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I wrote an essay for my German teacher and he gave it back to me correcting all my grammar mistakes (and there were a lot) but some of them didn't make so much sense to me. In this case I wrote:

Aber, im generell, die Gründe für die Entsendung von Kindern in die Privatschule sind schlecht.

His correction was:

Aber, im generell, sind die Gründe für die Entsendung von Kindern in die Privatschule schlecht.

This seems unnatural to me but I am sure he is right, but why is this the case? Because the first sentence I'd translate to:

But, in general, the reasons for the delegation of kids in the private schools are bad.

and the corrected one to:

But, in general, are the reasons for the delegation of kids in the private schools bad.

Is this just a direct translation problem? Please help me understand.

For reference here is the exact correction:

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First, your German teacher thinks that "im generell" is correct? That's horrible! The German word is actually 'im Allgemeinen'. Furthermore, the word should be uppercase anyways since it is a noun, following the preposition, and there shouldn't be any commas (contrarily to English).

This clutter of mistakes aside, what you are looking for here is 'inversion', which is a very standard construct in German (and the Scandinavian languages as well). Wikipedia article

I would write it as:

Aber im Allgemeinen sind die Gründe für die Entsendung von Kindern in die Privatschule schlecht.

  • I just want to note that my German teacher was most likely just trying to keep his grammar fixes as close to what I wrote as possible, but thank you this makes a lot of sense. – PGODULTIMATE Feb 11 '18 at 1:11
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    Man sieht öfters den Gebrauch von generell, aber dann ohne in: "Aber generell sind die Gründe für ...". Im Allgemeinen klingt aber besser, m.E.. – Rudy Velthuis Feb 11 '18 at 12:14
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    FWIW, in English, instead of "in general" I would prefer "generally". "In general" reminds me of "Who is General Failure and why is he reading my hard disk?". – Rudy Velthuis Feb 11 '18 at 12:20
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The verb is always in the second position in a declarative sentence.

"Aber" is an incidental word that doesn't occupy a position.

In the first position is the adverbial phrase, "im generell." As another poster wrote, it should be "im Allgemeinen." Unlike "aber" this phrase is not a "non-essential element."

"Sind," the verb, belongs in the second position.

"Die Gründe," the noun (with its article) goes into the third position. It might have gone into the first position, except that it is occupied by "Im Generell/Allgemeinen." If the noun is in this third position, its article will naturally follow the verb in the second position.

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