Word order in lesson 9.8



One of the phrases is

“Können Sie mir bitte sagen wie ich dort hinkomme?” meaning

Can you please tell me how I get there?” (formal).

Just wondering, why isn't the verb in the second clause in 2nd place, as normal?

i.e. why isn't it 

“Können Sie mir bitte sagen wie komme ich dorthin?”



I think the answer to this is that wie ich dort hinkomme? is a subordinate clause and the verb is always kicked to the end in subordinate clauses. The main clause being Können Sie mir bitte sagen. The subordinate clause is incomplete and depends on the main clause.


Perhaps the tutor could tell us if there is a missing comma after sagen,  normally subclauses are separated from main clauses by a comma.



Thanks, but the lesson has a list of subordinating conjunctions and wie is not included.

These are weil, wenn, als, ob, dass, bis, während, nachdem.

I suppose I'm asking whether the second clause is subordinate, or are equal in hierarchy.

It's probably different to the straightforward case of direct versus indirect speech though, e.g.

 Ich habe gefragt/gesagt: “Wie komme ich dorthin”, (direct speech) or (indirect speech):

  1. Ich habe gefragt wie ich dort hinkomme.
  2. Ich habe gefragt wie komme ich dorthin.

The second does sound wrong when fragen is used. But is it the same as when you ask a question using sagen, as in the original?

OK, now I'm confused! :)

We probably need tutor input on this one!



You are right, it's an indirect question, but I think the verb still gets kicked to the end.

I put it into Duden's grammar checker and it did flag up a missing comma.


Hopefully the tutor will clarify. This is another phrase that I didn't question when I originally went through the lesson.



Guten Tag Peter--252- und sfpugh!


Thank you for your question. 

You're right, it is an indirect question and a subordinate clause. The general word order rule for indirect questions is question word + subject + object + verb so we have to place the verb "hinkomme" at the end of the sentence. There should also be a comma after “sagen” and I will pass this on to get added in the lesson. Our apologies for any confusion that it might have caused you. 

A few other examples of indirect questions are:

“Ich möchte wissen, wie ich dort hinkomme.“ - “I would like to know how I get there.“

“Können Sie mir bitte sagen, wo das Restaurant ist?” - "“Can you please tell me where the restaurant is?” (formal)

Please note, that there is no comma when using wie for comparisons, e.g.

“Ich bin so stark wie du.” - “I am as strong as you are.“


I hope this helps.






Thanks for clarifying that Julia




Thanks Julia & Simon.

I think my confusion was that I wasn't sure that it was a subordinate clause, but looking now with fresh eyes, it clearly is!


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