Position of the finite verb

the finite verb, German Language CoachDuring my German lessons, I see many of my students placing the finite verb in 3rd position, as they would do in their mother tongue. In German however, the basic rule to remember 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, which can be either singular or plural, in the present, or past tense.

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

The verb’s second position applies even when some element other than the subject stands in first position. This can be adverbs, adverbial phrases, a noun phrase, a pronoun, an infinitive or even a participle.

A simple rule to remember: the finite verbs is the axis of a sentence and everything evolves around it.

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