusste, dass er die Frau nie wiedersehen würde.
And if you add the more detailed specification of the woman just like in the English example above, then you will get your original sentence.
- Er wusste, dass er die Frau, die ihm das Geld gegeben hatte, nie wiedersehen würde.