Tag Archives: learning german in zurich

German Verbs With Inseparable Prefixes — Nicht trennbare Verben

Verbs, they seem to be one of the trickiest types of words to learn because there are so many of them and every sentence needs them. They also often have multiple meanings that change when put together with prepositions and in German when they have separable prefixes. I’ve already written about verbs with separable prefixes […]

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 […]

Little differences in German — anders, verschiedene, unterschiedliche

“Ich hätte gern noch ein anderes Bier, bitte.”  This is a phrase that I hear far too often from non-native German speakers. The confusion lies in the translation of the English expression “I’d like another beer, please.” The word another. To help everyone getting confused with the words ander-, verschieden-, and unterschiedlich-. But before we […]

Using während and damit correctly in German

One of the things that I so often claim about the German languages is that it’s very specific and that words aren’t used with as much freedom as in English. I still maintain this, but there are certain words that often cause some confusion, when learned with a specific rule and then used differently from […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

German Halloween Vocabulary and Customs

On Wednesday it’s Halloween again. No doubt many of you have celebrated this weekend, and those of you living in Catholic cantons (Kantone) and federal states (Bundesländer) can expect to have November 1st, All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen) off. So there are a few things that I must tell you. Though Halloween is not completely foreign […]

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 […]