General proposal

There are some topics on which we get frequent questions with the following properties:

  • they are sufficiently different not to be duplicates – an answer to one of them does not answer the others;
  • one can conceive a canonical question and answer that would answer all of those questions. If the asker’s question is not addressed by the canonical answer, they can still edit their question to specify their problem and have it reopened or not closed in the first place (mostly thanks to the new duplicate interface). Here the canonical answer may provide them with the terminology and background for their question.

In these cases, we can decide to create a canonical question and answer or find an existing question that can be turned into such. We can then close all further questions with the above properties as duplicates of this canonical answer. This has the following advantages:

  • We do not have to write down similar answers again and again and get fed up with this.
  • In most cases, the asker receives better help as the canonical answer focusses our efforts and thus becomes better than most individual answers.


This question got motivated by the issue of recurring questions on the weak and strong inflection of adjectives, such as this one. Most of these questions ask to understand the inflection in a particular example and often the answers explain only this example or just name the keyword (weak and strong inflection) which allows the asker to find further information.

As grammatical phenomena are not that easy to search for¹, these are rarely regarded to fall under the general-reference close reason. Closing as duplicate would also not help most users as the answers to other questions are tailored to a specific example.

While this is okay, if we regard each question separately, it becomes tiring after a while. Creating a canonical question-and-answer pair would allow us to direct all users with such questions at a place that thoroughly explains the issue to them. As a bonus this answer is not relying on an external source such as grammar sites and thus raises our site’s attractivity.

Note that while I gave this example in the question, discussion as to whether this actually is a good example, i.e., whether we want a canonical answer for this, should happen in the corresponding answer below.


Please suggest topics that would benefit from a canonical answer below and what this answer should roughly contain. Search for existing answers that may be suitable as canonical answer or can be turned into such. If a topic is agreed upon by votes, proceed by asking the question for the canonical answer (and remark its purpose) or perform the changes as suggested.

Use one answer per topic. Answers also serve as a repository for community moderation. If needed, there will be an overview answer.


  • This is not about questions that often serve as duplicates for other questions. This is for topics where we get many, closely related questions that are not closed as duplicates. If you think that all such questions could be closed as a duplicate of a certain question but they aren’t, however, this is the right place.
  • Remember that this is mostly about beginner topics and thus the canonical answers should be understandable by them.

¹ which is one of the reasons that this site exists

  • Shouldn't we also list already existing canonical answers such as german.stackexchange.com/questions/9526/… here?
    – Takkat
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 11:56
  • Sure, why not? Do you have any idea how many there are, so we can decide beforehand, whether they should be separate answers or whether we need an overview post?
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 11:58
  • I did run this query to find dupe targets but alas this did not help much.
    – Takkat
    Commented Aug 6, 2015 at 18:37

3 Answers 3


Different types of adjective declension (weak, strong, mixed, predicative)

There are many questions where askers are confused by the fact that the same adjective is declensed differently even though the noun is the same. This may either be due to the phenomenon of weak, strong and mixed adjective declension or due to adjectives not being declensed when used predicatively.

On a quick search, I could find the following questions, but I am rather sure that there are more:

I may have missed something but I did not find any answer that is limited to this topic, suitable for beginners and exhaustive, though some answers to the last two questions might be cannibalised for this purpose. I thus suggest to create a new canonical question and answer. This question may inspire the phrasing of the canonical question.

I created a question now: Same noun, same case, same adjective, different ending – what are the rules behind this?


Spatial prepositions governing accusative and dative

Many German prepositions can govern two different cases depending on whether they describe a direction or a position. On the other hand, there are “fixed-case” prepositions that seem “backwards” when compared to the dual-case prepositions (ins Bad acc., but zum Bad dat.). This highly confuses many learners, as evidenced by the following (probably incomplete) list of questions:

Here are some more advanced questions as examples for topics that a great canonical answer could also address:

  • Ich war so frei, diese Frage möglichst kanonisch zu beantworten. Gegebenenfalls können wir sie als kanonische Frage »umdefinieren«.
    – Jan
    Commented Sep 1, 2016 at 11:40

Which word order should I follow when constructing German sentences?

And anything connected to TMP (time, manner, place) and whatever else is considered rock-solid rules somewhere out there. Should contain that word order is free if V2 is followed and maybe point out a certain set of permutations (if not all for a simple sentence).

Maybe going to look for some more example questions later™.

I might actually suggest this question as the canonic one:

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