Maybe it is only a matter of style or demand of grammar, but I was wondering if there exists a preferred word order for Germans in the case below.


I will throw a snowball in your face.

Ich werde dir einen Schneeball ins Gesicht werfen.


Ich werde einen Schneeball in dein Gesicht werfen.

The first sentence sounds more German to me, and I feel this kind of construction is the one I have seen applied the most.

The second sentence however also sounds very plausible to my ear though.

So, between the two sentences, is one of them more proper German than the other? Or does a third option exist, being even more correct?


I thought it was word order I was juggling. But after receiving some answers and comments, I realise my question is more about sentence construction.

There seems to be a reluctance from some of the natives against applying "Werden" as an auxiliary verb, to describe future action in colloquial speech.

Would this be the most day-to-day spoken German construction?:

Ich werfe dir gleich einen Schneeball ins Gesicht.

And this as written German, more suited for narration within a story?:

Er wird ihm bald einen Schneeball ins Gesicht werfen.


2 Answers 2


As in similar cases, German here prefers the 'external possessor':

Ich werde dir einen Schneeball ins Gesicht werfen.

If you want to dig deeper into this, read this wikipedia article about inalienable possession.

Or, because in everyday language the future tense is often omitted:

Ich werfe dir einen Schneeball ins Gesicht.

  • I'm not completly sure if the future tense often gets omitted in everyday language or not, but Ich werfe dir einen Schneeball ins Gesicht sounds odd and I don't believe anyone would ever say that. Jul 22, 2017 at 21:21
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    @ikadfoanhfda: I would. Any sentence starting with the future tense "Ich werde ..." in spoken language sounds rather stilted to my ears. Jul 22, 2017 at 21:55
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    At least in spoken German the future tense is not mandatory if it is clear from the context that the action will take place in the future. In this regard German differs from English.
    – RHa
    Jul 23, 2017 at 7:30
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    In day-to-day speech, the future tense would probably be expressed using a temporal adverb with present tense: "Ich schmeiss' dir gleich einen Schneeball ins Gesicht".
    – tofro
    Jul 23, 2017 at 9:41
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    @ikadfoanhfda So would I. And almost certainly I would actually say "werf'" rather than "werfe". The first person ending is usually elided in spoken German. Jul 23, 2017 at 9:56

The first construction is more typically German: "Ich werde dir einen Schneeball ins Gesicht werfen." It literally translates into "I will throw to you a snowball in the face."

That is, you separate the two thoughts, "to you," and "in the face," instead of combining them into one thought (in your face), as we might do in English.

Likewise, you would break up the English thought, "he who" into Wer...der...," two separate parts, in German.

  • @CarstenS: OK, changed it to "will."Thanks for your help.
    – Tom Au
    Jul 23, 2017 at 15:49

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