Sunday, 1 March 2009

Case system and word order

The subject of a verb is the person or thing doing the action. The object is the person or thing that is affected by the action. The indirect object answers question like 'to whom?' or 'for whom'. It may feel a little strange if you normally say 'to who' but we do have a case system in English and it should be 'to whom'.

In the main clause of a sentence the subject comes first and is followed by the verb, just like in English. I (the subject) drink (the verb) beer (the object). Ich trinke Bier. In German a direct object usually follows an indirect object unless the direct object is a personal pronoun. Ich gab meinem Freund das Bier, but the word order changes for Ich gab es ihm. I'm afraid that you just have to learn examples and keep practising.

Bis bald

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