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German Conjunctions

"AHHHHGH!!!" is normally the feeling I get whenever I return to Duolingo after searching the web for help yet am still confronted by seemingly contradictory advice and unanswered questions. Subordinate clauses, as I understand, cause the verb to shift to the end of a sentence. However I have seen many instances where the main clause has a verb shift but the subordinate clause remains untouched! Why is this?

Also I am concerned about the circumstances where verbs are not in second position following subordinate conjunctions. "... sondern ich trinke." "... doch er isst nicht."

I know that I am probably picking too many bones on this subject, but I need a lot of help on so many other various things. Please lend me your advice!

June 6, 2018



For your first problem I would need an example to try to help.

"Sondern" is not a subordinate clause conjunction but a main clause/coordinating conjunction, therefore the verb stays in second position. "Doch" is a synonym for "aber" and is also a main clause conjunction and does not change the word order. Hope I could help a little ;-)

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I have found a link that will no doubt address most grammar questions with handouts, worksheets, exercises and more.


Look down the page and there is even a main section on conjunctions and word order. Enjoy!

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BTW, I had forgotten about this resource because I was not ready for it. Maybe this is the time for you. I find it difficult to go through worksheets etc., it's the way my brain is wired. I learn best by repetition and the Socratic method. That is why I like Duo and these discussions but this may be great for you.


There are two kinds of conjunction words, one introduces another main clause and the other a subclause.

"weil", "da", "obwohl", "wenn", "nachdem" are introducing subclauses and put the conjugated verb last.

Er muss im Haus bleiben, obwohl die Sonne scheint.

Obwohl die Sonne scheint, muss er im Haus bleiben.

Er schreibt einen Brief, weil er seinem Freund danken möchte.

Weil er seinem Freund danken möchte, schreibt er einen Brief.

Whereas the subclause keeps its word order when coming first the main clause has to swap the subject with the conjugated verb.

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