I've recently tried to write a German equivalent of

It is hard, but it is so.

I came up with 3 different ideas how it can be spelled:

  1. Es ist schwierig, aber es ist so.
  2. Es ist schwierig, ist es aber so.
  3. Es ist schwierig, es ist aber so.

However my colleague (a German native speaker) told me that the correct way to say this is:

  1. Es ist schwierig, aber so ist es.

Why so? Why the first 3 sentences are considered to be incorrect? Well ... At least I cannot understand why (1) is wrong. I think that according to the German grammar it should be correct.

3 Answers 3


In fact, all variants - except for number two - are possible, i.e. grammatically correct.

However, the word order that your colleague has recommended to you may be understood as the most "natural" sentence order by most native speakers. Although, as a native speaker, I would see the first sentence nearly equally valid. German sentence structure is extremely difficult to learn. Often times, there are several possibilities that are correct, like in this case. As a general rule, emphasized words are placed near the end of a sentence. In this case, the fact that you can't change that "it" is difficult, is stressed ("Es ist so").

Why is sentence 2. wrong?

Sentence 2 is wrong, because you are connecting two main clauses (separated by the comma) and in a main clause, you can't put the verb first. This is only allowed in question sentences (cf. English word order).


In your examples there is a not single sentence, but there are two connected sentences. For the second sentence (as for the first) the verb-second rule applies. This means that 1. and 3. are correct but 2. is incorrect. ('Aber' does not count)

4. is also correct. It puts more emphasis on "so" because "so" is at first position. This may be the reason why your colleague prefers it. But it is not the only option.


all are correct except the second one - which would grammatically only be correct if asked as a question. Translated 2 means: Its difficult. But is it that way. So you'd need to write: Its difficult. But is it that way? so correct, as a question: Es ist schwierig, ist es aber so?

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