Similar to houses, basic German sentence structure is always the same. The same building blocks are always there and later you can add some decorations.
The recipe for German Sentence Structure
Here is a general recipe of simple German sentences:
Subject + Verb
Now you are possibly thinking that I am over simplifying the concept? I am not. German sentence structure is quite a lot like that of English sentences. (In some cases there could also be an object, but I will discuss that later on.)
Choose the subject
This means that you will choose the subject of the sentence:
das Madchenthe girl
Choose the verb
Now choose the action the subject will carry out:
Wait pause… This doesn’t make sense does it? One would not say: The girl to run?
This is were concord comes in, part of the process to choose a verb is changing it to fit with the subject.
In this case we will use lauft (walks). If you do not understand why I chose that from, take a look at my post on concord.
Now all you have to do is stick the two parts together.
Das Madchen lauft.The girl walks.
The girl is walking.
Add an object
As easy as that! You can now add an object if you’d like. In some cases you can not simply stick a noun to the end of the basic sentence, you will need glue for it to stick fast. In most cases you will use a preposition for this, but first, choose the object:
der Tischthe table
There are quite a few types of glue we can use here: nach (to), auf (on), neben (next to), hinter (behind) etc… I am going to use neben. Just remember that with the object you have to be careful with cases. Check out my posts on cases if you are not yet friends with cases yet.
Neben makes that the object will be in the accusative case. Thus you will use den Tisch (This post explains why.)
Now the final sticking…
Das Madchen lauft neben den Tisch.The girl walks next to the table.
The girl is walking next to the table.
This is just the basics to get you started because I know how confusing all this can be in the beginning. I hope that this helps and if you want to know more, check out my post on advanced sentence structure!
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