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How does the word order work in the second sentence? Why is the word "mal" in the second position instead of a verb?

Niemand verlässt die Formation. Nicht mal dann, wenn einer von uns getötet wird.

2 Answers 2

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It's a truncated sentence.

The full version would be:

  • "Nicht mal dann [verlässt jemand die Formation], wenn einer von uns...."

"nicht mal dann" is one element, a time element to be precise. It's pretty empty content-wise so it gets specified in the "wenn"-sentence later on.

But it constitutes position 1 as a whole, and then would come the verb, but in this case, the rest of the main sentence is simply missing.

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"Nicht mal dann" would be taken as one word and as the above comment mentions, the hidden phrase is [verlässt jemand die Formation]. So "verlässt", a verb, is in the second position and hence the word order fits.

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