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I have this sentence to translate:

Your sister has promised to visit me.

I tried with:

Deine Schwester hat mich zu besuchen versprochen,

but I feel it as being wrong. I would also say:

Deine Schwester hat versprochen mich zu besuchen.

My problem is where to place the objective clause here. Can it stay inside the principal clause or not? Is any of these two correct, and why?

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3  
I corrected mir to mich in both examples, since besuchen takes the accusative, not the dative. –  Wrzlprmft Jul 1 '13 at 12:48
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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

Both of them are correct:

Deine Schwester hat versprochen mich zu besuchen.

Deine Schwester hat mich zu besuchen versprochen.

The first one would be used in more than 99% of the times in spoken language, and more than 90% in casual and formal written language, and maybe more than 70% in Literature. (These numbers are guesses.)

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So, the first is correct even though the past participle is not at the very ending of the whole sentence? Does this mean that it needs to be at the end of the clause it refers to but not necessarily at the complete end? –  martina Jul 1 '13 at 12:59
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@bummi but it is grammatically correct. also i think i would use a comma after versprochen in the first example –  Vogel612 Jul 1 '13 at 13:03
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The first one would usually take a comma after the "versprochen", but it is not incorrect to omit it. –  bouscher Jul 1 '13 at 13:05
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@martina "infinite groups" such as "mich zu besuchen" usually take first or last position in sentences. Thus "Mich zu besuchen hat meine Schwester versprochen" would also be possible, but is very uncommon. Tosho's first version is the most common, the second with an internal position of the infinitive group is possible when the main clause stands in past perfect or present perfect. –  bouscher Jul 1 '13 at 13:18
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@Martina mich zu besuchen is an (expanded) infitive group (de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinitivgruppe) and as such a single function in this sentence. According to the one rule of word order in German, it should come before the finite verb versprochen. This is the case in the second version. But although it's an infinitive group, it has the status of a dependant clause, and as such can also come in the Nachfeld (de.wikipedia.org/wiki/…). Before the orthography reform, this was easier to see because of the comma, which can be left now. –  Toscho Jul 1 '13 at 13:23
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