German Grammar - Word Order
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What is the most prominent feature of German word order?
The position of the verb.
Name the three types of clauses in German.
Main (independent,) question (interrogative,) and subordinate (dependent)
What is the most common first element in a main clause?
The grammatical subject, which could include words modifying the subject.
Describe the use of adverbial modifiers in first position.
- 1.Used often for style.
- 2. In these cases, the subject moves to a position after the conjugated verb.
- 3. No comma sets them off.
Describe the use of objects, infinitives and participles in first position.
- 1. Much less common.
- 2. Mainly in response to specific questions.
Describe 'ja' and 'nein' in first position.
- 1. Not considered 1st elements.
- 2. Set off by commas.
- 3. Actual sentence starts after the comma.
What is always the second element in a main clause?
- The conjugated verb (V1).
- Even if the 1st element is a sub. clause.
Describe conjunctions in terms of word order.
- 1. They are not 1st elements of the 2nd clause, so the position of the verb stays in 2nd position.
- 2. Commas are used, as in English.
What is the middle field?
Elements between the conjugated verb (V1)and verbal elements appearing later in the sentence (V2).
What elements could comprise the middle field?
Subject, objects, adverbial modifiers, and verbal complements.
Where must subject pronouns go if in the middle field?
Directly after V1.
Where may subject nouns go if in the middle field?
They may be preceded by other elements, determined by the stress desired upon the subject noun.
What is the relationship of order of elements to emphasis in the middle field?
The farther to the right an element appears, the more emphasis it receives.
What is the order of a pronoun object and noun object in the MF?
The pronoun object appears before a noun object.
What is the order of two noun objects in the MF?
The one receiving emphasis is last (to the right.)
What is the order of two pronoun objects in the MF?
The accusative (direct) object always comes first, regardless of emphasis.
What is the order of adverbial modifiers in the MF?
- (the TMP rule)
- Except if emphasis is needed more.
What other role can 'place' play besides the TMP rule?
What is the significance of 'place' as the last element of the TMP rule?
They are often also verbal complements, which are always at the end of the middle field anyway.
Name 5 types of verbal complements.
Predicate nominatives, directional modifiers, separable prefixes, prepositional phrases that complete certain verbs; object nouns infinitives and adverbs that combine with verbs
Describe V2 elements.
- Formed with infinitives or past participles.
- Encloses the middle field.
- Separable prefixes attach to the V2 verb, inserting 'ge' to past tense.
Give three examples of final elements.
Adverbial modifiers as an afterthought, elements to be emphasized (informal), comparative phrases with 'als' or 'wie'.
What three positions can the verb take in interrogative phrases?
- 1. Verb first in yes-no questions.
- 2. Verb follows interrogative word or expression.
- 3. Verb is last in indirect questions. Here the question is subordinate.
What position is the verb in subordinate clauses?
- 1. Final, even if the phrase begins the sentence.
- 2. V1 Follows V2, except with double infinitives.
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