Category Adjectives

German Grammar Basics — What you need to know to understand German

I’ve been teaching German for almost ten years, and the one thing that I understand is that many learners have such a tough time because of grammatical terminology. In English speaking school systems, grammar is generally avoided, whereas German seems to worship grammar. One could say that the formal teaching of English grammar has been […]

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 […]

spürbar oder merkbar and the German suffix -bar

Last week we started looking at a list of words I was asked about by one of my Stammtisch regulars, Edvin. Last week we looked at the words dauernd and dauerhaft, which brought up the interesting topic of the German suffix -haft for adjectives. Edvin also has another similar question on the long list of […]

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 […]

Actually, there is a difference — eigentlich vs. tatsächlich

During one of my lessons the other day a student used the word eigentlich, which I was very happy to hear, as many beginners don’t use this word; however, I also had to correct him and tell him that the word he was looking for was tatsächlich. Now some might think that this is just […]

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 […]

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 […]

word cloud

Noch einmal — Danke schön!

When I studied in Germany I had a friend who would always say “Danke schon” when the waiter or waitress brought him his cappuccino. I’d always wait till the server left and tell him, “Danke schön”, emphasizing the o with the umlaut.  His retort was always the same, “That’s what I said.” We’ve moved. You’ll […]