Order of a sentence

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Everybody lies, Jun 28, 2013.

  1. Everybody lies

    Everybody lies Senior Member


    I'm still starting to learn German. In the book I'm learning with it is said this structure: Adv + verb + subj + compl. Eg: "In zwei Monaten beginnt meine Arbeit in Deutschland", and it says that the order of the subject and the verb is changed. So, I don't know if it is referred only to those cases where I want the adverb to go at the beginning (and I also can say "Meine Arbeit beginnt in Deutschland in zwei Monaten") ; or it means that if I want to use an adverb, I must put it at the beginning.

    Is my doubt clear?

    PD: Also, I don't know exactly what it's referred with "adverb", because "in two months" is not an adverb.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Frank78

    Frank78 Senior Member

    The expression of time (Temporaladverben) can take two positions:

    1, Beginning of the sentence as in your example:
    "In zwei Monaten beginnt meine Arbeit in Deutschland" - here you have to remember that the verb must occupy the second position in the sentence and therefore the subject comes after the verb

    2. Between verb and object
    "Meine neue Arbeit in Deutschland beginnt in zwei Monaten" - bad example since we don't have an object :D
    "Meine neue Arbeit beginnt in zwei Monaten in Deutschland" - time always BEFORE place

    If you say the latter sentence then I would assume you move on to the next county later.
  3. Everybody lies

    Everybody lies Senior Member

    OK! Thank you very much. That was very clear.
  4. Gernot Back

    Gernot Back Senior Member

    Cologne, Germany
    German - Germany
    Any phrase, not only adverbials can go to the first position (the pre-field) of a declarative main clause in German. If the subject is not in the first place, it takes the first place after the finite (conjugated) verb (i.e. the third position)!
  5. Anna Müller New Member

    just an addition: you are right, in 2 Monaten is not an adverb.
    however, when talking about the word order, we talk about adverbial clauses (this is a function - adverb is a form, eg: Subject=function; Noun and pronoun=form and both cam have the subjecr-function)-adverbial clauses work "as adverbs" and it has in this case the same meaning ad for example "soon". Clauses can be really long!!
    so, the verb is second position after a clause :)
    i hope this helped you.
  6. Everybody lies

    Everybody lies Senior Member

    So, if I say ANYTHING (in zwei Monaten, natürlich, in Deutschland...) at the beginning of a sentence, do I have to chage the order of subject and verb?

    Eg: -Ich arbeite in Deutschland ; ---> In Deutschland arbeite ich ??

    -Ich habe ein Auto; ---> Ein Auto habe ich ?? (I don't still know the "Deklination", so probably something is wrong; but please focus on the structure)
  7. Anna Müller New Member

    the "Deklination" is correct - nominativ :)
    Sorry, I maybe did not explain it correctly. BOTH is possible:
    Subject + Verb + (Object) + Adverbial clause(Adverb) OR
    Adverbial clause (Adverb) + Verb + Subject + (Object). OR
    Object + Verb + Subject + (adverbial clause)

    The only rule is: the verb is on 2. position and the subject belongs to the verb (before or after)

    If you put "in Deutschland arbeite ich" you stress "in Deutschland." But of course, "Ich arbeite in Deutschland" is correct, as well.

    This is the reason why German is sometimes so difficult! The syntax (word order) can be confusing. But for that, we have the "Kasussystem" - the Nominativ e.g. shows us the subject, whereas a lot of languages mark the subject by position (in English it is the 1. position).

    I hope this did help a bit...
  8. Everybody lies

    Everybody lies Senior Member

    Thanks a lot Anna. As you'd say, Alle Anfang ist schwer .

    So, the point is that the structure is either "S + V + COMPL" or "COMPL + V+ S" ; isn't it? If I put something at the beggining I must exchange the subject and the verb. That's the point, isn't it?

    Also, my mothertonge is Spanish, and we can say everything in the order we want:

    [En dos meses] [yo] [voy a trabajar] [a Alemania]
    [yo] [voy a trabajar] [a Alemania] [En dos meses]
    [En dos meses] [yo] [a Alemania] [voy a trabajar]
    [a Alemania] [En dos meses] [yo] [voy a trabajar]

    So maybe this is more difficult for me.
  9. Gernot Back

    Gernot Back Senior Member

    Cologne, Germany
    German - Germany
    Correct, except that it need not necessarily be a complement, it could also be an adjunct (adverbial) that occupies the first position of a German sentence (declarative main clause) and expels the subject to the third position after the verb!

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