Subordinate clauses - starting a sentence

The subordinate clause is the name of the part of the sentence which contains the subordinating conjunction. Sometimes, you can start the sentence with it – it may even sound better – but this changes the word order.

Look at these examples:

Damit ich abnehmen kann, treibe ich viel Sport. Weil ich den Film schon gesehen habe, will ich nicht ins Kino gehen.
  • The subordinate clause is in the box.
  • It is the first idea in the sentence.
  • In normal German word order, the main verb has to be the second idea in the sentence.
  • This is underlined.
  • The subject of the verb follows it.

So you always have the pattern verb, verb in the middle of the sentence.

Here is another example:

Wenn ich älter bin, möchte ich viel reisen When I am older, I would like to travel a lot.

Now have a go yourself. Rewrite these sentences so that they begin with the subordinate clause.

Remember - verb, verb

  • Ich war fix und fertig, als ich nach Hause kam. – I was exhausted when I got home.
  • Ich singe immer, während ich mich dusche. – I always sing while I'm having a shower.
  • Ich sehe gern fern, obwohl einige Sendungen doof sind. – I like watching TV, although some programmes are silly.
  • Wir gehen in die Oberstufe, weil wir Abitur machen wollen. – We are going into the sixth form because we want to do A levels.
  • Als ich nach Hause kam, war ich fix und fertig. – When I got home, I was exhausted.
  • Während ich mich dusche, singe ich immer. – While I'm having a shower, I always sing.
  • Obwohl einige Sendungen doof sind, sehe ich gern fern. – Although some programmes are silly, I like watching TV.
  • Weil wir Abitur machen wollen, gehen wir in die Oberstufe. – Because we want to do A levels, we are going into the sixth form.
Morgenstund hat Gold im Mund - The early bird catches the worm (literally: the morning hour has gold in its mouth.deutsches Sprichwort – German proverb

Did you know?

Work-life balance is very important in Germany. Many offices and call centres in Germany open as early as 7am in order to let staff finish by about 2pm and enjoy their free time.

This means that generally Germans tend to go to bed earlier than their British counterparts. As a result, it is considered rude to phone Germans after about 21:00, as they will be slowly winding down to get ready for bed.

Of course, not every German goes to bed early. The after-effects of a late night coupled with an early start might mean that they sometimes feel quite tired. The usual way of expressing this is ich bin müde. But ich bin fix und fertig or ich bin K.O. are both more idiomatic ways of saying that you're exhausted.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel yawns after giving a government declaration during a meeting of the Bundestag, the German federal parliament, on June 4, 2014 in Berlin, Germany.
K.O. comes from the English boxing term – knocked out