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DracusNarcrym

ConstantineGreece

94913 XP
958
1493#51587
12652#35858.

Learning German from English

Level 25 · 87928 XP
57928 XP beyond level 25

Tree: L0
5610005228
58.5% complete · 280 sessions to L1 Tree

Crowns: 433/826
52% complete · 393 crowns to go

Skills: 81/137+2
60% complete

Lessons: 394/674+4
58.5% complete

Lexemes: 2774/4450+30
You discovered 62% of available words/lexemes

Strength: 64%
283351655

Created: 2018-07-13
Last Goal: 2022-12-02
Daily Goal: 50 XP
Timezone: UTC+2

Last update: 2022-11-17 04:10:12 GMT+3


405760998

XP per Skill (4 weeks)raw

Basics 1
 
Family
 
Basics 2
 
Greetings
 
Restaurant
 
Places
 
Jobs
 
Hobbies
 
Directions
 
Questions
 
Market
 
Weather
 
Family 2
 
Languages
 
Leisure
 
Plans
 
Apartment
 
Shopping
 
Travel
 
Dining Out
 
Transport
 
Birthday
 
Hobbies 2
 
Health
 
People
 
Events
 
Habits
 
Housing
 
Hotel
 
Family 3
 
Food
 
Plans 2
 
Travel 2
 
New Job
 
Habits 2
 
Packing
 
Groceries
 
Birthday 2
 
Roommate
 
On Break
 
Barbecue
 
Community
 
Plans 3
 
Party
 
Free Time
 
Errands
 
Opinions
 
Excuses
 
Moving
 
Food 2
 
Holidays
 
New Home
 
Long Day
 
Weekend
 
Wedding
 
Vacation
 
Routines
 
Pets
 
Gossip
 
Passport
 
College
 
Concert
 
Family 4
 
Dreams
 
Shopping 2
 
Health 2
 
Childhood
 
Party 2
 
Favors
 
Jobs 2
 
Take-Out
 
Gossip 2
 
Feelings
 
Dorm
 
Travel 3
 
Habits 3
 
School
 
Coworkers
 
Neighbors
 
Movies
 
Germany
 
Date
 
Bad Luck
 
Dinner
 
Wardrobe
 
Friends
 
Shopping 3
 
Opinions 2
 
Family 5
 
Vacation 2
 
Carnival
 
Health 3
 
Travel 4
 
Roommate 2
 
Repairs
 
Farm
 
People 2
 
Banking
 
University
 
Memories
 
Shopping 4
 
Vienna
 
Cooking
 
Fairy Tale
 
Oh No!
 
Telephone
 
Worst Job
 
Technology
 
Health 4
 
Asparagus
 
School 2
 
Baltic Sea
 
Literature
 
Market 2
 
Basement
 
Café
 
Berlin Zoo
 
Dogs
 
New Year
 
Luggage
 
Road Trip
 
Family 6
 
Dining 2
 
Wishes
 
School 3
 
Trivia
 
Shopping 5
 
News
 
Cheating
 
Opinions 3
 
Government
 
Media
 
News 2
 
Soccer
 
Jobs 3
 
Homesick
 
Reunion
 
Idioms and Proverbs
 
Flirting
 



Skills by StrengthCrownsDateNameOriginal Order

  • 153143729913.07.2018 •••   6.186Basics 153 @ 100% // 0.947 1218/18
    Kaffee · Milch · Tee · Wasser · a · bin · bist · bitte · brot · danke · du · ein · eine · er · es · frau · hallo · ich · ist · junge · kind · mann · mädchen · o · und · wasser
    26 words

    Welcome to German :)

    Welcome to the German course! We will provide you with tips and notes throughout the course. However, be aware that these are optional. Only read them when you feel stuck, or when you are interested in the details. You can use the course without them.

    Often, it's best to just dive into the practice. See how it goes! You can always revisit the Notes section later on.

    Capitalizing nouns

    In German, all nouns are capitalized. For example, "my name" is mein Name, and "the apple" is der Apfel. This helps you identify which words are the nouns in a sentence.

    German genders are strange

    Nouns in German are either feminine, masculine or neuter. For example, Frau (woman) is feminine, Mann (man) is masculine, and Kind (child) is neuter.

    While some nouns (Frau, Mann, …) have natural gender like in English (a woman is female, a man is male), most nouns have grammatical gender (depends on word ending, or seemingly random).

    For example, Mädchen (girl) is neuter, because all words ending in -chen are neuter. Wasser (water) is neuter, but Cola is feminine, and Saft (juice) is masculine.

    It is important to learn every noun along with its gender because parts of German sentences change depending on the gender of their nouns.

    For now, just remember that the indefinite article (a/an) ein is used for masculine and neuter nouns, and eine is used for feminine nouns. Stay with us to find out how "cases" will later modify these.

    gender indefinite article
    masculine ein Mann
    neuter ein Mädchen
    feminine eine Frau

    Verb conjugations

    Conjugating regular verbs

    Verb conjugation in German is more complex than in English. To conjugate a regular verb in the present tense, identify the stem of the verb and add the ending corresponding to any of the grammatical persons, which you can simply memorize. For now, here are the singular forms:

    Example: trinken (to drink)

    English person ending German example
    I -e ich trinke
    you (singular informal) -st du trinkst
    he/she/it -t er/sie/es trinkt

    Conjugations of the verb sein (to be)

    Like in English, sein (to be) is completely irregular, and its conjugations simply need to be memorized. Again, you will learn the plural forms soon.

    English German
    I am ich bin
    you (singular informal) are du bist
    he/she/it is er/sie/es ist

    Umlauts

    Umlauts are letters (more specifically vowels) that have two dots above them and appear in some German words like Mädchen.

    Literally, "Umlaut" means "around the sound," because its function is to change how the vowel sounds.

    no umlaut umlaut
    a ä
    o ö
    u ü

    An umlaut change may change the meaning. That's why it's important not to ignore those little dots.

    If you can't type these, a workaround is to type "oe" instead of "ö", for example.

    No continuous aspect

    In German, there's no continuous aspect. There are no separate forms for "I drink" and "I am drinking". There's only one form: Ich trinke.

    There's no such thing as Ich bin trinke or Ich bin trinken!

    When translating into English, how can I tell whether to use the simple (I drink) or the continuous form (I am drinking)?

    Unless the context suggests otherwise, either form should be accepted.

  • 153175755116.07.2018 •••   6.246Family40 @ 100% // 0.960 2124/24
    Mutter · Schwester · Vater · bin · ein · eine · ich · mein · meine · vier
    10 words

    Modal verbs: Plural forms

    In the previous lesson, you learned the singular forms of some modal verbs:

    ich kann mag
    du kannst magst
    er/sie kann kann

    In the plural, these verbs have regular endings. They often use a different vowel than the singular forms:

    wir können mögen
    sie können mögen

    Infinitives, some plural forms

    In German, every verb has an infinitive form (similar to "to learn" in English). The first and third person plural are always the same:

    learn drive have
    infinitive lernen fahren haben
    wir lernen fahren haben
    sie lernen fahren haben

    Here is a revision of the singular forms:

    learn drive have
    ich lerne fahre habe
    du lernst fährst hast
    er/sie/es lernt fährt hat

    More pronouns

    Already known

    So far, you learned how to say "my, your, his, her":

    Engl. fem./pl. masc. Nom./neut. masc. Akk.
    my meine mein meinen
    your (sg.) deine dein deinen
    his/its seine sein seinen
    her/their ihre ihr ihren

    Remember that the endings are the same as for "ein" and "kein":

    Engl. fem./pl. masc. Nom./neut. masc. Akk.
    a(n) eine ein einen
    no keine kein keinen

    "Their" is the same as "her" in German, and "its" the same as "his".

    If you find these hard to remember, just keep practicing! Why not revisit some of the earlier skills, too?

    More plural pronouns

    In addition, you learn "our" and "your (plural)" here:

    Engl. fem./pl. masc. Nom./neut. masc. Akk.
    our unsere unser unseren
    your (pl.) eure euer euren
    their ihre ihr ihren

    Notice that "euer" loses an "e" when it gets a suffix.

    Again, instead of trying to memorize tables, it is best to just jump into practice, and use them until you get a feeling for them.

    Numbers: 1-12

    By now, you encountered the numbers from one to twelve:

    1 eins 7 sieben
    2 zwei 8 acht
    3 drei 9 neun
    4 vier 10 zehn
    5 fünf 11 elf
    6 sechs 12 zwölf

    Notice that they are very similar to the numbers in English.

    These numbers never change form, apart from number one. Eins is only used when nothing comes after it:

    • Um eins schwimme ich. (I swim at one.)
    • Um ein Uhr schwimme ich. (I swim at one o'clock).
    • Ich habe eine Tochter. (I have one daughter.)
  • 153143770013.07.2018 •••   6.186Basics 273 @ 100% // 0.927 3118/18
    Frau · Hund · Junge · Mann · ahne · der · die · frauen · ie · ihr · jung · jungen · kinder · männer · schön · seid · sie · sind · wir
    19 words

    German plurals are also strange :)

    In English, making plurals out of singular nouns is typically as straightforward as adding -(e)s at the end of the word. In German, the transformation is more complex. You will learn details about this in a later lesson.

    In some languages (such as French or Spanish), genders are also differentiated in the plural. In German, the plural form does not depend on what gender the singular form is.

    Regardless of grammatical gender, all plural nouns take the definite article die (You will later learn how "cases" can modify this). This does not make them feminine. The grammatical gender of a word never changes. Like many other words, die is simply used for multiple purposes.

    Just like in English, there's no plural indefinite article.

    English German
    a man ein Mann
    men Männer

    You, you and you

    Most languages use different words to address one person, or several people.

    In German, when addressing a single person, use du:

    • Du bist mein Kind. (You are my child.)

    If you are talking to more than one person, use ihr:

    • Ihr seid meine Kinder. (You are my children.)

    Some English speakers would use "y'all" or "you guys" for this plural form of "you".

    Note that these only work for people you are familiar with (friends, family, …). For others, you would use the formal "you", which we teach later in this course. So stay tuned :)

    Ihr vs. er

    If you're new to German, ihr and er may sound confusingly similar, but there is actually a difference. ihr sounds similar to the English word "ear", and er sounds similar to the English word "air" (imagine a British/RP accent).

    Don't worry if you can't pick up on the difference at first. You may need some more listening practice before you can tell them apart. Also, try using headphones instead of speakers.

    Learn the pronouns together with the verb endings. This will greatly reduce the amount of ambiguity.

    Verb conjugation

    Here is the complete table for conjugating regular verbs:

    Example: trinken (to drink)

    English person ending German example
    I -e ich trinke
    you (singular informal) -st du trinkst
    he/she/it -t er/sie/es trinkt
    we -en wir trinken
    you (plural informal) -t ihr trinkt
    they -en sie trinken

    Notice that the first and the third person plural have the same ending.

    And here's the complete table for the irregular verb sein (to be):

    English German
    I am ich bin
    you (singular informal) are du bist
    he/she/it is er/sie/es ist
    we are wir sind
    you (plural informal) are ihr seid
    they are sie sind

    You will learn about the distinction between "formal" and "informal" later (it's easy).

  • 1701510295 •••   6.186Greetings104 @ 100% // 0.896 3218/18
    bis bald · er · es geht · gut · guten morgen · guten tag · ok · sah · super · wie geht's
    10 words
  • 1701510295 •••   6.246Restaurant60 @ 100% // 0.940 4124/24
    Ei · Käse · Pizza · Salat · Sandwich · aße · heiß · hier · lecker · mit
    10 words

    Polite "you"

    Remember that German has two ways of expressing "you" (singular and plural)?

    Surprise! There is a third form, usually used with people you don't know well. German just uses the third person plural for this (they):

    person trinken
    du trinkst
    ihr trinkt
    sie/Sie trinken

    How to know whether the meaning is "they" or "you"? German writes the "you" forms in upper case.

    • Wo sind sie? (Where are they?)
    • Wo sind Sie? (Where are you?)

    Of course, at the beginning of the sentence, this does not work. It can then mean both:

    • Sie sind da! (They/You are there!)

    When using the polite form, you usually combine it with the last name of a person, and Herr/Frau:

    • Guten Tag, Herr Müller! (Good day, Mr Müller!)
    • Willkommen, Frau Schmidt! (Welcome, Mrs Schmidt!)

    Noun endings

    As mentioned earlier, sometimes a noun endings gives away the gender:

    • -chen (das)
    • -er (often der)
    • -e (often die)

    A common way to turn a verb into a noun is to add -ung to the word stem. These nouns will always be feminine:

    • die Wohnung, die Reservierung, die Rechnung

    Later on, you will learn more of these regular noun endings.

    Cup of tea

    In German, you just add the quantity before the noun:

    • eine Tasse Tee (one cup of tea)
    • ein Glas Milch (one glass of milk)

    Willkommen

    Willkommen only means welcome as a greeting. It will not mean you're welcome.

    Past tense

    As in English, you can use the present tense to talk about the present and the future:

    • Ich esse! (I am eating!)
    • Ich gehe morgen ins Theater. (I go to the theatre tomorrow.)

    Also as in English, the past requires a different tense. Here, you learn how to say "I was":

    • Ich war gestern im Theater. (I was at the theater yesterday.)

    The endings are like those of the modal verbs (müssen, können, …). But the stem never changes:

    Person sein (to be) können (can)
    ich war kann
    du warst kannst
    er/sie/es war kann
    wir waren können
    ihr wart könnt
    sie/Sie waren können

    I went to Ireland!

    Many learners of German struggle with expressing where they went:

    • I went to Ireland.

    Germany is actually simpler here: it just uses ich war:

    • Ich war in Irland.
  • 153167364315.07.2018 •••   6.246Places44 @ 100% // 0.956 4224/24
    Amerika · Deutschland · Kanada · Wien · eu · in · klein · kommst · woher · wunderbar
    10 words
  • 1701510295 •••   6.246Jobs44 @ 100% // 0.956 5124/24
    Beruf · Kellnerin · Professor · Schauspieler · Schauspielerin · au · er · scha · sie · was
    10 words
  • 1701510295 •••   6.246Hobbies16 @ 75% // 0.984 5224/24
    acht · koche · kochst · male · malst · manchmal · nie · schwimme · schwimmst · tie
    10 words

    Im vs. ins

    For now, think of im as "inside", and "ins" as "into":

    • Ich bin im Theater. (I am inside the theater.)
    • Ich gehe ins Theater. (I go into the theater.)

    Later on, you will see these are part of a larger pattern.

    Im is also used for months and seasons:

    • Im Juli, im Winter

    Verb forms: you (plural)

    So far, you learned these verb forms:

    learn drive have
    infinitive lernen fahren haben
    ich lerne fahre habe
    du (you sg.) lernst fährst hast
    er/sie/es lernt fährt hat
    wir lernen fahren haben
    sie lernen fahren haben

    Here you learn the form for the last person, "you (plural)".

    This form always has a "-t" ending, and the stem of the verb will always be the same as the infinitive. Contrast with the third person singular, where there may be stem changes:

    learn drive have
    infinitive lernen fahren haben
    er/sie/es lernt fährt hat
    ihr (you pl.) lernt fahrt habt

    Gern

    In English, you can say:

    • I like chocolate. I like to swim.

    Previously, you learned "mögen" means "to like":

    • Ich mag Schokolade.

    However, this can only be used with nouns. For verbs, there is a structure that English does not use. It is therefore often confusing for beginners of German.

    • Ich schwimme gern.

    Gern is an adverb, not a verb. Literally, Germans say "I swim likingly." Here's a tip: If you know where in the sentence to put "oft" (often), you know where to put "gern":

    • Ich gehe oft ins Theater. (I often go to the theater.)
    • Ich gehe gern ins Theater. (I like to go to the theater.)

    Gern may be written/spoken as gerne, these two forms are exactly the same.

  • 1701510295 •••   6.306Directions18 @ 100% // 0.982 5330/30
    Apotheke · Bahnhof · Bibliothek · Kirche · Markt · Park · Taxistand · ah · da drüben · med
    10 words
  • 153175604016.07.2018 •••   6.306Questions48 @ 100% // 0.952 6130/30
    Frau · Herr · Kanzlerin · era · esin · freut mich · heiße · heißen · sie · sind
    10 words

    Yes/No Questions

    Questions can be asked by switching the subject and verb. For instance, "Du verstehst das." (You understand this) becomes "Verstehst du das?" (Do you understand this?). These kinds of questions will generally just elicit yes/no answers. In English, the main verb "to be" follows the same principle. "I am hungry." becomes "Am I hungry?". In German, all verbs follow this principle. There's no do-support.

    Asking a Question in German With a W-Word

    Six W-questions - "Wer" (Who), "Was" (What), "Wo" (Where), "Wann" (When), "Warum" (Why) and "Wie" (How) - can be asked in German to elicit more than yes/no answers. Two of the six adverbs are declineable (i.e. change with the case), whereas four are not.

    Wer (Who)

    "Wer" is declinable and needs to adjust to the four cases. The adjustment depends on what the question is targeting.

    1. If you ask for the subject of a sentence (i.e. the nominative object), "wer" (who) remains as is: "Wer sitzt da?" (Who is sitting there?).
    2. If you ask for the direct (accusative) object in a sentence, "wer" changes to "wen" (who/whom). As a mnemonic, notice how "wen" sounds similar to "den" in "den Apfel." "Wen siehst du?" (Whom do you see?) - "Ich sehe den Sohn" (I see the son).
    3. If you ask for the indirect object, "wer" changes to "wem" (who/to whom) and adjusts to the dative case. You could ask "Wem hast du den Apfel gegeben?" (To whom did you give the apple?) and the answer could be "Dem Mann" (the man). Notice again how the declined form of "wer" ("wem") sounds like the definite article of all masculine and neuter nouns in the dative case (like "dem Mann" or "dem Kind").
    4. Lastly, asking about ownership (genitive case), changes "wer" to "wessen" (whose). "Wessen Schuhe sind das?" (Whose shoes are these?) - "Das sind die Schuhe des Jungen" (These are the boy’s shoes). And notice once again how "wessen" (of the) and "des" (of the) include a lot of s-sounds.

    Was (What)

    Similar to the changes made to "wer," "was" will decline depending on the four cases.

    1. For both the nominative and accusative cases, "was" remains the same. It is common to ask "Wer oder was?" (who or what?), if you want to know more about the nominative object and do not know if it is a person (who) or a thing (what). You ask "Wen oder was?" (who/whom or what?), if you want to know more about the accusative object.
    2. "Was" changes to "wessen" for questions about the genitive object as in "Wessen ist sie schuldig?" (What is she guilty of?).
    3. For the dative, "was" changes to a compount of "wo(r)" + preposition. For instance, if the verb takes the German preposition "an" (on/about) as in "an etwas denken," you would ask "Woran denkt er?" (About what is he thinking?). Likewise, "hingehen" is a verb composed of "gehen" + "hin" (go + to) and you would ask "Wohin geht sie?" (To where is she going?).

    Wo (Where)

    In German, you can inquire about locations in several ways. "Wo" (where) is the general question word, but if you are asking for a direction in which someone or something is moving, you may use "wohin" (where to). Look at: "Wo ist mein Schuh?" (Where is my shoe?) and "Wohin kommt dieser Wein?" (Where does this wine go?). Furthermore, "Wohin" is separable into "Wo" + "hin." For example, "Wo ist mein Schuh hin?" (Where did my shoe go?).

    Note that the sound of "Wer" is similar to "Where" and that of "Wo" to "Who," but they must not be confused. In other words: the two German questions words "Wer" (Who) and "Wo" (Where) are false cognates to English. They mean the opposite of what an English speaker would think.

    Wann (When)

    "Wann" (when) does not change depending on the case. "Wann" can be used with conjunctions such as "seit" (since) or "bis" (till): "Seit wann haben Sie für Herrn Müller gearbeitet?" (Since when have you been working for Mr. Müller?) and "Bis wann geht der Film?" (Till when does the movie last?).

    Warum (Why)

    "Warum" (why) is also not declinable. "Wieso" and "Weshalb" can be used instead of "Warum." For an example, take "Warum ist das Auto so alt?" = "Wieso ist das Auto so alt?" = "Weshalb ist das Auto so alt?" (Why is that car so old?).

  • 1701510295 •••   6.306Market9 @ 100% // 0.991 6230/30
    Euro · Marktplatz · Orangen · drei · eins · etz · kostet · nei · vier · zwei
    10 words

    Jeder

    For English every, German uses jeder. However, its ending changes like "der, die, das":

    gender, case the every
    masc. Nom. der jeder
    neut. Nom/Akk. das jedes
    fem. Nom./Akk. die jede
    masc. Akk. den jeden
    m/n Dativ dem jedem
    fem. Dativ der jeder

    Times are in accusative in German:

    • Ich gehe jeden Tag schwimmen.
  • 155025858715.02.2019 •••   6.306Weather3 @ 100% // 0.997 7130/30
    Herbst · Regenschirm · Wetter · bewölkt · blitz · blitz · blitze · donner · es · gewitter · grad · heute · mig · nass · regen · regenbogen · regenbogen · regenschirm · regnet · schneit · sonnig · sturm · sturms · trocken · wetter · wie · wolke
    27 words
  • 153178488217.07.2018 •••   6.306Family 21 @ 100% // 0.999 8130/30
    Freund · Onkel · Opa · cousine · cousinen · cousinen · cousins · deinen · einen · etz · eu · habe · halbbruder · halbbrüder · halbschwester · halbschwestern · hast · hochzeit · hochzeit · meinen · neffen · nichten · onkel · partnerschaft · partnerschaften · schwanger · tanten · tanten · urenkel · urgroßmutter · urgroßmütter · verheiratet · verwandte · verwandte · verwandten · zwilling · zwilling · zwillinge · zwillinge · zwillinge
    40 words
  • 1701510295 •••   6.306Languages6 @ 100% // 0.994 8230/30
    Polnisch · Türkisch · dein · dünn · einfach · mein · nicht · perfekt · schwer · toll
    10 words
  • 1701510295 •••   6.306Leisure50 @ 100% // 0.950 8330/30
    frühstücke · frühstückst · heute morgen · joggst · joggt · machst · so · surfe · surfst · warum
    10 words

    Dative plural: "n" all the way!

    Remember that the ending for articles, pronouns and adjectives is -n in dative plural:

    • mit den alten Autos (with the old cars)

    In addition, plural nouns that do not end in -n already will also get an -n:

    • der Freund, die Freunde (the friend, the friends)
    • mit meinen alten Freunden (with my old friends)

    As you can see above, -s plural endings break this rule.

  • 1701510295 •••   6.306Plans80 @ 100% // 0.920 9130/30
    Geld · Schwimmbad · aned · gehen · ins · joggen · möchte · möchtest · schwimmen · wandern
    10 words
  • 1701510295 •••   6.306Apartment63 @ 100% // 0.937 9230/30
    Mitbewohner · Stuhl · Tisch · den · haben · hässlich · mag · modern · sind · wir
    10 words
  • 153185967417.07.2018 •••   6.306Shopping165 @ 75% // 0.835 10130/30
    Dienstag · Jobinterview · Kaufhaus · Montag · apotheke · apotheke · apotheken · aufgeregt · billig · bäckerei · bäckerei · bäckereien · einkaufswägen · einkaufszentrum · für · gehe · gehen · geschäft · gratis · gutschein · gutschein · gutscheine · gutscheine · kasse · kassen · kunde · kunden · kunden · kunden · kundinnen · laden · läden · marktplatz · nervös · neue kleidung · sonderangebot · sonderangebot · sonderangebote · supermarkt · supermarkt · supermärkte · tüte · tüten · verkaufe · verkaufen · verkaufst · verkauft
    47 words

    Kaufen vs. einkaufen

    Kaufen is normally used in the meaning of "to buy":

    • Ich kaufe einen Hut.

    Einkaufen is normally used without an object, and often refers to shopping. It can be used in conjunction with gehen:

    • Ich kaufe im Supermarkt ein. (I shop in the supermarket)
    • Wann gehst du einkaufen? (When do you go shopping?)

    Verkaufen means "to sell". The prefix ver- is often associated with an "away" notion.

    Laden, Geschäft

    A variety of words exist for "shop". These are two common ones, with roughly exchangeable usage.

  • 153186195418.07.2018 •••   6.306Travel96 @ 100% // 0.904 10330/30
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    104 words

    Sehenswürdigkeiten?!

    The word Sehenswürdigkeit (sight as in sightseeing) is made up of several meaningful parts: sehen + s + würdig + keit.

    Let's look at each part and its meaning.

    Part Meaning
    sehen to see
    -s- connecting element
    würdig to be worthy
    -keit noun suffix

    Literally Sehenswürdigkeit means something which is worthy to see.

    The connecting element -s- is used to link words together.

    The ending -keit turns an adjective into a noun.

    Often the ending of a compound noun is a good indicator for the gender of the noun. For example, if a noun ends in -keit, it will always be feminine (die).

    Urlaub vs. Ferien

    Just like in English there's "holidays" and "vacation", in German there are Ferien and Urlaub. They can be used interchangeably to some extent.

    Ferien only exists as a plural noun:

    • Die Ferien sind im Sommer. (The holidays are in summer.)

    Urlaub only exists as a singular noun:

    • Wann ist der Urlaub? (When is the vacation?)

    Visum

    In English, you need "a visa". In German, the singular is das Visum, Visa is the plural (as it is in Latin, the source language of this word).

    Weg vs. weg

    Der Weg (with a long -e-) roughly means "the path".

    • Der Weg ist lang. (The path is long.)

    The word weg (with a short, open -e-) roughly means "away". Here are some examples:

    • Geh weg! (Go away!)
    • Ich bin weg! (I'm gone!)
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    10 words

    N-declension

    In general, nouns have two forms, singular and plural:

    • der Hund, die Hunde
    • die Katze, die Katzen

    In dative plural, all nouns that do not already have an -n ending get one:

    • die Hunde, mit den Hunden
    • but: die Katzen, mit den Katzen
    • the exception are plurals ending in "-s": die Autos, mit den Autos

    In this skill, you encounter a special all-masculine noun group. These will have an -en ending in all forms, except for the nominative singular (the dictionary form):

    • Der Junge ist nett. Ich kenne einen Jungen.

    This group includes:

    • almost all masculine nouns that end in -e (Junge, Name, Kollege, Türke, …)
    • nouns ending in -ist, -ent and some other endings
    • a small group of other masculine nouns.

    Here is an example table for der Junge (the boy):

    Case Singular Plural
    Nominative der Junge die Jungen
    Accusative den Jungen die Jungen
    Dative dem Jungen den Jungen

    Adjectival nouns

    There is one last group of irregular nouns. These are actually adjectives that became nouns, but keep their rich set of adjective endings. As long as you know the adjective endings, these are straightforward to use:

    Adjective Noun
    ein deutscher Mann ein Deutscher
    der deutsche Mann der Deutsche
    eine deutsche Frau eine Deutsche
    mit einer deutschen Frau mit einer Deutschen

    Refer to the Clothes skill for an overview of the adjective endings.

    In this skill, you encounter:

    Adjective Adj. noun (masc. sg.)
    deutsch (German) Deutscher (German)
    erwachsen (adult) Erwachsener (adult)
    verwandt (related) Verwandter (relative)
    bekannt (known) Bekannter (acquaintance)
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    10 words
  • 153158320414.07.2018 •••   5.005Food758 @ 25% // 0.242 1630/4
    Dezember · Eier · Eiskaffee · Kartoffelsalat · Lieblingsessen · Nussallergie · Obst · am besten · apfelsaft · bier · durst · ei · eis · erdbeere · essen · fisch · fisch · fisch · fleisch · fleisch · frisch · gemüse · gut · hunger · ihn · kaffee · kaffee · kartoffel · käse · käse · lecker · nichts · nudeln · obst · orange · orange · orangensaft · pizza · reis · saft · salz · salz · schmeckt · schokolade · suppe · süß · tee · wein · zucker · öl
    50 words

    The German Preposition am

    Most likely, food is being consumed at the table. The German preposition am is the contraction of an (at/on) and dem (the). For example, The man eats at the table is Der Mann isst am (an + dem) Tisch. Since an can translate to both at and on, am can translate to both at the and on the, depending on the context. For example an dem Tisch only translates to at the table (context: spatial relationship between things) and an dem Tag only translates to on that day (context: temporal).

    The verb haben (to have)

    In English, you can say "I'm having bread" when you really mean that you're eating or about to eat bread. This does not work in German. The verb haben refers to possession only. Hence, the sentence Ich habe Brot only translates to I have bread, not I'm having bread. Of course, the same applies to drinks. Ich habe Wasser only translates to I have water, not I'm having water.

    Mittagessen - lunch or dinner?

    We're aware that dinner is sometimes used synonymously with lunch, but for the purpose of this course, we're defining Frühstück as breakfast, Mittagessen as lunch, and dinner / supper as Abendessen / Abendbrot.

    Compound words

    A compound word is a word that consists of two or more words. These are written as one word (no spaces).

    The gender of a compound noun is always determined by its last element. This shouldn't be too difficult to remember because the last element is always the most important one. All the previous elements merely describe the last element.

    • die Autobahn (das Auto + die Bahn)

    • der Orangensaft (die Orange + der Saft)

    • das Hundefutter (der Hund + das Futter)

    Sometimes, there's a connecting sound (Fugenlaut) between two elements. For instance, die Orange + der Saft becomes der Orangensaft, der Hund + das Futter becomes das Hundefutter, die Liebe + das Lied becomes das Liebeslied, and der Tag + das Gericht becomes das Tagesgericht.

    Cute like sugar!

    The word süß means sweet when referring to food, and cute when referring to living beings.

    • Der Zucker ist süß. (The sugar is sweet.)
    • Die Katze ist süß. (The cat is cute.)
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    10 words

    And another adjective ending!

    As described in earlier skills, the adjective ending for "das, der, die, eine" ist -e:

    gender article adjective noun
    fem. die alte Frau
    fem. eine alte Frau
    masc. der alte Mann
    neut. das kleine Kind
    pl. alte Männer

    In the last skill, you learned that for neuter, either the article or the adjective (but not both!) need to have an -s ending:

    gender article adjective noun
    neut. das kleine Kind
    neut. ein kleines Kind

    The same logic applies to masculine forms. Either the article or the adjective end in -r:

    gender article adjective noun
    masc. der alte Mann
    masc. ein alter Mann

    Nominative and accusative are the same for neuter, feminine and plural.

    Keep in mind that for masculine accusative, the articles and the adjective both get -en endings:

    gender article adjective noun
    masc. den alten Mann
    masc. einen alten Mann

    Now you can use all nominative and accusative forms, and also (in general) all dative forms (which so far all end in -en)!

    Ordinal numbers

    Ordinals are adjectives, and carry the same endings:

    • Ich wohne im fünften Stock. (I live on the fifth floor.)
    • Der fünfte Juni ist ein Montag. (June 5th is a Monday.)

    The general rule is that from one to nineteen, you add a -t- between number and adjective ending:

    2. zweite
    4. vierte
    8. achte
    10. zehnte
    12. zwölfte
    19. neunzehnte

    Starting with twenty, you add -st- instead:

    20. zwanzigste
    42. zweiundvierzigste
    100. hundertste
    1000. tausendste

    Only three forms are irregular:

    1. erste
    3. dritte
    7. siebte

    Note that in German, you just place a dot after a number to indicate it is an ordinal.

    Overview pronouns

    By now, you have encountered all the pronouns for all the three main cases:

    Nom. Acc. Dat.
    ich mich mir
    du dich dir
    er ihn ihm
    es es ihm
    sie sie ihr
    wir uns uns
    ihr euch euch
    sie/Sie sie/Sie ihr/Ihr

    The next table shows the possessive pronouns. Only two endings are given here:

    • no ending (neuter nominative/accusative + masculine nominative)
    • -e ending (feminine + plural, for both nominative and accusative)
    Person Nom. masc./neut. Nom./Akk. fem./pl.
    ich mein meine
    du dein deine
    er/es sein seine
    sie ihr ihre
    wir unser unsere
    ihr euer eure
    sie/Sie ihr/Ihr ihre/Ihre

    Note that for euer, the last -e- of the word stem gets lost when adding an ending.

    The complete endings set is the same as for ein:

    Case + gender example poss. pronoun
    Nom. m/n, Acc n mein
    Acc m meinen
    Nom/Acc f/pl meine
    Dat m/n meinem
    Dat f meiner
    Dat pl meinen

    Some irregular perfect participles

    In this skill, you will encounter the following irregular perfect participles:

    Infinitive Perfect participle
    schlafen geschlafen
    essen gegessen
    singen gesungen
    trinken getrunken
    finden gefunden
    helfen geholfen
    gehen gegangen
    verstehen verstanden

    In addition, there is a small group of "mixed" verbs, that change the verb stem, but keep the -t ending:

    Infinitive Perfect participle
    rennen gerannt
    brennen gebrannt
    müssen gemusst
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  • 153176127216.07.2018 •••   5.005Food 2805 @ 25% // 0.195 2620/4
    Apfelstrudel · Koch · Kuchen · abendessen · abendessen · abendessen · bohnen · butter · bäcker · frühstück · frühstücke · frühstücken · frühstückst · frühstückt · frühstückt · gabel · gabeln · gabeln · getränk · hauptgericht · honig · honig · hähnchen · in · knoblauch · koche · kochen · kochst · kocht · kocht · kuchen · leckerer · löffel · löffel · marmelade · messer · messer · mittagessen · mittagessen · müsli · nachtisch · nachtisch · nuss · nüsse · pilz · pilze · probieren · rezept · salat · salzig · sauer · scharf · senf · senf · speisekarte · speisekarte · süßer · tomate · von · vorspeise · wessen · zitrone · zu abend · zu mittag · zwiebeln
    65 words

    Küche vs. Kuchen

    Die Küche (the kitchen) and der Kuchen (the cake) are often confused by learners. To German ears, they sound quite different. One reason is that in Küche, the vowel is short, while the vowel in Kuchen is long.

    singular plural
    die Küche die Küchen
    der Kuchen die Kuchen

    Kochen (to cook) also has a short vowel.

    Schmecken

    Schmecken is very similar to the English word "to taste":

    • Ich schmecke Knoblauch! (I taste garlic!)
    • Knoblauch schmeckt super! (Garlic tastes great!)

    In addition, schmecken can be used by itself:

    • Die Pizza schmeckt nicht! (The pizza does not taste good!)

    Some popular food

    Müsli

    Müsli originally refers to "Bircher Müesli", a Swiss breakfast dish, based on rolled oats and fresh or dried fruits.

    Nowadays, people will use it for all kinds of cereals or granola, often with high sugar content.

    Hähnchen

    Hähnchen usually refers to a chicken that has been turned into a dish. While derived from the word for "male chicken" (der Hahn), the only distinction today is that it is a food item.

    Remember that words ending in -chen are always neuter: das Hähnchen.

    Salat

    Salat can refer to the dish, as well as to the green leaves (usually lettuce) that often go into it.

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    Fressen vs. essen

    The German word for "to eat" is essen. However, many people use a different word for animals:

    • Die Frau isst. Die Katze frisst.

    The forms of both verbs are the same:

    person essen fressen
    ich esse fresse
    du isst frisst
    er/sie/es isst frisst
    wir essen fressen
    ihr esst fresst
    sie/Sie essen fressen
    perf. part. gegessen gefressen

    Natural vs. grammatical gender

    Remember that for most nouns in German, the word determines the gender, not the meaning:

    • der Becher, die Tasse, das Glas (the mug, the cup, the glass)

    For animals, there is usually a general word with a certain grammatical gender. "Katze" is feminine. That does not mean that the specific cat is necessarily female!

    • die: Katze, Spinne, Schildkröte, Schlange, Kuh, Maus
    • der: Hamster, Hund, Vogel
    • das: Insekt, Huhn, Tier, Schaf, Schwein, Pferd, Kaninchen

    German has specific male/female versions for some of these, but we do not teach them at this point.

    Favorite

    Liebling means "darling":

    • Mein Liebling! (My darling!)

    When combined with other nouns, it means "favorite":

    • meine Lieblingskatze (my favorite cat)

    Note that German often glues an "s" or an "n" between two noun word parts.

    Danken

    Similar to helfen (to help), danken is part of a small number of verbs that only have a dative object:

    • Ich helfe dem Mann.
    • Ich danke dem Mann.

    Think of "giving help/thanks to" somebody, and you will get it right.

    Angst haben

    Instead of "to be afraid of", German says "I have fear of":

    • Ich habe Angst vor Hunden. (I am afraid of dogs.)

    It is sometimes necessary to learn the preposition together with the verb. Vor takes the dative when used together with Angst haben.

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    Yes/No Questions

    Questions can be asked by switching the subject and verb. For instance,

    • Du verstehst das. (You understand this.)

    becomes

    • Verstehst du das? (Do you understand this?).

    These kinds of questions will generally just elicit yes/no answers. In English, the main verb "to be" follows the same principle. "You are hungry." becomes "Are you hungry?".

    In German, all verbs follow this principle. There's no do-support.

    Asking a Question in German With a W-Word

    There are seven W-questions in German:

    English German
    what was
    who wer
    where wo
    when wann
    how wie
    why warum
    which welcher

    Don't mix up wer and wo, which are "switched" in English :)

    Some of these will change according to case.

    Was (what)

    If you ask was with a preposition, the two normally turn into a new word, according to the following pattern:

    English preposition wo-
    for what für wofür
    about what über worüber
    with what mit womit

    If the preposition starts with a vowel, there will be an extra -r- to make it easier to pronounce.

    This wo- prefix does not mean "where".

    Wer (who)

    Wer is declinable and needs to adjust to the cases. The adjustment depends on what the question is targeting.

    If you ask for the subject of a sentence (i.e. the nominative object), wer (who) remains as is:

    • Wer ist da? (Who is there?).

    If you ask for the direct (accusative) object in a sentence, wer changes to wen (who/whom). As a mnemonic, notice how wen rhymes with den in den Apfel.

    • Wen siehst du? — Ich sehe den Hund.
    • (Whom do you see? — I see the dog.)

    You will soon learn about the Dative case. You have to use wem then. And there is a forth case in German (Genitive). You would use wessen here. This corresponds to English "whose".

    The endings look like the endings of der (but don't change with gender/number):

    case masc. Form of wer
    nominative der wer
    accusative den wen
    dative dem wem

    Welche(r/s) (which)

    Welche- words are used to ask about for a specific item out of a group of items, such as "which car is yours?".

    This declines not only for case, but also for gender. The endings are the same as for definite articles:

    article welch*
    der welcher
    das welches
    die welche
    die (pl.) welche
    den welchen

    Wo (where)

    In German, you can inquire about locations in several ways.

    Wo (where) is the general question word, but if you are asking for a direction in which someone or something is moving, you may use *wohin* (where to).

    Consider these examples:

    • Wo ist mein Schuh? (Where is my shoe?)

    • Wohin gehst du? (Where are you going (to)?)

    Furthermore, wohin is separable into wo + hin:

    • Wo ist mein Schuh hin? (Where did my shoe go?)

    The same goes for woher (where from):

    • Woher kommst du? (Where are you from)

    might become

    • Wo kommst du her?
    English German
    where wo
    where to wohin
    where from woher

    Wann (when)

    Wann (when) does not change depending on the case. Wann can be used with conjunctions such as seit (since) or bis (till):

    • Seit wann wartest du? (Since when have you been waiting?)

    • Bis wann geht der Film? (Till when does the movie last?).

    Don't confuse wann with wenn which you learned in Conjunctions. Both translate to "when" in English, but they have different functions in German.

    • Wann kommst du? (When are you coming?)

    • Ich schlafe nicht, wenn ich Musik höre. (I don't sleep when I listen to music)

    Warum (why)

    Warum (why) is also not declinable. It will never change endings. Wieso, Weshalb, and Weswegen can be used instead of Warum. There's no difference in meaning.

    Here is an example. All four following sentences mean "Why is the car so old?".

    • Warum ist das Auto so alt?

    • Wieso ist das Auto so alt?

    • Weshalb ist das Auto so alt?

    • Weswegen ist das Auto so alt?

    Wie viel vs. wie viele

    Wie viel is used with uncountable or countable nouns (how much/how many), and wie viele is only used with countable nouns (how many). Some people think that "wie viel" can only be used with uncountable nouns, but that is not true.

    • Wie viel Milch trinkst du? (How much milk do you drink?)

    • Wie viel(e) Tiere siehst du? (How many animals do you see?)

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    Student or Schüler?

    Ein Student is a university student and a Schüler is a pupil/student at a primary, secondary or high school. Students attending other types of schools such as language or dancing schools may also be called Schüler.

    Dropping articles

    When talking about your or someone else's profession in sentences such as I'm a teacher or She's a judge, German speakers usually drop the indefinite article (ein/eine).

    • Ich bin Lehrer. (I am a teacher.)

    It sounds more natural to say Ich bin Lehrer and Sie ist Richterin than Ich bin ein Lehrer and Sie ist eine Richterin. This rule also applies to students.

    If you add an adjective, you can't drop the article. Er ist ein schlechter Arzt (He's a bad doctor) is correct, but Er ist schlechter Arzt is not.

    Also note that you can't drop the definite article (der/die/das).

    Male and female variants

    The grammatical gender usually matches the biological sex of the person you're referring to.

    So the word that refers to a male baker is grammatically masculine, and the word that refers to a female baker is grammatically feminine.

    In the vast majority of cases, the female variant is formed by simply adding the suffix -in to the male variant, e.g. der Bäcker becomes die Bäckerin and der Schüler (the pupil) becomes die Schülerin.

    The plural of the female variant is formed by adding the ending -innen to the singular of the male variant, e.g. die Bäckerinnen and die Schülerinnen.

    Keep in mind that, in some cases, the plural comes with an umlauted stem vowel. This applies to the female variant as well.

    singular plural
    male der Koch die Köche
    female die Köchin die Köchinnen

    You learn one more word like this in this lesson:

    • der Arzt, die Ärztin (the doctor)

    Sie ist der Boss!

    There are a few words for people where the grammatical and the natural gender differ. One of them is der Boss. There is no feminine version for it, although there are certainly female bosses.

    • Mein Boss heißt Linda Ackermann.
    • Meine Chefin heißt Linda Ackermann.
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    70 words

    Long and short vowels

    Which sounds are there?

    In German, every vowel can be long or short. The short one often sounds more open than the long one.

    The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) is given for the geeks among you :) But you can also copy/paste one of these symbols into Wikipedia to get an in-depth explanation of it (with sound!).

    vowel short IPA long IPA
    a Mann /a/ Bahn /aː/
    ä Bälle /ɛ/ Käse /ɛː/
    e rennen /ɛ/ Beere /eː/
    i Mitte /ɪ/ ziehen /iː/
    o oft /ɔ/ ohne /oː/
    ö Hölle /œ/ schön /øː/
    u Mutter /ʊ/ Buch /uː/
    ü Müll /ʏ/ Bücher /yː/

    You can also google "german sounds" for a longer introduction to German sounds.

    When is a vowel short or long?

    German has a range of spelling convention which will clearly show whether a vowel is short or long:

    A vowel before a double consonant will be short:

    • Mann, denn, Mutter, Bälle, backen, Pizza, Katze

    Note that instead of "zz" (which only occurs in the Italian "Pizza"), German uses tz. Instead of "kk", we use ck.

    There are also some signals that clearly show the vowel is long.

    Sometimes, the vowel will be doubled:

    • paar, Beere, Boot, … (this only happens with a/e/o)

    There might be a silent h behind the vowel:

    • fahren, zählen, sehen, ihr, ohne, höher, Uhr, Stühle, …

    Note that if you read the list above, you should not hear a single h sound. It is geh|en, not ge|hen.

    For i, it is more common to have an -e after it (sometimes even -eh):

    • die, Biene, spielen, sieben, Beziehung, …

    Again, the h will be silent: Be|zieh|ung, not Be|zie|hung.

    But sometimes, there will not be a signal.

    The following examples have an unmarked long vowel:

    • Buch, da, Abend, wo, Not, Zitrone, …

    And here are some short ones:

    • an, Onkel, un-, Mama, Hälfte, Zitrone, …

    For these, you just have to trust your language feeling, it will normally not be a big problem :)

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    The third case.

    German has four cases. You already learned two so far, nominative and accusative.

    Nominative is used for sentence subjects.

    Accusative is mostly used for sentence objects. Some prepositions will use accusative, too.

    The third important case is "dative".

    Dative pronouns

    Here are the first three dative pronouns for you, together with the nominative and accusative counterparts:

    Nom. Akk. Dat.
    ich mich mir
    du dich dir
    sie (fem.) sie ihr

    What is dative for?

    As the accusative, the dative case has several functions.

    Some prepositions go with dative:

    • mit, zu, aus, von, bei

    • Komm mit mir! (Come with me!)

    • Ich gehe zu ihr. (I go to her.)

    For most verbs, the object is in the accusative case:

    • Ich sehe dich. (I see you.)

    A few verbs use the dative instead:

    • Ich helfe dir. (I help you.)
    • Ich danke dir. (I thank you.)

    Some verbs have two objects. The one identifying the "other person involved in a transaction" will also be in dative:

    • Ich habe einen Hund. (I have a dog.)
    • Ich gebe dir einen Hund. (I give you a dog.)

    These three cases will appear in most sentences, so take your time to get a feeling for them.

    There is a fourth case (genitive), but it is not used a lot.

    Telling the time

    Germans mostly use a system similar to English. There is one important and confusing difference: While English uses "half past seven", German will say "half eight".

    Time
    10:00 zehn (Uhr)
    10:05 fünf nach zehn
    10:15 viertel nach zehn
    10:30 halb elf
    10:45 viertel vor elf
    10:55 fünf vor elf

    In addition, the 25 and 35 minutes will refer to the half hour:

    Time
    10:25 fünf vor halb elf
    10:35 fünf nach halb elf

    This colloquial system only uses hours from one to twelve.

    German official time uses hours from zero to 24:

    Time
    10:12 zehn Uhr zwölf
    22:50 zweiundzwanzig Uhr fünfzig

    Komm!

    Similar to English, the imperative omits the pronoun. You will learn more about this later. For now, just remember that to say "Come (on)!", German uses Komm! (not kommst, as you might have suspected).

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    31 words
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    27 words
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    10 words

    Comparative

    The comparative for short words in English is commonly formed by adding -er to the adjective:

    • fast, faster
    • smart, smarter

    German works in the same way. Of course, you then have to add the correct adjective ending to the whole thing:

    • schnell, schneller
    • ein schneller Mann, ein schnellerer Hund, eine schnellere Katze (a fast man, a faster dog, a faster cat)

    For longer adjectives, English uses "more" instead. German does not do that.

    • interesting, more interesting
    • interessant, interessanter

    Short adjectives usually get an umlaut change, though:

    • alt, älter
    • groß, größer

    Remember that gern is an adverb. German uses it to describe things it likes. It has the comparative lieber:

    • Ich esse gern Pizza. Ich esse lieber Lasagne.
    • I like to eat pizza. I prefer to eat lasagna.

    Seit

    In English, you can say:

    • I have been learning German for two months.

    In German, you would instead say:

    • Ich lerne seit zwei Monaten Deutsch.

    First, as it is still ongoing, the present tense is used.

    Second, German uses seit for stretches of time that reach into the present. That means you can only use it for things that are still ongoing.

    If seit is combined with a noun, it takes the dative. Remember that in dative plural, the noun gets an extra -n:

    • der Monat, die Monate > seit zwei Monaten

    Anfang, Mitte, Ende

    In English, "early, mid, late" refers to positions in a day, month, or year:

    • in late May

    In German, Anfang, Mitte, Ende can be used like this:

    • Ende Mai

    These can also be used for age:

    • Sie ist Anfang zwanzig. (She is in her early twenties.)
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    Zu Mittag, zu Abend

    In some combinations, prepositions are not grammatical. Just learn the whole phrase like a word:

    German English
    zu Fuß on foot
    zu Mittag for lunch
    zu Abend for dinner
    zu Hause at home
    nach Hause towards home

    Especially zu Hause is often confusing, as in regular use, zu often means towards.

    Geben

    Geben (to give) is one of several verbs that describe a transaction. These generally have two objects:

    • the direct object is what changes hands. This is the object you already know: it is in the accusative case.
    • the indirect object identifies the "other person involved" in a transaction. This object is in the dative case.

    • Ich gebe einem Kind einen Apfel. (I give a child an apple.)

    As in English, the dative "indirect" object comes before the accusative "direct" object.

    English can also use "to": "I gave an apple to a child." — this is not possible in German.

    Geben is a strong (slightly irregular) verb, here are its forms:

    Person geben
    ich gebe
    du gibst
    er/sie/es gibt
    wir geben
    ihr gebt
    sie/Sie geben
    perf. part. gegeben
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    10 words
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    Auswahl · Café central · Croissant · Getränken · Kaffeehaus · frischem · kaffeehäuser · kalt · kaltem · lohnen
    10 words

    Eineinhalb

    Here is an overview of time spans:

    Minuten
    10 zehn Minuten
    15 eine Viertelstunde
    30 eine halbe Stunde
    45 eine Dreiviertelstunde
    60 eine Stunde
    90 eineinhalb Stunden
    120 zwei Stunden
    150 zweieinhalb Stunden

    When speaking, pay attention to the endings (marked in bold) of eine halbe Stunde and eineinhalb Stunden. If you mix these up, people will think you mean the other one.

    Eineinhalb literally means "one, one half" (60+30). Some people use anderthalb instead.

    Alleine

    Just as with gern(e), alleine can omit the -e, without a change in meaning.

  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Berlin Zoo10006310/5 +5 lessons +29 lexemes
    Berliner · Eintritt · Löwen · bei regen · deshalb · exotisch · exotische · fahren · losfahren · wilde
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Dogs10006410/5 +5 lessons +27 lexemes
    Bürste · damit · ehrenamtlich · käfige · kümmern · machen · mal · mitmachen · reinigen · tierpfleger
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000New Year10006420/5 +5 lessons +26 lexemes
    Silvesterparty · ernähren · fürs · gefasst · guten rutsch ins neue jahr · rechtzeitig · sparen · vorsätze · werde · wirst
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Luggage10006430/5 +5 lessons +28 lexemes
    Ankunft · Kofferausgabe · Reisetasche · Reisetaschen · Rolltreppe · ausschalten · besitzen · bleiben · elektronische geräte · schalten
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Road Trip10006510/5 +5 lessons +26 lexemes
    Bootsfahrt · Burg · Küste · Polen · Prag · Turm · Warschau · damit · ungefähr · unterwegs
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Family 610006520/5 +5 lessons +28 lexemes
    Schwiegereltern · Verhältnis · aufpassen · in-laws · klein · klein (superlative) · obwohl · passen · verwöhnen · zu
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Dining 210006610/5 +5 lessons +28 lexemes
    bestehen · erstklassig · gehen · hätte · hätten · hättest · unternehmen · vegetarisch · verabredet · woraus
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Wishes10006710/5 +5 lessons +25 lexemes
    Schulden · abhängig · arbeitslos · eigen · hätte · schätzen · ständig · wäre · wünschte · zufrieden
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000School 310006720/5 +5 lessons +31 lexemes
    Kuss · Pausenbrot · Schulranzen · Stunde · Tafel · aufwachen · lösen · sei · wachen · zählen
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Trivia10006810/5 +5 lessons +26 lexemes
    Deutschlands · Kontinent · Punkt · Quiz · Runde · Runden · adj. superlatives dump · beteiligen · der welt · kennen
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Shopping 510006820/5 +5 lessons +28 lexemes
    Abiball · Aula · abendkleid · adj. dump · anprobieren · lehrer · organisiert · stehen · würde · würden
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000News10006910/5 +5 lessons +27 lexemes
    Fernbedienung · bewaffnet · der · dieb · eingebrochen · einschalten · herzlich willkommen · kommen · nachrichtensprecher · schalten
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Cheating10007010/5 +5 lessons +27 lexemes
    Eins · Sechs · abschreiben · bitten · den · erwischen · erwähnt · hey · schreiben · unvorbereitet
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Opinions 310007020/5 +5 lessons +27 lexemes
    Diskussion · Küchen · Wohnungen · adj. dump · bekannt · bekanntere · geht · kleine · kleinere · laut
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Government10007030/5 +5 lessons +27 lexemes
    Demokratie · Grünen · Partei · Parteien · Wahl · alle · konservativ · liberal · politiker · wählen
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Media10007110/5 +5 lessons +31 lexemes
    Fernsehserie · angeschaut · anschauen · den · passiert · regisseur · schauen · vampir · vor kurzem · zufällig
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000News 210007210/5 +5 lessons +29 lexemes
    Arbeitslose · Gesellschaft · Interview · Region · Reportage · arbeitslosen · arbeitsplätze · fand · fandest · reporter
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Soccer10007220/5 +5 lessons +27 lexemes
    Bayern münchen · Schal · Tickets · Trikots · Verein · kioske · mittelfeldspieler · schuldig · sodass · torwart
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Jobs 310007230/5 +5 lessons +27 lexemes
    Arbeitserlaubnis · Arbeitsstelle · Ausländerbehörde · Markt · Vertrag · beantragen · eu-bürger · produzieren · um · übersetzer
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Homesick10007310/5 +5 lessons +25 lexemes
    Einzimmerwohnung · angekommen · bis · bis zum · gebraucht · hausmeister · kaputtgegangen · möbliert · stammen · zum
    10 words
  • 1701510295
    •••   0.000Reunion10007320/5 +5 lessons +27 lexemes
    Erinnerungen · Klassentreffen · Schulabschluss · erkannt · gespannt · grüß dich · hallo zusammen · lange nicht gesehen · wie läuft's bei · wiederzusehen
    10 words
  • 153161216315.07.2018 •••   2.042Idioms and Proverbs1000 @ 50% // 0.000 100014/4
    Meister · alles · das · du · es · ich · in · nicht · sagt · wir
    10 words
  • 153161192315.07.2018 •••   2.042Flirting1000 @ 50% // 0.000 100024/4
    bist · darf · deine · dich · möchte · nicht · nächste · süß · will · wir
    10 words
0.226

Basics 1 updated 2022-03-25 ^

Welcome to German :)

Welcome to the German course! We will provide you with tips and notes throughout the course. However, be aware that these are optional. Only read them when you feel stuck, or when you are interested in the details. You can use the course without them.

Often, it's best to just dive into the practice. See how it goes! You can always revisit the Notes section later on.

Capitalizing nouns

In German, all nouns are capitalized. For example, "my name" is mein Name, and "the apple" is der Apfel. This helps you identify which words are the nouns in a sentence.

German genders are strange

Nouns in German are either feminine, masculine or neuter. For example, Frau (woman) is feminine, Mann (man) is masculine, and Kind (child) is neuter.

While some nouns (Frau, Mann, …) have natural gender like in English (a woman is female, a man is male), most nouns have grammatical gender (depends on word ending, or seemingly random).

For example, Mädchen (girl) is neuter, because all words ending in -chen are neuter. Wasser (water) is neuter, but Cola is feminine, and Saft (juice) is masculine.

It is important to learn every noun along with its gender because parts of German sentences change depending on the gender of their nouns.

For now, just remember that the indefinite article (a/an) ein is used for masculine and neuter nouns, and eine is used for feminine nouns. Stay with us to find out how "cases" will later modify these.

gender indefinite article
masculine ein Mann
neuter ein Mädchen
feminine eine Frau

Verb conjugations

Conjugating regular verbs

Verb conjugation in German is more complex than in English. To conjugate a regular verb in the present tense, identify the stem of the verb and add the ending corresponding to any of the grammatical persons, which you can simply memorize. For now, here are the singular forms:

Example: trinken (to drink)

English person ending German example
I -e ich trinke
you (singular informal) -st du trinkst
he/she/it -t er/sie/es trinkt

Conjugations of the verb sein (to be)

Like in English, sein (to be) is completely irregular, and its conjugations simply need to be memorized. Again, you will learn the plural forms soon.

English German
I am ich bin
you (singular informal) are du bist
he/she/it is er/sie/es ist

Umlauts

Umlauts are letters (more specifically vowels) that have two dots above them and appear in some German words like Mädchen.

Literally, "Umlaut" means "around the sound," because its function is to change how the vowel sounds.

no umlaut umlaut
a ä
o ö
u ü

An umlaut change may change the meaning. That's why it's important not to ignore those little dots.

If you can't type these, a workaround is to type "oe" instead of "ö", for example.

No continuous aspect

In German, there's no continuous aspect. There are no separate forms for "I drink" and "I am drinking". There's only one form: Ich trinke.

There's no such thing as Ich bin trinke or Ich bin trinken!

When translating into English, how can I tell whether to use the simple (I drink) or the continuous form (I am drinking)?

Unless the context suggests otherwise, either form should be accepted.

Family updated 2022-03-25 ^

Modal verbs: Plural forms

In the previous lesson, you learned the singular forms of some modal verbs:

ich kann mag
du kannst magst
er/sie kann kann

In the plural, these verbs have regular endings. They often use a different vowel than the singular forms:

wir können mögen
sie können mögen

Infinitives, some plural forms

In German, every verb has an infinitive form (similar to "to learn" in English). The first and third person plural are always the same:

learn drive have
infinitive lernen fahren haben
wir lernen fahren haben
sie lernen fahren haben

Here is a revision of the singular forms:

learn drive have
ich lerne fahre habe
du lernst fährst hast
er/sie/es lernt fährt hat

More pronouns

Already known

So far, you learned how to say "my, your, his, her":

Engl. fem./pl. masc. Nom./neut. masc. Akk.
my meine mein meinen
your (sg.) deine dein deinen
his/its seine sein seinen
her/their ihre ihr ihren

Remember that the endings are the same as for "ein" and "kein":

Engl. fem./pl. masc. Nom./neut. masc. Akk.
a(n) eine ein einen
no keine kein keinen

"Their" is the same as "her" in German, and "its" the same as "his".

If you find these hard to remember, just keep practicing! Why not revisit some of the earlier skills, too?

More plural pronouns

In addition, you learn "our" and "your (plural)" here:

Engl. fem./pl. masc. Nom./neut. masc. Akk.
our unsere unser unseren
your (pl.) eure euer euren
their ihre ihr ihren

Notice that "euer" loses an "e" when it gets a suffix.

Again, instead of trying to memorize tables, it is best to just jump into practice, and use them until you get a feeling for them.

Numbers: 1-12

By now, you encountered the numbers from one to twelve:

1 eins 7 sieben
2 zwei 8 acht
3 drei 9 neun
4 vier 10 zehn
5 fünf 11 elf
6 sechs 12 zwölf

Notice that they are very similar to the numbers in English.

These numbers never change form, apart from number one. Eins is only used when nothing comes after it:

  • Um eins schwimme ich. (I swim at one.)
  • Um ein Uhr schwimme ich. (I swim at one o'clock).
  • Ich habe eine Tochter. (I have one daughter.)

Basics 2 updated 2022-03-25 ^

German plurals are also strange :)

In English, making plurals out of singular nouns is typically as straightforward as adding -(e)s at the end of the word. In German, the transformation is more complex. You will learn details about this in a later lesson.

In some languages (such as French or Spanish), genders are also differentiated in the plural. In German, the plural form does not depend on what gender the singular form is.

Regardless of grammatical gender, all plural nouns take the definite article die (You will later learn how "cases" can modify this). This does not make them feminine. The grammatical gender of a word never changes. Like many other words, die is simply used for multiple purposes.

Just like in English, there's no plural indefinite article.

English German
a man ein Mann
men Männer

You, you and you

Most languages use different words to address one person, or several people.

In German, when addressing a single person, use du:

  • Du bist mein Kind. (You are my child.)

If you are talking to more than one person, use ihr:

  • Ihr seid meine Kinder. (You are my children.)

Some English speakers would use "y'all" or "you guys" for this plural form of "you".

Note that these only work for people you are familiar with (friends, family, …). For others, you would use the formal "you", which we teach later in this course. So stay tuned :)

Ihr vs. er

If you're new to German, ihr and er may sound confusingly similar, but there is actually a difference. ihr sounds similar to the English word "ear", and er sounds similar to the English word "air" (imagine a British/RP accent).

Don't worry if you can't pick up on the difference at first. You may need some more listening practice before you can tell them apart. Also, try using headphones instead of speakers.

Learn the pronouns together with the verb endings. This will greatly reduce the amount of ambiguity.

Verb conjugation

Here is the complete table for conjugating regular verbs:

Example: trinken (to drink)

English person ending German example
I -e ich trinke
you (singular informal) -st du trinkst
he/she/it -t er/sie/es trinkt
we -en wir trinken
you (plural informal) -t ihr trinkt
they -en sie trinken

Notice that the first and the third person plural have the same ending.

And here's the complete table for the irregular verb sein (to be):

English German
I am ich bin
you (singular informal) are du bist
he/she/it is er/sie/es ist
we are wir sind
you (plural informal) are ihr seid
they are sie sind

You will learn about the distinction between "formal" and "informal" later (it's easy).

Restaurant updated 2022-03-25 ^

Polite "you"

Remember that German has two ways of expressing "you" (singular and plural)?

Surprise! There is a third form, usually used with people you don't know well. German just uses the third person plural for this (they):

person trinken
du trinkst
ihr trinkt
sie/Sie trinken

How to know whether the meaning is "they" or "you"? German writes the "you" forms in upper case.

  • Wo sind sie? (Where are they?)
  • Wo sind Sie? (Where are you?)

Of course, at the beginning of the sentence, this does not work. It can then mean both:

  • Sie sind da! (They/You are there!)

When using the polite form, you usually combine it with the last name of a person, and Herr/Frau:

  • Guten Tag, Herr Müller! (Good day, Mr Müller!)
  • Willkommen, Frau Schmidt! (Welcome, Mrs Schmidt!)

Noun endings

As mentioned earlier, sometimes a noun endings gives away the gender:

  • -chen (das)
  • -er (often der)
  • -e (often die)

A common way to turn a verb into a noun is to add -ung to the word stem. These nouns will always be feminine:

  • die Wohnung, die Reservierung, die Rechnung

Later on, you will learn more of these regular noun endings.

Cup of tea

In German, you just add the quantity before the noun:

  • eine Tasse Tee (one cup of tea)
  • ein Glas Milch (one glass of milk)

Willkommen

Willkommen only means welcome as a greeting. It will not mean you're welcome.

Past tense

As in English, you can use the present tense to talk about the present and the future:

  • Ich esse! (I am eating!)
  • Ich gehe morgen ins Theater. (I go to the theatre tomorrow.)

Also as in English, the past requires a different tense. Here, you learn how to say "I was":

  • Ich war gestern im Theater. (I was at the theater yesterday.)

The endings are like those of the modal verbs (müssen, können, …). But the stem never changes:

Person sein (to be) können (can)
ich war kann
du warst kannst
er/sie/es war kann
wir waren können
ihr wart könnt
sie/Sie waren können

I went to Ireland!

Many learners of German struggle with expressing where they went:

  • I went to Ireland.

Germany is actually simpler here: it just uses ich war:

  • Ich war in Irland.

Hobbies updated 2022-03-25 ^

Im vs. ins

For now, think of im as "inside", and "ins" as "into":

  • Ich bin im Theater. (I am inside the theater.)
  • Ich gehe ins Theater. (I go into the theater.)

Later on, you will see these are part of a larger pattern.

Im is also used for months and seasons:

  • Im Juli, im Winter

Verb forms: you (plural)

So far, you learned these verb forms:

learn drive have
infinitive lernen fahren haben
ich lerne fahre habe
du (you sg.) lernst fährst hast
er/sie/es lernt fährt hat
wir lernen fahren haben
sie lernen fahren haben

Here you learn the form for the last person, "you (plural)".

This form always has a "-t" ending, and the stem of the verb will always be the same as the infinitive. Contrast with the third person singular, where there may be stem changes:

learn drive have
infinitive lernen fahren haben
er/sie/es lernt fährt hat
ihr (you pl.) lernt fahrt habt

Gern

In English, you can say:

  • I like chocolate. I like to swim.

Previously, you learned "mögen" means "to like":

  • Ich mag Schokolade.

However, this can only be used with nouns. For verbs, there is a structure that English does not use. It is therefore often confusing for beginners of German.

  • Ich schwimme gern.

Gern is an adverb, not a verb. Literally, Germans say "I swim likingly." Here's a tip: If you know where in the sentence to put "oft" (often), you know where to put "gern":

  • Ich gehe oft ins Theater. (I often go to the theater.)
  • Ich gehe gern ins Theater. (I like to go to the theater.)

Gern may be written/spoken as gerne, these two forms are exactly the same.

Questions updated 2022-03-25 ^

Yes/No Questions

Questions can be asked by switching the subject and verb. For instance, "Du verstehst das." (You understand this) becomes "Verstehst du das?" (Do you understand this?). These kinds of questions will generally just elicit yes/no answers. In English, the main verb "to be" follows the same principle. "I am hungry." becomes "Am I hungry?". In German, all verbs follow this principle. There's no do-support.

Asking a Question in German With a W-Word

Six W-questions - "Wer" (Who), "Was" (What), "Wo" (Where), "Wann" (When), "Warum" (Why) and "Wie" (How) - can be asked in German to elicit more than yes/no answers. Two of the six adverbs are declineable (i.e. change with the case), whereas four are not.

Wer (Who)

"Wer" is declinable and needs to adjust to the four cases. The adjustment depends on what the question is targeting.

  1. If you ask for the subject of a sentence (i.e. the nominative object), "wer" (who) remains as is: "Wer sitzt da?" (Who is sitting there?).
  2. If you ask for the direct (accusative) object in a sentence, "wer" changes to "wen" (who/whom). As a mnemonic, notice how "wen" sounds similar to "den" in "den Apfel." "Wen siehst du?" (Whom do you see?) - "Ich sehe den Sohn" (I see the son).
  3. If you ask for the indirect object, "wer" changes to "wem" (who/to whom) and adjusts to the dative case. You could ask "Wem hast du den Apfel gegeben?" (To whom did you give the apple?) and the answer could be "Dem Mann" (the man). Notice again how the declined form of "wer" ("wem") sounds like the definite article of all masculine and neuter nouns in the dative case (like "dem Mann" or "dem Kind").
  4. Lastly, asking about ownership (genitive case), changes "wer" to "wessen" (whose). "Wessen Schuhe sind das?" (Whose shoes are these?) - "Das sind die Schuhe des Jungen" (These are the boy’s shoes). And notice once again how "wessen" (of the) and "des" (of the) include a lot of s-sounds.

Was (What)

Similar to the changes made to "wer," "was" will decline depending on the four cases.

  1. For both the nominative and accusative cases, "was" remains the same. It is common to ask "Wer oder was?" (who or what?), if you want to know more about the nominative object and do not know if it is a person (who) or a thing (what). You ask "Wen oder was?" (who/whom or what?), if you want to know more about the accusative object.
  2. "Was" changes to "wessen" for questions about the genitive object as in "Wessen ist sie schuldig?" (What is she guilty of?).
  3. For the dative, "was" changes to a compount of "wo(r)" + preposition. For instance, if the verb takes the German preposition "an" (on/about) as in "an etwas denken," you would ask "Woran denkt er?" (About what is he thinking?). Likewise, "hingehen" is a verb composed of "gehen" + "hin" (go + to) and you would ask "Wohin geht sie?" (To where is she going?).

Wo (Where)

In German, you can inquire about locations in several ways. "Wo" (where) is the general question word, but if you are asking for a direction in which someone or something is moving, you may use "wohin" (where to). Look at: "Wo ist mein Schuh?" (Where is my shoe?) and "Wohin kommt dieser Wein?" (Where does this wine go?). Furthermore, "Wohin" is separable into "Wo" + "hin." For example, "Wo ist mein Schuh hin?" (Where did my shoe go?).

Note that the sound of "Wer" is similar to "Where" and that of "Wo" to "Who," but they must not be confused. In other words: the two German questions words "Wer" (Who) and "Wo" (Where) are false cognates to English. They mean the opposite of what an English speaker would think.

Wann (When)

"Wann" (when) does not change depending on the case. "Wann" can be used with conjunctions such as "seit" (since) or "bis" (till): "Seit wann haben Sie für Herrn Müller gearbeitet?" (Since when have you been working for Mr. Müller?) and "Bis wann geht der Film?" (Till when does the movie last?).

Warum (Why)

"Warum" (why) is also not declinable. "Wieso" and "Weshalb" can be used instead of "Warum." For an example, take "Warum ist das Auto so alt?" = "Wieso ist das Auto so alt?" = "Weshalb ist das Auto so alt?" (Why is that car so old?).

Market updated 2022-03-25 ^

Jeder

For English every, German uses jeder. However, its ending changes like "der, die, das":

gender, case the every
masc. Nom. der jeder
neut. Nom/Akk. das jedes
fem. Nom./Akk. die jede
masc. Akk. den jeden
m/n Dativ dem jedem
fem. Dativ der jeder

Times are in accusative in German:

  • Ich gehe jeden Tag schwimmen.

Leisure updated 2022-03-25 ^

Dative plural: "n" all the way!

Remember that the ending for articles, pronouns and adjectives is -n in dative plural:

  • mit den alten Autos (with the old cars)

In addition, plural nouns that do not end in -n already will also get an -n:

  • der Freund, die Freunde (the friend, the friends)
  • mit meinen alten Freunden (with my old friends)

As you can see above, -s plural endings break this rule.

Shopping updated 2022-03-25 ^

Kaufen vs. einkaufen

Kaufen is normally used in the meaning of "to buy":

  • Ich kaufe einen Hut.

Einkaufen is normally used without an object, and often refers to shopping. It can be used in conjunction with gehen:

  • Ich kaufe im Supermarkt ein. (I shop in the supermarket)
  • Wann gehst du einkaufen? (When do you go shopping?)

Verkaufen means "to sell". The prefix ver- is often associated with an "away" notion.

Laden, Geschäft

A variety of words exist for "shop". These are two common ones, with roughly exchangeable usage.

Travel updated 2022-03-25 ^

Sehenswürdigkeiten?!

The word Sehenswürdigkeit (sight as in sightseeing) is made up of several meaningful parts: sehen + s + würdig + keit.

Let's look at each part and its meaning.

Part Meaning
sehen to see
-s- connecting element
würdig to be worthy
-keit noun suffix

Literally Sehenswürdigkeit means something which is worthy to see.

The connecting element -s- is used to link words together.

The ending -keit turns an adjective into a noun.

Often the ending of a compound noun is a good indicator for the gender of the noun. For example, if a noun ends in -keit, it will always be feminine (die).

Urlaub vs. Ferien

Just like in English there's "holidays" and "vacation", in German there are Ferien and Urlaub. They can be used interchangeably to some extent.

Ferien only exists as a plural noun:

  • Die Ferien sind im Sommer. (The holidays are in summer.)

Urlaub only exists as a singular noun:

  • Wann ist der Urlaub? (When is the vacation?)

Visum

In English, you need "a visa". In German, the singular is das Visum, Visa is the plural (as it is in Latin, the source language of this word).

Weg vs. weg

Der Weg (with a long -e-) roughly means "the path".

  • Der Weg ist lang. (The path is long.)

The word weg (with a short, open -e-) roughly means "away". Here are some examples:

  • Geh weg! (Go away!)
  • Ich bin weg! (I'm gone!)

People updated 2022-03-25 ^

N-declension

In general, nouns have two forms, singular and plural:

  • der Hund, die Hunde
  • die Katze, die Katzen

In dative plural, all nouns that do not already have an -n ending get one:

  • die Hunde, mit den Hunden
  • but: die Katzen, mit den Katzen
  • the exception are plurals ending in "-s": die Autos, mit den Autos

In this skill, you encounter a special all-masculine noun group. These will have an -en ending in all forms, except for the nominative singular (the dictionary form):

  • Der Junge ist nett. Ich kenne einen Jungen.

This group includes:

  • almost all masculine nouns that end in -e (Junge, Name, Kollege, Türke, …)
  • nouns ending in -ist, -ent and some other endings
  • a small group of other masculine nouns.

Here is an example table for der Junge (the boy):

Case Singular Plural
Nominative der Junge die Jungen
Accusative den Jungen die Jungen
Dative dem Jungen den Jungen

Adjectival nouns

There is one last group of irregular nouns. These are actually adjectives that became nouns, but keep their rich set of adjective endings. As long as you know the adjective endings, these are straightforward to use:

Adjective Noun
ein deutscher Mann ein Deutscher
der deutsche Mann der Deutsche
eine deutsche Frau eine Deutsche
mit einer deutschen Frau mit einer Deutschen

Refer to the Clothes skill for an overview of the adjective endings.

In this skill, you encounter:

Adjective Adj. noun (masc. sg.)
deutsch (German) Deutscher (German)
erwachsen (adult) Erwachsener (adult)
verwandt (related) Verwandter (relative)
bekannt (known) Bekannter (acquaintance)

Food updated 2022-03-25 ^

The German Preposition am

Most likely, food is being consumed at the table. The German preposition am is the contraction of an (at/on) and dem (the). For example, The man eats at the table is Der Mann isst am (an + dem) Tisch. Since an can translate to both at and on, am can translate to both at the and on the, depending on the context. For example an dem Tisch only translates to at the table (context: spatial relationship between things) and an dem Tag only translates to on that day (context: temporal).

The verb haben (to have)

In English, you can say "I'm having bread" when you really mean that you're eating or about to eat bread. This does not work in German. The verb haben refers to possession only. Hence, the sentence Ich habe Brot only translates to I have bread, not I'm having bread. Of course, the same applies to drinks. Ich habe Wasser only translates to I have water, not I'm having water.

Mittagessen - lunch or dinner?

We're aware that dinner is sometimes used synonymously with lunch, but for the purpose of this course, we're defining Frühstück as breakfast, Mittagessen as lunch, and dinner / supper as Abendessen / Abendbrot.

Compound words

A compound word is a word that consists of two or more words. These are written as one word (no spaces).

The gender of a compound noun is always determined by its last element. This shouldn't be too difficult to remember because the last element is always the most important one. All the previous elements merely describe the last element.

  • die Autobahn (das Auto + die Bahn)

  • der Orangensaft (die Orange + der Saft)

  • das Hundefutter (der Hund + das Futter)

Sometimes, there's a connecting sound (Fugenlaut) between two elements. For instance, die Orange + der Saft becomes der Orangensaft, der Hund + das Futter becomes das Hundefutter, die Liebe + das Lied becomes das Liebeslied, and der Tag + das Gericht becomes das Tagesgericht.

Cute like sugar!

The word süß means sweet when referring to food, and cute when referring to living beings.

  • Der Zucker ist süß. (The sugar is sweet.)
  • Die Katze ist süß. (The cat is cute.)

Party updated 2022-03-25 ^

And another adjective ending!

As described in earlier skills, the adjective ending for "das, der, die, eine" ist -e:

gender article adjective noun
fem. die alte Frau
fem. eine alte Frau
masc. der alte Mann
neut. das kleine Kind
pl. alte Männer

In the last skill, you learned that for neuter, either the article or the adjective (but not both!) need to have an -s ending:

gender article adjective noun
neut. das kleine Kind
neut. ein kleines Kind

The same logic applies to masculine forms. Either the article or the adjective end in -r:

gender article adjective noun
masc. der alte Mann
masc. ein alter Mann

Nominative and accusative are the same for neuter, feminine and plural.

Keep in mind that for masculine accusative, the articles and the adjective both get -en endings:

gender article adjective noun
masc. den alten Mann
masc. einen alten Mann

Now you can use all nominative and accusative forms, and also (in general) all dative forms (which so far all end in -en)!

Ordinal numbers

Ordinals are adjectives, and carry the same endings:

  • Ich wohne im fünften Stock. (I live on the fifth floor.)
  • Der fünfte Juni ist ein Montag. (June 5th is a Monday.)

The general rule is that from one to nineteen, you add a -t- between number and adjective ending:

2. zweite
4. vierte
8. achte
10. zehnte
12. zwölfte
19. neunzehnte

Starting with twenty, you add -st- instead:

20. zwanzigste
42. zweiundvierzigste
100. hundertste
1000. tausendste

Only three forms are irregular:

1. erste
3. dritte
7. siebte

Note that in German, you just place a dot after a number to indicate it is an ordinal.

Overview pronouns

By now, you have encountered all the pronouns for all the three main cases:

Nom. Acc. Dat.
ich mich mir
du dich dir
er ihn ihm
es es ihm
sie sie ihr
wir uns uns
ihr euch euch
sie/Sie sie/Sie ihr/Ihr

The next table shows the possessive pronouns. Only two endings are given here:

  • no ending (neuter nominative/accusative + masculine nominative)
  • -e ending (feminine + plural, for both nominative and accusative)
Person Nom. masc./neut. Nom./Akk. fem./pl.
ich mein meine
du dein deine
er/es sein seine
sie ihr ihre
wir unser unsere
ihr euer eure
sie/Sie ihr/Ihr ihre/Ihre

Note that for euer, the last -e- of the word stem gets lost when adding an ending.

The complete endings set is the same as for ein:

Case + gender example poss. pronoun
Nom. m/n, Acc n mein
Acc m meinen
Nom/Acc f/pl meine
Dat m/n meinem
Dat f meiner
Dat pl meinen

Some irregular perfect participles

In this skill, you will encounter the following irregular perfect participles:

Infinitive Perfect participle
schlafen geschlafen
essen gegessen
singen gesungen
trinken getrunken
finden gefunden
helfen geholfen
gehen gegangen
verstehen verstanden

In addition, there is a small group of "mixed" verbs, that change the verb stem, but keep the -t ending:

Infinitive Perfect participle
rennen gerannt
brennen gebrannt
müssen gemusst

Food 2 updated 2022-03-25 ^

Küche vs. Kuchen

Die Küche (the kitchen) and der Kuchen (the cake) are often confused by learners. To German ears, they sound quite different. One reason is that in Küche, the vowel is short, while the vowel in Kuchen is long.

singular plural
die Küche die Küchen
der Kuchen die Kuchen

Kochen (to cook) also has a short vowel.

Schmecken

Schmecken is very similar to the English word "to taste":

  • Ich schmecke Knoblauch! (I taste garlic!)
  • Knoblauch schmeckt super! (Garlic tastes great!)

In addition, schmecken can be used by itself:

  • Die Pizza schmeckt nicht! (The pizza does not taste good!)

Some popular food

Müsli

Müsli originally refers to "Bircher Müesli", a Swiss breakfast dish, based on rolled oats and fresh or dried fruits.

Nowadays, people will use it for all kinds of cereals or granola, often with high sugar content.

Hähnchen

Hähnchen usually refers to a chicken that has been turned into a dish. While derived from the word for "male chicken" (der Hahn), the only distinction today is that it is a food item.

Remember that words ending in -chen are always neuter: das Hähnchen.

Salat

Salat can refer to the dish, as well as to the green leaves (usually lettuce) that often go into it.

Pets updated 2022-03-25 ^

Fressen vs. essen

The German word for "to eat" is essen. However, many people use a different word for animals:

  • Die Frau isst. Die Katze frisst.

The forms of both verbs are the same:

person essen fressen
ich esse fresse
du isst frisst
er/sie/es isst frisst
wir essen fressen
ihr esst fresst
sie/Sie essen fressen
perf. part. gegessen gefressen

Natural vs. grammatical gender

Remember that for most nouns in German, the word determines the gender, not the meaning:

  • der Becher, die Tasse, das Glas (the mug, the cup, the glass)

For animals, there is usually a general word with a certain grammatical gender. "Katze" is feminine. That does not mean that the specific cat is necessarily female!

  • die: Katze, Spinne, Schildkröte, Schlange, Kuh, Maus
  • der: Hamster, Hund, Vogel
  • das: Insekt, Huhn, Tier, Schaf, Schwein, Pferd, Kaninchen

German has specific male/female versions for some of these, but we do not teach them at this point.

Favorite

Liebling means "darling":

  • Mein Liebling! (My darling!)

When combined with other nouns, it means "favorite":

  • meine Lieblingskatze (my favorite cat)

Note that German often glues an "s" or an "n" between two noun word parts.

Danken

Similar to helfen (to help), danken is part of a small number of verbs that only have a dative object:

  • Ich helfe dem Mann.
  • Ich danke dem Mann.

Think of "giving help/thanks to" somebody, and you will get it right.

Angst haben

Instead of "to be afraid of", German says "I have fear of":

  • Ich habe Angst vor Hunden. (I am afraid of dogs.)

It is sometimes necessary to learn the preposition together with the verb. Vor takes the dative when used together with Angst haben.

Passport updated 2022-03-25 ^

Yes/No Questions

Questions can be asked by switching the subject and verb. For instance,

  • Du verstehst das. (You understand this.)

becomes

  • Verstehst du das? (Do you understand this?).

These kinds of questions will generally just elicit yes/no answers. In English, the main verb "to be" follows the same principle. "You are hungry." becomes "Are you hungry?".

In German, all verbs follow this principle. There's no do-support.

Asking a Question in German With a W-Word

There are seven W-questions in German:

English German
what was
who wer
where wo
when wann
how wie
why warum
which welcher

Don't mix up wer and wo, which are "switched" in English :)

Some of these will change according to case.

Was (what)

If you ask was with a preposition, the two normally turn into a new word, according to the following pattern:

English preposition wo-
for what für wofür
about what über worüber
with what mit womit

If the preposition starts with a vowel, there will be an extra -r- to make it easier to pronounce.

This wo- prefix does not mean "where".

Wer (who)

Wer is declinable and needs to adjust to the cases. The adjustment depends on what the question is targeting.

If you ask for the subject of a sentence (i.e. the nominative object), wer (who) remains as is:

  • Wer ist da? (Who is there?).

If you ask for the direct (accusative) object in a sentence, wer changes to wen (who/whom). As a mnemonic, notice how wen rhymes with den in den Apfel.

  • Wen siehst du? — Ich sehe den Hund.
  • (Whom do you see? — I see the dog.)

You will soon learn about the Dative case. You have to use wem then. And there is a forth case in German (Genitive). You would use wessen here. This corresponds to English "whose".

The endings look like the endings of der (but don't change with gender/number):

case masc. Form of wer
nominative der wer
accusative den wen
dative dem wem

Welche(r/s) (which)

Welche- words are used to ask about for a specific item out of a group of items, such as "which car is yours?".

This declines not only for case, but also for gender. The endings are the same as for definite articles:

article welch*
der welcher
das welches
die welche
die (pl.) welche
den welchen

Wo (where)

In German, you can inquire about locations in several ways.

Wo (where) is the general question word, but if you are asking for a direction in which someone or something is moving, you may use *wohin* (where to).

Consider these examples:

  • Wo ist mein Schuh? (Where is my shoe?)

  • Wohin gehst du? (Where are you going (to)?)

Furthermore, wohin is separable into wo + hin:

  • Wo ist mein Schuh hin? (Where did my shoe go?)

The same goes for woher (where from):

  • Woher kommst du? (Where are you from)

might become

  • Wo kommst du her?
English German
where wo
where to wohin
where from woher

Wann (when)

Wann (when) does not change depending on the case. Wann can be used with conjunctions such as seit (since) or bis (till):

  • Seit wann wartest du? (Since when have you been waiting?)

  • Bis wann geht der Film? (Till when does the movie last?).

Don't confuse wann with wenn which you learned in Conjunctions. Both translate to "when" in English, but they have different functions in German.

  • Wann kommst du? (When are you coming?)

  • Ich schlafe nicht, wenn ich Musik höre. (I don't sleep when I listen to music)

Warum (why)

Warum (why) is also not declinable. It will never change endings. Wieso, Weshalb, and Weswegen can be used instead of Warum. There's no difference in meaning.

Here is an example. All four following sentences mean "Why is the car so old?".

  • Warum ist das Auto so alt?

  • Wieso ist das Auto so alt?

  • Weshalb ist das Auto so alt?

  • Weswegen ist das Auto so alt?

Wie viel vs. wie viele

Wie viel is used with uncountable or countable nouns (how much/how many), and wie viele is only used with countable nouns (how many). Some people think that "wie viel" can only be used with uncountable nouns, but that is not true.

  • Wie viel Milch trinkst du? (How much milk do you drink?)

  • Wie viel(e) Tiere siehst du? (How many animals do you see?)

Jobs 2 updated 2022-03-25 ^

Student or Schüler?

Ein Student is a university student and a Schüler is a pupil/student at a primary, secondary or high school. Students attending other types of schools such as language or dancing schools may also be called Schüler.

Dropping articles

When talking about your or someone else's profession in sentences such as I'm a teacher or She's a judge, German speakers usually drop the indefinite article (ein/eine).

  • Ich bin Lehrer. (I am a teacher.)

It sounds more natural to say Ich bin Lehrer and Sie ist Richterin than Ich bin ein Lehrer and Sie ist eine Richterin. This rule also applies to students.

If you add an adjective, you can't drop the article. Er ist ein schlechter Arzt (He's a bad doctor) is correct, but Er ist schlechter Arzt is not.

Also note that you can't drop the definite article (der/die/das).

Male and female variants

The grammatical gender usually matches the biological sex of the person you're referring to.

So the word that refers to a male baker is grammatically masculine, and the word that refers to a female baker is grammatically feminine.

In the vast majority of cases, the female variant is formed by simply adding the suffix -in to the male variant, e.g. der Bäcker becomes die Bäckerin and der Schüler (the pupil) becomes die Schülerin.

The plural of the female variant is formed by adding the ending -innen to the singular of the male variant, e.g. die Bäckerinnen and die Schülerinnen.

Keep in mind that, in some cases, the plural comes with an umlauted stem vowel. This applies to the female variant as well.

singular plural
male der Koch die Köche
female die Köchin die Köchinnen

You learn one more word like this in this lesson:

  • der Arzt, die Ärztin (the doctor)

Sie ist der Boss!

There are a few words for people where the grammatical and the natural gender differ. One of them is der Boss. There is no feminine version for it, although there are certainly female bosses.

  • Mein Boss heißt Linda Ackermann.
  • Meine Chefin heißt Linda Ackermann.

Feelings updated 2022-03-25 ^

Long and short vowels

Which sounds are there?

In German, every vowel can be long or short. The short one often sounds more open than the long one.

The IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) is given for the geeks among you :) But you can also copy/paste one of these symbols into Wikipedia to get an in-depth explanation of it (with sound!).

vowel short IPA long IPA
a Mann /a/ Bahn /aː/
ä Bälle /ɛ/ Käse /ɛː/
e rennen /ɛ/ Beere /eː/
i Mitte /ɪ/ ziehen /iː/
o oft /ɔ/ ohne /oː/
ö Hölle /œ/ schön /øː/
u Mutter /ʊ/ Buch /uː/
ü Müll /ʏ/ Bücher /yː/

You can also google "german sounds" for a longer introduction to German sounds.

When is a vowel short or long?

German has a range of spelling convention which will clearly show whether a vowel is short or long:

A vowel before a double consonant will be short:

  • Mann, denn, Mutter, Bälle, backen, Pizza, Katze

Note that instead of "zz" (which only occurs in the Italian "Pizza"), German uses tz. Instead of "kk", we use ck.

There are also some signals that clearly show the vowel is long.

Sometimes, the vowel will be doubled:

  • paar, Beere, Boot, … (this only happens with a/e/o)

There might be a silent h behind the vowel:

  • fahren, zählen, sehen, ihr, ohne, höher, Uhr, Stühle, …

Note that if you read the list above, you should not hear a single h sound. It is geh|en, not ge|hen.

For i, it is more common to have an -e after it (sometimes even -eh):

  • die, Biene, spielen, sieben, Beziehung, …

Again, the h will be silent: Be|zieh|ung, not Be|zie|hung.

But sometimes, there will not be a signal.

The following examples have an unmarked long vowel:

  • Buch, da, Abend, wo, Not, Zitrone, …

And here are some short ones:

  • an, Onkel, un-, Mama, Hälfte, Zitrone, …

For these, you just have to trust your language feeling, it will normally not be a big problem :)

Friends updated 2022-03-25 ^

The third case.

German has four cases. You already learned two so far, nominative and accusative.

Nominative is used for sentence subjects.

Accusative is mostly used for sentence objects. Some prepositions will use accusative, too.

The third important case is "dative".

Dative pronouns

Here are the first three dative pronouns for you, together with the nominative and accusative counterparts:

Nom. Akk. Dat.
ich mich mir
du dich dir
sie (fem.) sie ihr

What is dative for?

As the accusative, the dative case has several functions.

Some prepositions go with dative:

  • mit, zu, aus, von, bei

  • Komm mit mir! (Come with me!)

  • Ich gehe zu ihr. (I go to her.)

For most verbs, the object is in the accusative case:

  • Ich sehe dich. (I see you.)

A few verbs use the dative instead:

  • Ich helfe dir. (I help you.)
  • Ich danke dir. (I thank you.)

Some verbs have two objects. The one identifying the "other person involved in a transaction" will also be in dative:

  • Ich habe einen Hund. (I have a dog.)
  • Ich gebe dir einen Hund. (I give you a dog.)

These three cases will appear in most sentences, so take your time to get a feeling for them.

There is a fourth case (genitive), but it is not used a lot.

Telling the time

Germans mostly use a system similar to English. There is one important and confusing difference: While English uses "half past seven", German will say "half eight".

Time
10:00 zehn (Uhr)
10:05 fünf nach zehn
10:15 viertel nach zehn
10:30 halb elf
10:45 viertel vor elf
10:55 fünf vor elf

In addition, the 25 and 35 minutes will refer to the half hour:

Time
10:25 fünf vor halb elf
10:35 fünf nach halb elf

This colloquial system only uses hours from one to twelve.

German official time uses hours from zero to 24:

Time
10:12 zehn Uhr zwölf
22:50 zweiundzwanzig Uhr fünfzig

Komm!

Similar to English, the imperative omits the pronoun. You will learn more about this later. For now, just remember that to say "Come (on)!", German uses Komm! (not kommst, as you might have suspected).

University updated 2022-03-25 ^

Comparative

The comparative for short words in English is commonly formed by adding -er to the adjective:

  • fast, faster
  • smart, smarter

German works in the same way. Of course, you then have to add the correct adjective ending to the whole thing:

  • schnell, schneller
  • ein schneller Mann, ein schnellerer Hund, eine schnellere Katze (a fast man, a faster dog, a faster cat)

For longer adjectives, English uses "more" instead. German does not do that.

  • interesting, more interesting
  • interessant, interessanter

Short adjectives usually get an umlaut change, though:

  • alt, älter
  • groß, größer

Remember that gern is an adverb. German uses it to describe things it likes. It has the comparative lieber:

  • Ich esse gern Pizza. Ich esse lieber Lasagne.
  • I like to eat pizza. I prefer to eat lasagna.

Seit

In English, you can say:

  • I have been learning German for two months.

In German, you would instead say:

  • Ich lerne seit zwei Monaten Deutsch.

First, as it is still ongoing, the present tense is used.

Second, German uses seit for stretches of time that reach into the present. That means you can only use it for things that are still ongoing.

If seit is combined with a noun, it takes the dative. Remember that in dative plural, the noun gets an extra -n:

  • der Monat, die Monate > seit zwei Monaten

Anfang, Mitte, Ende

In English, "early, mid, late" refers to positions in a day, month, or year:

  • in late May

In German, Anfang, Mitte, Ende can be used like this:

  • Ende Mai

These can also be used for age:

  • Sie ist Anfang zwanzig. (She is in her early twenties.)

Cooking updated 2022-03-25 ^

Zu Mittag, zu Abend

In some combinations, prepositions are not grammatical. Just learn the whole phrase like a word:

German English
zu Fuß on foot
zu Mittag for lunch
zu Abend for dinner
zu Hause at home
nach Hause towards home

Especially zu Hause is often confusing, as in regular use, zu often means towards.

Geben

Geben (to give) is one of several verbs that describe a transaction. These generally have two objects:

  • the direct object is what changes hands. This is the object you already know: it is in the accusative case.
  • the indirect object identifies the "other person involved" in a transaction. This object is in the dative case.

  • Ich gebe einem Kind einen Apfel. (I give a child an apple.)

As in English, the dative "indirect" object comes before the accusative "direct" object.

English can also use "to": "I gave an apple to a child." — this is not possible in German.

Geben is a strong (slightly irregular) verb, here are its forms:

Person geben
ich gebe
du gibst
er/sie/es gibt
wir geben
ihr gebt
sie/Sie geben
perf. part. gegeben

Café updated 2022-03-25 ^

Eineinhalb

Here is an overview of time spans:

Minuten
10 zehn Minuten
15 eine Viertelstunde
30 eine halbe Stunde
45 eine Dreiviertelstunde
60 eine Stunde
90 eineinhalb Stunden
120 zwei Stunden
150 zweieinhalb Stunden

When speaking, pay attention to the endings (marked in bold) of eine halbe Stunde and eineinhalb Stunden. If you mix these up, people will think you mean the other one.

Eineinhalb literally means "one, one half" (60+30). Some people use anderthalb instead.

Alleine

Just as with gern(e), alleine can omit the -e, without a change in meaning.


22 skills with tips and notes

 
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