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Why is "hätte" not at the end? I thought that in a subordinate clause with "wenn", the conjugated verb is the last word and goes at the end? Here's the sentence:

Andere Kinder wären dankbar, wenn sie so eine liberale Mutter hätten wie mich.

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  • As you can see in the answers, it is up to stylistic choice. I would add that I find the alternative "Mutter wie mich hätten", that you would be going for, stylistically better. Jun 7 at 16:34
  • See also here and here and here, among others.
    – David Vogt
    Jul 12 at 7:09

3 Answers 3

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"The end" is merely a didactic device. This becomes evident when looking at sentences with subordinate and infinitival clauses, which usually occur "after the end".

Wann haben Sie angefangen | Deutsch zu lernen?
Wir dürfen nicht vergessen | dass nachher noch ein Gewitter kommt.

But other types of constituents also appear in this position (examples from the DWDS corpora).

Die Stadt sei einfach nicht vorbereitet gewesen | auf den Geldsegen.
Das hätten sie nicht geschafft | ohne den Pfarrer H.
Wer hätte das besser gewußt | als Walter?

The last example involves a comparative phrase (expressing an inequality), which is similar to the one you gave (expressing an equality).

When the term "the end" is used didactically, what is actually meant is what is known as rechte (Satz)klammer (right (sentence) bracket) or Verbalkomplex (verbal complex); the part after the end is called Nachfeld. For reference, see https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feldermodell_des_deutschen_Satzes.

The process of putting a constituent into the Nachfeld is called Ausklammerung (extraposition). For some further examples and discussion, see also this answer (in German).

Finally, note that extraposition isn't always mandatory. Sentences such as the following are perfectly normal (with the phrase that could also be placed in the Nachfeld marked in italics):

wenn sie so eine liberale Mutter wie mich hätten
Das tun Kinder, wenn sie zum erstenmal selber zu erzählen versuchen.

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You are correct in principle, but word order is not always totally fixed. As a comparison, the group “wie mich” (like me) can go both before and after hätten:

Andere Kinder wären dankbar, wenn sie so eine liberale Mutter hätten(,) wie mich.

Andere Kinder wären dankbar, wenn sie so eine liberale Mutter wie mich hätten.

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  • Was heißt "not always"? Im Deutschen ist die Wortreihenfolge m.W. sehr selten fixiert. Jul 7 at 17:52
  • Because sometimes it is. Unless its not.
    – Ingmar
    Jul 7 at 21:39
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+500

Even after the 'end' of the sentence, you can still write certain things; for instance, comparisons. It's called the 'Nachfeld'. Here are some authoritative links:

https://grammis.ids-mannheim.de/systematische-grammatik/4787

https://www.deutschplus.net/pages/Syntax_Nachfeld

https://www.deutsch-als-fremdsprache.de/syntax/Nachfeld.html

I especially recommend this link: https://www.deutsch-als-fremdsprache.de/syntax/Nachfeld.html

In that website, have a look at the part which says "Vergleichselemente mit "als" oder "wie"". That section specifically deals with the question you are asking and gives even more examples.

If you need further explanation, feel free to write a comment below this answer and I'd be happy to help :)

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