I've been meeting such examples very often

Sofern du bezahlst, trinke ich.

But I'm not sure if it's correct. As far as I know a dependent part should have opposite order of words? For me

Sofern du bezahlst

is dependent. Am I wrong?

Could someone explain that please?


I meant by opposite order of words that a predicative should be in the second position before a subject in that case.

Sofern bezahlst du, trinke ich.

Isn't it correct?

Carsten S wrote about zero position.

How to identify when zero position is presented in sentence? I read only about the first and the second. Where can I read about rules regard to zero position?

  • 3
    What would be the opposite order of words in this part for you?
    – Eller
    May 1, 2018 at 22:00
  • @Eller Sofern bezahlst du, trinke ich. I meant the predicative should be in the second position. May 2, 2018 at 18:58
  • 1
    This again confirms my view that terms like "opposite order", "reverse order", or "inversion" should be avoided when talking about word order in German because it only creates confusion. Most important is the position of the verb, and there are three possibilities: Verb first, verb second, verb last. That's it. In your case, it's a dependent clause, and verb-last is the correct order. Therefore your first example sentence is correct.
    – RHa
    May 3, 2018 at 7:50
  • @RHa Thank you! You are right I think I created confusion for myself. Now it's clear that in a dependent clause a predicative goes to the last position. May 3, 2018 at 8:13
  • @RHa you can add your comment as an answer and I'll accept it. May 3, 2018 at 8:14

2 Answers 2


What you probably mean by opposite order is that the verb is in last position instead of second. Well, in your example it is. Since your example is so short, it is at the same time in second position (for which we have to count sofern as in zeroth position). You see that it is actually in last position if we extended the example:

Sofern du die Rechnung bezahlst, trinke ich.

A similar example:

Ich trinke, weil du die Rechnung bezahlst.

It depends on the conjunction, though:

Ich trinke, denn Du bezahlst die Rechnung.

Here the verb is in second position (not counting denn, this is what I meant by occupying position zero).

  • Thank you for the answer. Could you please take a look into my updates? May 2, 2018 at 19:04
  • @DanielGrankin, sure. I hope this clarifies what I meant. Please note that I may not always use the correct grammatical terminology; I am just a native speaker.
    – Carsten S
    May 3, 2018 at 18:27

I'm not sure about what you mean. The example indeed describes a conditional sentence in German (If you pay, I'll drink). here some possible "correct" options:

  • Bezahlst du, trinke ich!
    (without using "Sofern" and changing positions, as the sentence sounds more like a question)

  • Ich trinke, sofern du bezahlst.
    (The order of the two sentence-parts has been changed)

  • Sofern du bezahlst, trinke ich.


Sofern bezahlst du, trinke ich.

Might be understood, but isn't correct German. As the sentence sounds like a question and this doesn't seem to fit with the conditional part expressed by "Sofern".

For more details on conditional sentences you may refer to this link.

  • It has s become clear to me when @RHa provided his comment. But your answer is good either. Thank you May 3, 2018 at 18:21

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