Where could one find coherent and more or less complete description of the word order in a French sentence?

E.g., German grammars routinely cover tekamolo and/or similar rules regulating the order of objects in a sentence (time, cause, manner, location). Grammars for inflected languages with flexible word order, such as Latin, spend equally much time on treating different types of objects.

French grammars however seem rather limited in this respect. Sure, they cover basic subject-verb-object order, and spend significant amount of time on position of COD and COI pronouns. But the information about other complements is scattered and patchy, seemingly relying on learner's intuition. Same is with the position of the adverbs.

Grammars covering this topic or reasons why such details are unnecessary will be appreciated.

1 Answer 1


I This covers the adverb but possibly not the complements other than COD and COI.

Here is a grammar (ref.) that is accessible on line and that provides apparently an in depth treatment of many topics on the subject of word order (those collected below, for most of them, are made salient in the table of contents). I discovered it only yesterday and it is the mere perusal of its pages that makes me think it contains much information on the question of word order. It should be worth checking.

1/ L'épithète adjectivale - la place de l'épithète http://www.gabrielwyler.com/page028.htm
2/ Le groupe adverbial - la place de l'adverbe http://www.gabrielwyler.com/page072.htm
3/ Compléments aprépositionnels - la place de l'objet direct http://www.gabrielwyler.com/page117.htm
4/ Dissimilitude - la place de l'objet direct et de l'objet indirect
5/ Le syntagme prépositionnel - la place de la préposition http://www.gabrielwyler.com/page268.htm
6/ La négation verbale - conégateurs - la place des conégateurs http://www.gabrielwyler.com/page386.htm
7/ La relativation - la place de la subordonnée relative http://www.gabrielwyler.com/page623.htm
8/ L'ordre de l'antécédent et du pronom personnel http://www.gabrielwyler.com/page204.htm
9/ L'ordre des mots dans le groupe verbal - renvois http://www.gabrielwyler.com/page126.htm

Other topics concerning word order might figure in that manuel; have been examined in the table only the entries in which figure the words "place" and "ordre".

Another reference that is helpful on this subject is the following: https://archive.org/details/LeBonUsagefrenchpdf.com. The topics concerning order are not the subject of titles in the table of contents nor organised along the same line as in a conventional grammar but there is much information to be gleaned as one can see from the index that the topic "place" is often associated to the terms treated (
- pronom relatif 704-726 ♦ place 710,
- Tout […] 6° Pronom 766 ♦ place de ~ objet dir.3 00 d 2° et R8 ♦ place de ~ par rapport à un pron. pers. devant inf. 684 a,
- verbe 676-952; […] 6° ~ comme fonction (= prédicat), 227 RI, 238-240 ♦ place 240 et H
- Vieux: place comme épithète 326 a
-Y (pronom) 675-680 […] ♦ place 682-684

Note: The link for No 4 does not work (the apostrophe is disabling it, most certainly); it is necessary to copy it to the end of the line (that is copy it and add "'objetdirectetdel'objetindirect" to it, then use that in the url field of the browser).

II From the following grammar the place of the complements other than COD an COI ("compléments circonstanciels") is more or less freely chosen, therefore there would not be much to worry about. The grammar: http://research.jyu.fi/grfle/506.html.

Here is another source telling us that the "complément circonstanciel" can be place anywhere, at the beginning, in the middle or at the end.

  • Thank you! This is the kind of information that I was looking for.
    – Roger V.
    Feb 4, 2020 at 8:57

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