Category Adjective Endings

Little differences in German — anders, verschiedene, unterschiedliche

“Ich hätte gern noch ein anderes Bier, bitte.”  This is a phrase that I hear far too often from non-native German speakers. The confusion lies in the translation of the English expression “I’d like another beer, please.” The word another. To help everyone getting confused with the words ander-, verschieden-, and unterschiedlich-. But before we […]

dauernd vs. dauerhaft and the German suffix -haft

At our Stammtisch last week, one of our attendees, Edvin from Slovenia, asked me if I could quickly clarify the difference between some words. Thinking it would only be a few words, I said sure. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out a page long list of words he wanted to know how […]

German Family Vocabulary & German Adjectival Nouns

With the holiday season quickly approaching, many of you are getting ready to see your family again. Yes, that family, you know the ones your aunt, who likes to complain a lot (meckern), your loud uncle who doesn’t seem to understand that there is no need to yell (schreien) when speaking to people that are […]

German Letter and E-Mail Basics

Every week I receive e-mails from students and readers asking me to clarify grammatical points and every week I receive the following e-mails with the following salutation: “Liebe Christian”. Now if you’re looking at that and think there is nothing wrong, this post is for you. Let’s look at some key basics for written communication […]

How to congratulate someone on their baby in German

This year I turned 30. Now you might think, “Big deal.” If you’re at this age or around it though you surely have noticed many of your friends are getting married or have already gotten married and are starting families. Families of course mean children. as one of Zurich’s most eligible bachelors I’m not in […]

What’s mine is yours — German Possessive Articles

This past week in one of my classes we were looking at possessive adjectives, which are exactly what you need to express ownership in German. Possessive adjectives are the: my, your, his, her etc. When you see something that you want, you want it to be yours. Sometimes you want it to be someone else’s. Being able […]

Descriptive Adverbs – Wie?

Happy New Year! (Frohes Neues!). 2012 started in Zurich with a bang as it does in many other cities around the world. One thing that I’ve noticed differentiates New Year’s Eve in the German speaking world from other areas is that people shoot off fireworks until early in the morning. At no other time of […]

German Adjective Endings – The things we don’t hear

Adjective endings are the bane of most German learners. This is true because as a learner you are expected to get them right, but when you go out into the street you never really hear them from native speakers. This is especially true in Switzerland, but generally from all speakers. Like in English the spoken […]

Form Word Cloud

The many forms of German words

There are many things that make English a difficult language to learn: English speakers tend to use an extraordinary amount of idioms, there are more tenses and subelties in their usage than with other languages, there are many homonyms and the spelling of a word does not always represent a phonic relation to the word’s […]