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I have been learning German for only a few weeks and one of my frequent mistakes is with the word jetzt.
I know it is possible to use it at the beginning of a sentence but I wonder if there is a rule about using it in the middle of the sentence and when it is possible to use on the end of the sentence.

  • Learning Portuguese is hard already...I try to imagine German :D – Avigrail Jan 22 '15 at 12:57
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Very often you can use is as a translation for "now" but to find the correct position is really hard. I don't know a rule for it but I can tell you some examples.

Es gefällt mir jetzt.

("I like it now." - emphasis on the fact that you like it)

Jetzt gefällt es mir.

("Now I like it." - emphasis on the time you started to like it)

There is also a method to use it for supporting a statement.

Das hätte ich nicht erwartet.
(Wow,) das hätte ich jetzt nicht erwartet.

(it kind of gives the sentence more power by showing you are really surprised at the exact momen - "Wow, I didn't see this coming!")

Ich bin mir jetzt nicht sicher.
Jetzt bin ich mir nicht sicher.

(these two should mean exactly the same, something like: "I'm not really sure right now" or "Now, I'm not really sure.")

Du sollst es jetzt erledigen.
Du sollst es erledigen.

("You are to do it now" - as in a command/order)

I will add some more as soon as they come to my mind :)

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jetzt is an adverb and such can work as an adverbial on its own.

Purely grammatical answer The general word order in a German main clause is totally arbitrary except for the predicate (verbs):

  • The conjugated part of the predicate is in second position.
  • The other parts of the predicate (if existing) are in last position.

So, in general you can put jetzt in any position except those above.

Idiomatic answer

If you want to emphasize time, you should put jetzt in first place.

Otherwise you should put it after the conjugated verb. The positions between conjugated verb and other parts of the predicate are idiomatically filled in the order Time-Matter-Place, so jetzt should usually come first after the conjugated verb.

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