1. Machen wir das- answering "lets do it"
  2. Kann ich auch das machen- answering that you also can do something
  3. Habe ich das gemacht - answering that you have done something

I've seen and heard this many times. Is it considered slang? Or there is a rule to when I can put the verb in 1st position?

Of course i know that in a question and imperativ it works that way, but i thought that beside these 2 options, verb in first position can never happen in Deutsch


  • 2
    It was not a good idea to add das at the end when you edited your question, because this changed the structure of the sentences and makes the current answer by tofro obsolete. May 10 '18 at 15:32
  • I'm not sure he's correct. And regarding the edit, this is what i meant on the first place. If he's answer doesn't fit now that's because there maybe a better explanation
    – Tomas
    May 10 '18 at 15:37
  • Many sentences that i know i heard are "Machen wir das" and "habe ich das gemacht". What the answer says is wrong, it means "we'll do it"(future) not "let us do it" (now)
    – Tomas
    May 10 '18 at 15:40
  • My teacher and a lot others says there is no such thing as self imperative, you can't be part of the action so "machen wir das" is not imperative, it also means total different thing. And what about "ja, hab' ich das" that's clearly not imperative.
    – Tomas
    May 10 '18 at 15:42
  • 3
    You are asking another question as before now, apparently because my answer didn't suit you. Note acting like that is considered rude - You are invalidating answers that took people effort to write.
    – tofro
    May 10 '18 at 17:13

Note this answer is invalidated by an edit to the question

This is rather a pronoun swallowed by colloquialism than a verb in first position. Those sentences should, in proper form, rather be:

  • Das machen wir

  • Das kann ich auch

  • Das habe ich

This often happens if it is clear from the context what the sentence is actually referring to, similar to the English:

  • I'll do [that]

  • That'll do [the trick]

  • You sure about that? I saw some sentences as "Machen wir es"/"Machen wir das", so it means that the pronoun wasn't omitted
    – Tomas
    May 10 '18 at 11:32
  • 2
    Machen wir das and machen wir es will only work as question or imperative. Machen wir is clearly neither. And yes, I am sure ;)
    – tofro
    May 10 '18 at 11:35
  • It doesn't work as imperative.. Imperative would be only when you ain't part of the action (mach du/macht sie/machen Sie), when it is wir (I am also part of the action), it will never be imperative.
    – Tomas
    May 10 '18 at 11:46
  • 1
    There is an imperative to self in German that is expressed through the indicative: "Machen wir" is of that form - "In Zukunft machen wir solche Fehler aber nicht mehr"
    – tofro
    May 10 '18 at 11:51
  • @Tomas "Imperative would be only when you ain't part of the action." That's not right. May 10 '18 at 11:52

I refer to the question after the first major edit was done, where a das was added in each example at specific positions that made the sentence structures change and, therefore, the previous answer by @tofro obsolete. The current sentences are:

  1. Machen wir das
  2. Kann ich auch das machen
  3. Habe ich das gemacht

You want to know why the verb is in the first position and not in the second one as you would expect in case of declarative statements.

The answer is: none of the examples is, now that the edit is done, a proper declarative statement in German. And since the punctuation marks are missing, we have to interpret what else they can be.

There are two options for 1.: It can be what @tofro in a comment referred to as an imperative to the self (Let us do this!). Some call this first-person-plural imperative an adhortative. Or it can be a question (Will/ shall we do it?). Examples 2. and 3. can only be interpreted as questions (Can I do also this one? and Did I do this?).

  • Is an answer like "Ja, habe ich" would be wrong then? When someone asks for example, have you done your HW?
    – Tomas
    May 10 '18 at 17:42
  • 1
    No, it would be right, because it is short for Ja, das habe ich, where the das was simply omitted. The "virtually present" word das is in the first position and habe is in the second position. In your examples, however, the word das is not at the first position, but the verbs are; and this word order is the reason why these sentences are imperatives or questions, respectively. May 10 '18 at 17:51

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