Saksan sanajärjestys: Subjekti - verbi - subjekti - objekti (SVO) vs. verbi - subjekti - objekti (VSO).

Understanding the nuances of word order in German can be challenging for learners, particularly when comparing Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) and Verb-Subject-Object (VSO) structures. Let’s look into these two fundamental word orders in the German language and explore how they function with examples.


Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) Structure

In the Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) word order, the subject typically precedes the verb, and the object follows the verb. This structure is common in many languages, including English. In German, sentences following this pattern are straightforward and relatively easy to understand for English speakers.



  1. Englanniksi: Maria reads a book. German: Maria liest ein Buch.

Tässä esimerkissä, “Maria” is the subject, “liest” is the verb, and “ein Buch” is the object. The order mirrors that of the English sentence.


Verb-Subject-Object (VSO) Structure

Contrastingly, the Verb-Subject-Object (VSO) word order is less common in languages like English but is prevalent in German, especially in subordinate clauses and questions. In VSO sentences, the verb appears before the subject, followed by the object.



  1. Englanniksi: Is Maria reading a book? German: Liest Maria ein Buch?

Tässä esimerkissä, “liest” (reading) is the verb, “Maria” is the subject, and “ein Buch” is the object. Notice how the verb precedes the subject, unlike in SVO structures.


Factors Influencing Word Order

Several factors influence word order in German, including emphasis, context, and sentence type. While the basic SVO pattern is common, VSO structures are used in questions, commands, and subordinate clauses.