Position of subject in main and subordinate clauses


The subject in main clauses

A German sentence or main clause often starts with the subject, followed by the finite verb:

Subject                               Finite verb              Object or other elements
Ich                                       gehe                        heute Abend ins Kino.
Peter                                   fährt                         meistens mit dem Auto zur Arbeit

Subject–verb inversion

However, another element such as an expression of time or place can come at the beginning of a sentence. In this case the subject moves from its first position and goes directly after the finite verb.

First element              Finite verb                Subject          Object and other elements
Heute Abend              gehe                            ich                  ins Kino.
Zur Arbeit                    fährt                            Peter               immer mit dem Auto.


The subject in subordinate clauses
Note that in subordinate clauses the subject usually comes directly after the conjunction: Ich hoffe, dass ich im Sommer nach Frankreich fahren kann.
I hope that I can travel to France this summer.
Sie trank noch ein Bier, weil sie großen Durst hatte.
She drank another beer because she was very thirsty.