Zum Beispiel:

ich vergesse dir heute immer wieder das Foto zu schicken

Ist die Wortstellung korrekt?

PS: The meaning of the sentence might not make sense, but I just created a random sentence to ask the question.

  • 3
    The word order can change the meaning, so without an intended meaning the question cannot really be answered.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jul 9 at 10:04
  • @CarstenS Would you mind telling/answer which word order would mean what? I didn't even know that the word order can communicate different meanings from the same sentence.
    – Our
    Commented Jul 9 at 10:52
  • Your sentence has two verbs, depending on their position adverbs can modify either. It would be better if you added the intended meaning.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Jul 9 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


First off: there is no "direct object" (and no "indirect object") in German. Direct and indirect objects are concepts from english grammar and if you try to use that to describe German you end up with more exceptions than cases that follow this "rule".

In German there are Kasus (Nominativ, Genitiv, Dativ, Akkusativ) and objects using these Kasus. Hence, there is no need for "direct" and "indirect" objects, instead there are Genitivobjekte, Dativobjekte and Akkusativobjekte. If you must you can think of a Dativobjekt as a sort-of indirect object and of an Akkusativobjekt as a sort-of direct object, but again: better avoid that because it is wrong more often than not.

Coming to the topic of word order:

English has lost practically all of its cases and therefore needs a very fixed position for each part of the sentence to tell which part is which. Here is an example:

I give the gift the receiver.

Which role "I", "gift" and "receiver" take is determined by the position of the nouns. This:

I give the receiver the gift.

would be - grammatically(!) - correct but would mean something different. In German you have:

Ich gebe dem Beschenkten das Geschenk.

and because "dem Beschenkten" is a noun in Dativ we already know this is the receiver of the gift and "das Geschenk" (a noun in Akkusativ) is what the Dativobjekt gets. Hence:

Ich gebe das Geschenk dem Beschenkten.

will change nothing of this meaning because (by using Dativ - "dem") the receiver of the gift is still marked as the receiver and "das Geschenk" is still Akkusativ and hence the thing given.

So, this means that word order is irrelevant in German? No! It just means that a different word order will not change the "base meaning" of a sentence. The word order is used to give special emphasis to certain parts. These parts are usually at the very end or at the begin. Here is an example:

Ich gehe nach der Arbeit gerne mit Freunden ins Kino.

This is a "neutral" word order and simply states the fact: after work I like to go to the movies with friends. Now consider this:

Mit Freunden gehe ich nach der Arbeit gerne ins Kino.

This puts emphasis on "mit Freunden" and "ins Kino". The basic meaning is still the same but with a connotation of "with other people (non-friends) I won't enjoy watching a movie as much". For instance, this could be part of of the following dialogue:

Q: Du gehst doch nach der Arbeit gern ins Kino, willst Du mit mir gehen?
A: Mit Freunden gehe ich nach der Arbeit gerne ins Kino, mit dir hingegen nicht, denn du bist kein Freund.

You can do this similarly with the other parts too (e.g. putting "nach der Arbeit" in front will emphasize the fact that work has to be finished first and only then watching a movie is appropriate, etc.) in a similar way. German speakers do that all the time.

There are a few rules, too complicated to exhaustively explain them here, so just a few pointers:

  • However you twist the word order, the Verb has always to be in second place in main sentences, in last place in relative sentences and in first place in command- and some question-sentences.

  • Sooner or later you will come across the TeKaMoLo-"rule". It is not a "rule" at all, it is just a tool to create the "neutral" word order I started with. It also has a lot of exceptions and overall does IMHO more harm than help.

Coming to your own example:

ich vergesse dir heute immer wieder das Foto zu schicken

No, word order is most probably not correct. First, there needs to be a comma separating the main- from the relative sentence:

Ich vergesse, dir heute immer wieder das Foto zu schicken.

This is grammatically correct, but perhaps not what you meant: you forget about something. This something is the content of the relative sentence and it is:

dir heute immer wieder das Foto zu schicken.

So, what you forget to do is to repeatedly send the picture today. Perhaps this is not what you meant. Most probably you meant that you repeatedly forget to send the picture, no? Hence:

Ich vergesse immer wieder, dir heute das Foto zu schicken.

The difference is that "immer wieder" is now part of the main sentence, not the relative sentence.

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