German Grammar

By taking the time to understand how the German language works, you'll be able to speak German naturally, and read and write in German. We know this can be one of the more challenging parts of your course, and we’re here to help! You can browse the topics, do a search in the top right corner of this page, or start a new topic at the bottom. Don’t be shy!

17.9 Singular and Plural Words

A section in 17.9 begins with:  "Then you have some where the noun seems singular in English but you use the plural to form the verb:" But hat follows are a series of examples where just the opposite it true.  Example:   Die Umgebung ist sehr ruhig. The surroundings are very quiet.

0 replies - Last post by 70Augsburg -
Feb 19, 2019

10.3 Und da habe ich gedacht, dass ich mich am besten schon mal informiere, um ein gutes Angebot ausfindig zu machen.

From 10.3 Und da habe ich gedacht, dass ich mich am besten schon mal informiere, um ein gutes Angebot ausfindig zu machen. And I thought, that I'm the best informed at finding a good offer. I am having trouble analysing this sentence, mainly with the middle part. The first part seems...

0 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Feb 18, 2019

19.1 ​Jedes Gebäude hier hat soviel Geschichte.

From 19.1 ​Jedes Gebäude hier hat soviel Geschichte. Each building has so much history here. Isn't the verb supposed to come second in a sentence? Why is hier before hat? From earlier in the lesson we have: Die Häuser sind hier alle so prachtvoll verziert. The houses here are all...

3 replies - Last post by RobertR34 -
Feb 16, 2019

Klar, ich hätte da noch ein paar. Aber dazu später.

From 17.5 Klar, ich hätte da noch ein paar. Aber dazu später. Sure, I'll have a couple. But more on that later. Why is the konjuntiv 2 hätte used here? Also I don't understand the translation doesn't ein paar mean a few and why is it translated as future "I 'll" Couldn't it be...

2 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Feb 15, 2019

Anrufen

Hi, In 3.7 there is an example "Wer ruft mich?", shouldn't it be "Wer ruft mich an?" instead? If not, then when do we drop the prefix of "Anrufen"? BR, yahya

5 replies - Last post by HugoM5 -
Jan 27, 2019

(15.4) ​Ich weiss ja noch nicht einmal, was ich nächste Woche mache,

From 15.4 Ich weiss ja noch nicht einmal, was ich nächste Woche mache, I don't even know what I will be doing next week, What is the function of einmal in this phrase? I think it might be a modal particle if so what is its purpose? I assume ja is also a modal particle and is an...

5 replies - Last post by RobertR34 -
Jan 22, 2019

dass ich die für Ihre Stelle erforderlichen Kenntnisse und Qualifikationen habe.

From 13.2 Ich bin auf jeden Fall der Meinung, I am definitely of the opinion dass ich die für Ihre Stelle erforderlichen Kenntnisse und Qualifikationen habe. that I have the necessary skills and qualifications for this position. I don't understand what "die" is doing here, I...

2 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Jan 15, 2019

Weder ... oder / weder...noch - neither nor

From 17.5 Und ja manches stimmt natürlich, keine Frage. Wir Deutschen sind pünktlich, weder zu spät oder zu früh. And yes, some is true of course, no question. We Germans are punctual, neither too late nor too early. Are Weder ... oder and weder... noch interchangeable? I thought...

2 replies - Last post by Leah-Rocket-German-Tutor -
Jan 15, 2019

Probable missing comma in 9.5

From 9.5 Ja,  wenn das möglich ist  würde ich gerne ein Doppelzimmer in der Woche danach buchen. I think there is a missing comma after  wenn das möglich ist.  Just checking my understanding, is this a case where a sub clause precedes the main clause?

1 reply - Last post by Leah-Rocket-German-Tutor -
Jan 9, 2019

help with a phrase from 21.3

This phrase appears in 21.3 Ich weiß nicht ob die hier Traveller Cheques akzeptieren. I don't know if they accept Traveler's Cheques here. Why use die here? Why not sie?  

6 replies - Last post by Leah-Rocket-German-Tutor -
Jan 6, 2019

Having trouble understanding a phrase from 18.2

From 18.2 Ja etwas zum Essen kaufen, das musst du immer und überall; das ist Teil des täglichen Lebens wo auch immer du bist. Yes you must always buy something to eat everywhere, that's part of life wherever you are. (casual, singular) I am having trouble understanding the construction...

2 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Dec 24, 2018

Dative case

Hi, in 7.1 (Er ist in seinem Büro), why is the "buro" in the dative? BR, yahya

2 replies - Last post by Leah-Rocket-German-Tutor -
Dec 24, 2018

17.5 why is "Du" capitalised

From 17.5 Hallo Matthias! Schön, dass Du Zeit für eine gemeinsame Mittagspause hast. Hi Matthias! Nice that you have time for a common lunch break. (casual, singular) Why is "Du" capitalised here?  I put it through Duden's proof reader as "du" and it said something like if "du" is  a...

2 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Dec 19, 2018

What is the difference between auf vs für

What is the difference between auf vs für ?

13 replies - Last post by Leah-Rocket-German-Tutor -
Dec 13, 2018

2.3 irgendetwas Verbotenes

why does verboten change to verbotenes in this sentence? : "Haben Sie irgendetwas Verbotenes im Koffer?"

13 replies - Last post by Leah-Rocket-German-Tutor -
Dec 13, 2018

Das ist beides

Hi,  in 3.3 (Das Rathaus) and (Die Kirche) are referred to in the follwoing sentence as (Das ist beides im Zentrum). Could you please clarify why a singular expression referred to two things?  (i.e. why "Sie sind beide im Zentrum" is used instead?) regards, yahya.

2 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Nov 10, 2018

würde and wären

I am struggling a bit with why a tense has been chosen (which may be more to do with my poor grasp of English grammar than anything else). One sentence is given as: "Wieviel würde das kosten?" (How much would that cost?), which I think I understand. However, the response to that question...

14 replies - Last post by Byron-K21 -
Nov 3, 2018

Seitdem halte ich vom Kochen und Backen Abstand

Hi, I'm a confused with  "Seitdem halte ich vom Kochen und Backen Abstand".......To my knowledge, Abstand is a noun and Backen is a verb so I can't figure out why Abstand is at the end here

10 replies - Last post by Byron-K21 -
Oct 31, 2018

Sind instead of gibt

Hi, in 2.8 there is an example sentence that says "Es sind zwei Personen im Auto. " why is (Sind) used here and why isn't (gibt) used in instead? BR, yahya

8 replies - Last post by Fred-C14 -
Oct 30, 2018

I am Tired. I am hungry

OK.  So I learned that mir ist mude means "I am tired".  However, ich bin hungrig means "I am hungry".  Both phrases seem to be present tense of being or seid.   If this has to do with dative or accusative my eyes will gloss over and I will break out in hives and be sick for a week. ...

1 reply - Last post by sfpugh -
Oct 25, 2018

Spät Proper Pronunciation

I have added phrases to my vocabulary that contain the word spät.  I am hearing it pronounced like the a in the word spat, or splat.  I also hear it pronounced like the ei in eight or the a in the word ate.  Which is correct? Danke

4 replies - Last post by Badger -
Oct 25, 2018

Macht -- as in Es macht spaß

In lesson 2.2, on a tour, we see "It's good fun" in German as "Es macht spaß".   We also see "The tour will be fun" in German as "Die Tour macht spaß." Why?  Is it the word spaß?  How can macht be "good" and "will be".  I am confused.  

5 replies - Last post by Badger -
Oct 21, 2018

ist es

In lesson 2.1 it says "ist es geschlossen". should it be "es ist" (it is), or is this common practice?

5 replies - Last post by Badger -
Oct 18, 2018

Use of Ganz und Ganzen

When to use Ganz und Ganzen . Which is the diference ?

4 replies - Last post by RobertR34 -
Oct 3, 2018

singular versus plural verb conjugation

Why is the following verb, to be, in the 3rd person singular (not plural)? Das ist beides im Zentrum.  German Lesson 3.3

2 replies - Last post by Gay-Lynn-B -
Sep 27, 2018

The mystery of ß or ss revealed

I think a lot of people find the use of ß and ss confusing There is a good explanation of it on the German with Jenny channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvd_TfvI1po  

0 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Jul 14, 2018

confusion with "an"

I am having a problem with the use of “an”, when to use accusative and when dative. Also when to use “an” in the sense of “to” which would usally be zu , in, or nach. The following phrases are from 9.3 Fahren Sie am Hauptbahnhof vorbei und dann die Leipzigerstraße ‘runter. Nach...

2 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Mar 30, 2018

Lesson 3.3 - Going into Town

Hallo! In lesson 3.3 (Going into Town) when Nik says "Ich moechte das Rathaus und die Kirche sehen", Paul replies "Das ist beides im Centrum" Should it not be "Sie sind besides in Centrum"? because we are talking about 2 places not one. 

1 reply - Last post by sfpugh -
Feb 17, 2018

Modalpartikeln - what the heck are they?

Throughout the course I have been puzzled by words that seem to be thrown into sentences at random, but don't change the meaning such as ja, denn, mal etc. Then I came across this Easy German video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Awhco_VHWE&t=358s then I found that if you google...

3 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Feb 16, 2018

Ja, und als Belohnung für die harte Arbeit haben wir beschlossen heute nett zum Abendessen zu gehen.

18.4 Going out for dinner. Ja, und als Belohnung für die harte Arbeit haben wir beschlossen heute nett zum Abendessen zu gehen. I am puzzled by the function of nett  in this sentence it seems to stuck on its own and not attached to Abendessen and it has no ending like an adverb.  

2 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Feb 5, 2018

German question. Was or Wie?

I understand that this course teaches a few sentences that sound odd. "Wie ist dein name?", which SUPPOSEDLY translates to "what is your name?". If "Wie" means "how", shouldn't "Was" be used instead because it translates to "what". Someone please clear up this confusion!

2 replies - Last post by Rspring33 -
Jan 9, 2018

"an" in these sentences

Hey there, would anyone be able to shed some light on this?  What does the "an" suppose to represent in these sentences.....Können Sie sich an mich erinnern or Erinnern Sie sich an mich? (Do you remember me/can you remember me) I understand when they are separated as in a separable verb but on...

2 replies - Last post by Grant-K1 -
Dec 28, 2017

why ist es instead of es ist

In lesson 2.1 Die Touristeninformation ​Why do we say  ist es instead of es ist. "Ja, aber heute ist es geschlossen" instead of "Ja, aber heute es ist geschlossen"  Thanks

3 replies - Last post by Grant-K1 -
Dec 23, 2017

12.3 die hochzeit

Hello,  why in the sentence (geht es mit dem Fotografen zum Schlosspark) did we use (geht es) to refer to "we are going" instead of (gehen uns/wir) ??

3 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Dec 14, 2017

Adjective endings

in 10.8, there is an example sentence (Ein alter Mann fährt mit dem Rad) this is (1. indefinte) (2.singular) (3.masculine) (4.nominative) yet in the tutorial example there is no extra ending to ( Ein Rotwein ) so why is there a (er) at the end of (alter) when it should be plain (alt) ???

3 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Nov 28, 2017

Der Hund des Nachbarn bellt viel - why is Nachbarn not Nachbarnes?

I've just been looking at the genitive case and read the rules about endings - el, er, en or ending in a vowel taking an s ending while vowels ending in a consonant take es. So I'm a bit confused at why in the following statement why the word Nachbarn does not have an es ending as it is...

4 replies - Last post by CraigM12 -
Nov 22, 2017

9.4 Lost luggage

Earlier in the same lesson I learned that matthias refered to (Koffer) as (er) given it is a masculine in (er ist nicht da) then sandra later refered to it as (ihn) in (Können sie ihn beschreiben). why haven't we remained consistent in the following sentence in the same lesson and begin the...

8 replies - Last post by Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor -
Nov 14, 2017

Ich möchte gerne 1 Stunde lang das Internet benutzen.

From 21.1 Ich möchte gerne 1 Stunde lang das Internet benutzen. I would like to use the Internet for 1 hour. In this phrase the tutor clearly says eine Stunde which seems correct as Stunde is feminine . Yet the only way to score 100% with the speech recognition is to say ein Stunde. It seems...

1 reply - Last post by Lucia - Rocket Languages Tutor -
Oct 24, 2017

Absicht v Zweck

The words Absicht and Zweck appear in the course, but they seem to mean much the same thing - purpose or intention. Is there any difference in the way they are used? I noticed that Langenscheid also gives cause as an additional meaning for Zweck.

2 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Oct 13, 2017

Ich mach doch nur Spaß.

From 15.2 Ich mach doch nur Spaß. I'm only joking. Should this be mache?

6 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Oct 10, 2017

Lassen Sie uns doch auf unseren exzellenten Koch anstoßen?

From module 21.1: Lassen Sie uns doch auf unseren exzellenten Koch anstoßen. I don't understand why this sentence contains  Sie and not wir, I put the sentence into Duden's checker and it didn't like Sie but accepted wir. http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibpruefung-online  

17 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Sep 19, 2017

Der Bruder eines/des neuen Nachbarn arbeitet bei Mercedes Benz.

 I am confused by this sentence from 10.8 on adjectives. Der Bruder eines/des neuen Nachbarn arbeitet bei Mercedes Benz. The new neighbor's brother works for Mercedes Benz. My problem is "eines/des neuen Nachbarn" Leaving aside that there is no hint that eines/des alternatives are...

2 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Sep 15, 2017

Nur wegen einem lächerlichen Strafzettel.

I am confused by the following sentence which appears in 11.1 Nur wegen einem lächerlichen Strafzettel. And all because of a ridiculous ticket. I thought wegen takes the genitive but einem lächerlichen Strafzettel. appears to be dative?

5 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Sep 15, 2017

Bis take accusative but what about Bis zum Morgen grauen

In module 20.5 there are some examples of prepositions that take the accusative. But the first example is this: Bis / Bis zum Morgen grauen Until / Until dawn Isn't zum short for zu dem - dative? What is going on here?  

3 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Aug 14, 2017

Use of the esszet

Does anyone know if there is any underlying logic as to when the esszet is used in German as opposed to the double ss?  I find it confusing to remember in the Write It part of Rocket German which way a word is spelled.  For example, weiß and wissen.  It is also confusing that the spelling...

4 replies - Last post by Graeme -TE1q -
Aug 4, 2017

Das Thema der Ausstellung waren die Höhlenmenschen.

I am puzzled by the grammar in this sentence: Das Thema der Ausstellung waren die Höhlenmenschen. The theme of the exhibition was cavemen. Why "waren" the subject appears to be "das Thema" (singular), or is it "die Höhlenmenschen" (plural).

8 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Jul 29, 2017

Hallo Matthias, wie war ihr Segelausflug?

Hallo Matthias, wie war ihr Segelausflug? This sentence comes in 19.3. I am pretty sure that Sabine says dein not ihr. Which is right? I notice that later on she uses "du" when speaking to Matthias

0 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Jul 25, 2017

Deine Mutter darf der Mann trotz ihrer Art nicht beleidigen!

I don't get this sentence from 14.8: Deine Mutter darf der Mann trotz ihrer Art nicht beleidigen! It is translated as: Your mother shouldn't /may not be insulted by the man in spite of her ways! Shouldn't der Man be dative?

3 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Apr 12, 2017

In die Schule vs. zur Schule

What's the difference between Fährt er dich zur Schule? and Fährt sie dich in die Schule? The translation appears to be the same (Module 5.5).  "Does he/she drive you to school?" Danke :) -Jordan

3 replies - Last post by Paul-Weber -
Feb 26, 2017

Besichtigen vs. Besuchen

Can someone describe the differences in usage between besichtigen and besuchen? I just want to make sure I use them correctly.  Thanks, Jordan

1 reply - Last post by Paul-Weber -
Feb 10, 2017

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