Word Order in a German Sentence 1

Word Order in German

Affirmative Sentences

The most important thing is that the verb comes second in an affirmative sentence:

Ich schlafe jede Nacht.
(I sleep every night.)

So, the subject (ich) comes first here, the verb is second and they are followed by the other parts of the sentence.
However, the subject need not inevitably be in first place in the sentence; it can also be in third place. The strict rule is that the verb must be in second place, and the subject can either precede it or follow it. So you can also say:

Jede Nacht schlafe ich.

In English you cannot say “Every night sleep I” as the inversion has different rules in the two languages. Instead you would say “Every night I sleep”. So, you can emphasize a sentence element by putting it first in the sentence both in German and in English but in German the verb inevitably has to stay in second place. The “subject+verb” order is a possibility in German, but not a necessity. However in English the verb always has to stay right after the subject. Any sentence elements can be put in the first place of a German sentence, such as adverbs, direct and indirect objects, prepositional phrases. Further examples:

Ich sitze nachmittags mit meinem Freund in einer Bar.
(I sit in a bar in the afternoons with my friend.)

Nachmittags sitze ich mit meinem Freund in einer Bar.
(In the afternoons I sit in a bar with my friend.)

Mit meinem Freund sitze ich nachmittags in einer Bar.
(With my friend I sit in a bar in the afternoons.)

Ich bin hier.
(I am here.)

Hier bin ich.
(Here I am.)

The most important rule is: in English sentences there is no inversion when putting a sentence element at the beginning of a sentence! In German sentences there is!

So the word order in affirmative sentences is:

subject + verb + other parts of the sentence


another part of the sentence + verb + subject + other parts of the sentence



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