Spacer
Canoo Logo
Powered by Canoo Logo
 in: 
case sensitive ss instead of ß
| Dictionaries | Word Grammar | Wordformation | Sentence Grammar | Spelling (D) | Glossary | Index |  
| Overview | Sentence Types | Constituents | Phrases | Sentence Structures | Word Order | Complex Sentences | Negation |
 

Word order

 
 
The chapter "Word order" describes the order of the constituents (subject, predicate, object, etc.) in a sentence or clause. The order of the words in a constituent is described in the chapter "Phrases".

The predicate is the central constituent of a sentence. It always consists of at least one finite verb form. According to the position of this finite verb form, we distinguish three different types of word order:

Verb-second clause  The finite verb comes second  Sie kauft ein Auto.
Verb-first clause The finite verb comes first Kauft sie ein Auto?
Verb-last clause The finite verb comes last dass sie ein Auto kauft.

When the predicate consists of two parts, they form the so-called sentence brackets. The sentence brackets divide the sentence into different topological fields:

Sentence brackets
Vorfeld
(Pre-field)
(
Mittelfeld
(Middle field)
)
Nachfeld
(Post-field)
Der Großvater  hat  seinem Enkel ein Buch  geschenkt, das der Kleine sofort las.

These fields are occupied by the constituents of the sentence. The different topological fields are occupied differently:

The Vorfeld can be occupied by any kind of constituent. Usually, only one constituent can be in the Vorfeld:

Vorfeld
(
Der Großvater 
hat  seinem Enkel das Buch gestern geschenkt.
Seinem Enkel 
hat  der Großvater das Buch gestern geschenkt.
Das Buch 
hat  der Großvater seinem Enkel gestern geschenkt.
Gestern 
hat  der Großvater seinem Enkel das Buch geschenkt. 

The Nachfeld cannot be occupied by more than one constituent, either, but only a few types of constituents are allowed in the Nachfeld

)
Nachfeld
Der Großvater hat seinem Enkel ein Buch 
gegeben,  das der Kleine sofort las.
Die Diebe haben in der Nacht
versucht  über das Dach einzudringen.
Heute ist der Athlet schneller
gerannt als gestern.

In principle, the Mittelfeld can be occupied by any number and any kind of constituents. The order of the constituents in the Mittelfeld is relatively free:

(
Mittelfeld
)
Er  hat  seinem Enkel das Buch gestern  geschenkt.
Er hat  seinem Enkel gestern das Buch geschenkt.
Er hat  das Buch seinem Enkel gestern geschenkt.
Er hat  das Buch gestern seinem Enkel geschenkt.
Er hat  gestern seinem Enkel das Buch geschenkt.
Er hat  gestern das Buch seinem Enkel geschenkt.

Nevertheless, the order of the constituents in the Mittelfeld is governed by some (partially conflicting) rules and tendencies. Grammatical factors as well as factors such as the speech situation and the intention of the speaker affect the word order in the Mittelfeld. The interaction between these rules and factors often results in a multitude of possible word orders for one sentence.

Word order is described under the following topics:

Word order types Which type of word order in which sentence types?
Position of the predicate What is the position of the predicate in the sentence?
Brackets and fields What is the primary division of a sentence?
      Vorfeld Which constituents can be in the Vorfeld?
Mittelfeld What is the word order in the Mittelfeld?
Nachfeld Which constituents can be in the Nachfeld?

Note:

German word order is relatively free. At the same time, it is very complex because it is affected by several interacting and partially conflicting factors. Most of the principles of word order described here are tendencies rather than strict rules. Therefore, the chapter "Word order" cannot be exhaustive. It presents, however, the most important rules and tendencies.





Copyright © 2000-2017 Canoo Engineering AG, Kirschgartenstr. 5, CH-4051 Basel. All rights reserved.
Related terms dictionary: Copyright © 1996, 1997, 2011 by University of Tübingen.
Terms of use/Data protection | Contact
Spacer
canoonet fürs iPhone
canoonet - FindIT Die semantische Suche für Unternehmen
zappmedia
ÜBERSETZUNGSBÜRO
Alle Sprachen [DIN]
Wasserbetten
Porsche Motorinstandsetzung