0

I saw this sentence today: "Du kannst in der Werkstatt am Ende der Straße ein Auto mieten."

But according to the TeKaMoLo rule, shouldn't "Ende der Straße" be at the end since it indicates location? Thanks.

2
  • Internet says TEKAMOLO ist eine Lerntechnik, die Ergänzungen in Sätzen nach ihrer Reihenfolge ordnet. Jede Silbe bedeutet etwas: (TE) Temporal, (KA) Kausal, (MO) Modal und (LO) Lokal Dec 24, 2021 at 11:52
  • Which parts of TeKaMoLo are “ein Auto” and “mieten” in your opinion?
    – Carsten S
    Dec 24, 2021 at 11:52

2 Answers 2

5

As I understand TeKaMoLo (never encountered this term in school) it applies only to supplements of the same level. This is not the case here, since am Ende der Straße adds details to Werkstatt as would the more elaborate sentence:

Du kannst in der Werkstatt, die sich am Ende der Straße befindet, ein Auto mieten.

If you put Ende der Straße to the end of the sentence, it would be quite complicated, to refer back to Werkstatt.

3
  • 2
    To put it another way, TeKaMoLo applies to adverbial phrases, but am Ende der Straße modifies the noun der Werkstatt, not the verb. so TeKaMoLo does not apply here. In general TeKaMoLo is guideline rather than a rule, and its main advantage for learners is that it's never incorrect. Unfortunately many German courses teach it a grammatical rule, and this causes much confusion when learners discover that it's not followed by German speakers outside the classroom.
    – RDBury
    Dec 24, 2021 at 13:15
  • Could we construct a sentence like this: "Du kannst ein Auto in der Werkstatt am Ende der Straße mieten."?
    – user49002
    Dec 24, 2021 at 13:23
  • 1
    @Quant007: I think that would actually be the default phrasing. German uses word order for emphasis and to give some phrases more importance than others. German also likes to single out "new information" by putting it later in the sentence. These subtleties are difficult to master though, hence the "never wrong" TeKaMoLo phrasing and similar rules of thumb are taught to foreign students.
    – RDBury
    Dec 24, 2021 at 13:37
1

TeKaMoLo cannot provide any guidance here because the whole phrase in der Werkstatt am Ende der Straße is a local adverbial phrase, and there is no temporal, causal, or modal adverbial.

Also note that mieten is at the end because it forms a sentence bracket with the finite auxiliary verb kannst. Adverbial phrases can be factored out but ususally they are not.

So we have the word order:

Subject - finite verb part - local adverbial - object - infinite verb part

One could also use:

Subject - finite verb part - object - local adverbial - infinite verb part

which gives us:

Du kannst ein Auto in der Werkstatt am Ende der Straße mieten.

Both word orders are valid, and the difference is very subtle to non-existent. To me, the original order feels a bit more natural because the words "ein Auto mieten" which form some functional unit are kept together.

2
  • You can also put other elements in front of the verb in German, for example Ein Auto kannst du in der Werkstatt am Ende der Straße mieten. This would give ein Auto a lot more stress and this phrasing would not be used unless that was the point.
    – RDBury
    Dec 24, 2021 at 19:04
  • I think the "conventional wisdom" (the guidance that is given to foreign students of German) is that the accusative object comes after the verb and before adverbial phrases other than temporal. The reality is that the logic of German word order is fuzzy, with lots of fuzzy rules like "It's sometimes better to keep 'functional units' together". Students don't usually do well with fuzzy logic though, and do better with simple recipes that use binary logic. So there is often a difference between the order a native speaker would use and the order you're supposed to follow in a German class.
    – RDBury
    Dec 24, 2021 at 19:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.