I would like to know which word order is correct:

Um 10:00 Uhr habe ich gefrühstückt.


Um 10:00 Uhr ich habe gefrühstückt.

5 Answers 5


Um 10:00 Uhr habe ich gefrühstückt.

is correct

Um 10:00 Uhr ich habe gefrühstückt.

is incorrect because the finite verb must be in the second place in a sentence and here Um 10:00 Uhr is the first and ich is the second


English, French and many other languages (I cannot tell what your native language is, but it may be relevant if it fits into this group) follow an S–V–O word order, meaning subject followed by verb followed by object.[1] In these languages, the correct order of the sentence would be (exchanging frühstücken for a single verb to eat/manger to not add additional fragments; and sticking to the same tense even though it is not necessarily idiomatic):

At 10 o’clock(,) I have eaten (my breakfast).

À 10 heures j’ai mangé (mon petit-déjeuner).

Both of these follow the structure

temporal adverbial – subject – finite verb – past participle (infinite part of verb) (– obtional object)

German does not. Instead, German expects the finite verb to occupy the second position in main clauses and all non-finite verb fragments (such as past participles, infinitives, the separated bit of separable verbs) must come last. Therefore, other fragments of the sentence can be moved around pretty freely. In our case this leaves:

Um 10 Uhr habe ich (mein Frühstück) gegessen.

temporal adverbial – finite verb – subject – (optional object –) past participle

(Again, I chose essen rather than frühstücken just for comparison purposes; the sentence structure did not change.)

Other possible word orders are:

Ich habe um 10 Uhr (mein Frühstück) gegessen.

subject – finite verb – temporal adverbial – (optional object –) past participle.


Mein Frühstück habe ich um 10 Uhr gegessen.

object (not optional here) – finite verb – subject – temporal adverbial – past participle

  • Well, here's a problem. If you say German does not follow the S-V-O word order, you're right and wrong at the same time. Same applies for "moving freely around". Yes, that's correct. Well, no, it's not. The issue I'm seeing is that it's easily misunderstood. On the other hand, you mentioned some key facts, like "the verb goes into second position". The topic is highly complex, and the paragraph starting in "German does not" can lead to some serious misconceptions.
    – Em1
    Commented May 30, 2016 at 13:11
  • As you said, it is also correct to say: "Ich habe um 10 Uhr (mein Frühstück) gegessen". If it is correct, why "Um 10:00 Uhr ich habe gefrühstückt" is not correct ? They both look so similar.
    – teteckr
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 10:17
  • @meteckr I suggest you re-read my answer because it addresses why it is not correct …
    – Jan
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 12:06

Correct is

Um 10 Uhr habe ich gefrühstückt.


Ich habe um 10 Uhr gefrühstückt.

Where the second statement sounds more natural. The first one would only be used if you wanted to specifically emphasize the "10 Uhr".

  • 3
    The emphasis in the first version is on the action, not the time.
    – Matthias
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 20:26
  • 4
    And could you please explain why OP's second sentence is incorrect?
    – Stephie
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 21:05

Ich habe um 10 Uhr gefrühstückt.

Um 10 Uhr habe ich gefrühstückt.

Gefrühstückt habe ich um 10 Uhr.

Um 10 Uhr gefrühstückt habe ich.

All these sentences are correct, although the last one is a bit strange and would probably only be said in response to a very specific question. As you can see, it's always "habe ich", except when "ich habe" starts the sentence. That's just where the verb goes in this kind of sentence. In present tense:

Ich frühstücke um 10 Uhr.
Um 10 Uhr frühstücke ich.

  • 2
    I can't imagine any question where the answer "Um 10 Uhr gefrühstückt habe ich." would be grammatically correct. Except someone asks you to speak like Yoda from Starwars....
    – Iris
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 9:24
  • 1
    "Im Studium hatte ich ein schönes Leben. Um 10 Uhr gefrühstückt habe ich! Erst um 12 in die Uni gegangen bin ich! Wäre es doch heut noch so" - no?
    – KWeiss
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 9:33
  • klingt für mich sehr konstruiert und ich musste es zweimal lesen um es zu verstehen. Ich hätte auch in diesem Fall "Ich habe (erst) um 10 Uhr gefrühstückt" gesagt!
    – Iris
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 10:05
  • 2
    It's definitely not a common or normal way to say it, but I think it's legal.
    – KWeiss
    Commented May 31, 2016 at 10:11
  • 2
    @Iris: "Um 10 Uhr gefrühstückt habe ich." definitly is correct. Sounds Yodaish, but see, its German! ;-) BTW: Yoda`d say: "Um 10 gefrühstückt ich habe.", which in fact isn't correct German.
    – alk
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 19:04

Any adverb (phrase) beginning the sentence will push the Subject to the 3rd position (after the verb). Exceptions: "aber", "und" und "da" will not have that inluence, so correct ist:

Ich gehe nach Hause, aber ich gehe nicht ins Bett, und ich werde auch nicht schlafen gehen, da ich nicht müde bin.

Also correct ist:

Danach gehe ich außer Haus, dann esse (ich) zu Abend. Später gehe ich wieder nach Haus.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.