Where is the Subject in this sentence?

I found the following sentence in the “Döner Kebab” reading practice:

Seit den 70er Jahren lieben ihn vor allem gestresste Berufstätige und hungrige Studenten als schnellen Imbiss, der wenig kostet.

I get the translation, but the word order confuses me. Here is what I get and what I don’t:

  • Seit den 70er Jahren = 1st position (“time complement”) all clear
  • lieben = 2nd position (verb) all clear
  • ihn = pronoun (represending the “Doner Kebab”) - why here? shouldn’t the subject be here instead?
  • vor allem ... = 4th position - this looks like the subject of the sentence, but why does it start with “vor…” and why in the 4th position (after the pronoun)?


Hi- I think the rule is that the object (ihn) goes first because it is a pronoun. If the subject was also a pronoun (sie) that would go before the object, so:

Seit den 70er Jahren, lieben sie ihn.

So, the rule is something like, pronouns always go first, and with two pronouns, subject goes first.

With no pronouns, I’m pretty sure either way round is ok:
(but I’m not a native speaker and may be wrong :smiley: )

Seit den 70er Jahren, lieben den Döner vor allem gestresste Berufstätige.

Seit den 70er Jahren, lieben vor allem gestresste Berufstätige den Döner.

For the second part, I feel like “vor allem” is an adverb, but I’m not sure. It’s something like the word “nur”. It could be moved to other parts of the sentence, but the meaning would change. Would be interested to hear if someone has a clearer explanation of this :slight_smile:

And then the subject is just “gestresste Berufstätige und hungrige Studenten”.


@Costi Let’s explain it step by step:
You were right with the folllowing information:

  1. seit den 70er Jahren --> 1st position (highlighted time complement)
  2. lieben (Verb at the 2nd position)
  3. ihn (=Döner) --> Akkusativpronomen stands always directly after the verb
  4. vor allem --> a so called “existimatorische Angabe” (like besonders, im Allgemeinen, allerdings etc.) stands after the verb and, if there’s an Dativ- or Akkusativpronoun in the sentence, also directly after this pronoun
  5. gestresste Berufstätige und hungrige Studenten --> Finally, here’s the subject :wink:
  6. als schnellen Imbiss --> Dativobjekt
  7. der wenig kostet --> Relativsatz

You are absolutely right, this was an extremely difficult and not very common sentence.


@Costi By the way: You can find this kind of sentences in books. But in everyday life you would rather put the subject on the first position or make even two sentences out of it.

Always keep it easy :wink: