What do you think of when you hear “TeKaMoLo”? Does it sound like an ice cream flavor? Or maybe the latest vacuum cleaner model? You are almost right - it’s a German grammar rule
But what does it mean? It refers to the order of additional information in a German sentence. First, let’s have a look at a “normal” sentence without any additional information
- Ich (subject) gehe (verb) zum Supermarkt (object).
But, what about this sentence? Ich bin heute wegen meines Hungers mit dem Auto zur Pizzeria gefahren. This sentence is quite different. It contains TEMPORAL (heute), CAUSAL (wegen meines Hungers), MODAL (mit dem Auto) and LOCAL (zur Pizzeria) information.
In a German sentence, exactly that’s the order of the information:
- TEmporal (when?)
- KAusal (why?)
- MOdal (how?)
- LOkal (where?)
If you want to, you can change this order in order to highlight one specific information. But the local information comes always at the end of a sentence.
Here is an example:
Wegen meines Hungers (highlighted causal information) bin ich gestern mit dem Auto zum Restaurant gefahren.
Ich bin wegen meines Hungers (highlighted causal information) gestern mit dem Auto zum Restaurant gefahren.
But be careful: TeKaMoLo doesn’t change the “standard word order”. That means, that the verb is always at the second position or (if you have an auxiliary or modal verb) at the end.
Have a look at the first two letters of each word. Yeah, you got it! TeKaMoLo is not an exotic dish, buuuuuut an easy way to remember the German sentence structure!
Do you have any questions about it?