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German Language/Where to place "wohl" in a sentence


Thank you so much for your helpful answers through All Experts. I have a question about where to place the word "wohl" in a sentence. I can't seem to quite catch it.

For example, I believe one would say: Ich werde wohl nach Hause gehen. I don't think one would say:  Ich werde nach Hause wohl gehen.

But I don't know whether one should say, Maria wird wohl für ihren Bruder dieses Wochenende arbeiten. or Maria wird für ihren Bruder dieses Wochenende wohl arbeiten. Are both correct, but with different meanings? Somehow the first sentence seems better, but I don't know.

I am hoping that there is a grammatical rule that can help me.

Thanks again!

Hi Sally,

for an overview of German word order, maybe try
That site seems to be very comprehensive!

Now, regarding your sentence, I'd actually change the basic word order to
Maria wird dieses Wochenende für ihren Bruder arbeiten.

You could add the wohl in two places, resulting in three different meanings:

Maria wird wohl dieses Wochenende für ihren Bruder arbeiten. (Probably this coming one but possibly a different weekend instead?)

Maria wird dieses Wochenende wohl für ihren Bruder arbeiten. (Or she's going to work for her sister or she's going to do something else instead.)

It seems to be the phrase following the wohl that is shown as not quite certain. In the first sentence  that is very clear.
In the second sentence, the would might refer to just the brother (could be the sister?) *or* to the act of working for anybody at all (could be staying at home watching Law and Order reruns).

Even though it would be much more logical, you cannot say Sie wird für ihn wohl arbeiten.
Now, why that would be so is unclear to me. I've looked at similar structures and it's the same there:
You can absolutely say  
Maria wird wohl am Wochenende ihrem Bruder helfen.
Maria wird am Wochenende wohl ihrem Bruder helfen.

But this, again, is incorrect: *Maria wird am Wochenende ihrem Bruder wohl helfen.  

And yet, these are all correct:
Es wird morgen in Hamburg regnen.
Es wird wohl morgen in Hamburg regnen. (or maybe the day after)
Es wird morgen wohl in Hamburg regnen. (or maybe in Lübeck)
Es wird morgen in Hamburg wohl regnen. (or be foggy)

I have no idea why the Bruder sentence is so obstinate. :-)

I'm sorry I can't figure that one out for you. It's just one of these things, I suppose - no real rules, just a feeling of things not sounding quite right!

Best regards from Hamburg, where it will probably rain *and* be foggy tomorrow,

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Cornelia Neumann


I can answer questions regarding grammar and style, as well as many questions about German culture, history, and literature.


I am native speaker with a German degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language and German. I lived and worked in the USA for seven years (taught high school and all college levels) and spent three years as a high school teacher of German and EFL at an international school in Mexico. In 2006 I returned to Germany, where I am currently working as a teacher in Hamburg.

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