Doing some exercises from Cornelsen Grammatik aktive A1-B1, I had to write a phrase connecting some words using the future tense. What I don't understand yet, is why in the following examples the "place" changes position:

  1. Nächtes Jahr werden die Deutschen ein neues Parlament wählen.
  2. Am kommenden Montag wird die Präsidentin im Parlament sprechen.

Until now, all good. But:

  1. Nächsten Monat werden in Wien die Weltmeisterschaften stattfinden.

Why does the place in example 3. go before the subject, when example 2. has a similar structure (sth./so. – somewhere – action), but im Parlament goes after the subject? What am I missing?

Would it be correct to write it like this:

  • Nächsten Monat werden die Weltmeisterschaften in Wien stattfinden.
  • 6
    Btw, there is no place in your first example. "ein neues Parlament" is the object of that sentence and refers to the institution not the place.
    – Roland
    Apr 1, 2021 at 5:56
  • 2
    Perhaps it's just me, but using z.B. as a label seem wrong, like using "e.g." as a label in English. (Actually it's from Latin but whatever.) Perhaps Bsp. 1, Bsp. 2, ... would be better.
    – RDBury
    Apr 1, 2021 at 15:00
  • 3
    Please note that all of your examples use future tense, so the difference in word order is not because of future or other tense.
    – RalfFriedl
    Apr 1, 2021 at 18:20
  • @RDBury you are totally right. When I wrote the first part it looked ok, but as I mentioned it, it indeed became weird. Fixed that now. Thanks. @RalfFriedl You mean, in present tense would it also be ok to swap in Wien and die Weltmeisterschaften? Apr 2, 2021 at 19:05

3 Answers 3


German is quite flexible in this regard. Your last example would also be correct and actually be more common. Different order can be used to emphasize certain parts of the sentence.

"Nächsten Monat werden die Weltmeisterschaften in Wien stattfinden." puts more emphasis on the place.

"Nächsten Monat werden in Wien die Weltmeisterschaften stattfinden." puts more emphasis on the championships.

  • The way understand it is that the topic goes first and the new or significant information goes last when there is a choice. So if there were world championships held every month, and the only question was where, then you'd put in Wien last. That said, it is unusual to put the subject so far away from the finite verb, so I think you'd normally put die Weltmeisterschaften first if that was to be emphasized. Also, side issue, since the time frame is mentioned, I think the sentence would normally be in present tense, not future tense.
    – RDBury
    Apr 1, 2021 at 15:32

As @Roland wrote: it's a matter of emphasis. The word order of a German sentence depends among others on the fact which information is known ('topic', German: Thema) and which is new ('comment', German: Rhema). From Wikipedia:

So-called free-word order languages (e.g. [...] to a certain extent [...] German) use word-order as the primary means. Usually the topic precedes focus.

Hence, as a tendency one would use

  • werden die Weltmeisterschaften in Wien stattfinden to emphasize in Vienna
  • werden in Wien die Weltmeisterschaften stattfinden to emphasize the world championships.
  • 1
    "Usually" is suposed to mean "don't freak out if it's not as usual". There's maybe only a microscopical difference in emphasis between your two example sentences. IMHO not even worth mentioning.
    – tofro
    Apr 8, 2021 at 7:36
  • @tofro (1) As a tendency is supposed to mean even less than usually, so I don't see what you are referring to. (2) It's not about a difference in meaning, but when a L1 speaker uses which. This has been observed empirically and led to the topic-comment understanding. (3) Nonetheless, there can be a bigger difference since die Weltmeisterschaften in Wien could be one subject, while with other word orders in Wien is necessarily a complement of the predicate. Apr 8, 2021 at 17:43

The word order in this case is interchangeable. There are different ways to put the focus: some would put the more important word first, others would put it last. In this case it would be necessary to hear the writer saying it because the word he emphasizes more would tell us on what exactly the writer is focusing on, either the location or the competition.

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