Tag Archives: german sentence structure explanation

The Box Model – a tool for sentence structure


Before you start reading…

This post is more of about a general theory as well as the terminology I use to explain German structure
(word order, position of nicht and so on)
I really recommend reading this, but if you want to get to word-order right…
there’s a mini-series about that. Here’s the link to part 1 :)

German Word Order Explained


Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German is Easy Learn German Online while reading titles that span over one line Course… ( get it? … one line is almost spelled like online… that was a joke by the way) .
Today, after a long looooong wait, it is time… for the first part of the mini series series on German sentence structure.
And to do the matter justice this mini series will be a loosely connected compendium of impressionistic essays, poems, songs and one or two Haikus inspired by the topic.
“But we want rules, Emanuel! Give us RULES, BRO!!”
I understand where you’re coming from. But can a rule help us understand the erratic path of a butterfly? Can a rule ever completely capture and produce the beautiful sound of small stream as it purls over mossy rocks? And aren’t there exceptions where there are rules just as there is fire where there’s smoke? My whole point is – and this is really really important:

rules won’t cut it with German sentence structure

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like you can put anything anywhere in a German sentence. When it comes to verbs, there are some iron clad rules and in books and other sources (like Easy German… hey Cari ;)) you can find other rules too, like, say, indirect object – direct object or time-manner-place.
But what’s really really important is that you try to see them like traffic lights: non-binding advice. Wait, is that actually right :)?
Anyways, German sentence structure and word order is a complex thing that needs a lot of gut feeling. We’ll learn some rules in this mini series, but the more important part are general ideas or characteristics of German, that will help you determine which word can go where and why.
And to start this all of we will have a look at what I call:

The Box Model