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Prepositional Proforms

A word which can stand for a prepositional phrase. Prepositional proforms have the form da(r) + preposition, hier + preposition and wo(r) + preposition:
daran, darauf, daraus, dabei, dadurch, dafür, dagegen, dahinter, darin /darein, damit, danach, daneben, darob, darüber, darum, darunter, davon, davor, dawider, dazu, dazwichen
hieran, hierauf, hieraus, hierbei, hierdurch, hierfür, hiergegen, hierhinter, hierin /hierein, hiermit, hiernach, hierneben, hierüber, hierum, hierunter, hiervon, hiervor, hierzu, hierzwichen
woran, worauf, woraus, wobei, wodurch, wofür, wogegen, wohinter, worin /worein, womit, wonach, woneben, worüber, worum, worunter, wovon, wovor, wozu, wozwichen

These words are sometimes called prepositional adverbs, or even pronominal adverbs. Discerning readers may well ask whether these and similar terms are universally appropriate, as not all of them commute with adverbs. Perusal of any of the more detailed dictionaries will confirm this (my material illustrating darauf is taken from Wahrig 1978):

Du hättest mich darauf aufmerksam machen sollen. "You should have made me aware of that."
Es kommt darauf an, ob schönes Wetter ist. "It depends on if there's good weather." (cf. Es kommt auf das Wetter an. "It depends on the weather.")

However, they do all commute with prepositional phrases, whether the latter are adverbial in nature or verbal complements.


For interest

In colloquial German, the da- element can be separated from the prepositional element, e.g.

Da weiß ich nichts von. "I don't know anything about that." (less colloquial alternatives: Davon weiß ich nichts. / Ich weiß nichts davon.)

Bibliography


This page was last edited on 22 April 2009. Feedback is welcome. Please e-mail me at: info@germanstudies.org.uk.