Dependent Clauses in German Grammar

Introduction

Dependent clauses, also known as subordinate clauses or Nebesätze in German cannot stand alone as sentences – they always depend on an independent or main clause. Dependent and independent clauses are separated by a comma. Pay attention to the word of dependent clauses – the finite or conjugated verb comes at the end of the clause.

Example:
Ich weiß nicht, ob er dir hilft.I don’t know if he’ll help you.

When a dependent clause comes before a main clause, the main clause begins with the finite verb.

Example:
Ob er dir hilft, weiß ich nicht.Whether he’ll help you, I don’t know.

In the following pages you will find in-depth explanations of the different kinds of dependent clauses in German grammar. Simply click in one of the links below to find out more. There are exercises at the end of each lesson so you can practice what you have learnt.