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The Basic Word Order in German Sentences

In this article, “The Basic Word Order in German Sentences”, we will explore the TEKAMOLO rule and provide examples to illustrate the different word orders in German.

Understanding the basic word order in German sentences is essential for mastering the language. German has a flexible word order, but there are certain rules and patterns that govern the positioning of words in a sentence.

The Basic Word Order in German Sentences, How Learn German


The TEKAMOLO (T-E-K-A-M-O-L-O) rule is a mnemonic device used to remember the basic word order in German sentences. It stands for:

  • T: Verb placement (Verb)
  • E: Time adverbials (Temporal)
  • K: Complements of the verb (Komplement)
  • A: Subject (Subjekt)
  • M: Manner adverbials (Modal)
  • O: Place adverbials (Ort)
  • L: Object (Objekt)
  • O: Other information (Sonstiges)

Let’s break down each component of the TEKAMOLO rule and examine its role in German sentence structure.

Verb Placement (T):
In German sentences, the finite verb usually occupies the second position. This means that the verb follows the first element in the sentence, which can be the subject, an adverbial phrase, or a question word. Here are some examples:

  • Peter spielt Fußball. (Peter plays soccer.)
  • Heute gehe ich ins Kino. (Today, I am going to the cinema.)

Time Adverbials (E):
Time adverbials indicate when an action is taking place. They usually occupy the initial position of a sentence. Examples include:

  • Gestern habe ich mein Auto repariert. (Yesterday, I repaired my car.)
  • Nächste Woche fahre ich in den Urlaub. (Next week, I am going on vacation.)

Complements of the Verb (K):
Complements provide additional information about the verb. They can be direct objects, indirect objects, or prepositional phrases. Here are a few examples:

  • Er schenkte seiner Mutter ein Buch. (He gave his mother a book.)
  • Sie hat den ganzen Tag im Büro gearbeitet. (She worked in the office all day.)

Subject (A):
The subject usually follows the verb in German sentences. However, it can be placed at the beginning of the sentence for emphasis. Here are some examples:

  • Am Abend lese ich gerne Bücher. (In the evening, I like to read books.)
  • Maria kommt morgen zu Besuch. (Maria is coming to visit tomorrow.)

Manner Adverbials (M):
Manner adverbials express how an action is performed and are typically placed before the main verb. Examples include:

  • Sie spricht fließend Deutsch. (She speaks German fluently.)
  • Vorsichtig öffnete er die Tür. (He cautiously opened the door.)

Place Adverbials (O):
Place adverbials indicate where an action takes place. They usually come after the main verb. Here are some examples:

  • Ich treffe mich mit Freunden im Park. (I am meeting with friends in the park.)
  • Der Hund liegt unter dem Tisch. (The dog is lying under the table.)

Object (L):
Direct and indirect objects generally appear before the adverbial phrases in German sentences. Examples include:

  • Der Lehrer gibt den Schülern die Aufgaben. (The teacher gives the students the assignments.)
  • Meine Mutter hat mir ein Geschenk gekauft. (My mother bought me a gift.)

Other Information (O):
Additional information that does not fit into the previous categories can come at the end of the sentence. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Ich gehe oft ins Schwimmbad, um mich zu entspannen. (I often go to the swimming pool to relax.)
  • Wir essen heute Abend bei Thomas zuhause. (Tonight, we are having dinner at Thomas’ place.)


Understanding the basic word order in German sentences is crucial for effective communication. While the TEKAMOLO rule serves as a useful guideline, it’s important to note that word order can be flexible in certain situations. By practicing with various sentence structures and utilizing the TEKAMOLO mnemonic, learners can build their proficiency in German and express themselves accurately and eloquently.

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