"If he does not come, we do not go."
Translation:Wenn er nicht kommt, gehen wir nicht.
I like to think of the end of the sentence as "wrapping around" to just before the verb. It also works with verb prefixes that separate (they move to the end).
"Nicht" needs to go before the verb since it is negating it, but "before" is the end of the clause. If there is a separable prefix, that also goes to the end and the "nicht" goes before that.
what I have understood (but I am not native so I might be wrong) is that in secondary clauses the conjugated verb is always placed in final position. "wenn er nicht kommt" is a seconday clause so "kommt" must be placed in final position and that means "nicht" has to be placed before "kommt".
Have you read the grammar notes? It’s a lot of help. https://www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Conjunctions/tips-and-notes
Also, if you search Forums for German, and search “subordinate clauses” or “subordinate conjunctions”, there is quite a lot of material discussed on that.
Okay, I think I may have figured out a way to make the sentence structuring clearer. Someone tell me if I'm wrong though - Treat the WHOLE sub clause as ONE item.
The rules for verb placement is that 1) the verb is going to always be the SECOND part of a sentence or 2) for a subordinate clause, the verb comes last. With that, I'm going to kind of apply PEMDAS (order of operations) here but for grammar. Considering "If he does not come, we do not go" - Identify the subordinate clause and treat it as ONE item. "(If he does not come), we do not go." Now only do the what's in the parentheses first. It's a subordinate clause, so the verb will come LAST here: "Wenn er nicht kommt". The entirety of the sub clause could be considered the 'first item' of the entire statement. The verb from the main clause will be the 'second item' of the whole sentence: "(Wenn er nicht kommt), gehen wir nicht."
If I'm wrong, someone let me know. But this has been working for me ever since I figured it out. Edit: Assuming it is a valid method to remember the rules, now you just have to be able to IDENTIFY these clauses.
Just read in another thread with a similar construction a comment (way after all the complicated explanations about subordinate/main clauses) and the specific rule here is if it starts with Wenn, then the verb comes last in that part and the clause following must begin with a verb (thus pushing nicht to the end).
agreed, at least when it comes to subordinating clauses and all that stuff, it's easy to learn. for the most part, there's really only 2 options:
1) subordinating clause 1st, coordinating 2nd (like in this german sentence); then the 2 verbs meet together in the middle on both sides of the comma;
2) vica versa. here, the basic rules are still the same. we just don't have a situation like in (1) where an entire clause is regarded as the 1st position in a sentence.
I'll do my best. The first clause is a subordinate (dependent) clause, beginning with Wenn. Therefore, the main verb moves to the end of the clause. Wenn er nicht kommt....
The second clause is an independent clause. However, the verb remains as the first element in the clause because it needs to remain in Position 2 of the whole sentence. That's why it is "..., gehen wir nicht."
"wenn" is a "subordinating conjunction". Remember that a clause containing a "subordinating conjunction" is called a "subordinate clause" (or "dependent clause"). A sentence that has a subordinate clause also has a "main clause" (or "independent clause"). For example, the sentence:
"Wenn er nicht kommt, gehen wir nicht."
has the subordinate/dependent clause: "Wenn er nicht kommt",
and the main/independent clause "gehen wir nicht".
Makes sense so far?
Note also that when a sentence begins with a subordinate clause, then the subsequent main clause must start with the conjugated verb. In our sentence above, the main clause begins right after the comma, so the conjugated verb must appear right after the comma.
The conjugated verb of our main clause is "gehen", and so the main clause should be "gehen wir nicht" and not "wir gehen nicht".
So our full sentence is: "Wenn er nicht kommt, gehen wir nicht".
For more reading, see: https://ielanguages.com/german-subordinating-conjunctions.html
So when the verb is moved to the end of the first phrase "Wenn er nicht kommt" does the second verb ALWAYS follow the comma? "Gehen wir nicht" Or is that only for certain conjunctions? Or is gehen placed there because its considered in the second position (Which it doesnt seem like it is.)
Let me get this straight - this sentence is made up of the following: [Wenn er nicht kommt], [gehen] [wir] [nicht]
In the first position, which doubles as a suboordinate clause, Wenn's suboordinate-ness pushes the verb to the end of the clause, forcing nicht in front of it where it would otherwise be at the end of the sentence.
Germany sure does have some wacky sentence structure. Very confusing, but interesting nonetheless
I am having an extreme amount of difficulty with word order in this lesson. I understand how the nebensatz works... but it seems a lot more complicated than just 'put the verb at the end of the sentence.' If anyone could help me understand why THIS sentence has the order it has it would be a great help. But beyond that it does seem that there is more than just moving the verb to the end, for example in the sentence "Es ist wichtig, dass du jeden Tag Deutsch lernst." If I were to do it in an English order it would read like, "It is important, that you every day German learn." So clearly there's a lot more moving than just the verb and my English brain is melting down at this.
The rule for subordinate sentences is indeed to move the verb to the end.
But maybe you have not noticed that the subordinate clause is the first part of the sentence here: "if he does not come". That becomes "Wenn er nicht kommt" with the verb in the final position.
But there are rules for the position of the verb for the main clause as well. In affirmative sentences the verb must always be in the second position (position does not refer to counting words, but complete syntactical elements). In this case, the complete subordinate clause counts as position one of the main clause, so the verb in the main clause has to follow immediately.
Look through the comments on ones where you don't get the right word order. "fehrerdef" has several posts for this question. Search for them on the page.
This sentence starts with a subordinate clause (Wenn er nicht kommt). In a subordinate clause, the verb comes at the end. The main clause (gehen wir nicht) appears to start with a verb, but the first position of the sentence is occupied by the subordinate clause, so the verb is in the normal second position.
Here is a link that might help explain verb position:
No, I'm fairly sure that you need the word "wenn" here because without "wenn" (if, when), the meaning of the sentence is changed. Also, without "wenn", the verb "kommt" would need to come second after the subject "er"; the verb placement for the second clause would also need to change. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Please explain why 'gehen' goes at the beginning rather than at the end. Isn't it a subordinating conjunction? Is 'Wenn' a coordinating, subordinating, or correlative conjunction? Do you have a good explanation of the difference? Does the rule about the verb at the end apply to 'kommt' or to 'gehen'?
The rule for subordinate clauses is, that the verb goes to the end. That's the case here with "kommt", in the subordinate clause headed by "wenn".
But the second part of the sentence is the main clause. The rule here is that the verb comes second. And since the complete subordinate clause has already taken the first position of the main clause, the verb needs to follow immediately to be in 2nd position. That's what heppens to "gehen".
The verb is in the end of a subordinate (dependent) clause. This happens here with "Wenn er nicht kommt, ...".
But in the main clause the verb takes the 2nd position, as usual. And since the first position is already taken by the subordinate clause, it needs to follow immediately: "XXX, gehen wir nicht".
Wenn is a type of conjunction known as subordinate conjunction. These words (there are many) will put the verb at the end of a sentence e.g. Ich bin gesund, weil ich oft laufe. Here the subordinate conjunction is "weil" and it throws the verb "laufe" at the end.
This does not happen with coordinating conjunctions (there's a list of such words too e.g. "und"). E.g. Ich mag Schokolade und sie mag Pizza. - The verb "mag" doesn't got at the end.
If the subordinate conjunction is the first word of the sentence then again the verb goes at the end, but of the first part of the sentence i.e. "Wenn er nicht kommt,". "Kommt" is at the end.
And the second part of the sentence must start with the next verb i.e. gehen wir nicht. So it looks like: "Wenn er nicht kommt, gehen wir nicht".
The second part of the sentence must start with a verb so it complies with the normal rule that the verb goes in 2nd position of a sentence. When the sentence is using a subordinating conjunction as the first word the entire first part of the sentence [Wenn er nicht kommt,] is considered in position 1.
I learned this stuff from Youtube.
If I'm wrong correct me.
This has already been explained. In a main clause the verb must be in second position. The complete dependent clause has already taken the first posituion of the main clause. So the verb must follow immediately.
If the main clause stood alone (without the "if he does not come"), it would be "Wir gehen nicht". But with it it needs to be "..., gehen wir nicht.
No, it’s not jumbled. Every word is in the correct place, in both sentences. “If he doesn’t come, we don’t go”/ Wenn er nicht kommt, gehen wir nicht.
If you take the time to read the explanations in this comment section, several moderators have explained everything about it, more than once.