Now, Afrikaans word order is a bit tricky. Surprisingly, if you throw 17th-century Dutch, French, English, Khoi, San, Zulu, German, Portuguese, Indonesian, and a few other languages together, the result can get pretty confusing.
On the other hand, perhaps it's not so surprising after all.
Ordinary Word Order
Normally, a sentence follows the Sv1
I (pronounced "Stompie") rule.S: Subjectv1: Verb 1T: TimeO: ObjectM: MannerP: Placev2: Verb 2I: Infinitive
[If it is a negative sentence, you need to add the double-nie, and the word order becomes:
. “nie” comes after verb 1 and at the very end.
NB: Because "nie" comes after verb 1, this means that if you have only one verb, you also have only one "nie". E.g.: Die hond blaf nie
E.g.: Die man sal môre sy groente vinnig mark toe neem. S v1 T O M P v2
(There is no infinitive in the above example.)
[Die man sal nie môre sy groente vinnig mark toe neem nie
However, you can start the sentence with anything else (except the object). The only difference is that verb 1 comes next. [The first “nie” will now be after the subject.]
E.g.: Môre sal die man sy groente vinnig mark toe neem.T v1 S O M P v2
[Môre sal die man nie sy groente vinnig mark toe neem nie
Word Order after Dat, Omdat & Of
But the word order changes after the words “dat” (that), “omdat” (because) and “of” (if/whether – NOT “or”).
What happens here is that the verbs go to the end of the sentence, with the helping verb coming before the main verb.
[Remember that “het”, the past tense indicator, is “verb 1”. It goes to the very end.]
met hom trou
→ Hy vra haar of sy met hom wil trou
Kaap toe. → Ek weet dat hulle Kaap toe ry
gister gaan werk
. → Hy sê dat hy gister gaan werk het
Die Lydende Vorm (The Passive Voice)
The fun comes in when you decide to start the sentence with the object. In this case, the word order goes topsy-turvy – but don't worry, it changes according to a rule:Object
nie (if necessary)TimeMannerPlace
ge- (if necessary)Verb
word (only in toekomstige tyd)
nie (if necessary)
E.g.: Jan soek vanoggend die bal onder die bed.S verb T O PDie bal
word vanoggend onder die bed
word T P
Translations of the sentences used above:
Die hond blaf nie. The dog does not bark.
Die man sal môre sy groente vinnig mark toe neem. Die man will quickly take his vegetables to market tomorrow.
Die man sal nie môre sy groente vinnig mark toe neem nie. The man will not quickly take his vegetables to market tomorrow.
Sy wil met hom trou. She wants to marry him.
Hy vra haar of sy met hom wil trou. He asks her if she wants to marry him.
Hulle ry Kaap toe. They drive to the Cape.
Ek weet dat hulle Kaap toe ry. I know that they are driving to / drive to the Cape.
Hy het gister gaan werk. He went and worked yesterday.
Hy sê dat hy gister gaan werk het. He says that he went and worked yesterday.