German is a V2 language, i.e., a declarative clause has the finite verb in the position immediately after the first constituent. Traditionally, this order is derived by raising the verb to C and putting a single constituent into the so-called pre-field. Arguably, there are three options to fill the first position: (i) topicalization (A’-movement), (ii) formal movement, which raises the highest constituent in the ongoing derivation (A-movement), or (iii) merging a constituent which is only legitimate there (base-generation). Theoretically, any major constituent can occupy the pre-field. However, it has been observed that certain expressions cannot appear there. In its narrower focus, the paper argues that there are more pre-field-phobic expressions than standardly assumed, and that these expressions, although at first glance heterogeneous, fall into two classes. One can be defined structurally and is considered in the second part of this paper; the other class can be captured in terms of meaning and comprises a specific type of expressive adverbial (discussed in the first and main part). The paper’s message in a broader sense is that syntax restricts the occurrence of expressive expressions. It is shown that the sentence-initial position in German does not allow material which is exclusively use-conditional in the sense of expressive meaning.