https://www.duolingo.com/Darien

Questioning Duolingo's Word Order

Duolingo gives the following: "Mindestens zwei Kameras sind hier". I was taught that, if a sentence begins with other than the subject, then subject and verb are inverted, thus: "Mindestens sind zwei Kameras hier". Or is this another case of "Contemporary German" ignoring the rules?

6/29/2012, 10:12:15 AM

4 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Nachdenklich

The rule is that the verb must be the second idea in the sentence. The first idea is "Mindestens zwei Kameras" (this is also the subject). I am not a native speaker and cannot comment on the subtleties of word order however.

6/29/2012, 10:14:51 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Drekir
  • 14
  • 11
  • 9
  • 7
  • 6
  • 5
  • 2

The main rule is that verb must be in second position, except in certain cases, like

questions (1st position),

subordinate clause (1st pos, i.e. in clause, after conjunction),

modal verbs (required verb is in last position; modal verb in 2nd pos),

various perfect tenses (req verb last pos; auxiliary verb 2nd pos).

.

These are the the cases I can recall at the moment. I'll add later if I remember any more..

Got one more..

Imperative : 1st pos

6/29/2012, 3:14:40 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Timmo

This is a great example of why traditional grammar somteimes falls on its arse. For anyone who knows much about transformational grammar, the construction "Mindestens zwei kameras" is just a noun-phrase. The whole thing is the subject, and the verb does indeed come second as expected.

7/1/2012, 3:26:16 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/margamanterola

As Nachdenklich says, the verb has to be in the second "position", not as the second "word". "Midndestens zwei Kameras" is an indivisable structure, all of it in position 1.

7/1/2012, 12:10:23 AM
Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.