So I know that in a clause such as "ich hätte es machen können" where there is a subordinating conjunction, the conjugated verb - hätte - comes before the two infinitive verbs, e.g: "was du hättest machen können, ist...."

My question is does that work the same way when the conjugated verb appears the same as the infinitive, i.e with "wir" or "Sie"? The sentence I'm having trouble with is "Ich glaube, dass X und Y ihre Vorbehalte aufheben müssen werden" - is this the correct word order? Or should it read "Ich glaube, dass X und Y ihre Vorbehalte werden aufheben müssen"?

Thanks in advance!

  • I believe all possible permutations of the infinitives are ok in at least some of the German dialects.
    – sgf
    Commented May 6, 2019 at 15:46

2 Answers 2


In your examples, it is actually the finite verb (haben versus werden) that makes the difference. To my knowledge, the number of the subject is irrelevant.

was du hättest machen können
dass X und Y ihre Vorbehalte aufheben müssen werden / werden aufheben müssen

For haben (combined with the Ersatzinfinitiv of a modal verb), positioning the finite verb in front of the non-finite ones is commonly considered the only acceptable order in Standard German (for instance by the Duden grammar, § 684). There might be some prescriptivism involved, but that is to be expected as far as the standard language is concerned.

For werden as a future or modal auxiliary, Duden allows both orders without preferring one over the other.


müssen, können, lassen, wollen, sollen and dürfen are special verbs when it comes to infinitives: Sentences with one of those words have related verbs in infinitiv, too.

Ich kann gehen(inf)
Ich will etwas erledigen(inf)

if those verbs come after the related verb, they're in infinitive, too.

Etwas machen(inf) wollen
Nach Hause gehen(inf) dürfen

Technically, those verbs can be stacked in any arrangement, and all of them would be infinitive in that case.

Er hat es nicht machen(inf) lassen können

Those structures can be combined with other grammatical structures which lead to infinitives, or, in your example, the 3rd person plural.

Sie werden(3pl) ihre Vorbehalte aufheben(inf) müssen
Ich glaube, dass X und Y ihre Vorbehalte werden aufheben(inf) müssen

Hope i could help.

Note: The Sentence: "Sie werden halten(inf) wollen können lernen(inf) müssen." would be technically correct. But very klunky.

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