Tag Archives: grammar

Prepositions 2: Datives on the Danube

For over a week now you’ve been busy learning your accusative prepositions: bis, durch, entlang, für, gegen, ohne, um. You’ve done so well that you’ve even come up with your own mantras, rhymes, and even songs. Congratulations, you’re on your way. As I hinted at last week and as you’ve surely already encountered there are […]

Knowing in German — wissen vs. kennen

One of the things that has made English such a powerful language is it’s simplicity. Many words carry numerous meanings, which allows English speakers to convey numerous ideas with very few words. German on the other hand goes for precision and a broader vocabulary is demanded. If we look at the English verb “to know” […]

Really?! You can say that? — German sentence structure

Tell any German speaker that you are learning German and you’re sure to here this phrase: “Deutsche Sprache — schwere Sprache”. There are many reasons why German comes off as more difficult than English. First there are the three genders, then there are the four cases and then of course the verbs. The most important […]

Understanding German Verbs Part II

Last week we looked at some of the basic tenses in German and how they are constructed. Important to remember between German and English is that German doesn’t have the continuous tense like in English. Therefore, translating “I am reading this blog” word for word, though it is a Subject + Verb + Object construct, […]

Because there are three words for expressing because in German (denn, weil, da)

Early on in anyone’s German career they will encounter coordinating conjunctions — that is simple joining words that link together two independent clauses. Brilliant! Almost no grammar needed here. Get rid of the full stop and put in your conjunction to link two sentences. The only thing you need to remember is the logic 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 […]

Wozu diese Wo-Komposita?

Last week we talked about “da-compounds”. This week we’re looking at their cousins the “wo-compounds”. Wo-compounds are used in questions when asking about the object of the preposition (‘for what’, ‘about what’, etc.).  We’ve moved. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/wozu-diese-zu-komposita/

Bleib dran: da-compounds

English speakers often haver to crack a smile when listening to German and hearing the word “damit” which sounds like a curse in English. However, the smiles quickly change to faces of confusion when a flurry of “dran“, “drauf“, “davon” etc come at them and they aren’t quite sure what to make of them. Then […]

It’s all relative: Relativsätze

When you first started learning German your teacher probably tried to hammer genders into you. That is that you need to learn all your new nouns with their gender (der, die, das). If you’ve been good, you’ve been doing exactly that. But now you’re starting to read newspapers and other things, you may have noticed […]

bieten vs. anbieten

The bane of any English learner is the wide array of phraseology verbs that the English language seems to possess. Though there are phraseology verbs in German, they don’t seem to pose as much of a confusion as verbs with prefixes do. We’ve moved. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/bieten-vs-anbieten/