The main sentence is a sentence which is grammatically complete and contains complete information. In most cases, the main sentence consists of the subject, the predicate, the object (see the sentence members). It is extremely easy to see the main sentence that the finite verb is almost always in the second place, and rarely in the first – namely, in the case of commands, yes / no questions, and when the subordinate sentence is in front of the main sentence. Since the main set is grammatically complete, it is not dependent on any set. This is different in the case of subsidiary clauses – secondary clauses are subordinated to the main clauses (see the sentence structure).
Characteristics of the main set
Subject Predicate Object)
In order to understand what is a principal sentence and why the main one differs from the subordinate clause, it is important to look at how the main clause is structured in principle, ie what parts it consists of and why it can stand alone and is therefore independent. This makes it possible to identify differences from the subordinate clause.
A main sentence is a sentence that is grammatically complete. Such a sentence can therefore stand alone and consists mostly of subject, predicate, and object. In addition, the finite verb is in second place, and only in a few cases, namely, in commands and yes / no questions. A simple example:
The above example consists of two clauses: a subject and a predicate. A sentence must always consist of these two clauses, otherwise it is not a sentence, but a word, a group of words, or an exclamation (cf. interjection). This is also called the sentence minimum or complementary sentence.
This sentence is complete, which means that it could stand alone, but as a rule there is still an object. The object is also referred to as a sentence supplement because it completes the minimum sentence consisting of subject and predicate.
Jonathan reads a book.
The above example is now a set consisting of three clauses: the subject, the predicate, and the object. We note, therefore, that the main sentence always consists of subject and predicate, and, in most cases, of subject, predicate, and object.
Notes! A main sentence is made up of at least one subject and one predicate. This is the least of what it can consist of. An object is usually added. Of course, other members are also possible.
Completely and independently
As already described, main sets can always stand alone, as they are grammatically independent and contain complete information. This means that they do not need a supplementary sentence.
This is obvious in a direct comparison to a subordinate clause, since the latter does not work alone and is therefore always accompanied by a main clause. Here is a simple example:
HS: Jonathan reads a book,
+ because (conjunction)
NS: he can not sleep.
The above sentence consists of a main clause and a sub clause. The sentences were connected here by means of a conjunction. Such a conjunction is also referred to as a link word, since it combines individual words, word groups, or even sentences.
The subordinate theorem is grammatically complete in this case, since it also contains a subject and a predicate – that is, the absolute sentence minimum – but can not convince the content because it does not provide complete information. The subset because it can not sleep is incomplete without a main sentence and only with this meaningful.
Notes! The main clause is grammatically independent, so it consists in each case of a subject and a predicate, providing complete information. For these reasons, he does not have to be supplemented by any further sentence units, that is, neither further main nor minor sentences.
Notes! In one main sentence, the finite verb, which is part of the predicate, is almost always in the second place. Only in a few cases is it in the first position. In finite sentences the finite verb is usually in the last place. This makes it possible to distinguish main and secondary sentences very easily.
Special case: main record fragment
Some grammars define the main sentence as the part of the sentence that remains after the subordinate sentences are subtracted. If there is no subordinate clause, this is not problematic. The set must, if it meets all the other criteria, be a principal set. If there are minor kits that can be dropped, however, a main record fragment may arise.
The main sentence fragment is a sentence unit, which remains after the deduction of all secondary sentences, but can not stand alone and can be used independently. An example:
NS: what was meant by this assertion.
In the above example, a main set and a subordinate set seem to be found. If we leave the subordinate clause away, it is noticeable that the rest is grammatically correct, since it consists of subject and predicate, but can not function independently.
This difficulty arises when the subordinate clause becomes the object of the main clause. One speaks here of object etching, that is, of sentences which have the function of an object in the superordinate principal set. Such objects are quite common in German.
Note: The main records, which are accompanied by a subordinate clause, which assumes the function of the object, are called principal record fragments because they can not stand alone. This distinction often plays no role in teaching German. It is only a matter of the fact that the statement that main sets can stand alone is sometimes wobbly. Therefore, in case of doubt, it should be examined whether it is perhaps a main sentence fragment.
Short overview: The most important overview
The main sentence is a sentence which is grammatically complete and contains complete information. A main sentence always consists of a subject and a predicate. This is called sentence minimum. Often an object belongs to it. Other members are, of course, possible.
Principals can always stand alone, as they are grammatically independent and contain complete information. This means that they do not need a supplementary sentence. An exception is the main record fragment – this can not stand alone.
The finite verb, which is always part of the predicate, is in the main sentence at position 1 or 2. In the subordinate clause it is always in the last position. This makes it easy to distinguish between main and secondary sentences.