German word order – time, manner, place

Quick tips, rather than long-winded lessons, that can be used when on the go.

Saying just a basic sentence in German can be a nightmare! The words awkwardly roll off your tongue and even though you know that you have to shift one of the words to the start of the sentence instead of saying it at the end, your brain just won’t let it happen. Gah! How does this ever get any easier!?

We all know that practice makes perfect, but we need to know how to practice in the first place. I am sharing a few of my best German language tips that I still use today after learning and speaking German for nearly 20 years!

I ensure to repeat the ‘time, manner, place’ rule in my head – especially when writing long sentences. There’s no shame in taking a few seconds (or minutes) to think about what you’re saying or writing in order to ensure you do it correctly. German word order is as follows:

1) Time = when / how often
2) Manner = how / who with
3) Place = where / where to

EN: I’m going to the cinema with my mother tomorrow.
DE: Morgen gehe ich mit meiner Mutter ins Kino.

1) Time (morgen/ tomorrow)
2) Manner
(mit meiner Mutter/ with my mother)
3) Place
(ins Kino/ to the cinema)

This may initially sound a bit complicated, but if you can even just remember to keep the time at the start of the sentence, you’re already one third of the way there!

So there you have it! Just repeat, ‘time, manner, place’, ‘time, manner, place’, ‘time, manner, place’ and once you start using this regularly, you’ll realise that the words slip into the right order in no time!

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