Different Syntax in Idioms
|From:||Henrik Theiling <theiling@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, July 13, 2005, 13:27|
Thomas Wier asked about this:
I just noticed idioms in German that use different syntax that normal
language: the preposition 'nach' is used as a postposition in certain
dem Vernehmen nach = according to reports
meiner Ansicht nach = in my opinion
Usually, it is:
nach Ansicht des Arztes = in the doctor's opinion
?*der Ansicht des Arztes nach
This is not *significantly* different syntax, however, since many
prepositions could be postpositions in older German. E.g. 'wegen' is
still frequently used as a postposition, making the sentence appear
slightly more formal, even in non-idiomatic expressions.
However, 'nach' cannot generally be used as a postposition, I think.
This seems to only be possible in idioms.
A somewhat different phenomenon: there are popular idioms that sound
slightly ungrammatical to me, but still, they are frequently used
*only* in that particular version. The difference is that these are
colloquial only, while the above examples are formal German.
Hat nicht sollen sein. ~ It just didn't work this time.
(Or something like this. I don't
know an equivalent in English.)
Grammar problem: the verb order is, well, wrong. Theoretically,
it should be: '(Es) hat nicht sein sollen.'
Butter bei die Fische! ~ Ok, now let's do it!
(Again, I don't know an idiom in
Grammar problem: 'bei' cannot be used with accusative case.
Instead 'an' or 'zu' (depends) should be used: 'Butter an die
Both sentences with corrected grammar are no idioms anymore and would