German word order

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verb = 2nd idea | question words | questions with a 'Ja/Nein' answer | verbs on walkabout | separable verbs | quizzes |

In many German sentences the verb is the 2nd idea in the sentence - not necessarily the second word, but the second idea in the sentence.

Max und ich spielen heute Tennis.

A popular strategy for remembering the order of information in a German sentence is the so-called STOMP rule.

subject time info object manner (or "how") info place info

It might help you if we add the verb to that.


[The second 'V' is in brackets because a sentence might or might not have a second verb part; depends on what you want to say.]


Ich spiele am Samstag australischen Fußball mit Max im Park.

Max kauft heute Nachmittag eine DVD für Sophie im Media-Markt.

Modal verbs are an example of sentences where there are two verb parts:

Sophie und Anna können heute zur Party kommen.

Of course, your German sentence doesn't have to include all these types of info:

Er spielt Tennis gern.

Ich singe.

Max findet meinen Vater cool.

Notice in the above example sentences that the verb is the second idea. However, the subject doesn't have to be the first idea - you can focus attention on something else by putting that at the front of your sentence:

Am Mittwoch habe ich Fußballtraining im Sportzentrum.

Notice in that sentence that the subject comes straight after the verb if it isn't the 1st idea in the sentence.

Question words

e.g. Was?, Wo?, Wann?, Wie?, Warum?, Wer?

After question words the verb is still the 2nd idea in the sentence/question:

Wo ist mein Deutsch-Buch?

Wie alt bist du?

Questions with a Ja/Nein answer

If you ask a question which basically expects an answer of Ja or Nein, then the verb is the 1st idea, is right up front.

Hast du heute Deutsch?

Hast du einen Bruder?

Kommst du am Sonntag zur Grill-Party?

Verbs on walkabout

There are other situations when verbs stray away from being 2nd idea in the sentence. For example, there are words that "push the verb about a bit". These words let you build longer sentences. See the page on conjunctions, which are an example of this.

Separable verbs

Separable verbs - intro by CaryAcademy

separable verbs quiz - practise by dragging sentence parts into the correct order


verb as 2nd idea (unjumbling basic sentences - D Nutting)

verb as 2nd idea (different ways of starting sentences)

verb as 2nd idea (time info before place info!)

basic word order - sport context (unjumbling basic sentences - D Nutting)

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