Course Content
German Gender of Nouns
All German nouns are one of three genders: masculine, feminine or neutral. When you’re learning German, it’s important to remember that the word, not the thing, has a gender. Although they don’t always make sense, they are something you have to learn. That’s because in German, the gender of a noun is part of its identity. If you say or write a German word without the article that dictates gender, you won’t be using the noun correctly.
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German Nominative
In German the nominative is often referred to as the “who-case” (“der Werfall”) , because you can use the question words “who ” or “ what ” to find out what the subject of the sentence is.
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German Adjectives
German has all the same adjective concepts that English does, yes … but how adjectives are used is very different, mainly because of tricky little adjective endings (i.e. declensions) you frequently have to use as part of the overarching German Case System.Many students find adjective endings (and how they so often impact adjective-usage) to be the most difficult aspect of German to master.
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German Personal Pronouns
German personal pronouns (ich, sie, er, es, du, wir, and more) work in much the same way as their English equivalents (I, she, he, it, you, we, etc.). When you study verbs, you should already understand pronouns well. They are a key element of most sentences that you should memorize and know by heart.
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The Future Simple Tense (Futur I)
The German future tense (Futur I) is mostly used to express assumptions about the present or future in German. We can also use this tense to express future intentions, although, in spoken German, it is more common to use the present tense for this. We can translate the future tense with the English tenses: simple present or future with will or going to.
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German Regular Verbs
The present tense is one of two verb tenses in German that consist of finite forms. This means that the verb itself is inflected to provide all of the grammatical information necessary to understand its role in the sentence.The German present tense is usually formed by dropping the –en or –n from the infinitive and adding personal endings (-e, -(e)st, (e)t, –en, -(e)t, –en) to the remaining infinitive stem.
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German Plural Formation
A plural noun expresses that there is more than one person, object, idea etc. To form plural nouns in German, we can add -n/-en, -e, -r/-er, or -s to the end of the noun. The rules for plural noun formation in German grammar are listed below.
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German Accusative Case and Haben
You use the "Akkusativ", when you want to describe what is happening to a person or a thing. This person or thing is the grammatical object.
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German Word Order
English tends to rely mostly on word order to indicate the grammatical function of a word or phrase. German relies more on inflections to show function. Endings, such as those indicating the nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive cases in three different genders, allow for some greater flexibility in clause construction.
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German Definite Articles
A definite article (der Definitartikel) is that tiny word in English we refer to as "the." In German, we have three: der, die, das. As in English, they are also placed before the noun (or their modifying adjectives). In German, however, each of the definite articles has a gender.
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German Indefinite Articles
In German there are several varieties of indefinite articles, which change depending on the gender of the noun being modified, whether the noun is singular or plural, and the case of the noun in the sentence.
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German Negation
Negation or negative sentences in German grammar are formed with the words nicht (not) and kein (no/none). The tricky part is understanding when to use nicht and when to use kein and where to put them in a sentence. Learn about the word order of negative sentences in German and when to use nicht or kein.
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German Modal Verbs
Modal verbs are a special class of verbs. You will most likely always use and find them in company with another verb. The six modal verbs in German are: dürfen, können, mögen, müssen, sollen, wollen.
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German Separable Prefix Verbs
Separable prefixes offer a large set of possibilities for the formation of new verbs. In general, these elements provide either a more precise, or a significantly different meaning of the modified verb. Thus they serve as the "verb complement". In German, most, but not all, separable prefixes are derived from prepositions and retain much of the meaning that they had in that form.
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German Coordinating Conjunctions
Coordinating conjunctions in German are words that can be used to connect other words, phrases or clauses without affecting the word order of the sentence. These conjunctions are: und, oder, aber, denn, beziehungsweise, sondern, doch, jedoch, and allein.
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German Possessive
Possessive pronouns indicate possession. There are dependent and independent possessive pronouns in German grammar, both types must agree with their noun in case, gender and number.
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German-Present Perfect of Regular Verbs
The English present perfect tense is used to refer to an event that happened in the past but continues (or at least might continue) in the present. For example, the sentence “I have lived in Charleston, South Carolina for six years” suggests that you might still be living in Charleston. Unlike English, das Perfekt doesn’t signify an ongoing event. Instead, it refers to a past event or action which has been completed. It’s also the past tense that’s most commonly used in German conversations, so you need to understand it if you want great speaking skills!
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German Present Perfect-Irregular Verbs
In German, there are about 150 strong verbs. The vowel, which normally changes in the verb, is called “Ablaut”. There are three typical patterns of “Ablaut” changes: e – i – a: “gehen – ging – gegangen” a – u – a: “fahren – fuhr – gefahren” i – a – u: “finden – fand – gefunden”
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German Present Perfect-Mixed Verbs
In German, weak verbs follow a very particular pattern of conjugation. In addition to strong – or irregular – verbs, there is a third category of verbs: irregular weak verbs. The list of these mixed German verbs is: brennen, bringen, denken, kennen, nennen, rennen, senden, wenden and wissen.
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German Dative Case
The German dative case is used to indicate the indirect object of a sentence. It answers the question: To or for whom?
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German Two-Way Prepositions
Most German prepositions are always followed by the same case, but two-way prepositions are prepositions that can take either the accusative or dative case.There are nine of these two-way prepositions:an auf hinter neben in über unter vor zwischen
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German Dative Case Prepositions
In English, prepositions take the objective case (object of the preposition) and all prepositions take the same case. In German there are several grouping that are followed by a certain German case. Here is a list of German dative prepositions (nouns are always followed by the dative case): aus außer bei mit nach seit von zu gegenüber
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German Conditionals
In German, subjunctive forms are used much more frequently than in English, to express uncertainty, speculation or doubt.
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German Dative Verbs
The German dative case is used to indicate the indirect object of a sentence. It’s also used after certain verbs and prepositions.
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German Simple Past Tense
In German, the simple past is referred to as Präteritum. In English, the simple past is often used to discuss past events that have a definite timeframe, referring to when something happened. In German, it can be used the same way, though it’s generally used more in writing vs regular conversation.
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German Imperative
The German imperative is a form of the verb used when giving orders and instructions, for example, Please sit down!
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German Comparative
A comparative adjective in English is one with -er added to it or more or less in front of it, that is used to compare people or things. (slower, more beautiful) In German, to say that something is easier, more expensive and so on, you add -er to the simple form of most adjectives.
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German Temporal Prepositions
Prepositions of time or temporal prepositions show the relationship of these things to time. Prepositions of time correspond to the questions “When/how long?”
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German Present Perfect-Separable Prefix Verbs
Separable prefixes offer a large set of possibilities for the formation of new verbs. In general, these elements provide either a more precise, or a significantly different meaning of the modified verb. Thus they serve as the "verb complement". In German, most, but not all, separable prefixes are derived from prepositions and retain much of the meaning that they had in that form.
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German Irregular Verbs
In German, there are about 150 strong verbs. The vowel, which normally changes in the verb, is called “Ablaut”. There are three typical patterns of “Ablaut” changes: e – i – a: “gehen – ging – gegangen” a – u – a: “fahren – fuhr – gefahren” i – a – u: “finden – fand – gefunden”
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German Question Words
In order to ask basic questions in German, you’ll need to memorize some new vocabulary. Here are thirteen German question words you can use in everyday conversation.
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Basic German Grammar Topics
    About Lesson

    German Modal verbs modify the content of the main verb of the sentence (i.e. the way or how something is done). The conjugated modal verb is in the second position of the sentence, the verb in the infinitive is at the end of the sentence.

    In the example below, the modal verb “wollen” (to want) changes the meaning of the sentence and is conjugated and placed in second position. The main verb “spielen” (to play) is moved to the end of the sentence in its infinitive form.

    Beispiel:

    Der Junge spielt gern Fußball.                    The boy likes to play soccer.

    Der Junge will Fußball spielen.                   The boy wants to play soccer.

    Note that, in the first sentence, the adverb “gern” is added to indicate a like for an activity (soccer); however, the adverb comes directly after the main verb and does not change the placement of the verb “spielen.” By contrast, the second sentence includes the modal verb “wollen” conjugated (“will”) in the second position, which “kicks” the main verb (“spielen”) to the end of the sentence.

    Modal verbs in German are conjugated differently than other verbs in the present tense — most notably in the case of the first- and third-person singular forms. Each of these two forms drops an ending (“e” and “t,” respectively) and are identical. Note that, unlike in the present tense of most verbs, the first-person or ‘ich’ form of modal verbs exhibits a stem-vowel change.

    The table below provides the present tense conjugations of the modal verbs.

    modalverbsinpresent jpg

    The modal verbs have similar meanings to their English counterparts:

    wollen – to want to

    können – can, to be able to

    müssen – must, to have to

    sollen – shall, to be supposed to

    dürfen – may, to be permitted/allowed to

    mögen – may, to like

    The modal verb “sollen” is not translated here as “should,” even though in English it is often used interchangeably with indicative and subjunctive (e.g. I am supposed to clean the kitchen (indicative = obligation) VS. I should clean the kitchen before it becomes a total mess (subjunctive = hypothetical)). Native speakers often use “should” in place of “supposed to,” but in German there is a difference between using “sollen” (indicative) and “sollten” (subjunctive).

    Another nuanced meaning to be clarified is “mögen.” This modal verb appears to be readily substituted for “dürfen” because of the definition “may”; however, this is not the case. When using the modal verb “mögen” to mean “may,” it is typically part of an idiom (e.g. es mag sein / it may be;  wie immer es sein mag / as the case may be). The English modal “might” is typically constructed in German using a form of “können,” not unlike another English equivalent: “it might be” is essentially the same as “it could be.”

    Examples:

    Er will in das Restaurant gehen. / He wants to go to the restaurant.

    Ich kann (nicht) gut kochen. / I can (not) cook well.

    Du kannst (sehr) schlecht hören. / You can (not) hear well.

    Sabine muss ein Auto kaufen. / Sabine has to buy a car.

    Peter soll das Auto waschen. / Peter should wash the car.

    Der Vater soll das Fahrrad reparieren. / The father should repair the bike.

    Du darfst den Rasen mähen. / You can/may cut the lawn.

    Ich mag das schöne Wetter. / I like good weather.

    Wir mögen den neuen Kinofilm. / We like the new movie.