Passiv mit Akkusativ/Dativ Prepositionen - singular or plural

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by cdifficile, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. cdifficile Member

    English - England

    We have been doing the Passive recently in class and I am a bit lost as to when to use 'wurden' singular or plural

    For example:

    Über die Studiengebühren WURDE lange von den Studenten diskutiert
    Lange WURDE von den Studenten über die Studiengebühren disktutiert.

    Could anyone please tell me why here it is 'Wurde' and not 'Wurden' ?

    In the following example "Den Arbeitslosen MUSS von/durch dem Staat geholfen werden" - why is MUSS and not müssen?

    Could someone please tell me a rule. Is it that all Accusative (über) and Dative prepositions use the singular even when the noun is in the plural or is it dative verbs (in the latter case 'helfen') which renders the verb singular? I am very confused please help!

    thank you
  2. Gernot Back

    Gernot Back Senior Member

    Cologne, Germany
    German - Germany
    Why do you think it should be "wurden" or "müssen" resp. at all?
    Do you see any subject (nominative complement) in the plural in these sentences?
  3. cdifficile Member

    English - England

    In the first example I thought Studiengebühren and Studenten were both plural?

    ok then perhaps a better example where both are plural is:

    den Kindern WIRD von uns bei den Hausaufgaben geholfen.

    But I was wondering more about accusative than dative?
  4. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    But neither Studiengebühren nor Studenten are subjects of the respective sentences. German is not like English, the subject does not necessarily precede the verb.

    In fact, these sentences do not have an explicit subject at all.
  5. cdifficile Member

    English - England
    Ok then I am really stuck then. Even if there are no explicit subjects the two nouns that are in that first sentence are both plural so I just find it difficult to understand why it would be 'wurde'. but nevermind. I found this which kinda helps:

    Mir bin/ist geholfen worden.I was helped.Ihnen sind/ist geholfen worden.They were helped.Uns werden/wird ein Buch gegeben.We are given a book.Uns werden zwei Bücher gegeben.We are given two books.Dem Baby darf/dürfen keine Nüsse gegeben werden. The baby must not be given any nuts.Den Babys müssen/muss mehr Milch gegeben werden. The babies must be given more milk.
  6. Gernot Back

    Gernot Back Senior Member

    Cologne, Germany
    German - Germany
    A lot of your examples are simply wrong:

  7. berndf Moderator

    German (Germany)
    Ok then, why do you think it should matter to the verb that the nouns are in plural? In the sentence
    He is eating two apples
    you use is and not are though apples is plural, right?
  8. cdifficile Member

    English - England
    oops yes, when I copied and pasted that it was meant to strike out some of the examples, I apologise. You make a good point about the apples.

    uns wird ein Buch gegeben
    uns werden zwei Bücher gegeben

    I was told that "with dative verbs, even when the object is plural, the verb will always be singular". I guess I was having a hard time trying to work out which was which. I didn't realize in my very first example that it was subjectless for example. Thanks for your help
  9. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    Perhaps the sentences are a bit clearer to the English mind if we add a dummy "Es":

    Es wurde lange über die Studiengebühren von den Studenten diskutiert.
    Es muss den Arbeitslosen den Staat geholfen werden.
    Es wird den Kindern bei den Hausaufgaben geholfen.
  10. Thomas W. Senior Member

    Richtig, aber man kann das Beispiel auch erweitern:

    "uns wird von den Studenten ein Buch gegeben"

    Es bleibt hier beim "wird", egal, ob hinter "von" Plural ("von den Studenten") oder Singular ("von einem Studenten") steht.

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