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Basic patterns in German language

Comma placement in German

The German language is more strict with comma placement then English. In German commas are not determined by where the writer might pause if he was speaking.Commas are placed directly by their grammatical use.


  • Parts of a list are separated by a comma, this parts can be words, phrases and subordinate clauses.
  • But there is no comma in front of "und" (English: and) , "oder" (English: or), "sowohl ... als auch", "sowie" (English: as well as)  und "weder .. noch" (English: neighter .. nor).
  • A comma is in front of "aber" (English: but), "jedoch" (English: however) und "sondern".
  • In numerical expressions German uses a comma where English uses a decimal point.
  • A comma is in front of subordinate clauses:
Subordinate clauses can be recognized by
  • Conjunctions ("als", "bevor", "nachdem", "während", "weil", "da", "obwohl", "wenn", "dass", "damit", "indem" and "ob")
  • Question words within a sentence ("wann", "wo", "warum", "wozu", "wie", "wer", "was", "wobei", "wohingegen"and "worauf")
  • the use of a relative pronoun.
 The grammatical placement for commas in subordinate clauses in German is 
  • at the beginning: main clause is before the subordinate clause.
  • at the end: main clause is following the subortinate clause
  • at both the beginning and the end of a relative clause: the subordinate clause is between two sentenses.


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