Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

Pet peeve: people mixing up “in dem” and “indem”

At least twice in recent days, I’ve seen people using “in dem” and “indem” incorrectly (I think one each of the two possible directions of mix-up).

It should be simple, really: the two-word one is the more literal “in which”; the one-word one is the fossilised “by” indicating the means:

“Er öffnete den Kofferraum, in dem er das Schloss transportiert hatte.”

“Er öffnete den Kofferraum, indem er das Schloss knackte.”

Annoying, especially because I hadn’t seen this particularly misuse before, and since the two are used rather differently syntactically, my mind was completely garden-pathed.

(By comparison, I think I’m less confused by people using the wrong spelling from the set “they’re, their, there”, because I’ve seen those errors too often.)

Tags: german, language, spelling
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