I am learning German B2/C1 and have covered Hauptsätze and Nebensätze and the connectors such as denn and weil. I am also familiar with Relativsätze.

Something I realised from speaking German is that there is another kind of sub-sentence introduced by using adverbs, for instance:

Sie will den Sonnenuntergang sehen, deshalb ist sie jetzt am Strand.

This doesn't seem to fall into the category Haupstsatz (verb in second place after the connector) or Nebensatz (verb at the end) as the verb appears directly after the connector. Does this kind of sub-sentence have a name and what are its grammatical rules?

1 Answer 1


Grammatically, deshalb is an adverb, at least in this sentence. Deshalb ist sie jetzt am Strand, is a grammatical sentence on it's own and what you're seeing is two grammatical sentences in tandem. This is allowed in English if they are separated by a semicolon, but German also allows a comma for the same purpose. The technical name in English is Conjunctive adverb and some examples are "therefore" and "similarly". The technical name in German is Konjunktionaladverb, and some other examples are trotzdem and jedoch.

Since these are technically adverbs, they don't have to be placed at the beginning of a clause. The German Wikipedia article gives the example Draußen schneit es. Ich gehe trotzdem zu Fuß.

In English, you're "supposed" to separate a conjunctive adverb from a preceding clause with a semicolon. But I don't think a lot of people really follow this rule or notice when it's not followed. For example the English Wikipedia article on Cogito, ergo sum translates it as "I think, therefore I am." Using a comma in German is allowed so it's perfectly correct to say Ich denke, also bin ich.

Your Answer

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

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.