This is an excerpt from today's DW Langsam gesprochene Nachrichten:

Start des Ökumenischen Kirchentags

Mit einem Eröffnungsgottesdienst beginnt an diesem Donnerstag in Frankfurt am Main der Ökumenische Kirchentag. Es ist der dritte gemeinsame Kirchentag von Katholiken und Protestanten in Deutschland. Ziel ist eine Annäherung der beiden christlichen Konfessionen. Wegen der Corona-Pandemie findet das Treffen hauptsächlich digital statt. Bis zum Sonntag stehen mehr als 100 Veranstaltungen auf dem Programm. Ihre Teilnahme zugesagt haben auch mehrere prominente Politiker, unter ihnen Bundespräsident Frank-Walter Steinmeier und Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel.

The grammar in the last sentence defies my understanding of correct German grammar. In the first half of this sentence I would expect it to read:

Ihre Teilnahme haben auch mehrere prominente Politiker zugesagt,

or possibly:

Zugesagt haben ihre Teilnahme auch mehrere prominente Politiker,

But as it stands the second field appears to be occupied by the past participle, which it should be the auxilliary verb, not the past participle.

And the second part of the sentence appears incomplete because it is a subordinate clause without a verb.

Any explanation?

  • 1
    Long story short: The sentence is correct and was rearranged to emphasize that politicians confirmed their attendence. I'd suspect that this order is rarely used. May 13, 2021 at 19:26

2 Answers 2


The sentence is grammatically correct. The explanation is that the perfect participle and the accusative object ("Ihre Teilnahme zugesagt") constitute a single sentence part. This allows them to occupy the first part of the sentence (the Vorfeld), right before the finite verb ("haben").

You can find more examples in the German Wikipedia entry about verb phrases.


As RHa wrote, the sentence is grammatically correct. The first part results from reordering the words "Mehrere prominente Politiker haben ihre Teilnahme zugesagt". This would represent the subject–verb–object word order, which is the default order in the German main clause. However, German syntax can be flexible, especially, but not exclusively, when word declensions clearly signal which part of the sentence is the subject and which the object.

Putting the subject ("mehrere prominente Politiker") at the end of the main clause in this case has the advantage of reducing the distance to the second part of the sentence, namely "unter ihnen Bundespräsident Frank-Walter Steinmeier und Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel."

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