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Verb position in German: 7 tips to learn everything about German verb position



The position of verbs in German, like many other aspects of learning German, can be confusing...


The good news for you is that German sentence structure follows clear rules. And the position of verbs is one of the simplest concepts in German grammar.

I've always said that one of the great benefits of learning German is its logic (which it also shares in large part with English).




In this post, you'll see the logic of the German language in action when it comes to where the verb is located in German.

You'll learn exactly where to put German verbs in a number of situations, including the "dreaded" verb at the end. Don't worry, it's not that frightening.


1. Normal word order: the verb comes second

With few exceptions, the verb comes second in German main sentences.

Let's look at a few examples where the verb comes second. I've highlighted the verbs so you can distinguish them from the other parts of the sentence.

Ich laufe heute mit dem Hund um den Park.

Montags gehen wir immer in den Supermarkt.

Klaus kauft ein Brötchen in der Bäckerei.


2. How to ask questions in German

For beginner students, German sentences seem to have an almost identical structure to English sentences.

However, a few additional rules come into play when we start changing certain elements.

For example, when asking a question, the verb comes first.

Laufe ich heute mit dem Hund um den Park?

Gehen wir ins Kino?

Kauft Klaus ein Brötchen in der Bäckerei?



3. Dealing with two verbs

Two verbs in one sentence

When you have two verbs in a German sentence, put the conjugated verb in the second position and the unconjugated verb at the end of the sentence.


Wichtig - A conjugated verb is a verb that changes to indicate gender, tense, number, person, or other aspects of the sentence. For example, in English, "learned" is a conjugated form of the verb "to learn," indicating time that has passed.

Let's look at the following examples:

Ich möchte mit dem Hund um den Park laufen.

Montags können wir immer in den Supermarkt gehen.

Klaus hat ein Brötchen in der Bäckerei gekauft.


4. Simplification of separable prefixes

Some verbs in German have a prefix in themselves. In this case, it is usually a preposition.

A prefix is a short word that is added to the start of a word. In English, for example, "un" is a prefix that is added to certain words to change their meaning: glücklich => unglücklich" "happy" => "unhappy".

When a verb has a separable prefix, the prefix is placed at the end of the sentence. This is what happens with the verbs einkaufen and anfangen, both of which are examples of verbs with separable prefixes.

Ich kaufe morgen Kuchen und Getränke ein. Ich habe gestern Kuchen und Getränke eingekauft.

Klaus muss sein Auto verkaufen. Klaus hat sein Auto verkauft.



5. German conjunctions: The 2 types of conjunctions

Conjunctions are these little words that you use to connect two parts of