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German word order

I'm struggling with proper word order.

My tendency is to arrange the words the same way they would be in English, and that isn't always the way they should be in German.

As I progress through the tree, word order matters more and more, and I've been missing more answers because of it.

Can anyone recommend a page or resource which explains this in a clear and understandable way? It just doesn't seem to be sinking in so far.

I'd appreciate anything that could make the struggle less frustrating.

October 28, 2015



This is exactly what I wanted. Thank you!

If anybody else has additional help, I'd love to see that too.


You're welcome! And thank for the lingot. :) If you still have questions about German,you can ask me.


I don't know how easy this is to understand (and internalise), but I like it because it's rather comprehensive and gives nicely underlined examples in both languages. But apart from dry theory, there's also the one thing my mother always recommends (in almost any case really): "read, read, read (and listen)". Reading/listening as much as you can (preferrably something that wasn't specially designed for language learners. The more natural the better) is the best way to crack sentence structure in my opinion.
Viel Erfolg!


Thank you also!

I do try to read in German whenever I can find it. I've found that it's easier to read it than it is to properly write it.

If I'm reading something where the words are already in the right order, I can get the general idea of what's being expressed. Example: Ich esse, weil ich Hunger habe.

Literal order would be: I eat because I hunger have.

It sounds like Yoda is talking.

I know that all it's saying is "I eat because I'm hungry!", and I can infer the meaning eventually when I toss the words around in my head a few times.

But the word order always confuses me when I'm the one writing the German sentence myself.

I keep hearing Yoda with a German accent.

I know I'll get better as time progresses. I just need to keep practicing.


I know not of what you speak, I can in the German word order nothing Yoda-like see :)
(I've never thought about it, but mrs. Merkel does have something yodaesque about her in the way she folds her hands. Sadly though, they don't quite have the same personality)
Writing is definitely harder than reading, and I can completely understand how it would be confusing. German is confusing, sometimes even to natives. But reading does at least introduce you to the different ways a sentence can be constructed, even if it naturally doesn't replace writing. Just hang on in there and keep practicing!


A wonderful comment! We all need some wry jokes to relieve our struggle with word order :)


i know that it's irrelevant but do you have any tips in dealing with french conjugation


Not irrelevant, just slightly misplaced, I think you'd have a better change to get good answers answer if you asked in the French for English speakers discussion board. Still, there are many sites out there which can help you get used to the conjucations, just google "french imparfait exercises" (or whichever tense you're trying to learn), and there will be several things to choose from.
Pay attention to the way similar verbs change, the patterns will become obvious fairly quickly. And don't just learn conjucation tables. That's much too abstract, you may end up knowing them by heart and still not be able to use them (that was my case in Latin, I could chant the conjugation tables like others chant prayers, but using them was slow and painful work). Instead, try to put the words into lots of easy sentences, even if they're completely nonsensical, like "mon chat mangeait le gâteau". Also, prioritise. Being able to use the passé composé (j'ai mangé) and, to a slightly lesser extend, the imparfait (je mangeais) is 100 times more important than knowing the tiniest bit about the passé simple (je mangeai), which you will only encounter in literature, and even there, it's not very common. But my main advice stays the same: read as much as you can and don't give up :)


sorry for asking again , my plan then is to read (and i am already doing it daily) , that clear but there is more than 10 sort of conjugation for each verb , should i concentrate in some verbs only? , someone advised me to study the similar part of the regular verbs but i don't know if that help , i thought that irregular verbs are much more than regular , or should i study it tense by tense not verb by verb , if you know what i mean . again sorry for take your time but please answer my preceding points .


Many German students struggle with the English word order :D


Yes, I can see how it would be difficult for new students! :)

Since I grew up learning English, it comes naturally to me... but when I stop to think about it, it really is complicated sometimes.

I especially feel bad for the students who are trying to learn the difference between "though", "through", "tough", "taught", "and "thought".


I know this is a 1 year old post, but I'm glad I found someone with similar struggles, and many great answers and recommendations here! I think I hit a bit of a snag in my learning due to German word order.

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