spacexthoughts asked:

Can you please explain the german word order? :) love this blog btw, it's been a huge help.

Hey there! Glad to know FYD’s been helpful :)

I did a post on German syntax a while back that you may find helpful, click here to see it!

Another thing German teachers love to teach when it comes to sentence structure is TeKaMoLo.

What on earth is that?

  • Temporal - wann?
  • Kausal - warum?
  • Modal - wie?
  • Lokal - wo?

All it really means is that you’re supposed to structure your sentence so that it answers the “Wann? Warum? Wie? Wo?” in that order. Even after learning German for 6 years I still refuse to think of it as TeKaMoLo; I simply remember “wann, warum, wie, wo” - that’s easier for me.

How TeKaMoLo is used …

  • Ich bin gegangen.
    I went.

Now let’s add a little more information to this sentence:

  • gestern Abend (temporal - wann)
  • wegen des langen Tages (kausal - warum)
  • sehr erschöpft (modal - wie)
  • ins Bett (lokal - wo)

What would the order for the above information be?

  • For the most neutral-sounding sentence, it should be:
    Ich bin gestern Abend wegen des langen Tages sehr erschöpft ins Bett gegangen.
    I went to bed exhausted last night because of the long day I had.

    As you can see, it follows the TeKaMoLo rule:
    gestern Abend (1 - temporal/wann)
    wegen des langen Tages (2 - kausal/warum)
    sehr erschöpft (3 - modal/wie)
    ins Bett (4 - lokal/wo)

However, it’s not wrong if you choose to move one element to another position (the rest must follow the order); the emphasis of the sentence will simply change:

  • Gestern Abend bin ich wegen des langen Tages sehr erschöpft ins Bett gegangen.
    Think: Last night and not any other night, I went to bed …
  • Wegen des langen Tages bin ich gestern Abend sehr erschöpft ins Bett gegangen.
    Think: Because of the long day I had and not because of anything else, I went to bed …
  • Sehr erschöpft bin ich gestern Abend wegen des langen Tages ins Bett gegangen.
    Think: I didn’t just go to bed, I went to bed utterly exhausted.
  • Ins Bett bin ich gestern Abend wegen des langen Tages sehr erschöpft gegangen.
    Think: It was to bed that I went exhausted and not anywhere else.
    Note: This particular construction sounds a little strange here, probably due to the lack of context.

Hope that helped! Feel free to ask if something’s unclear! :)

Some tips to help you with German articles

So we’ve all experienced that horror of having to remember an article for every word we learn. While it’s not as bad as it looks, it’s still very hard at first, especially if your native language doesn’t use articles. In reality, the articles aren’t that so bad, especially when you start learning some basic patterns and rules like the ones below.

1. Categories: As my teacher put it, the Germans categorize everything, and their words and articles are no exception. Examples:
-Der Wagen (the car)- every car brand is also der
-Die Hose (the pants)- die Jeans, die Shorts, etc.
-Das Hemd (the shirt)- das T-Shirt

2. Similar endings have similar articles.
-Der Fisch, der Tisch
-Die Bedeutung, die Empfehlung
-Das Buch, das Tuch

3. Opposite concepts have opposite articles.
-Die Sonne (the sun) vs. der Mond (the moon)
-Der Tag (the day) vs. die Nacht (the night)

4. Foreign words (Fremdwörter) are only das if they cannot translate into something in German, have no category, and have no common ending.
- The word notebook, for example, has the word book in it (das Buch), so in German it is Das Notebook.
- Laptop falls under the category of computer, so it takes the der article
-The word die Pizza is obviously not a German word, but the “a” ending is very common at the end of female names in German, so a word with this ending has the die article
-Das Sushi is an example of a word that doesn’t translate into something in German, has no category, and has no common ending, so it becomes das Sushi

5. Verbs minus an ending become masculine nouns.
-rauchen: to smoke
-Der Rauch- smoke

6. Verbs minus an ending plus a -t become feminine nouns.
-fahren: to drive
-Die Fahrt- drive, trip

7. Verbs that go to a noun without a change in ending become neuter nouns.
-lächeln- to smile
-Das Lächeln- smile

In case you still can’t guess the article, here are some other small tips to help you guess the article:
-Two syllable words with an -e ending have a 90% chance of being feminine.
-70% of all one syllable words are masculine.
-If the noun has a -d ending, the word is likely to be das.

I hope this makes learning the articles easier! It’s really not so complicated when you remember these rules :) Viel Spaß!

schneewitchen asked:

I absolutely HATE prepositions. Any tips to learning them?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone :)

Unfortunately, I do have to break the news - the only way to learn them is to memorise them, and to constantly use them so they stay in your head.

I’ll try to summarise them though.

Accusative prepositions

  • bis (rarely used alone except when without an article)
    until (a certain date), by (a certain date)
    bis Montag, bis Mai
    by/until Monday, by/until May
  • durch
    through, by (means of)
    durch den Tunnel, durch Zufall, durch Überweisung
    through the tunnel, by chance, by bank transfer
  • entlang
    den Strand entlang, die Straße entlang
    along the beach, along the street
  • für
    für dich, für Fußgänger
    for you, for pedestrians/pedestrianised 
  • gegen
    against, (in exchange) for 
    gegen einen Baum, gegen Quittung, gegen eine Gebühr 
    against a tree, in exchange for the receipt, for a fee
  • ohne
    ohne Absicht, ohne Anlass
    accidental/unintentionally, without cause
  • um
    around, at (a certain time)
    um die Ecke, um den Baum, um 19 Uhr
    around the corner, around a tree, at 7pm 

Dative prepositions

  • aus
    from, out of
    aus den Vereinigten Staaten, aus der Dose, aus der Verpackung
    from the United States, out of the can, out of the packaging
  • außer
    except for, besides
    außer Montag, außer ein paar Fehlern, außer ihm
    except Monday, except for a few mistakes, besides him
  • bei
    bei der Sitzung, bei mir, bei hohen Temperaturen
    at the meeting, at my place (or in my case), at high temperatures
  • gegenüber
    gegenüber diesem Gebäude
    opposite this building
  • mit
    with, by
    mit Karamellgeschmack, mit ihnen, mit dem Bus
    caramel-flavoured, with them, by bus
  • nach
    after, according to
    nach dem Studium, nach Ihnen, nach seiner Meinung
    after studying (i.e. graduating from a university), after you, according to him
  • seit
    since (time), for (time)
    seit letztem Jahr, seit vielen Jahren, seit einer Woche
    since last year, for many years, for a week
  • von
    by, from
    von Goethe, von The Beatles, von Anfang an
    by Goethe, by the Beatlesfrom the beginning
  • zu
    at, to
    zu Weihnachten, zu jeder Zeit, zu dir, bis zum Schluss*
    at Christmas, at all times, to your place, until the very end

Accusative/Dative prepositions
The following prepositions can require either the accusative or dative case depending on whether the subject/object is stationary or moving in the direction of something. If it is stationary, use Dativ; if it is moving in the direction of something, use Akkusativ.

  • Ich gehe ins Einkaufszentrum.
    Akkusativ (ins = in + das) because I am going TOWARDS the shopping centre (i.e. moving in the direction of the shopping centre). 
  • Ich bin im Einkaufszentrum.
    Dativ (im = in + dem) because I am IN the shopping centre (i.e. “stationary). 

For a more comprehensive explanation, please read this page. Here are the prepositions, learn them well:

  • an
  • auf 
  • hinter
  • in
  • neben
  • über
  • unter
  • vor
  • zwischen

Genitive prepositions
In spoken German, the genitive case is hardly ever used - the Germans use the dative case instead. This does not change the fact that in written German, these prepositions MUST be used with the genitive case! I’ll list the common genitive prepositions here, you can find a more detailed explanation here.

  • anstatt / statt
    instead of 
  • außerhalb
    outside of 
  • innerhalb
    inside of 
  • trotz
    despite, in spite of 
  • während
  • wegen
    because of 

Verbs with prepositions
Some verbs require a specific preposition that no other can replace. This list of verbs is basically endless, but I’m just going to list down the most common ones that you HAVE to know:

  • achten auf (+Akk)
    to be mindful of sth.
  • anfangen mit (+Dat) & aufhören mit (+Dat)
    to begin doing sth. & to stop doing sth.
  • sich ärgern über (+Akk)
    to get annoyed at sth./sb.
  • sich bewerben um (+Akk)
    to apply for sth. 
  • denken an (+Akk)
    to think of sth. 
  • sich erinnern an (+Akk)
    to remember sth./sb.
  • sich freuen auf (+Akk)
    to look forward to sth. 
  • sich freuen über (+Akk)
    to be pleased with sth. 
  • sich gewöhnen an (+Akk)
    to get used to sth. 
  • glauben an (+Akk)
    to believe in sth. 
  • sich Sorgen machen um (+Akk)
    to worry about  sth./sb.
  • teilnehmen an (+Dat)
    to take part in sth. 
  • sich verfügen über (+Akk)
    to have sth. at one’s disposal 
  • warten auf (+Akk)
    to wait for sth./sb.

As you’ve probably realised, verbs with prepositions exist in English too so it’s really just a matter of learning them by heart. If you could do it in English then, you can do it in German now! :)

* "bis zum Schluss” consists of 2 prepositions - “bis” and “zu”. The case-deciding preposition is the one right next to the noun/pronoun, which is, in this case, “zu”. So “der Schluss” is written in dative and becomes “dem Schluss”, and “dem” is combined with “zu” to get “zum”. Results in: bis zum Schluss.


Grammatik- Smooth While Raw

Ich bin ein Berliner.

Why it’s so famous:

  • Because it’s quoted from John F. Kennedy’s speech at the Schöneberg city hall on 26 June 1963 celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift and the first visit from an American president since the wall was built in 1961. Mr Kennedy wanted to express his solidarity with the West German inhabitants with this sentence.

A more plausible reason is:

  • Mr Kennedy’s German grammar was, unfortunately, not the best. This resulted in him making a fool of himself in front of the Germans with precisely this sentence - what he wanted to say was that he is a citizen of Berlin; what he said, instead, was that he’s a jelly-filled doughnut.

How did this happen?
Simple. He said “ein Berliner” instead of simply “Berliner”.

In German, you never express your nationality and occupation with an article:
Bist du Münchnerin?
Er ist Arzt.
Sie ist Studentin.
Ich bin Berliner.

The meaning of Berliner changed with the simple addition of “ein”!

What is a Berliner?

English: Jelly-filled doughnut, jelly donut
North Germany (except Berlin): Berliner
Berlin (and neighbouring areas): Pfannkuchen (so be sure to check before you buy!)
South Germany: Krapfen 

Schandfleck deutscher Sprache

Der Plural des wohl bald aussterbenden Wortes Kleinod lautet übrigens Kleinodien. Diese völlig untypische Pluralbildung ist “latinisierend”, weiß wiktionary. Auffällig ist auch die verschobene Betonung im Plural: [klaɪ̯nˈʔoːdi̯ən]. Wahrscheinlich wird daher lieber der Singular verwendet, auf den e-Plural zurückgegriffen, oder gleich Schmuckstück gesagt.

I’ve been using a lot of possessive pronouns (possessiva pronomen) this week, so I thought I should take a moment to explain them.

Possessiva pronomen are pronouns that show possession. What belongs to who.
In English, we don’t have “en” or “ett” words and pronouns don’t changed based on whether something is plural or not. If I have car, a house, and five pigs, I would say “the car is mine”, “the house is mine”, and “the pigs are mine”. It’s always “mine”. This is the same with the possessive adjective “my”.
In Swedish, the words don’t change from possessive adjective to possessive pronoun, but some of them do change depending on the form of the word that is being possessed. Some possessiva pronomen have a different form for en, ett, and plural words.
Take “my”/“mine” for example. It would be “min” for en words, “mitt” for ett words, and “mina” for plural words.
En - Sv
a car - en bil
It is my car. - Den är min bil.
The car is mine. - Bilen är min.
a house - ett hus
It is my house. - Det är mitt hus.
The house is mine. - Huset är mitt.
pigs (a pig) - grisar (en gris)
They are my pigs. - De är mina grisar.
The pigs are mine. - Grisarna är mina.

Here is a list of the possessiva pronomen. ( en / ett / plural)
my / mine - min / mitt / mina
your / yours - din / ditt / dina
your / yours (plural) - er / ert / era
her / hers - hennes / hennes / hennes
his - hans / hans / hans
our / ours - vår / vårt / våra
their / theirs - deras / deras / deras
its - dess / dess / dess

En: His cellphone is broken.
Sv: Hans mobil är trasig.
En: You two are a nice couple and your children are great.
Sv: Ni två är ett snällt par och era barn är härliga.

You can show possession in other words by simply adding an “s” to the end of the word.
He is Daniel’s friend. - Han är Daniels vän.
I found the dog’s bone. - Jag hittade hundens ben.

Reflexiva pronomen (reflexive pronouns) are pronouns that reflect back onto something else. Ex: I drove myself to school.
myself - mig
yourself - dig
yourselves - er
himself - sig
herself - sig
ourselves - oss
themselves - sig
itself - sig
Some verbs are dependent on reflexiva pronomen. If you don’t use the pronoun, they could have completely different meanings.
to teach - att lära ut
to learn - att lära sig
I am learning Swedish. - Jag lär mig svenska.
She is learning Swedish. - Hon lär sig svenska.
There are no rules to know which verbs require reflexiva pronomen. It’s just something you have to learn whenever you learn a new verb.
Some other examples are:
to feel (emotions, moods, or health. Not to touch) - att känna sig
He said that he feels sick today. - Han sa att han känner sig sjuk i dag.
to pass gas (fart) - att släppa sig
Oops! I farted. - Hoppsan! Jag släppte mig.
to get married - att gifta sig
I’ll never get married now. - Jag kommer aldrig att gifta mig nu.

It starts to get a bit more tricky with reflexiva possessiva pronomen (reflexive possessive pronouns). Reflexiva possessiva pronomen are possessive pronouns that reflect back onto the one doing the possessing. We don’t have this in English, so you usually just have to know what a sentence means by the context. You could say “his own”, “her own”, etc. but that isn’t required.
Take this sentence for example:
“Erik had a romantic dinner with his girlfriend.”
This is why reflexiva possessiva pronomen are important in Swedish. Whose girlfriend is Erik having a romantic dinner with? Without more information, we don’t really know. It could be his own girlfriend, or it could be some other guy’s girlfriend.
Erik had a romantic dinner with his girlfriend. - Erik hade en romantisk middag med sin flickvän.
By using the reflixiva possessiva pronomensin”, we are reflecting the possession back onto someone who was already mentioned. It is Erik’s girlfriend.
Erik had a romantic dinner with his girlfriend. - Erik hade en romantisk middag med hans flickvän.
By using the possessiva pronomenhans”, we’re not reflecting back onto Erik. It is someone else’s girlfriend.

Just like with reflexiva pronomen, “hans”, “hennes”, “deras”, and “dess” (his, hers, theirs, and its) all share the same reflexiva possessiva pronomen.
The reflexiva possessiva pronomen are “sin”, “sitt”, and “sina” for en, ett, and plural words.
When talking about my, your, or our things, reflexiva possessiva pronomen aren’t used because you’re already reflecting back on yourself. I can’t be talking about anyone else but me when I say “my”.

You have to know when and when not to use reflexiva possessiva pronomen. Use it if you are in another part of the same sentence (and the same sats / clause) and are reflecting back onto something that is in the fundament. Don’t use it if the thing possessing and the thing possessed are together as a subject or object (ex. “he and his car”). Don’t use it if the possession is shown in a different sentence than the thing you want to reflect back to (or in a different sats / clause).
In these sentences, we’re going to be talking about Viktor and his own friend.
En: Viktor went to the movies with his friend yesterday.
Sv: Viktor gick på bio med sin vän i går.
En: Viktor and his friend went to the movies yesterday.
Sv: Viktor och hans vän gick på bio i går.  Here “Viktor” and “hans vän” are together in the fundament. So reflexiva possessiva pronomen are not used.
En: Yesterday, Viktor and his friend went to the movies.
Sv: I går gick Viktor och hans vän på bio.  Again, “Viktor” and “hans vän” are together.
En: Viktor went to the movies yesterday. His friend went along with him.
Sv: Viktor gick på bio i går. Hans vän följde med. Here the possession is in a completely different sentence, so reflexiva possessiva pronomen are not used.

En: Rob was so hungry that he could hear his stomach growl.
Sv: Rob var så hungrig att han kunde höra sin mage kurra.
En: He noticed that his brother had a fish.
Sv: Han märkte att hans bror hade en fisk.
En: His brother decided to give Rob half of the fish.
Sv: Hans bror bestämde sig för att ge Rob halva fisken.
En: They both ate their halves of the fisk.
Sv: De båda åt sin halva av fisken.
En: The fish’s taste was wonderful and Rob’s brother regretted his decision to share.
Sv: Fiskens smak var underbar och Robs bror ångrade sitt beslut att dela.

Buffliga bufflar

“Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” är alltså en grammatiskt korrekt engelsk mening med den ungefärliga betydelsen “bisonoxar från New York som mobbas av andra bisonoxar från New York, mobbar en tredje grupp bisonoxar från New York”.

Detta är något ni kanske inte visste innan idag. Och om så är fallet så har jag berikat era liv. Med kunskap. Information. Näring för sinnet. 

Japp. Ni behöver inte tacka mig.

Interrogativpronomen (Interrogative Pronouns)

Interrogative pronouns are words we often use to begin questions. In German they are referred to as ‘W-Wörter’, as they all begin with W. The pronouns are as followed..

Warum? - Why?
Was? - What?
Wann? - When?
Wie? - How?

'Where’ is a little more complex, as in English it is generally used on its own and has one meaning. In German, there are a few ways of being a little more specific with the meaning of 'where’.

Wo? - Where at?
Wohin? - Where to?
Woher? - Where from?

It is also possible to add prepositions to 'wo’ in order to form interrogative pronouns, this shall be explained in my 'da’ and 'wo’ compounds post (x).

Also, 'who’ has a full set of case endings:

Nominative: Wer? - Who?
Accusative: Wen? - Whom?
Dative: Wem? - To whom?
Genitive: Wessen? - Whose?

In addition, there are also interrogative adjectives such as 'which’. Interrogative adjectives take exactly the same position as a pronoun but behave like adjectives, in terms of their declensions.