In an article from Der Spiegel, this sentence appears: "Schuld ist Ministerpräsident Stanislaw Tillich, ändern dürfte auch sein Rücktritt wenig."

Why do the verbs come first in the second clause? Is the first clause a subordinate clause?

Could I might as well have said: "Schuld ist Ministerpräsident Stanislaw Tillich, es dürfte sein Rücktritt wenig ändern."?

  • Side note: You can even use a period for the comma, it wouldn't change anything. "Schuld ist Ministerpräsident Stanislaw Tilich. Ändern dürfte auch sein Rücktritt wenig." More natural for the second (part of the) sentence, however, is "Auch sein Rücktritt dürfte wenig ändern." – Em1 Oct 20 '17 at 14:51
  • @Em1 So in which instances would I be able to start an independent clause with a verb? (as in this instance) – RandomUser Oct 20 '17 at 15:12
  • The finite verb is dürfte, and it is in second position. – Carsten S Oct 20 '17 at 15:15
  • @CarstenS Yes, but what is the rule for having independent clauses start with a verb? (other than in questions) – RandomUser Oct 20 '17 at 15:48

The finite verb comes second in this appended main clause:

Ändern dürfte auch sein Rücktritt wenig.

Dürfen is a modal verb which takes an infinitive (here: ändern) for the action being allowed or, in the phrase ändern dürfen, the action which may change something. Or not.

However, word order is non-standard (but still grammatical) for emphasis reasons. The standard word-order has the infinitives at the end, and of course, the finite verb at second position:

Es dürfte auch sein Rücktritt wenig ändern.

The es is needed because of that "finite verb is second" rule. A back-reference to Schuld ist using daran is a common alternative to es:

Daran dürfte auch sein Rücktritt wenig ändern.

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  • So the author of this article employed a none-standard word order that was still acceptable to use? – RandomUser Oct 20 '17 at 16:18
  • 2
    Yes. Der Satzbau im Deutschen ist kompliziert, lernen musst du ihn dennoch. This inversion with the infinitives at the beginning is quite common, as it is with objects at the beginning. All for emphasis reasons. – Janka Oct 20 '17 at 16:21
  • Another question, does the sentence "Daran dürfte auch sein Rücktritt wenig ändern." mean that his resignation would change little of what he's to blame for? – RandomUser Oct 20 '17 at 21:10
  • Yes, exactly. – – Janka Oct 21 '17 at 6:47

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