I listened to the latest Angela Merkel's Speech, and she said: "Unsere Werte werden stärker sein als der Terrorismus". Why isn't it something like: "Unsere Werte werden stärker als der Terrorismus sein" ?

Edit: Ok, so knowing that both are possible. What is the difference between the two? What is stressed in each one?

  • 3
    Both are possible.
    – Jan
    Commented Dec 31, 2016 at 20:21
  • Do you want to suggest, that our answers normally aren't for real? Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 3:42
  • There is no difference in stressing something, but you can be pretty sure, that some people will find some, just because they were asked. :) Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 3:45
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    In German the grammatical function of a part of speech is almost always marked by a changed ending because of declension (induced for example by the grammatical case). The position within the sentence is in German not so important to identify the grammatical function. And because of this reason word order in German is much more flexible than in languages like English where you don't have such well-defined grammatical cases, and where you rarely can identify functions by the way how a word is declined. Commented Jan 1, 2017 at 10:31

1 Answer 1


The second verb (and any other non-conjugated verbs) really always form the end of the "sentence-bracket" (Satzklammer). However, in some cases it's possible to place parts of the sentence after this "closing bracket"; this position is called the Nachfeld.

This is especially common for long prepositional phrases (because it makes the sentence easier to understand):

Die Aufgabe wurde diesmal gelöst durch eine zehnköpfige, aus Vertretern verschiedener deutscher Universitäten und technischer Hochschulen zusammengesetzte Expertengruppe.

The same is true long apositions.

It's also possible to place short prepositional phrases or apositions in the Nachfeld for stylistic reasons, in order to emphasize etc, and I'd put the "als X" in your example in the same category.

More details at canoo.

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