I'm unsure whether this question

a) "sagt man" or "man sagt"

should be closed as duplicate of this one:

b) When to use "gibt es" and "es gibt", respectively?

While the structure the question is about is the same for both, and the answers are very similar (actually Emanuels answer is a lot more complete than mine on the newer question), the answers are not really generic and only use the examples from the question.

Clearly, both OPs are/were only just starting to learn German and might still have some difficulties if the answers only used examples with completely different words.

So what is the way to go here:

  1. leave both open
  2. close as duplicate, no further action required
  3. close as duplicate and add a generic answer
  4. close as duplicate, edit the older question to be more generic and add a generic answer
  5. ask the underlying question as a new question and provide a general answer.
  6. something else?
  • The problem I'm seeing is that some questions are localized at a certain word or word-pair, but should actually asked in a more general way. Take a look at your answers, and you realize that the question could also be: "läuft er" or "er läuft" – "Mama springt" or "springt Mama".
    – Em1
    Aug 30, 2014 at 6:31
  • I've added the option of addressing the underlying problem in a separate, more general question
    – Hulk
    Aug 30, 2014 at 8:35

2 Answers 2


Two questions are considered "duplicates" when they can be answered the same way.

The two questions you cited referred to the difference between normal (declarative) and inverted (inquiry) word orders. Even though they involved different "vocabulary" words, a (common) answer that focused on the two different word orders would make them duplicates.

I would go with choice 3, close the newer one as a duplicate, and answer the older one in a generic way.

  • I agree, but I would consider choice 2 plus a friendly comment to the new question (the way Emanuel did it) as a valid, quick&easy alternative.
    – Matthias
    Aug 21, 2014 at 21:17

To expand a little on that: The definition of a duplicate on the programming sites may be a little easier to understand, but if you abstract it enough it will also be applicable to about anything.

The reason "duplicate" was meant as a search-engine-optimizing way to redirect users to the "correct" answer.

For the "correct" answer to be possibly given, it must solve the same underlying problem.

This is what you need to apply here:

Duplicate: The underlying problem is the same as in question {insert question here}

So yes, these are off good as a duplicate (given there's an answer to address the real underlying problem and not just one of it's infinite appearances)

  • I agree - and part of my uncertainty was due to a feeling that there ought to be a more general answer to the original question before closing the newer one (but I'm far from being a grammar expert and could not come up with a good one yet).
    – Hulk
    Aug 24, 2014 at 17:02

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