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When should you place the verb at the end of a clause? I know that you're supposed to place the main verb at the end of a clause if it follows another clause; such as:

Ich werde es nicht kaufen, weil ich es nicht will.

But what about if you're using the second clause independently, by itself. Should it be:

Ich werde es nicht kaufen. Weil ich es nicht will.

Or this:

Ich werde es nicht kaufen. Weil ich will es nicht.

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You can say weil ich will es nicht if you stress will. You do that if you want to emphasize that you really, really don't want it. But note that that is very colloquial and maybe even just regional. –  Em1 Apr 17 '12 at 21:29
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2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

"Weil" introduces a subordinate clause which does not form a complete sentence, so the second and third examples are not correct. Using subclauses as independent sentences is sometimes done in informal speech or for greater effect, but is not considered standard German.

"Denn", on the other hand, does not introduce a subordinate clause, therefore there is no reordering of the sentence structure (and you can form two independent sentences). The verb is placed at the end only in subordinate clauses.

There is an ongoing trend in colloquial speech to treat "weil" syntactically similar to "denn" as a conjunction for independent clauses. Given that trend, the third example would not be seen as incorrect in colloquial speech (but since it is far from being standard, it would easily be recognized as colloquial).

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The right word order is

Ich werde es nicht kaufen. Weil ich es nicht will.

Dividing the subclause in a separate sentence is not grammatically correct in standard German, but it's often used in colloquial communication in order to emphasize the second part.


Note: It's interesting that if you exchange weil with denn (which means the same). The word order is different:

Ich werde es nicht kaufen, denn ich will es nicht.

and

Ich werde es nicht kaufen. Denn ich will es nicht.

More about it here on denn – weil and on Canoonet:

Mit kausalen (begründenden) Konjunktionen wird ein Grund, eine Ursache ausgedrückt.

Zu den kausalen Konjunktionen gehören:

nebenordnend

  • denn

unterordnend

  • da
  • weil
  • zumal
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Thanks for clarifying. I knew that Denn had a different structure. So do you always put the main verb at the end of a clause involving weil? And also, a secondary question: when would you use denn instead of weil? Thanks for your help :) –  hohner Apr 17 '12 at 20:52
    
yes, the word order is always the same with weil. There is no difference between denn and weil. You can use one instead of the other as you like. -- maybe there is a tiny tiny difference, but it's very subtle: cosmiq.de/qa/show/1470/Gebrauch-von-denn-und-weil –  splattne Apr 17 '12 at 20:55
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