Tag Archives: german sentence structure

“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 […]

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 […]

nach vs. nachdem vs. nachher — what’s the difference?

Anyone learning German should also find that both their logic and English are improving as well. The logic because German sentences are constructed more like mathematical equations and one’s English because you’ll become aware of the different uses of English words and possible substitutes. A brilliant example of this is the German words nach, nachdem, […]

German Cases — Understanding verbs, subjects, and objects

If you’re reading this, you’re under 40 years old, and you’re from an English-speaking country, you probably have at least two things in common with most of the readers of this blog. You’re interested in learning German or improving your German. The other thing is that you never really learned English grammar. Sure you 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 […]

“Zu” is more than a just a preposition — Using zu-constructions

In one of my lessons this week a student asked me about the word “zu”. She knew that zu is a dative preposition and that it means to in English. I was very happy to hear that those facts about zu had stayed with my student. But then I had to give her a little […]

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 […]

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 […]

German Adverbs of Time (wann? wie oft?)

Christmas is just one week away and many people will be going home to spend the holidays with their family. Others will be spending time with friends. Inevitably we tell stories when we’re around other people. One of the most important parts of speech that you need to tell a flowing narrative are adverbs. We’ve […]