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Which one of the follwiing Bitten (requests) is correct?

  1. Sprechen Sie bitte langsamer!
  2. Bitte sprechen Sie langsamer!

I found the first one in a language book. But, I suppose that the second one is correct because the verb, "sprechen" should be at the 2nd position.

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Both are correct. Imperative sentences follow the VSO word order, not V2.

And this isn't about the position of the verb sprechen, but about the position of the interjection bitte. Interjections are tricky to place. They are often placed between subject and object (if any), but you may also have them lead the sentence (a lot of emphasis on bitte). Some interjections as bitte can also be placed in a main clause of their own and are separated by a comma or full stop (or exclamation/question mark) then.

Sprechen Sie langsamer!

Sprechen Sie bitte langsamer!

Bitte sprechen Sie langsamer!

Sprechen Sie langsamer, bitte!

Sprechen Sie langsamer! Bitte!


Sprechen Sie aber nicht lauter!

If there are multiple interjections, the placing becomes more complicated, as they interact with each other:

Sprechen Sie aber bitte den Busfahrer während der Fahrt nicht an!

Sprechen Sie bitte aber den Busfahrer während der Fahrt nicht an!

Sprechen Sie den Busfahrer aber bitte während der Fahrt nicht an!

Sprechen Sie den Busfahrer bitte aber während der Fahrt nicht an!

Sprechen Sie aber den Busfahrer bitte während der Fahrt nicht an!

Sprechen Sie bitte den Busfahrer aber während der Fahrt nicht an!

All these are valid, the difference is very subtle. And of course, the ones with leading interjections are also valid, and before nicht is another valid place for interjections.

| improve this answer | |
  • Are "bitte" and "auch" really interjections?? – Beta Nov 21 '18 at 12:58
  • In the original sentence as well as the sentences above they transport a mood, so I think: yes. If you only count words as uff as interjections, bitte and aber in the above examples are Partikel. Same function as before. – Janka Nov 21 '18 at 13:32

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