THINGS NATIVE SPEAKERS OF GERMAN DO
Those marked with an * are only done when speaking informally and often considered ‘messy’! Please don’t write like this, use the correct way in writing or speaking in a professional environment!
1. Mesh together prepositions and articles
This is something we do a lot and not doing it makes you sound very formal. Unlike some of the other things on this list, it acceptable to do this in writing as well. This is only done with the article dem and sometimes with das and der too. The following are only a few examples to show how it works:
- zu + dem = zum; zu + der = zur
- an + dem = am; an + das = ans
- in + dem = im; in + das = ins
- von + dem = vom
If we want to stress the object, however, we don’t combine them:
In welchem Haus wohnst du? - In dem Haus.
Which house do you live in? - In that one.
Note: In some cases, you cannot dissolve the combination. That is the case in fixed phrases that don’t change depending on cases. “Zum Beispiel”, for example (haha, I’m so funny), is one. You cannot say “zu dem Beispiel”.
2. Leave out ‘e’ *
This is done mainly with first person verbs and in verb+es constructions. This is acceptable in informal writing but should not be done in essays, books, articles, or anything of the sort.
- Ich habe mein Buch vergessen. - Ich hab mein Buch vergessen.
- Wie geht es dir? - Wie geht’s/gehts dir?
Note regarding the apostrophe: in cases where verb+es is shortened to verb+s, an apostrophe is not absolutely necessary, according to Duden. However, many people use it anyway.
3. Mess up word order in ‘weil’ sentences *
So… German has strict word order. But we like to bend the rules a lot. In sentences with ‘weil’ especially. Usually, this kind of clause requires different word order than a normal sentence but we’re lazy and often pretend like there’s a … after the ‘weil’ and we get to start a new sentence with the normal word order.
Correct word order:
Ich habe keine Energie, weil es mir heute nicht so gut geht.
Ich habe keine Energie, weil (…) es geht mir heute nicht so gut.
4. Ignore Präteritum completely *
You do not do this in writing!! But often times we ignore the existence of Präteritum completely, especially here in the South. You learn that for things that weren’t that long ago, we use Präteritum…. It’s not true. Colloquially, we use Perfekt for almost everything. But you still need to learn it because most fictional books are written in Präteritum and you do need to be able to use it for writing or speaking in a professional environment.
5. Leaving out ‘ei’ in ‘ein/eine/einen’ *
While speaking or in informal writing, many of use shorten ‘ein’ and its forms by leaving out the ei:
- ein - ‘n
- eine - ‘ne
- einen - ‘nen
- einem - ‘nem
- einer - ‘ner
Note: in middle and northern Germany people will often use ‘n and ‘nen interchangeably, so don’t let that confuse you.
6. 'Is’ (+’er’/’es’) *!!!
A lot of times we leave out the last ‘t’ of ‘ist’ when speaking. Many times this also causes ist+es or ist+er to merge into one word.
- Es ist kalt draußen. - Es is kalt draußen.
- Ist er noch da? - Is er (or: isser) noch da?
- Ist es fertig? - Is es (or: isses) fertig?
This is never ever acceptable in writing (except for when you’re texting friends) !!!!!!!!