German Word Order

I have been studying German for a long time. But I still have trouble with the word order. It is too difficult to get used to. Is there anyone who had the same experience? Thanks in advance.


I think the German word order is easier than the English word order. The subject in German can be before or after the verb and in English only before the verb, for example: Ich war gestern im Theater. = Gestern war ich im Theater.
The only rule for the word order in German: The verb must be at the second place in an usual sentence and at the last place in a subordinate clause, for example: Du hast Recht. Ich glaube, dass du Recht hast.

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I’m no expert (so native speakers / other learners feel free to correct me), but here is what I have gathered so far:

1- The verb must go in the second position, except in certain kinds of subordinate sentences, in which it must go at the end.

Ich esse einen Apfel.
Einen Apfel esse ich.

(It’s a V2 language, or verb into second position)

Example with a subordinate clause:
Maria ist das Mädchen, das ich ins Kino einlade.

2- Verbal constructions with an auxiliary and a regular verb → the auxiliary takes the 2nd position in the sentence, the regular verb is pushed to the end.

Ich werde Maria ins Kino einladen. Ich habe es gesehen. Ich will es sehen. Es wurde am Sonntag gestohlen.

Rule (1) prevails over rule (2), so in a subordinate sentence the auxiliary will get pushed beyond the regular verb.

Maria ist das Mädchen, das ich ins Kino einladen werde.

3- There are separable and inseparable compound verbs. In those that are separable, the prefix gets kicked to the end of the sentence. However, due to rules (1) and (2), the verb can also get kicked to the end of the sentece, in which case the prefix and the verb get reunited at the end.

einladen - to invite
Ich lade Maria ins Kino ein.
Ich werde Maria ins Kino einladen.
Ich habe Maria ins Kino eingeladen.
Maria ist das Mädchen, das ich ins Kino einlade.
Maria ist das Mädchen, das ich ins Kino eingeladen habe.

4- The relative order of complements is TE-KA-MO-LO, Temporal, Kausative, Modal, Location.

Peter ist // am Montag // wegen eines Meetings // mit dem Zug // nach München // gefahren.

5- The relative order of Direct Objet and Indirect Object is:
IO, DO if they are both nouns
DO, IO if they are both pronouns
If only one is a pronoun, it goes first.

Ich gebe dem Schüler den Bleistift.
Ich gebe ihn ihm.
Ich gebe ihn dem Schüler.
Ich gebe ihm den Bleistift.

There must be more rules that I cannot recall right now of course

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