AS Grammar: Clause Structure and Word Order

AS Grammar: Clause Structure and Word Order

Grammar: Clause Structure and Word Order

Basic Sentence Structure

  • German sentences generally follow a Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) pattern, just like English.
  • It’s important to remember that in declarative sentences, the verb always comes second, However, the subject doesn’t have to be first, as other elements can take the first position for emphasis or style.

Use of Time, Manner and Place (Tempus, Modus, Locus)

  • When providing additional information in your sentence such as when, how, and where something happened, the German language typically follows the rule of Time, Manner, Place (Temporal, Modal, Lokal). For example, Ich gehe heute (when) langsam (how) zur Schule (where).

Verbs in Subordinate Clauses

  • In subordinate clauses, the verb moves to the end of the sentence. For example, Ich habe gehört, dass du gut Deutsch sprichst.
  • If there are two verbs in the subordinate clause, the conjugated verb is last, and the other verb comes directly before it.

Use of Coordinating Conjunctions

  • Coordinating conjunctions such as “und” (and), “aber” (but), “oder” (or) do not change the word order. They simply connect two main clauses without any other changes. For example, Er liebt Bücher, und er liest jeden Tag.

Use of Subordinating Conjunctions

  • Subordinating conjunctions like “weil” (because), “dass” (that), “wenn” (if/when) do change the word order and move the verb to the end of the clause. For example Ich lese ein Buch, weil ich lernen will.

Word Order in Questions

  • In questions, the verb typically comes first, followed by the subject. This is the case in yes/no questions and in questions introduced by a question word (e.g., wer, was, wann, wo, warum). For example, Kannst du Deutsch sprechen?

Work on understanding these structures and familiarise yourself with each rule. Remember, practice makes perfect, so it’s a good idea to read and write texts in German and look out for these patterns! Happy revision!