This set of lessons will help you use your knowledge of nouns, verbs, and other parts of speech to form full sentences.
German is more flexible than other languages in terms of how that's done. However, you do have to follow certain rules about word order, especially where you put verbs.
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Lessons about Forming Sentences
Main clauses are full sentences that could stand alone. They almost always include a subject and verb, but can include a lot more information as well. Important to remember is that the main verb goes in position 2.
Example: „Anna kauft einen Hut."
To the Lesson: Main Clauses & Word Order
Difference Between Main Clauses and Subordinate Clauses
Main clauses are complete sentences on their own, but subordinate clauses are not. They always need to be combined with a main clause to make sense.
Example: „Anna kauft das Kleid (main clause), das ihrem Mann gefällt. (subordinate clause)“
To the Lesson: Difference between Main Clauses & Subordinate Clauses
Some verbs have a separable prefix or are used in combination with a second verb. The conjugated verb stays in position 2 but the prefix or second verb goes at the end of the sentence. In a certain sense (use your imagination!) this creates brackets that contain all of the other information ⇒ Sentence Brackets.
Examples: „Ich stehe um 6 Uhr auf.“
To the Lesson: Sentence Brackets
In German there are W-Questions and Yes-No Questions. Lucky for you, it's similar to how questions are formed in English.
- „Woher kommst du?“ – „Ich komme aus Deutschland.“
- „Kommst du aus Deutschland?“ – „Ja/Nein.“
To the Lesson: Asking Questions
Conjunctions are words that join things together. For example: words, clauses, and sentences.
- "Tanja und Boris sehen fern."
- "Fahren wir zu Oma oder bleiben wir zu Hause?"
To the Lesson: Conjunctions
Conjunctive adverbs are similar to conjunctions in that they both combine things together. However, there are some differences in how they look and are used.
Example: „Anna kommt später, außerdem kommt Jan auch später.“
To the Lesson: Conjunctive Adverbs
Subordinate clauses are parts of a sentence that give extra information to the main clause.
They can't stand alone and are connected to the main clause with conjunctions or relative pronouns.
In subordinate clauses, the verb goes at the end.
Example: "Es wird kalt, wenn ich das Fenster aufmache."
To the Lesson: Subordinate Clauses & Word Order
In infinitive clauses, the verb isn't conjugated. Instead, it stays in the infinitive form (ending in "-en"). Infinitive clauses also don't have their own subject - they use the subject from the main clause.
Example: "Ich versuche, das Tor zu treffen."
To the Lesson: Infinitive with "zu"
Infinitive constructions are clauses with "um…zu…," "ohne…zu…," or "(an)statt…zu…" There is no subject, and the verb stays in the infinitive form.
Example: "Ich lerne Deutsch, um in Deutschland arbeiten zu können."
To the Lesson: Infinitive Constructions
More information on German Sentence Structure and Word order: Sentence Structure.
- Word Order in Subordinate Clause
- Word Order in Main Clause
- Difference between Main Clause and Subordinate Clause
- The Subordinate Clause (The different types of Subordinate Clauses)
- Word Order in Questions
- Questions with Prepositions
- Indirect Questions
- The Position of „nicht"
- Sentence Brackets
- Coordinating Conjunctions
- Multi-Part Conjunctions
- Subordinating Conjunctions
- Conjunctional Adverbs
You can find an overview of all topics under German Grammar.