Ein besonderer Tag. / Einen besonderen Tag. (Accusative, nominative; sentence without verb)

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Joachim

Senior Member
Norwegian, Norway
Guten Abend!

I know that it is not good practice to omit verbs in sentences. But sometimes, mostly orally, after for example telling about something, it could be useful to add at the end: "A most special day!", or something like that.

First: Is it by any chance allowed in German to omit the verb in such sentences?
Second: If it is, would that sentence be in nominative or accusative? My guess is nominative, but experience makes me think that I'm wrong:p
Example, which of the following would be correct (if it's allowed to omit the verb) :
"Ein besonderer Tag!"
or
"Einen besonderen Tag!"

Hope it's not too a silly question ;)

Best regards,
Joachim
 
  • Henryk

    Senior Member
    Germany, German
    "Ein besonderer Tag!"
    or
    "Einen besonderen Tag!"
    Both are okay, but they have different meanings.

    The first simply means "a special day", the second "(I wish you) a special day" (which can be used to greet someone). The second, however, could ONLY be used informally, if at all. I've never been wished a special day but I think one would say it to me rather in the long way. The normal everyday greeting is "Tag" (shortened for "Ich wünsche Ihnen einen schönen Tag") or "schön' Tag" (accusative; schön' = schönen [informal]). Or just:

    A: Schönen Tag! (Ich wünsche Ihnen einen schönen Tag!)
    B: Einen Besonderen! (Ich wünsche Ihnen einen besonderen Tag.)
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Both are okay, but they have different meanings.
    I have a related question, a bit broader:

    What kind of day was it?
    [it was] A terrible day! I don't even want to talk about it.

    What kind of day did you have?
    [I had] An awful one/day. I don't even want to talk about it.

    Perhaps you can think of examples of partial sentences in German, very informal, in conversation, that reflect the grammar demanded by missing words.

    Gaer
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Mostly, in such kinds of sentences, there is a trace to the omitted part and you know the omitted part.
    In some cases, there are fixed idioms, where the context is clear.
    For example in greetings, it would be very formally not to omit parts.
    This trace may be superseeded with context, as Gaer showed it in the example above.

    Not all of the forms are non-standard. Even in the standard language, ellipses may be used. This is the case for example in tables or headlines.

    Bernd
     
    I have a related question, a bit broader:

    What kind of day was it?
    [it was] A terrible day! I don't even want to talk about it.

    What kind of day did you have?
    [I had] An awful one/day. I don't even want to talk about it.

    Perhaps you can think of examples of partial sentences in German, very informal, in conversation, that reflect the grammar demanded by missing words.

    Gaer
    The case in answer has to obey the case of the Question.
    Q: What kind of day was it? Was für ein Tag war es? (Nominativ)
    A: A terrible day! Ein schrecklicher Tag! (Nominativ)

    Q: What kind of day did you have? Was für einen Tag hattest du? (Akkusativ)
    A: A terrible day! Einen schrecklichen Tag! (Akkusativ)

    Though, usually you ask: "Wie war dein Tag?" and the answer is: "Schrecklich!" :)
     

    beclija

    Senior Member
    Boarisch, Österreich (Austria)
    I think, as a general rule, you use whatever case would be used if the sentence were complete.

    To use Joachim's original example, if it meant as an exclamation "What a special day", you use nominative, because the complete sentence would be "Heute ist ein besonderer Tag" or "Ist heute nicht ein besonderer Tag?". But you say "einen wunderschönen Tag euch beiden" because what you have without the ellipsis is "Einen wunderschönen Tag wünsche ich euch beiden".
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    The case in answer has to obey the case of the Question.
    Q: What kind of day was it? Was für ein Tag war es? (Nominativ)
    A: A terrible day! Ein schrecklicher Tag! (Nominativ)

    Q: What kind of day did you have? Was für einen Tag hattest du? (Akkusativ)
    A: A terrible day! Einen schrecklichen Tag! (Akkusativ)
    This was the kind of thing I had in mind. The answer reflects the grammar of the question.

    It reminds me of this in English:

    I've done it.
    No, you haven't.

    I did it.
    No, you didn't.
    Though, usually you ask: "Wie war dein Tag?" and the answer is: "Schrecklich!" :)
    Same here: :)

    How was your day?

    Horrible!

    Gaer
     
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