V2 word order

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In syntax, verb-second (V2) word order is the rule in some languages that the second constituent of declarative main clauses is always a verb, while this is not necessarily the case in other types of clauses.

V2 effect

The V2 effect is clearly demonstrated in the following Dutch sentences:

It may seem that the verb is in the third position in the last sentence, but it is the second constituent; the first constituent is "dit boek" (this book). The word "dit" is a proclitic in this phrase and lacks prosodic independence.

Note the contrast with the following embedded clauses:

Similar examples can be given for German.

The usual analysis of the Dutch (and German) V2 phenomenon is that the "normal" position of the verb is at the end of the clause (SOV) and that in main clauses, the inflected verb moves to the second position. This is supported by the fact that in sentences with verb clusters, only the auxiliary appears in the second position:

In German these phrases have different word orders for the auxiliaries, that closely resemble the SOV word order (auxiliaries following the main verb). Presented below for contrast with the Dutch above.

Note that the last example would normally be perceived as too awkward and be replaced with the straightforward "Ich wollte dieses Buch lesen k├Ânnen", unless the speaker wants to emphasize tense.


V2 word order is primarily associated with Germanic languages. (Modern English is a...
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