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Tekamolo - How To Structure German Sentences

Updated: Jan 22

German students often wonder how to structure the middle part of German sentences with several adverbs or additional information. In the past, students were taught to follow time-manner-place, but this formula does not capture all adverbs. So ingenious German teachers came up with the abbreviation “tekamolo”, which we will explain in this blog post.

So What Does Tekamolo Stand For?

“Tekamolo” represents the position of adverbs in a German sentence and stands for temporal (time), kausal (reason), modal (manner), lokal (place). I find the question words associated with those adverbs more helpful. They are wann (when), warum (why), wie (how), wo (where)?

Examples of Tekamolo in German

Let’s apply "tekamolo" to a few sentences now to see how it plays out. Please note that English sentences do not usually have as many information in them, so the translations may sound very clunky.

Ich bin gestern wegen des schönen Wetters zu Fuß zu Hampstead Heath gegangen.

(Yesterday, I walked by foot to Hampstead Heath because of the nice weather)

Sie geht jedes Wochenende wegen ihrer Tanzleidenschaft mit Freunden in verschiedene Clubs.

(She goes with friends to clubs every weekend because of her passion for dancing)

Er fährt oft wegen Verspätungen der U-Bahn mit einem Taxi zu einem Kunden

(He often takes a taxi to go to clients due to delays on the underground)

As you see from the above, time comes before the reason, then followed by the manner and ends on the spatial information.

Of course, you don’t always need to have that many different pieces of information in one sentence. Then you simply skip the other bits. Also for reasons of emphasis, you might want to put the time, location or any other piece of information at the start. The only absolutely strict rule is that the time cannot come after the location.

Whenever you have several words that belong to either time or location, use the following order:

Temporal information (from general to specific or big to small)

Ihr seid vor 10 Jahren im September an einem Samstag in London angekommen.

Spatial information (from specific to general or small to big)

Wir fahren zu unserer Familie auf das Land im Westen von Deutschland.



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