Hunde schwimmen wirklich gerne.

Why does the verb "schwimmen" come before "wirklich gerne"?
I've written this sentence in google translate with the verb at the end of the sentence, but it translates the same as when it's in the middle of the sentence

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Please consult a German grammar book. This is basic grammar.

This is a declarative sentence. In German, declarative sentences have the core of their predicate verb (the verb part which is conjugated) in second position in the row of items. That's one of the very few absolute word order rules in German.

Hunde schwimmen wirklich gerne.

Die Hunde schwimmen wirklich gerne.

Die Hunde sind wirklich gerne geschwommen.

Both Hunde and die Hunde are the first item in their sentences. In the last sentence, sind is the core of the predicate verb (the Perfekt auxiliary sein in 3rd person plural), and geschwommen is the Partizip II of schwimmen, as needed for the Perfekt tense.

You can also switch Hunde and wirklich gerne and get a valid German sentence:

Wirklich gerne schwimmen Hunde.

What's the difference? In this sentence, the item wirklich gerne, an adverbial of manner, is put in front, which makes it the most emphasized item of the sentence. The topic.


It's not easy to answer a why-question like that.

Hunde schwimmen (wirklich) gerne.

Hasen laufen (wirklich) schnell.

The adverb comes usually after the verb. That's just how it is. Don't use Google translate as a reference for anything grammar related. It should only be used to get a rough direction for what could be the meaning of something.

Hunde wirklich gerne schwimmen. is just wrong.

There is a saying in German for why-questions that can only be answered with It is how it is.:

Warum ist die Banane krumm? (Why is the banana curved?)

  • Indeed, "why" questions regarding natural languages are virtually unanswerable. However I have started translating such questions into something like: "Can you give me some help to learn how I can do this the right way." – Christian Geiselmann Mar 5 at 11:50
  • @ChristianGeiselmann I hope that's what I did. My answer is not meant to be offensive in any way and I hope, it doesn't sound like it!? – Olafant Mar 5 at 11:59

You mean Hunde wirklich gerne schwimmen.?

This does not sound correct. In standard sentences the word order would be subject - verb - adverb. In poetry however, you could find such a word order subject - adverb - verb without giving it a different meaning. This might be the reason why Google translate didn't complain at that point.

For example, you could use this in a little "poem":

Hunde wirklich gerne schwimmen wenn sie erstmal sind im Teich. Danach sie das Fell dann schütteln um zu trocknen sich dann gleich.

By the way, changing the order to Schwimmen Hunde wirklich gerne? would be typical for a question (Do dogs really like swimming?)

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