Tag Archives: german grammar

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

German Subordinating Conjunctions — Yes, Sometimes the Verb Goes at the End

German has a reputation. Having spent a great deal of time in Canada, I know that German is perceived as a terrible sounding language. Irish comedian Dylan Moran says in one of his routines that, “German sounds like typewriters eating tinfoil being kicked down stairs.” where does this idea come from? Probably from all the […]

Making Complex German Sentences Easy — Coordinating Conjunctions

Do you remember playing with Lego? Now you’re probably an adult and if you don’t have children the closest you get to assembling things is new IKEA furniture. Have you ever noticed that when you open a new Lego set or an IKEA package and look at all the pieces you sometimes have no idea […]

Decoding German Questions to Unlock the Answer

Anytime I start teaching a new student I realize one thing. Most people believe that there is no system to the new language they are learning. The good news is though that there is. In this blog post I want to decode “entschlüsseln” German questions, so that you can correctly answer them. We’ve moved. You’ll […]

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 Locational Adverbs — (Wo? Wohin? Woher?)

Happy second day of Christmas! During this time of year many like to go home to spend time with their family and friends. Where are you spending your Christmas. Where do you normally spend your Christmas? Sometimes when answering these questions we need to use adverbs of place. They are even good for asking for […]

Prepositions Part 4: Don’t Fear the Genitive

One of the things I often have to reiterate in my German lessons is that students need to take German in small chunks. Learn the basics and learn them well and take a lot of the language as it’s given to them. Coming from English this is difficult for many as English is a fairly […]