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Prepositions and Their Cases
How to Use Prepositions
Conjunctions
Word Order - The Verb
The Key Points
German Language Building Blocks
Word Order - Everything Else

Sich | With Inversion | With Sub-ordinate Clauses | With Infinitive Phrases | Pronoun Objects | With Adverbial Expressions | With Noun Objects | Indirect and Direct Objects | Stressing | Complements | Adverbial Elements | Order | With Two Objects | With Prepositions | Before Predicative Adjectives | Adjectives | Dative Adjectives | Nicht | For Whole Statement | With Adverbs | Kein | Words for However | Postponing Noun Subject

Whereas in the last lesson we looked at the word order of the verb, now we will look at the word order of all the other elements and how they fit in around the verb. As you will see the smaller, shorter words will come earlier in the sentence whereas the longer words will come towards the end.
Sich:
In a main clause without inversion it follows after the verb:
Man kann sich nichts Schöneres vorstellen. - One can imagine nothing more beautiful.
Ich wasche mir die Hände. - I'm washing my hands.
In sentences with inversion sich comes before the subject if it's a noun, but follows the subject if it is a pronoun:
Jetzt freuen sich die Kinder auf Weihnachten. - Now the children are looking forward to Christmas.
Jetzt freuen sie sich auf Weihnachten. - Now they are looking forward to Christmas.
In a subordinate clause sich comes as soon as possible after the conjunction, and again follows the subject if it's a pronoun:
Es ist kaum zu erwartet, daß sich die Lage verbessern wird. - It is hardly to be expected that the situation will improve.
Es ist kaum zu erwartet, daß sie sich verbessern wird. - It is hardly to be expected that it will improve.
With an infinitive phrase sich comes first:
Sie bat ihn, sich auf die Bank hinzusetzen. - She asked him to sit down on the bench.
Pronoun Objects:
Whether it is a direct or indirect object it always comes before adverbial expressions:
Wir haben ihn heute morgen in der Stadt gesehen. - We saw him in town this morning.
Er war ihm längst von seinem Vater versprochen worden. - It had been promised to him by his father a long time ago.
It also comes before noun objects or even noun subjects:
Ich habe es meiner Schwester gezeigt. - I showed it to my sister.
Heute hat ihn mein Vater gesehen. - My father saw him today.
As you saw in Lesson Eight when there are two objects and:
both are nouns - the indirect object comes first
both are pronouns - the direct object comes first
there is one noun and one pronoun - the pronoun comes first.
Er gibt meinem Bruder das Buch. - He is giving my brother the book.
Er gibt es ihm. - He is giving it to him.
Er gibt ihm das Buch. - He is giving him the book.
Er gibt es meinem Bruder. - He is giving it to my brother.
Direct or indirect objects may be placed as the first element to be stressed:
Meinem Vater schenkte er die kostbarsten Schätze. - It was to my father that he presented the greatest treasures.
A complement, as distinct from an object proper, tends to occupy a later position:
Sein Freund wurde zehn Jahre später in Wien Generaldirektor. - His friend became managing director in Vienna ten years later.
Adverbial Elements:
When there are several adverbial elements the order is, time - reason - manner - place, this applies in general:
Wir sind gestern wegen des Regens schnell nach Hause zurückgekommen. - We came back home quickly yesterday because of the rain.
When two objects are present the adverbial elements go between them:
Wir haben unseren Freunden schnell Auf Wiedersehen gesagt. - We quickly said goodbye to our friends.
It precedes a noun object or pronoun object when the noun or pronoun is after a preposition:
Ich spiele oft mit meinen Freunden im Park Fußball. - I often play soccer in the park with my friends.
unless it is really a complement to the verb:
Er hat die Maschine in Gang gebracht. - He got the machine going.
these are felt as part of the verb, others include:
Deutsch sprechen - to speak German
die Macht ergreifen - to seize power
Adverbial elements come before a predicative adjective:
Mein alter Onkel ist seit Weihnachten krank. - My old uncle has been ill since Christmas.

When you wish to emphasize an adverbial element place it anywhere other than its normal position:
Nächste Woche werde ich vielleict Zeit haben, jetzt aber nicht. - I may perhaps have time next week, but not at the moment.
Die Mannschaft hat gut in Hamburg gespielt, aber nicht in Mailand. - The team played well in Hamburg, but not in Milan.
Adjectives:
Dative adjectives usually follow dative pronouns or nouns. Some of these include:
bekannt (acquainted), dankbar (grateful), fremd (unknown), gleich (similar), nah(e) (near), schuldig (guilty, owing), treu (faithful), wilkommen (welcome), verbunden (obliged)
Likewise are: unbekannt (unacquainted), undankbar (ungrateful)...
Diese Ausgabe ist mir unbekannt. - I don't know this edition.
Er war ihr sehr dankbar. - He was very grateful to her.
Sie war dem Weinen nahe. - She was near to tears.
Nicht:
Nicht negates the expression it is placed immediately before:
Er wußte nicht, was er tun sollte. - He didn't know what to do.
When it applies to the whole statement it goes to the end except for infinitives, past participles, predicative nouns or adjectives, or seperable prefixes:
Das ist nicht richtig - es ist nicht dein Haus, siehst du das nicht? - That's not right - it's not your house, can't you see that?
Nicht may also be placed in front of an adverb of manner or place:
Er hat nicht fleißig gearbeitet und ist heute nicht in der Schule. - He hasn't been working hard and isn't at school today.
Kein means not a, it is not nicht ein:
Du bist doch kein Kind mehr. - You're not a child any more.
Words for however may come between a subject and noun (aber, jedoch, dagegen, indessen):
Die Eltern aber blieben zu Hause. - The parents, however, stayed at home.
Ich dagegen setzte meine Hoffnung auf Herrn X. - I, however, put my hope in Mr. X.
The noun subject is often postponed to the end of the clause, this adds emphasis. With verbs of happening though this has almost become the norm:
Gestern ereignete sich um 4 Uhr in Der Königstallee ein Verkehrsunfall. - There was a traffic accident in the Königstallee yesterday at four o'clock.
Ich glaube, daß morgen in der Schule eine kleine Feier stattfinden soll. - I believe there is to be a little celebration at school tomorrow.
Letzte Woche hat mich leider niemand besucht. - Unfortunately nobody at all visited me last week.
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