Position of the finite verb

Position of the finite verb German Language Coach

During my German lessons, I see many students placing the finite verb in the 3rd position, as they would in their mother tongue. In German, however, the basic rule about word order in simple sentences or main clauses is that the finite (conjugated) verb is always the ‘second idea’. The finite verb is the one that can be either singular or plural in the present or past tense.

There can only be one finite verb in each German sentence; infinitives with modal verbs and past participles, for example, are not finite and are positioned at the very end of the clause or sentence.

The verb-second-position applies even when some element other than the subject stands in first. These can be adverbs, adverbial phrases, noun phrases, pronouns, infinitives, or even participles.

A simple rule to remember: finite verbs are the axis of a sentence, and everything revolves around it.

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