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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!

Können vs Könnten

I have just seen this sentence “Könnten Sie bitte ein Foto für mich Machen?”. Why is it written with “Könnten” instead of “Können”?  

1 reply - Last post by sfpugh -
Apr 18, 2019

Was ist die Flugnummer vs Wie lautet die Flugnummer

I have seen both sentences. When would you use “Wie lautet…” instead?  

0 replies - Last post by RexV -
Apr 18, 2019

“Wie” vs “Was”

I saw this sentence yesterday “Wie ist der Wechselkurs”. 1. Can you use “Was” instead? If not, why? 2. Is there a specific rule for when to use “Wie” instead of “Was”?  

0 replies - Last post by RexV -
Apr 18, 2019

Bekommen and Haben

I saw this sentence yesterday “Könnte ich einen Stadtplan bekommen”. When will you be using “Haben” instead of “Bekommen” in such as sentence? Personally, I would most likely say this sentence as “Könnte ich einen Stadtplan haben”.  

0 replies - Last post by RexV -
Apr 18, 2019

Bei vs beim

When should you write ”beim” instead of ”bei”? I am asking because I saw this sentence ” Karin ist beim Arzt” which I assume can also be written as “Karin ist bei dem Arzt”  

1 reply - Last post by sfpugh -
Apr 17, 2019

Using nicht with titles

I understand that “nicht” should be placed in the front of a proper noun e.g. “Sie heißt nicht Maria“.   1. Where should I place “nicht” if I am referring to a title e.g. “That is not a soldier”. Should “nicht”. 2. When talking about proper nouns does it only relates to names?

0 replies - Last post by RexV -
Apr 17, 2019

Dative (Dem Mann gefallt das Hotel nicht)

Why is “Mann” it this sentence needs to be “Dem Mann” and not “Der Mann”? Sentence: Dem Mann gefallt das Hotel nicht  

4 replies - Last post by Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor -
Apr 16, 2019

Am vs bei

When should you use “am” and when should you use “bei?  

2 replies - Last post by Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor -
Apr 16, 2019

is mieten here being used reflexively?

In lesson on car renting it is written: Sie wollen sich für die Zeit eine kleine Wohnung mieten.  Mieten is not reflexive, the accusative object is Wohnung.  So why is sich inserted here?

3 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Apr 9, 2019

Wonach suchst du? vs. Was suchst du?

Hi, Two quick question: What is the difference between using “aber” and “sondern”?   When should you say “Wonach suchst du?”  or “Was suchst du”?

1 reply - Last post by Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor -
Mar 26, 2019

Immer noch, Es tut mir leid and Other Questions

Hi, I have a few more questions: 1. What is the difference between “es ist immer noch frei” and “es ist noch frei”? When I translate both sentences, I get the following in English “is it still free”.   2. When is it necessary to say “eins” instead of “ein”?   3. What is...

1 reply - Last post by Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor -
Mar 26, 2019

Noch, zu and zum

Hi everyone, A few more questions: 1. I have seen that “will it be finished today” is written “Wird es Heute noch fertig”. Why is it written with “noch” and can it not be written like “Wird es heute fertig”?   2. When do you use “zu” or “zum”? Thanks beforehand!  

2 replies - Last post by Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor -
Mar 26, 2019

Preposition with Accusative

In lesson 20.5 it says bis takes the accusative.  The example is "bis zum Morgen grauen".  If zum is a contraction for zu dem and dem is the dative, how is this then the accusative?

1 reply - Last post by sfpugh -
Mar 25, 2019

A few extra quesitons

A few extra questions: When do you use either “davor”, “bevor” or “vor”   When do you use either “danach”, nachher”, “nach”   When do you say “ich hätte gern” and “ich hätte gerne”   When to use “aber” and when to use “sondern” Thanks beforehand!  

1 reply - Last post by Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor -
Mar 19, 2019

Correct Pronoun?

  Es ist ein großer schwarzer Koffer mit kleinen Rädern. It's a large black suitcase with small wheels.   Why does this start with Es instead of Er to go with masculine Koffer?

1 reply - Last post by Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor -
Mar 19, 2019

"nach" and "zu"

Hi, When should you use "nach" or "zu" when saying "to" in english?  

1 reply - Last post by sfpugh -
Mar 18, 2019

"Als" and "wann"

Hi there, When should you use either "als" or "wann"? Rex

1 reply - Last post by sfpugh -
Mar 16, 2019

Adjective Ending in Lesson 19.8

Why is it das Kliener Bier instead of das Kliene Bier?

1 reply - Last post by Liss-Rocket-Languages-Tutor -
Mar 14, 2019

19.4 Das Thema der Ausstellung waren die Höhlenmenschen. Why is waren plural?

These two sentences appear in the Extra Vocab section of 19.4 Die Ausstellung war über die Höhlenmenschen. The exhibition was about cavemen. Das Thema der Ausstellung waren die Höhlenmenschen. The theme of the exhibition was cavemen. Why is waren plural in the second...

3 replies - Last post by Leah-Rocket-German-Tutor -
Mar 7, 2019

Das sieht aus wie ein altes Comic.

From 17.3 and Extra vocab 17.4 Das sieht ja aus wie ein altes Comic. This looks like an old comic strip. Das sieht aus wie ein altes Comic. This looks like an old comic strip.  I thought that aussehen should have the "aus" pushed to the end of the sentence,  why is that not the...

4 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Mar 1, 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...

4 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Feb 23, 2019

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.

3 replies - Last post by sfpugh -
Feb 20, 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

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