I know that verbs must always be on the second position in sentences but I had recently found some places where this isn't the case.

For example, in one song I find

Wär’ heut’ mein letzter Tag, ich lebte ihn mit dir.

Surely the lebte would become before the ich, so it can be on the second position.

I have also seen examples like this elsewhere. Can someone please clarify on why this is so?

  • The correct term is position, not idea. I corrected your question with this aim Jan 3, 2018 at 10:24

1 Answer 1


Wär' heut mein letzter Tag, ich lebte ihn mit dir.

That's a poetical word order. Standard word order commands:

Wär' heut mein letzter Tag, lebte ich ihn mit dir.

Ich lebte ihn mit dir, wär' heut mein letzter Tag.

The Konjunktiv II used in the above sentence makes it follow the same word order pattern as sentences lead by dependent clauses have:

Sobald ich mich hinlege, schlafe ich sofort ein.

Ich schlafe sofort ein, sobald ich mich hinlege.

That's because Konjunktiv II is a conditional. It works the same as if an if was leading the sentence.

  • So how is a poetical word order created just by making the second clause a normal standing sentence. Jan 3, 2018 at 10:43
  • Main clauses following a dependent clause have the predicate in front, that's the rule. If you don't follow that rule, you employ poetical freedom.
    – Janka
    Jan 3, 2018 at 13:31
  • What do you mean by poetical freedom? What overall difference does it make? Jan 3, 2018 at 13:52
  • Your example sentence is ungrammatical. But a songwriter or other poet may choose to disregard grammar in favor of brevity and rhyme.
    – Janka
    Jan 3, 2018 at 14:01
  • Oh ok, so I assume this should not be done and is not done in conversational language. Jan 3, 2018 at 14:03

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