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I know that a finite verb should be put in the second position and a non-finite verb should be positioned at the end of a main clause, while in a subordinate clause the finite verb should in the last position.

But recently I have been trying to build some more complicated German sentences and have a problem with it. I don’t know which one is correct.

1.

Ich möchte wissen, wie hoch ist die Chance, dass ich mich um einen Studienplatz bewerben kann.
Ich möchte wissen, wie hoch die Chance ist, dass ich mich um einen Studienplatz bewerben kann.
Ich möchte, wie hoch ist die Chance, dass ich mich um einen Studienplatz bewerben kann, wissen.

2.

Jeder muss dafür verantwortlich sein, was er gesagt hat.
Jeder muss dafür, was er gesagt hat, verantwortlich sein.
Jeder muss dafür verantwortlich, was er gesagt hat, sein.

Can anyone tell me which sentence is correct and how to organize such sentences correctly?

  • Version 1, example 2 is correct,because a "wie"-sentence is a subordinate sentence if not a question. "die" is not the correct conjunction though. Example 2, version 1 and 2 are correct. I voted close because "How to construct sentences" would be a five page treatment. As for word order you can find several questions about that on this page. Overall your attempts are pretty good already. – Emanuel Nov 12 '14 at 10:36
  • 1. The question in title is way too broad. Impossible to answer. 2. Sure, we can tell you which sentence is correct, but does it really help you. 3. Your first examples all contain a minor error (besides the wrong word order). I think you want to put "dass" instead of "die" after the comma. 4. But even then, semantically the sentence is...strange. I think you want to know, how good your chances are that your application will be successful?! 5. Without any context I feel that your second examples should rather be: "Everybody is responsible", instead of "Everybody has to be responsible"? – Em1 Nov 12 '14 at 10:37
  • I edited out the mistakes that have nothing to do with the title as it is now. I also added a third version to example number one. – Emanuel Nov 12 '14 at 14:33
  • @Emanuel: Also note that I adapted the title to the question, which in one example contained different verb positions (even when ignoring the subclauses). Rolling back now. – Wrzlprmft Nov 12 '14 at 15:28
  • @Wrzlprmft... what for? OP stated that he knows about verb placement in subord. clauses. The fact that he's not able to spot those complicates the answer. Also, version 3 of example 1 would be technically correct (albeit not idiomatic) if it wasn't for the wrong placement of "ist". But that's not what OP is interested in, because this issue is not addressed in example no.2 . My edits were made for the sake of making it one question about one particular problem. – Emanuel Nov 12 '14 at 17:41
4
  1. Ich möchte wissen, wie hoch ist die Chance, die ich mich um einen Studienplatz bewerben kann?
  2. Ich möchte wissen, wie hoch die Chance ist, die ich mich um einen Studienplatz bewerben kann?
  3. Ich möchte, wie hoch ist die Chance, die ich mich um einen bewerben kann, wissen?

As far as word order is concerned, the second is correct. The first is incorrect because the wie clause is a subordinate one, so the verb, ist, must go at the end. The third is incorrect because the infinitive, wissen, must go at the end of its own clause before any subordinate clause. The second clause still is incorrect because we need dass (= that) to begin the subordinate clause:

Ich möchte wissen, wie hoch die Chance ist, dass ich mich um einen Studienplatz bewerben kann?

  • in my view, here i use 'die' to describe the word'Chance' as 'Chance'in german is a feminine word. – uehara ai Nov 12 '14 at 10:59
  • 1
    Think about the English. You would use subordinating 'that', not relative 'which'. – tunny Nov 12 '14 at 12:11
  • 1
    Side note: the first version is correct if you replace the first comma with a colon. "Ich möchte wissen: Wie hoch ist die Chance, dass ich mich um einen Studienplatz bewerben kann?" – Em1 Nov 12 '14 at 12:43

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