Category Dative

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 […]

4 German phrases that need the dative

As a German teacher there is really only one thing that makes my blood curdle… when students after hearing and reading the phrase “Wie geht es dir?” a million times spew out something like “Wie geht’s du?” Please, please, please do not make this mistake. We’ve moved. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/4-german-phrases-that-need-the-dative/

“mir” or “für mich” when to use the Dative or an Accusative Prepositional Phrase

The other day I was giving one of my German lessons on the run… literally running with my students. The advantages of combining language training and physical exercise are huge. Students combine things (multi-task if you will) and don’t have to worry bout sacrificing one form of self-improvement for an other. Secondly, the increased blood-flow […]

German Nouns with N-Declination — Nomen der N-Dekination

Sound. So much of language comes down to sound. What is the easiest sound to make? In German this is one of the reasons for adjective endings being what they are — mostly ending in -en, right?! It’s that same basic principle that is to blame for you getting Name and Namen mixed up or […]

German Personal Pronouns at Après-Ski with Schlager Musik

Last week I gave you quite a bit of German ski vocabulary. It’s winter and in Switzerland that means Ski fahren. After a day of skiing many then hit the Après-Ski. Here is the a brief account of happens at Après-Ski: We’ve moved. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/german-personal-pronouns-at-apres-ski-with-schlager-musik/

Common German Prepositional mistakes

Prepositions are always tricky in any language. One of the best ways to learn prepositions is to learn them in phrases, because the idiomatic collocation often does not directly translate. Here are ten of the most common prepositional mistakes I hear when I teach German and their correct forms. Learn these correctly and you’ll be […]

Using the German Dative Case this Christmas

It’s the already the third advent (der dritte Advent) and many of you are probably busy writing Christmas cards (die Weihnachtskarte), to-do-lists (die Aufgabenliste) and letters to Santa (Briefe an den Weihnachtsmann). With all the wishing (wünschen), and giving (schenken) that goes on at this time of year one German case becomes very important: the […]

Where you’re from — Using the German prepositions von and aus

During last week’s Stammtisch here in Zurich, many people were speaking about where they were from and where they had recently traveled to. It’s always great to hear about people’s background and see the plurality of different cultures that are moving to Switzerland and diversifying the city. Of course there is plenty of opportunity to […]

Talking about the past in German: seit vs. vor

Dealing with the past in German often leads to long and deep conversations. Fortunately, this blog is not meant to be political or historical, so I will keep me post short. I want to look at the prepositions vor and seit, when used in time expressions. German and English speakers don’t talk about the past […]

vor vs. bevor vs. vorher — yes, there’s a difference!

Last week we looked at the words nach, nachdem and nachher. We learned that these words, while they can be used to convey the same information, have different grammatical functions and word order and event order must be observed. This week we’ll look at their counterparts: vor, bevor and vorher. We’ve moved. You’ll find the […]