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External Resources Edit

https://www.reddit.com/r/duolingo/wiki/index#wiki_german

Basics 1 Edit

Capitalizing nouns Edit

In German, all nouns are capitalized. For example, "my name" is "mein Name," and "the apple" is "der Apfel." This helps you identify which are the nouns in a sentence.

Three grammatical genders, three types of nouns Edit

Nouns in German are either feminine, masculine or neuter. For example, "Frau" (woman) is feminine, "Mann" (man) is masculine, and "Kind" (child) is neuter. The grammatical gender may not match the biological gender: "Mädchen" (girl) is a neuter noun.

It is very important to learn every noun along with its gender because parts of German sentences change depending on the gender of their nouns.

Generally speaking, the definite article "die" (the) and the indefinite article "eine" (a/an) are used for feminine nouns, "der" and "ein" for masculine nouns, and "das" and "ein" for neuter nouns. For example, it is "die Frau," "der Mann," and "das Kind." However, later you will see that this changes depending on something called the "case of the noun."


 
masculine neuter feminine
indefinite (a/an) ein Mann ein Mädchen eine Frau
definite (the) der Mann das Mädchen die Frau

Conjugations of the verb sein (to be) Edit

A few verbs like "sein" (to be) are completely irregular, and their conjugations simply need to be memorized:

German English
ich bin I am
du bist you (singular informal) are
er/sie/es ist he/she/it is
wir sind we are
ihr seid you (plural informal) are
sie sind they are
Sie sind you (formal) are

Conjugating regular verbs Edit

Verb conjugation in German is more challenging than in English. To conjugate a regular verb in the present tense, identify the invariant stem of the verb and add the ending corresponding to any of the grammatical persons, which you can simply memorize:

trinken (to drink)

English person ending German example
I -e ich trinke
you (singular informal) -st du trinkst
he/she/it -t er/sie/es trinkt
we -en wir trinken
you (plural informal) -t ihr trinkt
you (formal) -en Sie trinken
they -en sie trinken

Notice that the 1st and the 3rd person plural have the same ending as "you (formal)."

Umlauts Edit

Umlauts are letters (more specifically vowels) that have two dots above them and appear in some German words like "Mädchen." Literally, "Umlaut" means "around the sound," because its function is to change how the vowel sounds.

An umlaut can sometimes indicate the plural of a word. For example, the plural of "Mutter" (mother) is "Mütter." It might even change the meaning of a word entirely. That's why it's very important not to ignore those little dots.

No continuous aspect Edit

In German, there's no continuous aspect, i.e. there are no separate forms for "I drink" and "I am drinking". There's only one form: Ich trinke.

There's no such thing as Ich bin trinke or Ich bin trinken!

When translating into English, how can I tell whether to use the simple (I drink) or the continuous form (I am drinking)?

Unless the context suggests otherwise, either form should be accepted.

Generic vs. specific (German is not Spanish or French) Edit

Just like in English, using or dropping the definite article makes the difference between specific and generic.

I like bread = Ich mag Brot (bread in general)

I like the bread = Ich mag das Brot (specific bread)

It gets more complicated when it comes to abstract nouns, but we'll see about that later.

The (no notes provided) Edit

Basics 2 Edit

German plurals - the nominative Case Edit

In English, making plurals out of singular nouns is typically as straightforward as adding an "s" or an "es" at the end of the word. In German, the transformation is more complex, and also the articles for each gender change. The following five suggestions can help:

  1. -e ending: most German one-syllable nouns will need -e in their plural form. For example, in the nominative case, "das Brot" (the bread) becomes "die Brote," and "das Spiel" (the game) becomes "die Spiele."
  2. -er ending: most masculine or neuter nouns will need the -er ending, and there may be umlaut changes. For example, in the nominative case "das Kind" (the child) becomes "die Kinder," and "der Mann" (the man) becomes "die Männer."
  3. -n/-en ending: most feminine nouns will take either -n or -en in all four grammatical cases, with no umlaut changes. For example, "die Frau" (the woman) becomes "die Frauen" and "die Kartoffel" becomes "die Kartoffeln."
  4. -s ending: most foreign-origin nouns will take the -s ending for the plural, usually with no umlaut changes. For example: "der Chef" (the boss) becomes "die Chefs."

There is no change for most neuter or masculine nouns that contain any of these in the singular: -chen, -lein, -el, or -er. There may be umlaut changes. For example: "das Mädchen" (the girl) becomes "die Mädchen," and "die Mutter" (the mother) becomes "die Mütter."

Regardless of grammatical gender, all plural nouns take the definite article "die" (in the nominative case). This does not make them feminine. The grammatical gender of a word never changes. Like many other words, "die" is simply used for multiple purposes.

Just like in English, there's no plural indefinite article.

ein Mann = a man

Männer = men

German feminine plurals - nouns ending in -in Edit

Feminine nouns that end in "-in" will need "-nen" in the plural. For example, "die Köchin" (the female cook) becomes "die Köchinnen" in its plural form.

ihr vs er Edit

If you're new to German, ihr and er may sound exactly the same, but there is actually a difference. ihr sounds similar to the English word ear, and er sounds similar to the English word air (imagine a British/RP accent).

Don't worry if you can't pick up on the difference at first. You may need some more listening practice before you can tell them apart. Also, try using headphones instead of speakers.

Even if this doesn't seem to help, knowing your conjugation tables will greatly reduce the amount of ambiguity.

German English
ich bin I am
du bist you (singular informal) are
er/sie/es ist he/she/it is
wir sind we are
ihr seid you (plural informal) are
sie sind they are
Sie sind you (formal) are

You are can refer to one or more people Edit

In your own dialect, you might prefer to use something like y'all or you guys when addressing more than one person, but remember that, in Standard English, you are can refer to one person or multiple people. When translating you are into German, you need to decide whether to use du bist (informal, addressing one person) or ihr seid (informal, addressing more than one person).

(There's also the formal you (Sie sind), which will be introduced later in the course.)

Common Phrases Edit

SIMPLE GERMAN PRESENT TENSE Edit

In English, the present tense can be simple or progressive (as in "I eat" or "I am eating"). Both forms translate to just one German present tense form, because there is no continuous tense in standard German. So, "she learns" and "she is learning" are both "sie lernt."

WIE GEHT'S? Edit

There are many ways to ask someone how he or she is doing. Take "How are you?," "How do you do?" and "How is it going?" as examples. In German, the common phrase or idiom uses the verb "gehen" (go): "Wie geht es dir?" (How are you?).

WILLKOMMEN CAN BE A FALSE FRIEND Edit

In German, "Willkommen" means welcome as in "Welcome to our home", but it does not mean welcome as in "Thank you - You're welcome". The German for the latter is "Gern geschehen" or "Keine Ursache".

DUO Edit

Duo is the name of Duolingo's mascot (the green owl).

Accusative Case Edit

German Cases Edit

In English, the words "he" and "I" can be used as subjects (the ones doing the action in a sentence), and they change to "him" and "me" when they are objects (the ones the action is applied to). For example, we say "He likes me" and "I like him." This is exactly the notion of a "grammatical case:" the same word changes its form depending on its relationship to the verb. In English, only pronouns have cases, but in German most words other than verbs have cases: nouns, pronouns, determiners, adjectives, etc.

Understanding the four German cases is one of the biggest hurdles in learning the language. The good news is that most words change very predictably so you only have to memorize a small set of rules. We'll see more about cases later, but for now you just need to understand the difference between the two simplest cases: nominative and accusative.

The subject of a sentence (the one doing the action) is in the nominative case. So when we say "Die Frau spielt" (the woman plays), "Frau" is in the nominative.

The accusative object is the thing or person that is directly receiving the action. For example, in "Der Lehrer sieht den Ball" (the teacher sees the ball), "Lehrer" is the nominative subject and "Ball" is the accusative object. Notice that the articles for accusative objects are not the same as the articles in the nominative case: "the" is "der" in the nominative case and "den" in the accusative. The following table shows how the articles change based on these two cases:

Case Masculine Feminine Neuter Plural
Nominative der die das die
Accusative den die das die
Case Masculine Feminine Neuter
Nominative ein eine ein
Accusative einen eine ein

The fact that most words in German are affected by the case explains why the sentence order is more flexible than in English. For example, you can say "Das Mädchen hat den Apfel" (the girl has the apple) or "Den Apfel hat das Mädchen." In both cases, "den Apfel" (the apple) is the accusative object, and "das Mädchen" is the nominative subject.

Conjugations of the verb sein (to be) Edit

The verb "sein" (to be) is irregular, and its conjugations simply need to be memorized:

German English
ich bin I am
du bist you (singular informal) are
er/sie/es ist he/she/it is
wir sind we are
ihr seid you (plural informal) are
sie sind they are
Sie sind you (formal) are

Conjugations of the verb essen (to eat) Edit

The verb "essen" (to eat) is slightly irregular in that the stem vowel changes from e to i in the second (du isst) and third person singular (er/sie/es isst) forms.

English person ending German example
I -e ich esse
you (singular informal) -st du isst
he/she/it -t er/sie/es isst
we -en wir essen
you (plural informal) -t ihr esst
you (formal) -en Sie essen
they -en sie essen

How can you hear the difference between isst and ist? Edit

You can't. "isst" and "ist" sound exactly the same. In colloquial (rapid) speech, some speakers drop the "t" in "ist".

So "Es ist ein Apfel" and "Es isst ein Apfel" sound the same?

Yes, but you can tell it's "Es ist ein Apfel" because "Es isst ein Apfel" is ungrammatical. The accusative of "ein Apfel" is "einen Apfel". Hence, "It is eating an apple" translates as "Es isst einen Apfel."

The verb haben (to have) Edit

In English, you can say "I'm having bread" when you really mean that you're eating or about to eat bread. This does not work in German. The verb haben refers to possession only. Hence, the sentence Ich habe Brot only translates to I have bread, not I'm having bread. Of course, the same applies to drinks. Ich habe Wasser only translates to I have water, not I'm having water.

English person ending German example
I -e ich habe
you (singular informal) -st du hast
he/she/it -t er/sie/es hat
we -en wir haben
you (plural informal) -t ihr habt
you (formal) -en Sie haben
they -en sie haben

Introduction (no notes provided) Edit

Food 1 Edit

The verb haben (to have) Edit

In English, you can say "I'm having bread" when you really mean that you're eating or about to eat bread. This does not work in German. The verb haben refers to possession only. Hence, the sentence Ich habe Brot only translates to I have bread, not I'm having bread. Of course, the same applies to drinks. Ich habe Wasser only translates to I have water, not I'm having water.

Having said that, the verb haben is sometimes used to describe physical conditions, emotional conditions, and states of being.

For instance, the German for I am hungry is Ich habe Hunger. You can think of it as having the condition of being hungry.

Ich habe Hunger = I am hungry

Ich habe Durst = I am thirsty

Sie hat Recht = She is right

Er hat Angst = He is afraid

Mittagessen - lunch or dinner? Edit

We're aware that dinner is sometimes used synonymously with lunch, but for the purpose of this course, we're defining Frühstück as breakfast, Mittagessen as lunch, and dinner / supper as Abendessen / Abendbrot.

Compound words Edit

A compound word is a word that consists of two or more words. These are written as one word (no spaces).

The gender of a compound noun is always determined by its last element. This shouldn't be too difficult to remember because the last element is always the most important one. All the previous elements merely describe the last element.

die Autobahn (das Auto + die Bahn)

der Orangensaft (die Orange + der Saft)

das Hundefutter (der Hund + das Futter)

Sometimes, there's a connecting sound (Fugenlaut) between two elements. For instance, die Orange + der Saft becomes der Orangensaft, der Hund + das Futter becomes das Hundefutterdie Liebe + das Lied becomes das Liebeslied, and der Tag + das Gericht becomes das Tagesgericht

Cute like sugar! Edit

The word süß means sweet when referring to food, and cute when referring to living beings.

Der Zucker ist süß. (The sugar is sweet.)

Die Katze ist süß. (The cat is cute.)

Does Gemüse mean vegetable or vegetables? Edit

In German, "Gemüse" is used as a mass noun. That means it's grammatically singular and takes a singular verb.

Animals 1 Edit

Unlike English, German has two similar but different verbs for to eatessen and fressen. The latter is the standard way of expressing that an animal is eating something. Be careful not to use fressen to refer to humans – this would be a serious insult. Assuming you care about politeness, we will not accept your solutions if you use fressen with human subjects.

The most common way to express that a human being is eating something is the verb essen. It is not wrong to use it for animals as well, so we will accept both solutions. But we strongly recommend you accustom yourself to the distinction between essen and fressen.

Fortunately, both verbs are conjugated very similarly:

essen fressen (for animals)
ich esse ich fresse
du isst du frisst
er/sie/es isst er/sie/es frisst
wir essen wir fressen
ihr esst ihr fresst
sie/Sie essen sie/Sie fressen

Plurals Edit

German plurals - the nominative Case Edit

In English, making plurals out of singular nouns is typically as straightforward as adding an "s" or an "es" at the end of the word. In German, the transformation is more complex. The following five suggestions can help:

  1. -e ending: most German one-syllable nouns will need -e in their plural form. For example, in the nominative case, "das Brot" (the bread) becomes "die Brote," and "das Spiel" (the game) becomes "die Spiele."
  2. -er ending: most other masculine or neuter nouns will need the -er ending, and there may be umlaut changes. For example, in the nominative case "das Kind" (the child) becomes "die Kinder," and "der Mann" (the man) becomes "die Männer."
  3. -n/-en ending: most feminine nouns will take either -n or -en in all four grammatical cases, with no umlaut changes. For example, "die Frau" (the woman) becomes "die Frauen" and "die Kartoffel" becomes "die Kartoffeln." All nouns ending in -e will have an added -n, so "die Ente" becomes "die Enten".
  4. -s ending: most foreign-origin nouns will take the -s ending for the plural, usually with no umlaut changes. For example: "der Chef" (the boss) becomes "die Chefs."
  5. There is no change for most neuter or masculine nouns that contain any of these in the singular: -chen, -lein, -el, or -er. There may be umlaut changes. For example: "das Mädchen" (the girl) becomes "die Mädchen," and "der Bruder" (the brother) becomes "die Brüder."

German feminine plurals - nouns ending in -in Edit

Feminine nouns that end in "-in" will need "-nen" in the plural. For example, "die Köchin" (the female cook) becomes "die Köchinnen" in its plural form.

ihr vs er Edit

If you're new to German, ihr and er may sound exactly the same, but there is actually a difference. ihr sounds similar to the English word ear, and er sounds similar to the English word air (imagine a British/RP accent).

Don't worry if you can't pick up on the difference at first. You may need some more listening practice before you can tell them apart. Also, try using headphones instead of speakers.

Even if this doesn't seem to help, knowing your conjugation tables will greatly reduce the amount of ambiguity.

German English
ich bin I am
du bist you (singular informal) are
er/sie/es ist he/she/it is
wir sind we are
ihr seid you (plural informal) are
sie sind they are
Sie sind you (formal) are

Adjectives: Predicative 1 Edit

Predicate adjectives Edit

Predicate adjectives, i.e. adjectives that don't precede a noun, are not inflected.

Der Mann ist groß.

Die Männer sind groß.

Die Frau ist groß.

Die Frauen sind groß.

Das Haus ist groß.

Die Häuser sind groß.

As you can see, the adjective remains in the base form, regardless of number and gender.

Negative and Positive Statements Edit

German Negatives Edit

There are different ways to negate expressions in German (much like in English you can use "no" in some cases, and "does not" in others). The German adverb "nicht" (not) is used very often, but sometimes you need to use "kein" (not a).

Nicht Edit

Use "nicht" in the following five situations:

  1. Negating a noun that has a definite article like "der Raum" (the room) in "Der Architekt mag den Raum nicht" (the architect does not like the room).
  2. Negating a noun that has a possessive pronoun like "sein Glas" (his glass) in "Der Autor sucht sein Glas nicht." (the writer is not looking for his glass).
  3. Negating the verb: "Sie trinken nicht" (They/You do not drink).
  4. Negating an adverb or adverbial phrase. For instance, "Mein Mann isst nicht immer" (my husband does not eat at all times).
  5. Negating an adjective that is used with "sein" (to be): "Du bist nicht hungrig" (you are not hungry).

Position of Nicht Edit

Adverbs go in different places in different languages. You cannot simply place the German adverb "nicht" where you would put "not" in English.

The German "nicht" will precede adjectives and adverbs as in "Das Frühstück ist nicht schlecht" (the breakfast is not bad) and "Das Hemd ist nicht ganz blau" (the shirt is not entirely blue).

For verbs, "nicht" can either precede or follow the verb, depending the type of verb. Typically, "nicht" comes after conjugated verbs as in "Die Maus isst nicht" (the mouse does not eat). In conversational German, the perfect ("Ich habe gegessen" = "I have eaten") is often used to express simple past occurrences ("I ate"). If such statements are negated, "nicht" will come before the participle at the end of the sentence: "Ich habe nicht gegessen" (I did not eat/I have not eaten).

Finally, "nicht" also tends to come at the end of sentences (after direct objects like "mir" = "me,"" or after yes/no questions if there is just one conjugated verb). For example, "Die Lehrerin hilft mir nicht" (The teacher does not help me) and "Hat er den Ball nicht?" (Does he not have the ball?)

Kein Edit

Simply put, "kein" is composed of "k + ein" and placed where the indefinite article would be in a sentence. For instance, look at the positive and negative statement about each noun: "ein Mann" (a man) versus "kein Mann" (not a/not one man), and "eine Frau" versus "keine Frau."

"Kein" is also used for negating nouns that have no article: "Man hat Brot" (one has bread) versus "Man hat kein Brot" (one has no bread).

Nicht versus Nichts Edit

"Nicht" is an adverb and is useful for negations. On the other hand, "nichts" (nothing/anything) is a pronoun and its meaning is different from that of "nicht." Using "nicht" simply negates a fact, and is less overarching than "nichts." For example, "Der Schüler lernt nicht" (the student does not learn) is less extreme than "Der Schüler lernt nichts" (the student does not learn anything).

The word "nichts" can also be a noun if capitalized ("das Nichts" = nothingness).

This skill contains both negative and positive statements.

Questions and Statements 1 Edit

Yes/No Questions Edit

Questions can be asked by switching the subject and verb. For instance, "Du verstehst das." (You understand this) becomes "Verstehst du das?" (Do you understand this?). These kinds of questions will generally just elicit yes/no answers. In English, the main verb "to be" follows the same principle. "I am hungry." becomes "Am I hungry?". In German, all verbs follow this principle. There's no do-support.

This skill contains both questions and statements.

Verbs: Present 1 Edit

CONJUGATING REGULAR VERBS Edit

Verb conjugation in German is more challenging than in English. To conjugate a regular verb in the present tense, identify the invariant stem of the verb and add the ending corresponding to any of the grammatical persons, which you can simply memorize:

machen (to do/make):

English person ending German example
I -e ich mache
you (singular informal) -st du machst
he/she/it -t er/sie/es macht
we -en wir machen
you (plural informal) -t ihr macht
you (formal) -en Sie machen
they -en sie machen

Notice that the 1st and the 3rd person plural have the same ending as "you (formal)."

NO CONTINUOUS ASPECT Edit

In German, there's no continuous aspect, i.e. there are no separate forms for "I drink" and "I am drinking". There's only one form: Ich trinke.

There's no such thing as Ich bin trinke or Ich bin trinken!

When translating into English, how can I tell whether to use the simple (I drink) or the continuous form (I am drinking)?

Unless the context suggests otherwise, either form should be accepted.

HOW DO YOU LIKE THINGS IN GERMAN? Edit

Use the verb mögen to express that you like something or someone, and use the adverb gern(e) to express that you like doing something.

mögen is used for things, animals, and people: Edit

Ich mag Bier (I like beer)

Sie mag Katzen (She likes cats)

Wir mögen dich (We like you)

Ihr mögt Bücher (You like books)

mögen is conjugated irregularly:

English person German example
I like ich mag
you (singular informal) like du magst
he/she/it likes er/sie/es mag
we like wir mögen
you (plural informal) like ihr mögt
you (formal) like Sie mögen
they like sie mögen

gern(e) is used for verbs/activities: Edit

Ich trinke gern(e) Bier (I like to drink beer/I like drinking beer)

Er spielt gern(e) Fußball (He likes to play soccer/He likes playing soccer)

Wir lesen gern(e) Bücher (We like to read books/We like reading books)

Sie schreibt gern(e) Briefe (She likes to write letters/She likes writing letters)

mögen cannot be followed by another verb. Edit

(The subjunctive form (möchten) can be followed by a verb, but Ich möchte Fußball spielen translates as I would like to play soccer, not I like playing soccer.)

What's the difference between gern and gerne? They're just variations of the same word. There's no difference in terms of meaning or style. You can use whichever you like best.

Clothing Edit

Kleider - dresses or clothes? Edit

das Kleid means the dress, and die Kleider means the dresses, but the plural die Kleider can also mean clothes or clothing. In most cases, clothing (or clothes) translates to Kleidung (usually uncountable), but It's important to be aware that Kleider can be used in that sense as well.

Hose or Hosen? Edit

Both Hose and Hosen translate to pants (trousers in British English), but they're not interchangeable. The singular Hose refers to one pair of pants, and the plural Hosen refers to multiple pairs of pants.

Nature 1 Edit

Lakes and seas - false friends ahoy Edit

The German for the lake is der See (masculine) and the most commonly used word for the sea is das Meer (neuter).

There's another slightly less commonly used word for the seawhich is die See (feminine).

Be careful not to confuse der See (the lake) and die See (the sea). Keep in mind that the dative and genitive of die See (feminine - the sea) is der See. This example shows how important it is to know your noun genders and declension tables.

singular der See (masculine - the lake) die See (feminine - the sea)
nominative der See die See
accusative den See die See
dative dem See der See
genitive des Sees der See

The plural forms are identical.

plural die Seen (masculine - the lakes) die Seen (feminine - the seas)
nominative die Seen die Seen
accusative die Seen die Seen
dative den Seen den Seen
genitive der Seen der Seen

Possessive pronouns Edit

Personal Pronouns in the Nominative Case Edit

A pronoun is a word that represents a noun, like "er" does for "der Mann." In the nominative case, the personal pronouns are simply the grammatical persons you already know: "ich," "du," "er/sie/es," "wir," "ihr," "sie," and "Sie."

Demonstrative Pronouns in the Nominative Case Edit

The demonstrative pronouns in English are: this, that, these, and those. In German, the demonstrative pronouns in the nominative case are the same as the definite articles. That means, "der," "die" and "das" can also mean "that (one)" or "this (one)" depending on the gender of the respective noun, and "die" can mean "these" or "those." For example, if you talk about a certain dog, you could say "Der ist schwarz" (that one is black).

Nominative Pronouns Edit

EIN PAAR VS EIN PAAR Edit

ein paar (lowercase p) means a fewsome or a couple (of) (only in the sense of at least two, not exactly two!).

ein Paar (uppercase P) means a pair (of) and is only used for things that typically come in pairs of two, e.g. ein Paar Schuhe (a pair of shoes).

Negatives Edit

German Negatives Edit

There are different ways to negate expressions in German (much like in English you can use "no" in some cases, and "does not" in others). The German adverb "nicht" (not) is used very often, but sometimes you need to use "kein" (not a).

Nicht Edit

Use "nicht" in the following five situations:

  1. Negating a noun that has a definite article like "der Raum" (the room) in "Der Architekt mag den Raum nicht" (the architect does not like the room).
  2. Negating a noun that has a possessive pronoun like "sein Glas" (his glass) in "Der Autor sucht sein Glas nicht." (the writer is not looking for his glass).
  3. Negating the verb: "Sie trinken nicht" (They/You do not drink).
  4. Negating an adverb or adverbial phrase. For instance, "Mein Mann isst nicht immer" (my husband does not eat at all times).
  5. Negating an adjective that is used with "sein" (to be): "Du bist nicht hungrig" (you are not hungry).

Position of Nicht Edit

Adverbs go in different places in different languages. You cannot simply place the German adverb "nicht" where you would put "not" in English.

The German "nicht" will precede adjectives and adverbs as in "Das Frühstück ist nicht schlecht" (the breakfast is not bad) and "Das Hemd ist nicht ganz blau" (the shirt is not entirely blue).

For verbs, "nicht" can either precede or follow the verb, depending the type of verb. Typically, "nicht" comes after conjugated verbs as in "Die Maus isst nicht" (the mouse does not eat). In conversational German, the perfect ("Ich habe gegessen" = "I have eaten") is often used to express simple past occurrences ("I ate"). If such statements are negated, "nicht" will come before the participle at the end of the sentence: "Ich habe nicht gegessen" (I did not eat/I have not eaten).

Finally, "nicht" also tends to come at the end of sentences (after direct objects like "mir" = "me,"" or after yes/no questions if there is just one conjugated verb). For example, "Die Lehrerin hilft mir nicht" (The teacher does not help me) and "Hat er den Ball nicht?" (Does he not have the ball?)

Kein Edit

Simply put, "kein" is composed of "k + ein" and placed where the indefinite article would be in a sentence. For instance, look at the positive and negative statement about each noun: "ein Mann" (a man) versus "kein Mann" (not a/not one man), and "eine Frau" versus "keine Frau."

"Kein" is also used for negating nouns that have no article: "Man hat Brot" (one has bread) versus "Man hat kein Brot" (one has no bread).

Nicht versus Nichts Edit

"Nicht" is an adverb and is useful for negations. On the other hand, "nichts" (nothing/anything) is a pronoun and its meaning is different from that of "nicht." Using "nicht" simply negates a fact, and is less overarching than "nichts." For example, "Der Schüler lernt nicht" (the student does not learn) is less extreme than "Der Schüler lernt nichts" (the student does not learn anything).

The word "nichts" can also be a noun if capitalized ("das Nichts" = nothingness).

This skill contains both negative and positive statements.

Adverbs 1 Edit

HOW DO YOU LIKE THINGS IN GERMAN? Edit Edit

Use the verb mögen to express that you like something or someone, and use the adverb gern(e) to express that you like doing something.

mögen is used for things, animals, and people: Edit Edit

  • Ich mag Bier (I like beer)
  • Sie mag Katzen (She likes cats)
  • Wir mögen dich (We like you)
  • Ihr mögt Bücher (You like books)

gern(e) is used for verbs/activities: Edit Edit

  • Ich trinke gern(e) Bier (I like to drink beer/I like drinking beer)
  • Er spielt gern(e) Fußball (He likes to play soccer/He likes playing soccer)
  • Wir lesen gern(e) Bücher (We like to read books/We like reading books)
  • Sie schreibt gern(e) Briefe (She likes to write letters/She likes writing letters)

mögen cannot be followed by another verb.

(The subjunctive form (möchten) can be followed by a verb, but Ich möchte Fußball spielen translates as I would like to play soccer, not I like playing soccer.)

What's the difference between gern and gerne? They're just variations of the same word. There's no difference in terms of meaning or style. You can use whichever you like best.

Addendum:Previous layout Edit

This German page used to be separated onto 17 sub-pages. For the sake of simplicity and ease of formatting, and also for those users who use "print>save as pdf" from their mobile browsers or applications like Pocket in order to view reference material offline, those pages' contents have been copied here.

The original content of this page:

Basics 1

The (no notes provided)

Basics 2

Common Phrases

Accusative Case

Introduction (no notes provided)

Food 1

Animals 1

Plurals

Adjectives: Predicative 1

Negative and positive statements

Questions and statements 1

Verbs: Present 1

Clothing

Nature 1

Possessive Pronouns

Nominative Pronouns

Negatives

Adverbs 1

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