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Sentence structure and word order

 
 
Sentence structures are presented by means of example sentences. The example sentences are usually declarative sentences in which the subject comes first. Nevertheless, a sentence structure also covers other sentence types and different word orders, i.e. it also applies to sentences in which the same complements appear in different order. A sentence structure "only" indicates which constituents can combine to form a sentence.

But:  In the example sentences the verb is always in the active voice. When it is changed to the passive voice, the sentence does no longer have to the same sentence structure. How to change sentences from the active to the passive voice, see Conversion active voice to passive voice.



In what follows, the sentence structure

 Subject 
 Predicate 
 Dative object 
 Accusative object 
       

is presented several times by means of the same example sentence. Note that even though the word order and/or the sentence type of the example sentence is changed, it always represents the same sentence structure!



Declarative sentence, subject comes first
Subject
 Predicate 
Dative object
 Accusative object 
 Der Großvater 
gibt
 seinem Enkel  
ein Buch

Declarative sentence, accusative object comes first
 Accusative object 
 Predicate 
Subject
Dative object
Ein Buch 
gibt
 der Großvater
 seinem Enkel  



Yes-no question
 Predicate 
Subject
Dative object
 Accusative object 
Gibt
 der Großvater
 seinem Enkel  
ein Buch?

Subordinate clause
...dass
Subject
Dative object
 Accusative object 
 Predicate 
 der Großvater 
seinem Enkel 
ein Buch
gibt



In question word questions and relative clauses, one complement is represented by a question word or a relative pronoun:

Question word question, dative object = question word
Dative object
 Predicate 
Subject
 Accusative object 
Wem
gibt
 der Großvater
ein Buch?

Relative clause, accusative object = relative pronoun
das Buch,
 Accusative object 
Subject
Dative object
 Predicate 
das
der Großvater
seinem Enkel
gibt



An imperative sentence represents the same sentence structure although the subject is omitted.

Imperative sentence
 Predicate 
Dative object
 Accusative object 
Gib
 deinem Enkel 
ein Buch!



An infinitive clause, too, represents the same sentence structure. The subject is also omitted.

Infinitive clause
Dative object
 Accusative object 
 Predicate 
...
 seinem Enkel  
ein Buch
 (zu) geben 







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