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My question is, what is the word order in a complex modal verb sentence consisting these words (and in Präteritum):

wollen, die See, fahren, im Sommer, mit, ihr, an, eure Eltern

My solution is this:

Ihr wolltet im Sommer mit eure Eltern an die See fahren.

But I'm not sure about the word order, with the "im Sommer", "mit eure Eltern" and "an die See"?

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  • mit euren Eltern
    – Eller
    Mar 18 at 16:32
  • @Eller why? Isn't it die Eltern?
    – Matthias
    Mar 18 at 16:36
  • Yes, die Eltern, but mit den Eltern.
    – Eller
    Mar 18 at 16:37
  • Ah yes, because mit+D. Thanks!
    – Matthias
    Mar 18 at 16:40
  • @Eller But then the sentence (Ihr wolltet im Sommer mit euren Eltern an die See fahren.) is correct? The word order too?
    – Matthias
    Mar 18 at 16:42
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As already written in comments it must be "mit euren Eltern".

Instead of using past tense "ihr wolltet", the sentence can also be written in present tense "ihr wollt".

Ihr wollt im Sommer mit euren Eltern an die See fahren.

Additionally you can get a different meaning with

Eure Eltern wollen mit ihr im Sommer an die See fahren.

In this case "ihr" is "her" instead of "you" (plural) and it would refer to e.g. some female person mentioned in the context.

The word order is somewhat flexible, depending on what you want to emphasize. Maybe not all variants match the theoretical grammar rules, but they can be used at least in colloquial speech.

As mentionend in a comment, all variants that don't end with "fahren" can be considered incorrect (according to formal rules), but nevertheless you may hear such word orders from native speakers.

Variations based on the sentence from the question:

Ihr wolltet im Sommer mit euren Eltern an die See fahren.

  • Ihr wolltet im Sommer an die See fahren mit euren Eltern. (*)
  • Ihr wolltet mit euren Eltern im Sommer an die See fahren.
  • Im Sommer wolltet ihr mit euren Eltern an die See fahren.
  • Im Sommer wolltet ihr an die See fahren mit euren Eltern. (*)
  • An die See wolltet ihr mit euren Eltern im Sommer fahren.
  • An die See wolltet ihr im Sommer mit euren Eltern fahren.
  • Mit euren Eltern wolltet ihr im Sommer an die See fahren.

According to my personal feeling, the following variants would sound a bit strange to me. This means I would not put "im Sommer" last.

  • Ihr wolltet mit euren Eltern an die See fahren im Sommer. (*)
  • Mit euren Eltern wolltet ihr an die See fahren im Sommer. (*)

I'm not sure if I came up with all possible word orders. (There are other word orders that would sound more strange to me.)

(*) Can be considered incorrect.

I recently found an article mentioning that the German language is in a process of change and that such formally incorrect word orders are increasingly being used. Formal rules are always a bit conservative and will follow the current development with some delay. (I will add a reference when I find it.)

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  • I think that the variants which do not have “fahren” at the end can all be marked as incorrect, so I do not find this very helpful.
    – Carsten S
    Mar 19 at 8:27

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