The Difference Between Main Clauses and Subordinate Clauses

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Main Clause (Hauptsätze)

Main Clauses are grammatically complete sentences that can stand alone. They usually consist of Subject, Verb and Object.

The Conjugated verb is always in Position 2.

  • „Ich komme aus Deutschland.“

Subordinate Clause (Nebensätze)

Subordinate Clauses usually cannot stand alone because some information is missing without which the sentence makes no sense.

The Conjugated verb is at the end.

  • „ …, das ich gestern verloren habe.

Recommendation: The different Subordinate Clauses

There are many different Subordinating Clauses. Most are introduced by Subordinating Conjunctions. Relative Clauses are introduced by Relative Pronouns, and Infinitive Clauses don't need a word at all to trigger the subordinate clause. If you have trouble with subordinate clauses, I recommend my lesson: The Subordinate Clause

Sentence Structure in General (Satzbau im Allgemeinen)

In German, sentence structure and word order are much more flexible than in other languages.

There are 2 main factors that influence Sentence Structure:

  • How important is the information?

Of course, not everything is possible. I'll explain what other rules you need to follow in the other lessons on Sentence Structure.

Related Topics:

Entire lesson in German only: Der unterschied zw. Hauptsätze und Nebensätze

More information on Sentence Structure and Word order:

You can find an overview of all topics under German Grammar.


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