Why do you say:

Ich habe das Haus gern.

but you say:

Ich wohne gern in diesem Haus

That is, it seems that "haben" and "gern" require that the "gern" goes to the end of the sentence, whereas with other verbs this "gern" gets stuck with the verb.


3 Answers 3



The verb gernhaben (Duden, Wiktionary) is a separable verb and it means to like in English. Separable verbs are one word in some grammatical situations:

Ich werde das Haus gernhaben.
Wer könnte dieses Haus gernhaben?

But more often the two parts are splittet:

Ich habe das Haus gern.

If the parts are splitted, the former first part moves to the very end of the sentence, while the former last part stands on position 2 of the sentence. You even can put subclauses and other stuff in between:

Ich habe das Haus, das ich von Onkel Gustav geerbt habe, der vor einem Jahr in Berlin gestorben ist, nachdem er dort 40 Jahre lang gewohnt und in der Schuhfabrik gearbeitet hat, wirklich, und das möchte ich ausdrücklich und mit Nachdruck betonen, außerordentlich gern.


The word gern (Duden, Wiktionary) is an adverb. In this sentence ...

Ich wohne gern in diesem Haus.

it is part of the predicate and modifies (describes) the verb wohne (a form of wohnen). It tells us, in what manner you live in the house.

  • Kleine Korrektur: Die Vergangenheitsformen von split heißen ebenfalls „split“. Jul 10, 2017 at 5:06

You are using two different words that only look the same:

  1. "gernhaben" - to like, a separable verb that in your case forms a bracket around the middle part of the sentence "Ich habe[ das Haus ]gern.
  2. "gern" - gladly, an adverb that works as an attribute to the verb here. Adverbs are a bit more free with respect to word order, you could also say "Ich wohne in diesem Haus gern"

As the two words are different, and even of different type, they have to follow their respective rules where they go in the sentence.

And, as a kind of challenge: Is the following sentence a grammatically correct German sentence (stilistics excluded)?

Ich habe das Haus gern gern.

  • I do not accept the statement that these are “two different words that only look the same”. Etymologically, there is only one word, “gern”. Up until 2004 (very recent in the history of the German language) there was a phrasal verb “gern haben”; only with the 2004 orthographic reform was this reinterpreted as a separable verb “gernhaben”. You will not find this verb in any pre-2004 dictionary.
    – fdb
    Jul 9, 2017 at 14:03
  • Sorry, but that's nonsense. This question has been asked in 2017. So the answer must be according to the grammatical rules of 2017 - Etymology and pre-2004 dictionaries are entirely irrelevant and were not part of the question.
    – tofro
    Jul 9, 2017 at 14:06

Let's compare the following two sentences:

Ich habe gern Spinnen in der Wohnung.

Ich habe Spinnen in der Wohnung gern.

On the first look both sentences contain the same words - only in a different order.

However on the second look only the first sentence contains the verb "haben" and the adverb "gern".

The second sentence contains the verb "gernhaben" which is a separable verb. "Separable verb" means that the verb is separated into two parts in certain tenses: "gern-" and "-haben".

In all cases of separable verbs I know both parts are valid German words on their own but the meaning of the separable verb often has nothing to do with the meaning of each part: "gern-haben" has nothing to do with "haben"; "ab-hauen" has two meanings; one of them neither has to do with "ab" nor with "hauen".

To make it even more complicated:

German language allows you putting adverbs at the end of the sentence. So the second sentence may have the same meaning as the first one - however most native speakers would not understand the sentence this way.

Now let's get back to your sentences:

Ich habe das Haus gern.

In this case we have the separable verb "gernhaben".

Ich wohne gern in diesem Haus.

In this case "gern" is an adverb.


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