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     Table of Contents Chapter 10 10.5 Change of position with substitution
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Chapter 10: Pronouns

  10.5 Change of position with substitution of an object with personal pronouns

  a) phrase without substitution
The man gives the apple to the boy.
(first direct object, then indirect object)
  Der Mann schenkt dem Jungen den Apfel. (first indirect object, then direct object)

For the case that none of the objects is substituted the German word order is different from the English one.

  b) the phrase changes when the direct object is substituted
Der Mann schenkt dem Jungen den Apfel.
Der Mann schenkt ihn dem Jungen. = He gives it to the boy.

You see? The direct object is den Apfel and it was at the end of the phrase. If substituted the direct object goes before the indirect object and suddenly the word order is the same like in English.

  c) the phrase doesn't change when the indirect object is substituted
Der Mann schenkt dem Jungen den Apfel.
Der Mann schenkt ihm den Apfel. = He gives the apple to her. / He gives her the apple.


You see? How bizarre, but the phrase doesn't change when only the indirect object is substituted.

  d) the phrase does change when the both objects are substituted
Der Mann schenkt dem Jungen den Apfel.
Der Mann schenkt ihn ihm. = The man gives it to him.

Is the indirect object substitute together with the direct object the rule b) is valid again - the phrase changes. It's probably easier not to think about the why. We would most definitely refer at the beauty, diversity and richness of a language and its history ;-)

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