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As I currently know, the ordering of the words is one of the strongest rules of the German grammar. Although some non-native speakers make such failures, especially if their first language has relative stricter word ordering, and doesn't know this construction.

An example for a such (as I know, bad) sentence is: "..., weil das Verb steht in einem Hauptsatz auf Position 1."

Recently I experienced from some sources simply saying sentences as "weil <subj> <verb> ..." . They were probably native speakers, although I am not sure.

Is it possible? Maybe it is some dialectical feature?

How does a such sentence sound to native speakers? Very bad, bad, or nearly nothing?

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marked as duplicate by Carsten S, Takkat Jun 12 '14 at 18:09

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

Can you give an example of such a sentence you heard? – stevenvh Jun 12 '14 at 13:29
@stevenvh There was also a formatting problem in the question. Beispielsatz: "Weil das Verb steht in einem Hauptsatz auf Position 1." I extended my question with this. – peterh Jun 12 '14 at 13:33
It's dialect. See my answer below. Don't imitate, and certainly don't write it. – Ingmar Jun 12 '14 at 13:40
@Ingmar: As a German native speaker I can assure you that it is not dialect. It's not unusual in (spoken) standard German; I'm originally from Hannover. As a relatively recent fashion (maybe 80s) it seems to be less common among old people. I remember a cartoon, maybe 20 years ago, which I unfortunately was unable to find online. A young man of the kind that finds themselves cool says "Ich rede so weil es ist modern." Most elderly people will cringe there. – Peter A. Schneider Jun 13 '14 at 9:40
As a fellow German native speaker I can assure you I do consider it such. It's common, granted, but (still) grammatically wrong. I for one don't consider it standard German. – Ingmar Jun 13 '14 at 10:54

6 Answers 6

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It's becoming more and more frequent, but still considered bad form (or grammar, for that matter). Sebastian Sick (of Zwiebelfisch fame) has an opinion on the matter.

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Even though it's unlikely that Der Spiegel changes the link, it's customary here not to only link but also extract the text concerning the answer. – c.p. Jun 12 '14 at 14:38
Sebastian Sick is the opposite of an authority on the German language. He is amongst linguists universally considered extremely uninformed. – jona Jun 12 '14 at 17:45
@usr, die Großschreibung von „englisch“ in Deinem zweiten Satz ist im Deutschen falsch und wäre im Englischen richtig. Dennoch wäre es voreilig von mir, zu folgern, der Einfluss des Englischen wäre an dem Fehler schuld. – Carsten S Jun 12 '14 at 18:40
@usr, bei der Wortstellung nach „weil“ glaube ich aber nicht, dass das der Grund ist. Inversionen sind halt lästig ;) – Carsten S Jun 12 '14 at 18:50
@jona: You don't have to take Sick's word for the holy truth, but it's not automatically wrong just because he said it. The article is interesting regardless of who wrote it. – Ingmar Jun 13 '14 at 10:57

In der gesprochenen Sprache wird weil oft wie eine nebenordnende Konjunktion gebraucht, der Satzbau folgt dem Hauptsatzschema Subjekt Prädikat Objekt. Standardsprachlich gelten diese Satzkonstruktionen allerdings als nicht korrekt, also nicht: Sie hat das Buch umgetauscht, weil sie hatte es schon, sondern: Sie hat das Buch umgetauscht, weil sie es schon hatte.

Quelle: Duden online

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Das ist ein ganz typisches Beispiel für den Wandel der Sprache und für die Tatsache, dass die Regeln dem tatsächlichen Gebrauch hinterher hinken. Nicht die Regeln bestimmen was richtig oder falsch ist, sondern der lebendige Sprachgebrauch bestimmt wann eine veraltete Regel durch eine neue zu ersetzen ist. – Hubert Schölnast Jun 12 '14 at 14:20
The Duden answer is weird because German isn't an SVO language. "Dann habe ich gelacht(,) weil(,) Peter hat schon lange keiner mehr so betrunken gesehen" is not worse than "Dann habe ich gelacht(,) weil(,) schon lange hat keiner mehr Peter so betrunken gesehen." It's correct though in interpreting "weil" as colloquially allowing V2 clauses. – jona Jun 12 '14 at 17:50

In any case there's a different word order for sentences with "weil" or "denn", though they have the same meaning:

Wir können nicht kommen weil wir ins Kino gehen.


Wir können nicht kommen denn wir gehen ins Kino.

The sentence after denn has the normal word order for an affirmative sentence, while the weil sentence doesn't. Maybe this is what you heard.

Your example

Beispielsatz: "Weil das Verb steht in einem Hauptsatz auf Position 1."

sounds wrong to me. Not only is the word order wrong, but the sentence is incomplete. It says

"Because the verb is a main sentence is at position 1."

(Which is only true for inversion questions and imperative, BTW.)

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Thus if I hear a native speaker saying a bad sentence (thus, don't putting the verb to the end after a "weil"), then it is surely big a grammatical error, and not some like an exception or a dialectical rule? – peterh Jun 12 '14 at 13:38
@Peter - That's what I think, but I'm not an expert (yet :-)). It sounds as bad as you would say in English "I am to the movies going". If you're lucky they understand what you mean, but it's not good at all. – stevenvh Jun 12 '14 at 13:47
It's nowhere near as bad. People use it all the time in spoken German. – Ingmar Jun 12 '14 at 13:48
@Ingmar - I hear people making errors against Dutch grammar all the time too, but that doesn't mean they're no errors. Whether you think they're bad and should be avoided is a matter of opinion, I guess. Personally, I'm kind of a grammar nazi in this respect :-). – stevenvh Jun 12 '14 at 13:51
I think there is nevertheless a comma missing. And likely a typo in the translation. – c.p. Jun 12 '14 at 14:33

Historically, in most written, and in higher registers of spoken German, "weil" selects a verb final clause, so a sentence such as

  • Weil im Hauptsatz steht das Verb an zweiter Stelle.

is perceived as at least stylistically inappropriate.

In spoken standard German, we observe a strong development towards using supposedly "subordinating conjunctions" - words such as "weil" or "obwohl", which usually introduce a verb final clause - to introduce verb second clauses. Initially, a pause (the prosodic marker of a clause boundary) would signal this usage.

  • Er lacht, weil Peter wieder betrunken ist.
  • Er lacht, weil (pause) Peter ist wieder betrunken.
  • Peter mag ich, obwohl (pause) er ist ein Säufer.

This pause is being shortened and even dropped more and more, leading to "weil" being able to introduce both verb final and verb second clauses in spoken and colloquial written German. Presumably, what happens here is that a subordinate clause still shows verb second.

An old paper discussing the phenomenon and presenting a good selection of twenty-year old German sentences with weil+V2 is here.

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In (spoken) Austrian German, this is not at all unusual. (Although in formal written text, we do place the verb at the end).

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"weil" is a conjunction.

You usually cannot use it in a main clause, because its purpose is to connect main clause and a subordinate clause. But you can change the order of main clause and subordinate clause.

Weil ich hungrig war, aß ich eine Pizza.

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I'm not sure if this addresses the question. In your "weil"-part, the verb is in the end of the sentence; but the question is about that issue... – Em1 Jun 12 '14 at 14:14
Like Em1 says, the verb is at the end of the subordinate clause. The question was about when it isn't. – stevenvh Jun 12 '14 at 17:09

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