Category Sentence Structure

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 […]

Correlations in German — Combining ideas in sentences

Quite a few of my students are presently preparing for their B1 and B2 German Exams (Goethe Zertifikat). As we progress through different learning materials, I place a huge focus on writing. Writing is a great way to apply grammatical rules, because you have time to think about it. Writing in this respect is an […]

“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 […]

Explaining your actions in German — using um … zu and damit clauses

A post that gets a great deal of attention is the one about how zu is not always used as an preposition, but often with verbs whereby it is followed by the infinitive of the verb. If you haven’t read that post yet, I highly suggest you do after reading this one. We’ve moved. You’ll […]

Expressing your New Year’s Resolutions in German — Future Tense with Modals

Today is New Year’s Eve (Silvester) and everyone is getting ready for the big party (die Party) tonight. Of course many of you are also putting together lists of your New Year’s Resolutions (der Neujahrsvorsatz / die Neujahrsvorsätze) one of which if you’re reading this blog might be to improve your German (dein Deutsch verbessern). […]

When to use the German Future Tense

With the holidays (die Weihnachtszeit) just around the bend many of us are busy making plans of what we’re going to do before the family arrives and what we’ll do once they get here. Talking about the future in English is very clear: either use “going to + infinitive” or “will + infinitive”. We’ve moved. […]

Well that’s just perfect! — Using das Perfekt in German

A few weeks ago one of our Facebook followers asked me to write about using the perfect (das Perfekt)in German. This post is mean to be an answer to that question and a detailed continuation of the posts “Understanding German Verbs 1 & 2.” While there are many things that make German a rather complicated […]

Being polite and dreaming in German — Konjunktiv II

Learning a second language is hard, especially for adults. Why? Because it’s like you’re a child again. In your native language and any other language you’ve mastered, you can express yourself clearly and eloquently. In your new language you want to talk about complex things like a news story, something that happened to you, what […]

Indirekte Fragen — Taking the Directness out of German

Many of you may have recently seen a picture circulating around the web recently that graphically represents stereotypes of European languages and cultures. Austrian speak German, as do the Swiss, Liechtensteiners and South Tyrolleans (Südtirol). That said, the way these cultures and languages communicate is different. In the graphic German is represented as a straight […]

Lesen Sie diesen Blog! — The imperative in German

Many of my students are parents. Why is this important? Because it is one of the few things you can be if you want to correctly use the informal imperative and be not only grammatically, but also contextually correct. The imperative mood (abbreviated imp) expresses commands or requests as a grammatical mood. These commands or […]