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The sentence is: "Eingeladen hat ihn die Bundeskanzlerin."

After looking "Eingeladen" up in the dictionary, it should be a Verb or ADJ.

It should be more reasonable that it's a Verb here. If so, I don't know why it can be put in the first position.

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2 Answers 2

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We have this parts of speech:

  • S = Subjekt (subject)
    »die Bundeskanzlerin«
    the Chancellor
  • H = Hilfsverb (auxiliary verb)
    »hat«
    did
  • V = Verb (verb)
    »eingeladen«
    invite
  • A = Akkusativobjekt (object in accusative case)
    »ihn«
    him

Eingeladen hat ihn die Bundeskanzlerin.
V H A S

The predicate is build from H and V together.


Generally spoken there are three main types of sentences:

  • Aussage (statement)
    »Du kaufst ein Auto.«, »Du hast ein Auto gekauft.«
    You buy a car. You have bought a car.
  • Frage (question)
    »Kaufst du ein Auto?«, »Hast du ein Auto gekauft?«
    Are you buying a car? Did you buy a car?
  • Befehl (command)
    »Kaufe ein Auto!« »Kaufen Sie ein Auto!«
    Buy a car! Buy a car!

Aussage
In a statement there always must be a part of the predicate on position 2. This is a hard and strict rule!
If the predicate has no auxiliary verb, the verb (which always exists) is in position 2. But if you have an auxiliary verb (which exists only in some tenses), then this auxiliary verb goes to position 2. In this case the preferred position for the full verb is the last position, but "preferred" does not mean "only possible"! ("Full verb on last position" is a recommendation, not a strict rule)

Frage
In a question position 1 is reserved for the auxiliary verb or, if there is no auxiliary verb, for the verb.

Befehl
Commands are different, because in a command the subject is ommited if it is the personal pronoun »du«, and the verb is alway in imperative form (this is what makes a sentence a command). Since an imperative verb can't have an auxiliary verb, there can't be an auxiliary verb in a command's predicate. The place for the verb/predicate in a command is position 1.


Your example is a statement (it's not a command and not a question), and it's predicate has an auxiliary verb. So the word »hat« (which is this auxiliary verb) must be on position 2. All other parts of speech can stand almost everywhere. (Not every order is allowed, but in german you have much more freedom in arranging parts of speech than in English)

All of the next sentences mean the same and are correct German.

  1. Die Bundeskanzlerin hat ihn eingeladen. (SHAV)
  2. Ihn hat die Bundeskanzlerin eingeladen. (AHSV)
  3. Eingeladen hat ihn die Bundeskanzlerin. (VHAS)
  4. Eingeladen hat die Bundeskanzlerin ihn. (VHSA)

The differences of this sentences is the focus of its meaning:

The example #1 is the standard order. None of its parts is highlighted. (There is something like a weak "natural" highlight on the subject and the predicate.)

In #2 the focus is in position 1, because it is unusual (but allowed and correct) to put an object into position 1.

In #3 the focus is on the last position. The Subjects standard position is ant position 1. To move it to the end of the sentence in unusual (but again: allowed and correct), and this unusual position attracts the listeners/readers attention.
Depending on the context, the focus of #3 can also be on the verb at position 1.

Sentence #4 is really rarely used, but still correct. But since its word order is so strange, it is not so clear, what the writer/speaker wanted to highlight.

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    thank you for the detailed answer! really really appreciate it!
    – dulcecream
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 8:02
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Main reason: Because we can.

Shuffling word order around can put certain emphasis on this part of the sentence (Typically on the one that is put in front):

Die Bundeskanzlerin hat ihn eingeladen.

Is the standard, "normal" verb position. Nothing special here, says what it says.

Ihn hat die Bundeskanzlerin eingeladen.

Puts the Object in front and emphasises on he was invited and not someone else.

Eingeladen hat ihn die Bundeskanzlerin.

Puts the verb in front and thus emphasizes on the activity, signaling something must be special with it. (It was not the Foreign Minister or someone who would normally invite official guests, but Ms. Merkel herself.)

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  • Agree with everything except for the final parenthesis. As you say before, the stressed part is normally the first one, i.e. in this case the verb (he was invited by the Chancellor, but perhaps he’ll meet with other politicians, too, or visit a national park or whatever).
    – chirlu
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 7:46
  • Can we agree that emphasis is being put on the action, and the reason why this is done largely depends on context? Because both "Eingeladen hat ihn die BK, obwohl sie dafür gar nicht zuständig war" und "Eingeladen hat ihn die BK, obwohl sie gar nicht der Hauptgrund des Besuchs war" work very well for me.
    – tofro
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 8:13

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