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Word Order (Part 3): Subordinate Clauses


I. Theory

A subordinate clause is a sentence fragment that depends on a main clause and thus cannot stand alone. In German, these clauses have a specific word order in which the conjugated (main) verb is moved to the end of the clause.

Mein Kollege war heute nicht im Büro (main clause), weil er krank ist (subordinate clause).
My colleague wasn’t in the office today because he is ill.


Weil er krank ist (subordinate clause), war mein Kollege heute nicht im Büro (main clause).
Because he is ill, my colleague wasn’t into the office today.

Ich glaube (main clause), dass sie wegen des Sturms nicht zum Fest gekommen ist (subordinate clause).
I believe that she didn’t come to the party due to the storm.

Obwohl er für eine Geschäftsreise nach Frankfurt fliegen muss (subordinate clause), wird er am Freitag zurück sein (main clause).
Although he has to fly to Frankfurt for a business trip, he will be back on Friday.

II. Multiple Verbs in the Subordinate Clause

If the subordinate clause has both a conjugated verb as well as an infinitive, both verbs are found at the end of the sentence with the infinitive preceding the conjugated verb.

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