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  5. Beware! Don't Get Muddled Up!


Beware! Don't Get Muddled Up!

Well, beware that this doesn't happen to you ;)

March 31, 2014



I'd like to know how often this happens in real life. :)


It can. But not often unless you're getting heavily into a debate or start ranting. Normal conversations try to keep things short. When it comes to writing though, oh my, you'll sometimes see sentences spanning half a page.


And then with all those compound nouns piled up on top... sheez.


Conversation generally doesn't have long complicated sentences like this. Writing sometimes does, however.


Lol! I bet that's true. This is one reason why I sometimes find German a little, ... odd. xD Still love it, though. :P


Read this quote on another post:

Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth. - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court



Can someone tell me how to upload an image here, as I'm not able to do so. I tried this, but no image is appearing at all after that : ![Alt text](image URL)


Thanks very much :)


I'm always wondering: when German speakers learn a language with a different sentence construction, do they find it difficult to follow? Is it, for them, like: wow, by the time you got tell me when and where all this happened I forgot what actually happened, and by the time you were done with that description I already forgot what you were describing?


Not really, at least as far as English is concerned. I started learning English when I was ten and I honestly don't think I spared the sentence structure much thought at the time. We learned two basic rules: "S-P-O" (subject-predicate-object) and "place before time." As a kid, you just accept these rules - I didn't even realize that we learned them because they differ considerably from their German counterparts. So I neither felt that English syntax was difficult and confusing nor that it was particularly easy.

Generally, I think what makes a sentence difficult to understand is not so much the position of the verbs but its length and complexity. Or, as in the case of Ulysses, a lack of punctuation:



Totally. :-) But in the case of German, for non-German speakers, we feel sort of like we opened a pair of brackets, and we can't understand what is going on until we close them, which can be many words away. :-) Whereas in English for instance, first you are told who did, then what they did, to whom, and then, when you have this down, you can listen on to more information about where, when, etc.. I'm not saying this as a judgement on German, just to make things clear. I'm not native in either German or English and I love both of them, just sharing an insight on thought process because I think it's interesting.


I understand that it is very difficult if you are not used to it, but when you grow up with it, you don't get easily confused. But it happens, and sometimes it is even used deliberately to confuse people, like in politics or contracts.


I think you mean "S-V-O" -- Subject-Verb-Object (Object is part of the predicate.)


I didn't, actually ;-). I used the terms as they are normally used in German grammar and that's the way we learned them at school.

Cf. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pr%C3%A4dikat_(Grammatik)


Nah, writing sentences that are too long and completely convoluted is simply bad style. You don't normally communicate like C. Iulius Caesar, except when you have problems structuring your ( mainly written) sentences properly. People sometimes make mistakes when speaking, sure, it' s like in any other language.

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