Monday, April 21, 2008


TMP stands for Time Manner Place. The prepositonal phrase "in the morning" functions as an adverb of time; the prepositional phrase "by car" functions as an adverb of manner and "to my cottage" functions as an adverb of place.

In German the order of prepositions and adverbs is precise. Adverbs of time must come first followed by adverbs of manner and then adverbs of place. For example, "Ich fliege morgen mit Lufthansa nach Hamburg" means "I'm flying to Hamburg tomorrow with Lufthansa". The word-by-word translation of the German sentence is "I'm flying tomorrow with Lufthansa to Hamburg". In English this word order definitely sounds odd. In German, however, it is normal. Thus the two languages use a different word order here.

The German sentence "Ich fliege morgen mit Lufthansa nach Hamburg" uses the order Time Manner Place, also expressed as TMP. In English this is usually expressed with the order PTM. In the sentence "I'm flying to Hamburg tomorrow with Lufthansa " we have the prepositional phrase "to Hamburg" which expresses place, the adverb "tomorrow" which expresses time and the prepositional phrase "with Lufthansa" which expresses manner.

However, the English word order is not so rigid. It is also possible to say "I'm flying with Lufthansa to Hamburg tomorrow". This uses the word order MPT. The sentence "I'm flying to Hamburg with Lufthansa tomorrow" is also acceptable. This sentence uses the word order PMT.
In all of these sentences, we notice that adverbs of place precede adverbs of time.

If we put an adverb of time before an adverb of place, we have a sentence that sounds odd. For example, the sentences "I'm flying tomorrow to Hamburg with Lufthansa" and "I'm flying with Lufthansa tomorrow to Hamburg" are not used by native speakers of English. In the first example, the word order is TPM and in the second it is MTP. Thus it appears that adverbs of time cannot precede adverbs of place in English.

The word order used in English is the same as that used in French. The French equivalent of "I'm flying to Hamburg tomorrow with Lufthansa" is usually expressed as "Je vole a Hambourg demain avec Lufthansa". This is a PTM word order. However, "Je vole a Hambourg avec Lufthansa demain" is also possible. This sentence uses a PMT word order.

German adheres to a strict TMP word order in sentences such as "I'm flying to Hamburg tomorrow with Lufthansa". In English, the word order is not so strict. It is usually PTM but PMT is also common. The rule which must be followed in English is that adverbs of time precede adverbs of place. The word order used in English appears to be similar to that of other Romance languages such as French.

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