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Word order in a main clause

A sentence consists of a subject (person or thing carrying out the action), predicate (finite verb) and perhaps other elements.

In a main clause (with a full stop at the end), the predicate is always in second place.

I II III
Ich gehe heute ins Kino.
Unser Vater spielt gern Tennis.
Natalie faulenzt nicht gern.
Ich gehe heute ins Kino.
= Today I go to the cinema.
Unser Vater spielt gern Tennis.
= Our father likes to play tennis.
Natalie faulenzt nicht gern.
= Natalie likes to laze around.

If there is another element of the sentence in first place in a main clause, the subject comes straight after the predicate.

I II III
Heute gehe ich ins Kino.
Heute gehe ich ins Kino.
= Today I go to the cinema.

Questioning

Polar questions – without an interrogative (question word): predicate first, immediately followed by the subject.

I II III
Gehst du heute ins Kino?
Gibt es etwas über Architektur?
Gehst du heute ins Kino?
= Are you going to the cinema today?
Gibt es etwas über Architektur?
= Is there anything about architecture?

Such polar questions are answered with 'Yes.' or 'No.'

Non-polar questions – with an interrogative: interrogative first, then the predicate, immediately followed by the subject.

I II III
Wohin gehst du heute?
Wie ist Ihr Name?
Wo ist die Ausstellung?
Wohin gehst du heute?
= Where are you going today?
Wie ist Ihr Name?
= What is your name?
Wo ist die Ausstellung?
= Where is the exhibition?

Interrogatives

Interrogatives begin with the letter 'w'.

wer? (= who?)
  • Wer ist das?
    Who is that?
was? (= what?)
  • Was möchtest du trinken?
    What would you like to drink?
  • Was machen wir heute?
    What are we doing today?
wessen? (= whose?)
  • Wessen Katze ist das?
    Whose cat is that?
wem? (= (to) who(m))
  • Wem soll ich helfen?
    Whom should I help?
wen? (= who(m))
  • Wen besuchen wir heute?
    Whom are we visiting today?
warum? (= why?)
  • Warum warst du nicht in der Schule?
    Why were you not at school?
wann? (= when?)
  • Wann kommst du zu uns?
    When are you coming to us?
wo? (= where?)
  • Wo wohnst du?
    Where do you live?
  • Wo ist die Ausstellung?
    Where is the exhibition?
wohin? (= where to?)
  • Wohin fahrt ihr im Urlaub?
    Where are you going on holiday?
woher? (= where from?)
  • Woher kommst du?
    Where do you come from?

Sequence of objects in a sentence

If there are two objects in a sentence, the dative object comes before the accusative object.

Ich gebe meinem Freund das Buch.
= I give the book to my girlfriend.

A personal pronoun object always comes before a noun object.

Ich gebe ihm das Buch.
= I give the book to him.
Ich gebe es ihm.
= I give it to him.

If there are two personal pronoun objects in a sentence, the accusative object comes before the dative object.

Ich gebe meinem Freund das Buch.
Ich gebe es ihm.

Negation 'nicht' (not)

Negation: 'nicht' – 'not' – is used when one negates part or all of a sentence.

Negation of a complete sentence: 'nicht' – 'not' – stands at the end of the sentence, but before any second verb.

Ich liebe dich nicht.
= I do not love you.
Ich kann leider nicht schwimmen.
= Unfortunately I cannot swim.

Negation of part of a sentence: 'nicht' – 'not' – stands before the element to be negated.

Ich will nicht jetzt schwimmen (sondern in einer Stunde).
= I do not want to swim now (but in an hour).
Sie geht nicht mit Florian (sondern mit Markus).
= She is not going with Florian (but with Markus).

The question 'welch-' (which)

The question 'welch-' (which) is used when selecting one definite person or thing from among others.

The question 'welch-' (which) stands in front of the noun instead of the article.

The question 'welch-' (which) is declined in the same way as the definite article.

Table 1. – Case endings
maskulin feminina neutral Plural
Nominativ
  • welcher Tisch?
    which table?
  • welcher Rock?
    which skirt?
  • welche Lampe?
    which lamp?
  • welche Jacke?
    which jacket?
  • welches Bett?
    which bed?
  • welches Kleid?
    which dress?
  • welche Stühle?
    which chairs?

  • which shoes?
Genitiv
  • welches Tisches?
  • welches Rockes?
  • welcher Lampe?
  • welcher Jacke?
  • welches Bettes?
  • welches Kleides?
  • welcher Stühle?
  • welcher Schuhe?
Dativ
  • welchem Tisch?
  • welchem Rock?
  • welcher Lampe?
  • welcher Jacke?
  • welchem Bett?
  • welchem Kleid?
  • welchen Stühlen?
  • welchen Schuhen?
Akkusativ
  • welchen Tisch?
  • welchen Rock?
  • welche Lampe?
  • welche Jacke?
  • welches Bett?
  • welches Kleid?
  • welche Stühle?
  • welche Schuhe?

Causal clauses with 'weil' (because)

The conjunction 'weil' (because) indicates a cause. The conjunction is followed by a subordinate clause (subject + other elements of the sentence + predicate at the end). If the 'weil'-clause comes first in the sentence, the main clause must begin with the predicate.

Ich bleibe heute zu Hause, weil ich sehr krank bin.
= I will stay at home today because I am very ill.
Weil ich sehr krank bin, bleibe ich heute zu Hause.
= Because I am very ill, I will stay at home today.
Wir kommen schon am Freitag, weil wir einen langen Weg haben.
= We will come on Friday since we have a long journey.
Ich bin sauer, weil ich Hunger habe.
= I am angry because I am hungry.

Object clauses with “dass” (that)

Object clause with “dass”

These object clauses begin with the conjunction 'dass' - 'that'. The conjunction is followed by the subordinate clause (subject + other elements of the sentence + predicate at the end).

Er hat gesagt, dass sie nicht kommen können.
= He said that they could not come.
Wahrscheinlich haben Sie schon erfahren, dass es neue Lehrerinnen und Lehrer gibt.
= You have probably heard that there are new teachers.
Bist du sicher, dass Ömer in der Schule isst?
= Are you sure that Ömer eats at school?

Some subordinate clauses replace phrases. Therefore they are also called partial clauses.

If, as in this case, a subordinate clause replaces an object, it is called an object clause. The clause takes the role of an accusative object in the main sentence.

The question for an object clause is the same as for an object.

Was weißt du? – Ich weiß, dass du in deinem Architektenbüro viel zu tun hast.
= What do you know? – I know that you have a lot to do in your architect's office.
Was hast du erfahren? – Ich habe erfahren, dass der Bus nicht fährt.
= What have you experienced? – I have heard that the bus will not run.
Nur knapp 18 Prozent der Umfrageteilnehmer gaben an, dass sie absolut vertraut im Umgang mit komplexen Fahrzeugtechniken sind.Was gaben 18 Prozent der Umfrageteilnehmer an? Dass sie absolut vertraut im Umgang mit komplexen Fahrzeugtechniken sind.
= Only just 18 persent of the survey respondents stated that they are totally competent in relation to complex driving techniques. – What did 18 percent of those surveyed reply? That they are absolutely confident in handling complex driving techniques.

Subject clauses with “dass”

If a subordinate clause takes the place of a subject, one calls this a subject clause. A subject clause gives information about the subject of a sentence and answers to the questions “wer” or “was”.

Mein größter Wunsch ist, dass meine Freundin mich zu Weihnachten besucht. - Was ist mein größter Wunsch? - Dass meine Freundin mich zu Weihnachten besucht.
= My greatest wish is that my girlfriend visits me at Christmas. - What is my greatest wish? - That my girlfriend visits me at Christmas.
Dass es nicht schneit, ist sehr schade. - Was ist sehr schade? - Dass es nicht schneit.
= It is a real shame that it is not snowing. - What is a real shame? - That it is not snowing.

Indirect questions

Such questions can appear as subordinate clauses in complex sentences.

In a subordinate clause consisting of a non-polar question (with an interrogative at the start), the predicate is at the end.

Was hast du heute gekauft?
= What have you bought today?
Ich habe gefragt, was du heute gekauft hast.
= I asked what you bought today.
Ich würde auch gerne wissen, wann das Kinocafé aufmacht.
= I would also like to know when the cinema cafe opens.

The subordinate clause from a 'yes/no'-question begins with the conjunction 'ob' – 'if / whether', and ends with the predicate.

Kommst du heute zu mir?
Will you come to me today?
Ich habe gefragt, ob du heute zu mir kommst.
I asked if you will come to me today.
Ist die E-Mail-Adresse richtig?
Is the email address correct?
Ich bin nicht sicher, ob die E-Mail-Adresse richtig ist.
I am not sure whether the email address is correct.
Könnten Sie mich bitte zurückrufen und mir sagen, ob die Reservierung in Ordnung geht?
= Could you please call me back and tell me whether the reservation is ok?

Conditional clauses with 'wenn' (if)

The conjunction 'wenn' (if) – indicates a condition. The conjunction is followed by a subordinate clause (subject + other elements of the sentence + predicate at the end).

Wenn das Wetter heute schön ist, gehen wir in den Park.
= If the weather is good today, we will go to the park.
Wir gehen in den Park, wenn das Wetter heute schön ist.
= We will go to the park, if the weather is good today.
Wenn es mit der Karriere als Fußballspieler nichts wird, habe ich schon einen Plan B.
= If nothing becomes of my career as a football player, I already have a plan B.
Wenn Sie sofort übersiedeln möchten, können Sie bei einer älteren Dame im Stadtzentrum wohnen.
= If you want to move right away, you can live with an old lady in the city center.

Conditional clauses are often in the subjunctive.

Wenn das Wetter heute schön wäre, würden wir in den Park gehen.
= If the weather today was good, we would go to the park.
Wir würden in den Park gehen, wenn das Wetter heute schön wäre.
= We would go to the park, if the weather was good today.
Zum Schluss möchte ich Sie noch darauf hinweisen, dass es im Stiegenhaus viel gemütlicher wäre, wenn die Heizung funktionieren würde.
= To finish with I would like to make you aware that it would be much more homely in the stairwell if the heating worked.
Es wäre schön, wenn Sie sich bis Montag nächster Woche melden könnten.
= It would be nice, if you could contact me by Monday next week.
Wenn Sie noch ein bisschen warten könnten, hätte ich ein sehr günstiges Angebot.
= If you could wait a bit more, I would have a very cheap offer.

Concessive clauses with 'obwohl' (although) and 'trotzdem' (nevertheless)

Concessive clauses answer the question 'despite which counter-arguments?'.

A concessive clause can be intruduced by the conjunction 'obwohl' - 'although'. The conjunction is followed by the subordinate clause (subject + other elements of the sentence + predicate at the end).

Obwohl es sehr stark regnet, gehen wir mit dem Hund spazieren.
= Although it is raining heavily, we are going for a walk with the dog.
Gehen wir mit dem Hund spazieren, obwohl es sehr stark regnet.
= We are going for a walk with the dog although it is raining heavily.
Muss ich auch zahlen, obwohl er kein Mittagessen hat?
= Must I also pay, although he has no lunch?
Obwohl das nicht der Hausordnung widerspricht, stört es mich sehr bei meiner Arbeit.
= Although this doesn't break the house rules, it disturbs me when I am trying to work.

A concessive clause can also begin with the conjunction 'trotzdem' - 'nevertheless' . The conjunction requires inversion ( predicate + subject +other elements of the sentence).

Es regnet sehr stark, trotzdem gehen wir mit dem Hund spazieren.
= It is raining very hard, we are walking the dog anyway.
Ich habe die Mieter schon mehrmals auf diese Probleme hingewiesen, trotzdem hat sich bisher leider gar nichts geändert.
= I have informed the landlord of the problem several times already, he has done nothing so far anyway.

Consecutive clauses with 'deshalb' (therefore)

The conjunction 'deshalb' – 'therefore' – indicates a consequence. The conjunction requires inversion (predicate + subject + other elements of the sentence).

Ich bin sehr krank, deshalb bleibe heute zu Hause.
= I am very ill, therefore I am staying at home.
Sie hatten weniger zu tun, deshalb hatten sie bestimmt weniger Stress.
= They had less to do, therefore they surely had less stress.

Final clauses with 'um…zu' (in order to) and 'damit' (so that)

Final clauses answer the questions 'What for?' and 'To what purpose?'.

If the same subject appears in both parts of the sentence, the final clause is connected to the main clause by the conjunction 'um' (in order) which is followed by the remaining elements of the clause, with the infinitive, preceded by 'zu' (to), at the end.

ich (= I) = ich (= I)

  • Ich lerne fleißig Deutsch. Ich will in Deutschland studieren.
    I am learning German conscientiously. I want to study in Germany.
  • Ich lerne fleißig Deutsch, um in Deutschland zu studieren.
    I am learning German conscientiously in order to study in Germany.
  • Zwei Škoda-Automechaniker fahren in ein einsames, österreichisches Alpendorf, um Ski zu fahren.
    Two Skoda mechanics drive to an isolated Austrian alpen village to go skiing.

The modal verb 'wollen' (to want to) does not occur in an 'um…zu' clause.

  • Laura sieht sich oft Filme an. Sie will mit den Freunden darüber reden.
    Laura often watches films. She wants to talk about them with the friends.
  • Laura sieht sich oft Filme an, um will mit den Freunden darüber zu reden.
    Laura often watches films in order to be able to talk about them with the friends.

If the subjects are different in the two parts of the sentence, the final clause is connected to the main clause by the conjunction 'damit' (so that). The conjunction is followed by the subordinate clause (subject + other elements of the clause + predicate at the end).

ich (= I) mein Chef (= my boss)

  • Ich lerne fleißig Deutsch. Mein Chef soll zufrieden sein.
    I am learning German conscientiously. My boss should be content.
  • Ich lerne fleißig Deutsch, damit mein Chef zufrieden ist.
    I am learning German conscientiously so that my boss is content.

The two-part conjunction “entweder … oder”

Multi-part conjunctions consist of two parts. You can link clauses or even entire sentences together. The first part appears before the first clause to be linked, the other part is between the clauses to be linked.

Junge Männer ab 18 Jahren müssen entweder 6 Monate zum Bundesheer gehen oder einen 9-monatigen Zivildienst bei einer sozialen Organisation machen.
= Young men over 18 must either spend 6 months in the army or complete a 9 month period of service for a social organisation.
Im Sommer wollen Markus und Stefanie entweder nach Holland oder nach Frankreich fahren.
= In the summer Markus and Stefanie want to to drive to either Holland or France.
Hans hat immer Glück im Leben. Entweder gewinnt er im Lotto, oder er findet Geld auf der Straße.
= Hans is always lucky in life. Either he wins the lottery or he finds money on the street.
Entweder sagst du endlich die Wahrheit, oder ich rufe die Polizei.
= Either you finally tell the truth or I ring the police.

Relative clauses

Relative clauses give more information about the noun in the main clause. They are usually placed right after the word they describe. Relative clauses are introduced by a relative pronoun. The relative pronoun must be in the case required by the verb in the subordinate clause. These have the same forms as the definite article (except in the dative plural). The relative pronoun is followed by the subordinate clause (subject + other elements of the sentence + predicate at the end).

Table 1. – Case endings
maskulin feminina neutral Plural
Nominativ
der
die
das
die
Genitiv
des
der
des
der
Dativ
dem
der
dem
denen
Akkusativ
den
die
das
die
Nominativ
Das ist der Mann, der meine Schwester heiraten will.
That is the man, whom my sister wants to marry.
(Wer will meine Schwester heiraten?)
Who wants to marry my sister?
Genitiv
Das ist der Mann, dessen Haare grau sind.
That is the man whose hair is grey.
(Wessen Haare sind grau?)
Whose hair is grey?
Dativ
Das ist der Mann, dem ich gestern begegnet bin.
That is the man, whom I met yesterday.
(Wem bin ich gestern begegnet?)
Whom did I meet yesterday?
Akkusativ
Das ist der Mann, den meine Schwester liebt.
That is the man, whom my sister loves.
(Wen liebt meine Schwester?)
Whom does my sister love?

The number and gender of the relative pronoun are determined by the noun in the main clause, its case by the verb in the subordinate clause.

Relative pronouns can be linked to prepositions if required by the verb in the subordinate clause.

Relative clauses (separated by commas) may be inserted in the main clause.

Das ist das Mädchen, das ich gut kenne.
= That is a the girl, whom I know well.
Dafür ist der Mieter in der Wohnung Nr. 4 verantwortlich, der auch gestern wieder seinen Kampfhund ohne Beißkorb und Leine frei im Haus herumlaufen ließ.
= The tenant in apartment number 4 is responsible for that, who also let his fighting dog run around the house without a muzzle or a lead yesterday.
Die Nachbarn, denen ich Geld geliehen habe, sind sehr nett.
= The neighbours, to whom I lent money, are very nice.
Weiters möchte ich Sie darauf aufmerksam machen, dass die Frau, die in der Wohnung Nr. 7 wohnt, in der Früh beim Duschen regelmäßig laut und falsch singt.
= In addition I would like to make you aware that the woman, who lives in apartment number 7, regularly sings loudly and badly under the shower,
Die Straßenbahn, auf die ich warte, kommt endlich.
= The tram I am waiting for is finally coming.

If the relative clause contains a verb with a preposition, the preposition must be placed before the relative pronoun.

Die Narrenrufe sind Teil der Karnevalskultur, zu der auch die Karnevalsumzüge gehören.
= The fools calls are part of the carnival culture, to which the carnival processions also belong.

If the relative pronoun relates to a place, the adverb “wo” can replace the preposition and the relative pronoun.

Das ist die Stadt, in der Einstein geboren wurde.
= That is the city, in which Einstein was born.
oder
= or
Das ist die Stadt, wo Einstein geboren wurde.
= That is the city, where Einstein was born.

Temporal clauses

A temporal conjunction is followed by a subordinate clause (subject + other elements of the sentence + predicate at the end).

Conjunctions 'als' (when) and 'wenn' (when)

'Wenn' is used for present and future events or for repeated events in the past.
(The repetition can be emphasised with the adverbs 'immer' - 'always', 'jedesmal' - 'every time').

Wenn er mich besucht, bringt er immer eine Flasche Wein mit.
= When he visits me he always brings a bottle of wine with him.
Wenn er mich besuchte, brachte er immer eine Flasche Wein mit.
= When he visited me he always brought a bottle of wine with him.
Immer wenn in ihrem Leben etwas Besonderes passiert ist, hat sie ein Buch geschrieben.
= Whenever something special happened in her life, she wrote a book.

Time functions in if sentences

If sentences can be conditional or temporal.

A repeating action: in this case the sentence with “wenn” answers the question “when”.

Sie freuen sich, wenn ich zu ihnen komme und erzählen mir aus ihrem Leben.
= They look forward to it, when I go to them and tell them about my life.
Es ist Winter. Wenn ich morgens aufstehe, ist es draußen noch dunkel.
= It is winter. When I get up in the morning, it is still dark outside.
Wenn ich abends zu viel Kaffee getrunken habe, kann ich nachts nicht einschlafen.
= If I drink too much coffee in the evening, I cannot sleep at night.
Wenn ich mittags Pause mache, klingelt oft mein Telefon und ich werde gestört.
= When I take a break in the afternoon, my telephone often rings and disturbs me.

Previousness and condition:
The temporal clause with “wenn” expresses that the fact in the subordinate clause occurs prior to that in the main clause. The condition must be fulfilled so that the fact in the main clause can be realized.

Wenn ich mein soziales Jahr abgeschlossen habe, möchte ich mit dem Studium beginnen.
= When I have finished my year of civil service, I would like to start with the degree.
Wenn die Kinder ihre Hausaufgaben gemacht haben, können sie fernsehen.
= If the children have done their homework, they can watch television.
Wenn ich gut Deutsch gelernt habe, möchte ich in Deutschland studieren.
= If I have learned German well, I would like to study in Germany.

'Als' is used for single events in the past.

Als ich den Brief gelesen habe, habe ich mich an die Ferien erinnert.
= When I read the letter I remembered the holidays.
Als ich Kind war, las ich sehr gern Märchen.
= As a child I enjoyed reading fairytales.
Als sie 16 war, wollte sie groß sein und siegen.
= When she was 16 she wanted to be big and win.
Past Present, Future
once als wenn
repeated wenn wenn

Conjunction 'bevor' (before)

Bevor ich zu Abend esse, mache ich noch Ordnung in der Küche.
= Before I eat in the evening, I tidy up in the kitchen.
Bevor sie ihren dritten Mann geheiratet hat, war ihre Autobiographie schon fertig.
= Before she married her third husband, her autobiography was already finished.

Conjunction 'seit' / 'seitdem' (since)

Seitdem ich sie kennen gelernt habe, geht es mir viel besser.
= Since I got to know her, I'm doing much better.
Seitdem ich dieses Lied singe, kommt die Knef in meine Träume.
= Since I started singing this song, Knef has appeared in my dreams.

Conjunction 'bis' (until)

Wir bleiben hier, bis eure Eltern kommen.
= We are staying here until your parents come.

Conjunction 'während' (while)

Während in Europa noch Krieg herrschte, drehte sie bereits die ersten Filme.
= While war was still dominating Europe, she shot her first film.

Infinitive clauses

The infinitive is always at the end of the sentence.

The word “zu” may come before the infinitive, but it has no separate meaning of its own.

The infinitive occurs without “zu”:

  • with modal verbs,

    Ich kann sehr gut schwimmen.
    = I can swim very well.
    Können Sie mich bitte beraten?
    = Can you please advise me?
  • in the subjunctive after 'würde' ('would')

    Ich würde gern nach Australien reisen.
    = I would like to go to Australia.
  • in the Future I,

    In 20 Jahren werden die Menschen auf dem Mond leben.
    = In 20 years, people will live on the Moon.
  • after verbs of movement,

    Wir gehen schwimmen.
    = We go swimming.
    Wann kommst du essen?
    = When are you coming to eat?
  • after verbs of perception,

    Ich sehe die Kinder spielen.
    = I see the children playing.
    Ich höre die Nachbarin singen.
    = I hear the neighbour singing.
  • after the verbs: 'lernen' und 'lehren' ('to learn' and 'to teach')

    Wir lernen Deutsch sprechen.
    = We learn how to speak German.
    Ich helfe dir die Hausaufgaben machen.
    = I help you do your homework.
  • after the verb 'lassen' – 'to let, leave, allow'

    Ich lasse das Fahrrad reparieren.
    = I let the bicycle be repaired.

In other cases, 'zu' comes before the infinitive at the end of the sentence. There can be a comma between a main clause and an infinitive clause with 'zu'.

Es fängt an zu regnen.
= It begins raining.
Hör auf zu rauchen.
= Stop smoking.
Ich habe vor, ein Konto zu eröffnen.
= I plan to open an account.
Ich bitte Sie, hier noch zu unterschreiben.
= I ask you to sign here too.

Infinitive clauses with “zu”

Structures with 'zu' before the infinitive:

  • 'es ist' + adjective,

    Es ist gesund viel Obst zu essen.
    = It is healthy to eat a lot of fruit.
  • 'haben' + noun,

    Ich habe jetzt keine Zeit mit dir zu sprechen.
    = I have no time to talk to you now.
    Wir haben die Absicht, die Sache noch einmal zu besprechen.
    = We have the intention to discuss the matter one more time.

If there is only one subject in a sentence, but two verbs, they can be combined using mit. In this case the first verb is conjugated and the second verb appears in the infinitive at the end of the sentence.

Helga versucht zu schlafen.
= Helga is trying to sleep.

If there is an infinitive sentence, it must be preceded by a comma. In an infinitive sentence, the verb in the main clause relates to the action of the secondary clause. The infinitive appears with {2} in the last position.

Helga versucht, nachts früh zu schlafen.
= Helga tries to sleep early at night.

The infinitive with zu is especially used after particular verbs. Some of these verbs are given below:

versuchen
= to try
Ich versuche, die Vokabeln so schnell wie möglich zu lernen.
= I try to learn the vocabulary as quickly as possible.
hoffen
= to hope
Ich hoffe, dich bald wiederzusehen.
= I hope to see you again soon.
vorschlagen
= to suggest
Ich schlage vor, heute Abend in einem Restaurant zu essen.
= I suggest that we eat at a restaurant this evening.
aufhören
= to stop
Ich habe letzten Freitag aufgehört zu rauchen.
= Last Friday I stopped smoking.
beginnen
= to begin
Morgen beginne ich, abends eine Stunde Sport zu machen.
= Tomorrow I will start to play an hour of sport per evening.
sich freuen
= to be glad
Ich freue mich, dich am Wochenende zu treffen.
= I am looking forward to meeting you at the weekend.

Modal particle

The German language is rich in modal particles. Modal particles arise primarily in the spoken language. They are uninflected words, which express a view and often express a particular emotion of the speaker. Thereby they can strengthen or weaken the effect of the spoken sentence.

“With their help the speaker can signal certainty, acceptance, distance, emotional attitude or rational and qualitative judgement.” (Helbig/Helbig 1990: Klappentext).

Many modal particles can often have several meanings. They normally appear in the middle of the clause, after the verb and the pronoun.

Examples of several modal particles:

aber
= but
Das war aber ein Film! Ich werde ihn Jahre lang nicht vergessen.
= Now that was a film! I won't forget it for years.
doch
= of course
Wieso stehen Sie vor der Tür? Kommen Sie doch rein!
= Why are you standing in front of the door? Come in!
bloß
= just
Wo ist bloß meine Brille? Ich hatte sie doch eben noch.
= Where on earth arte my glasses? I just had them here.
denn
= then
Wieder bei der Arbeit? Bist du denn wieder ganz gesund?
= At work again? Does that mean you are fully healthy again?
ja
= yes
Horst kann mir das Rauchen nicht verbieten. Er ist ja nicht mein Vater.
= Horst cannot forbid me to smoke. He isn't my father.
wohl
= really
Mit 200 km/h auf der Landstraße! Du bist wohl lebensmüde!
= 200km/h on a country road! You are really tired of life!
eigentlich
= really
Du sag mal, ist Paul eigentlich verheiratet? Ich sehe ihn immer allein auf den Partys?
= Hey, tell me, is Paul actually married? I always see him alone at parties.
schon
= already
Er hatte sowieso nicht mehr viel Geld im Spiel. Wie hoch kann der Verlust schon sein?
= He didn't have much money left in the game anyway. How high can the loss be already?
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