I was taught that in the following sentence the "in die Kurve" has to come at the end of the sentence. We cannot put it somewhere else otherwise it won't sound as authentic German.

"Meine Oma fuhr gestern das Mietauto viel zu schnell in die Kurve." - "My grandma drove the rental car into the curve way too fast yesterday."

The teacher said if we have to give the information about direction (in die Kurve) we cannot put it say after the "Time - gestern" or after the "Manner - viel zu schnell" as a "Place". It has to go at the end, as a prepositional object.

So why can't we move this around like we can with other Place adverbials? There are many examples of sentences where Place comes before Manner.


3 Answers 3


Here's how I would suggest to think about it. Verbs with directional complements pattern with 'separable' verbs, which also have the separable part in a fixed position at the right edge of the clause.

Kommen Sie doch rein!
Am Ende sind wir dann doch reingegangen.

Kommen Sie doch ins Wohnzimmer!
Am Ende sind wir dann doch in den Club gegangen.

What both have in common is that the separable part and the directional complement can change the meaning: atelic fahren becomes telic reinfahren, in die Kurve fahren.

Sie ist letztes Wochenende wirklich stundenlang gefahren.

Sie ist letztes Wochenende wirklich zu schnell in die Kurve gefahren.
Sie ist letztes Wochenende wirklich zu schnell reingefahren.

Telic means 'having an endpoint'; the activity of driving is unbounded, whereas driving into the garage has an endpoint (the car being in the garage). This is why an adverbial such as stundenlang is compatible with the former but not the latter while the latter, but not the former, is compatible with innerhalb kürzester Zeit.


In German there is a "standard" order of sentence parts and this is what your teacher was trying to convey. This way you will always get grammatically correct sentences.

Notice, though, that German has a sentence structure which is a lot less strict than it is in English. Therefore, apart from the "neutral" structure your teacher taught you it is indeed possible to move parts around for emphasis. Beware, though: not everything is possible and this is an advanced stylistic device! If you use it you better know what you are doing.

Having said this, emphasis is usually achieved by moving a certain part to either the end or up front. These variations of your sentence are also possible and grammatically correct, i have marked bold the part i put emphasis on:

Meine Oma fuhr gestern das Mietauto viel zu schnell in die Kurve.

This is the "neutral" form, nothing emphasized particularly.

Gestern fuhr meine Oma das Mietauto viel zu schnell in die Kurve.

Perhaps the other days she didn't do that?

Viel zu schnell in die Kurve fuhr meine Oma gestern das Mietauto.

This sounds IMHO more natural in Perfekt, statt "fuhr" "hat .. gefahren".

Das Mietauto fuhr meine Oma gestern viel zu schnell in die Kurve.

i.e unlike her own car, which she uses to treat differently?

In spoken language one would mark the emphasis by also altering the tone in which the emphasized part is spoken.


In German, you always have to tell apart place and direction. The directional adverbials and prepositional objects go after the noun accusative object and before the verb block at the end.

I posted the default word order a while ago. Use that recipe. It's almost always at least correct.

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