1

I read this sentence in a book:

Die wohl dickste Lüge lautete, dass die Person der Star einer Rockband sei.

However, I don't understand the construction of this sentence. Why not the word order be to:

Wohl lautete die dickste Lüge, dass die Person der Star einer Rockband sei.

Wohl is an adverb, and the verb should be at position 2?

  • 1
    Adverbs can also modify adjectives … – Jan Dec 24 '17 at 16:17
  • "Wohl" here means "probably" and is an adverb for "dickste". "The probably fattest lie was..." – Rudy Velthuis May 13 '18 at 23:17
5

The two sentences are both correct, but they have slightly different meanings.

Die wohl dickste Lüge lautete, dass die Person der Star einer Rockband sei.
The lie, that probably is the biggest, says, that the person is the star of a rock band.

The phrase »die wohl dickste Lüge« is one part of speech. It is a Nominalgruppe or Nominalphrase (nominal phrase), and this hole phrase is the subject of the sentence, so this group occupies only one position in the sentence (position 1), and therefore the verb (»lautete«) is where it has to be: on position 2.

In this phrase the adverb wohl (probably) modifies the adjective dickste (biggest). This adverb is not bound to the verb!


Wohl lautete die dickste Lüge, dass die Person der Star einer Rockband sei.
The biggest lie says probably, that the person is the star of a rock band.

Here the word »wohl« on its own is a part of speech that occupies position 1. It is an adverb that modifies a verb (which is at position 2).

  • While the meaning becomes clear, a possibly better translation is "The probably biggest lie was the person being a star of a rockband". – RHa Dec 25 '17 at 20:15
  • It might be worth adding that the second construction is usually chosen if we want to create a contrast: wohl... aber... – Ludi Dec 25 '17 at 22:23
  • Die Lüge wird in Beispiel 2 zum Wohllaut. "Gut klang die dickste Lüge, ..." – user unknown Dec 27 '17 at 15:33
1

Wohl is an adverb to dickste in the sense of vermutlich, vermeintlich.

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