On word order

“Ist es draussen kalt?” is correct but can I also say “Ist es kalt draussen?” or am I being a typical English speaker and translating verbatim? What is the rule with having the “kalt” after “draussen”?
Many thanks!


(originally asked by Lisa at http://www.german-is-easy.com)

One comment on “On word order

  1. Both are perfectly fine. I honestly can’t tell a difference and the second version does not sound any less German than the other.
    BUT: there would be a slight difference for the statement.

    Es ist draussen kalt.
    Es ist kalt draussen.

    The latter is the better (by far). The former is not the default. Why not? Because Germans like their place info ALAP (as late as possible). So putting it in front of “kalt” shines a spotlight on “draussen” and the listener might infer that the speaker intends to make a contradiction between “draussen” and its opposite “innen”. So it sounds a bit like:

    Es ist draussen kalt, aber drin nicht.
    Outside, it’s cold, but not inside.

    This certainly also depends on how it is said and sometimes a speaker might just accidentally say the draussen first without wanting to express the contradiction…. so bottom line… they are both fin.

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