Read Behaghel's laws (Wikipedia)

Behaghel’s Laws describe the basic principles of the position of words and phrases in a sentence. They were formulated by the linguist Otto Behaghel in the last volume of his four volume work Deutsche Syntax: Eine geschichtliche Darstellung (published 1923-1932).

They include the following cross-language principles:

  1. Elements that belong close together intellectually will also be placed close together (Behaghel’s First Law)
  2. That which is less important (or already known to the listener) is placed before that which is important. (Behaghel’s Second Law)
  3. The distinguishing phrase precedes that which is distinguished.
  4. Given two phrases, when possible, the shorter precedes the longer. (Law of Increasing Terms (or Constituents))

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Chris Aldrich

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