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Abonnieren Sie unsere FAZ. Regular and irregular forms Most verbs in German follow a regular pattern where the ending is simply added to the stem of the verb.
There is also a group of irregular verbs where there are changes in the stem of the verb. These verbs will be discussed in Unit 4.
Spelling variations — an overview Stem endings in -d or -t There are some German verbs where the stem ends in -d or -t. This is why an e is put before these endings: Du atmest sehr heftig.
Herr Maier arbeitet bei Siemens. Es regnet schon wieder! Das Buch kostet 5 Euro. Ihr redet zu viel. Mr Maier works for Siemens. The book costs 5 euros.
For a few verbs where the stem ends in x, z or tz the same pattern applies: Irregular verbs with vowel changes There is a group of German verbs where the vowel in the stem changes in the present tense.
Here are examples in some frequently used verbs: Liest du gern Harry Potter? Sie isst gern Pizza. Sie schläft bis elf Uhr.
Do you like reading Harry Potter? He is watching a football match. She likes eating pizza. Do you speak German?
Looking out for patterns These changes apply only to a limited number of verbs. It is best to learn these verbs by heart. There are also certain patterns which can help you predict how a verb changes.
Changes from a to ä Important verbs — apart from schlafen — which follow this pattern are: Changes from e to i You have seen that sprechen and essen are two prominent verbs which change their vowel from e to i.
Other verbs which follow this pattern are: The verb nehmen also follows the e to i pattern, but it has greater spelling variations.
Here are all forms: Changes from e to ie Some verbs such as sehen and lesen, where the e sound is pronounced long, change their vowel e into ie: Where to look for irregular forms All verbs with a vowel change are irregular verbs.
Other irregular verbs There are also two other groups of verb forms which do not conform to the regular pattern in the present tense: Place a tick against the ones which change their vowel in the present tense and a cross against the ones which do not.
Use a verb list to check your answers. Use this information to write a short portrait of him. Ich komme aus Wien. Ich arbeite für das Österreichische Fernsehen.
Ich spreche natürlich Deutsch, aber auch Englisch und Spanisch. Ich lese gern Kriminalromane. Ich fahre auch gern Ski und schwimme viel.
Ich sehe gern alte Filme mit Marlene Dietrich. Ich schlafe oft lange. Und ich helfe am Wochenende alten Leuten. She reads a book.
Peter speaks German and English. We speak German and Spanish. Magda likes eating pizza. He has a beer. She is wearing a T-shirt. Checklist 1 Can you remember for which endings there is a stem vowel change?
They are quite irregular in German, as in English. Different patterns As explained in Unit 3, irregular verbs in German tend to change their stem vowel.
Sein is an example of an irregular verb where the endings change even more drastically. The endings for ich, wir, ihr and sie are regular: Examples Ich habe viel zu tun.
Claus hat eine Schwester. Sie haben ein neues Auto. Use of haben Haben is an important verb which you will be using a lot. Useful phrases Here are a few useful phrases with haben: Hunger haben Durst haben Zeit haben Langeweile haben Kopfschmerzen haben.
Ich bin aus Deutschland. Sind Sie Herr Schuhmacher? Du bist sehr schön. Entschuldigung, wir sind verspätet. Are you Mr Schuhmacher?
He is an American. She is a teacher. Apologies, we are late. And there is, of course Shakespeare: To be or not to be, that is the question.
In German this would be: Das ist die Frage. Use of sein Like haben, sein is an important verb and you will be using it a lot.
It is used to form tenses and other grammatical forms. You cannot, for instance, use sein to form a tense similar to the English: This tense does not exist in German.
There is only one present tense: Petra Sie ein Zimmer frei? Was machen denn Kathrin und Boris? We are from New York.
They are from Australia. Mario is from Munich. Are you Mr Becker? He has one sister. Do you have time?
What is a separable verb? These are verbs which are made up of two parts: Important separable verbs Separable verbs are quite frequent in German.
Here are some of the most important ones: Herr Nolte ruft seine Frau an. Mr Nolte rings his wife. Bernhard steht um fünf Uhr morgens auf. Corinna geht jeden Tag aus.
Corinna goes out every day. Die Kinder sehen jeden Abend fern. The children watch television every evening.
Er kauft im Supermarkt ein. He goes shopping in the supermarket. The meeting takes place on Monday. This may not necessarily be at the end of the sentence.
I get up and then I have breakfast. Mr Carlsen is watching television, but his children are reading.
Dr Schuster schläft erst um vierundzwanzig Uhr ein, aber er steht schon um fünf Uhr auf. Another example is the verb steigen: But that does not work all the time, so meanings of separable verbs need to be learned.
They include be-, er-, geand ver-. Er bezahlt mit seiner Kreditkarte. He pays with his credit card. Sie verkauft ihren alten Computer.
She is selling her old computer. More about separable verbs As a beginner you will probably use separable verbs most often as explained above.
However, separable verbs occur also in the imperative, in combination with modal verbs, and in the perfect and future tense. See Units 6 and 20—23 for more information.
Jens um halb acht Uhr. Put a tick against them. Herr und Frau Conradi stehen um sieben Uhr auf. Die Kinder Er immer im Supermarkt.
Wir gehen ins Kino. Frau Schmidt das Konzert? Wann Herr Claus liebt Seifenopern. Er jeden Tag der nächste Zug nach Hamburg?
Wann Wir viele Gäste zu unserer Party. Sie kauft eine Telefonkarte und ihre Mutter. When does the train depart?
When does the train arrive? Michael is tidying up and his children are watching television. Are you coming along to the cinema?
What is the imperative? The imperative is used for giving orders or instructing people to do things. Whether you are addressing only one person or several, it does not change.
Four different forms in German The imperative in German is a bit more complicated. German also distinguishes between the formal and informal mode of address in the imperative.
The formal imperative is the same in the singular and plural. Addressing one person informally du form The informal singular or du form is used with one person with whom you are quite familiar — children, family or close friends.
Formation You form the imperative by using the stem of the verb without an ending: Irregular forms Verbs which have some variation in their present tense also have slight variations for the imperative: Verbs which have a stem vowel change have the same stem vowel change in the imperative: But verbs which have a stem vowel change from a to ä do not change.
They simply use the stem to form the imperative:. Addressing one person formally Sie form Use the formal singular or Sie form when you address one person you are not intimate with.
Formation Simply use the present-tense Sie form. Unlike the informal, the formal imperative includes the personal pronoun Sie. You can tell that it is an imperative because the Sie comes after the verb: Addressing more than one person informally ihr form The informal plural is used when you are addressing at least two people or a group of people you are familiar with — children, family or friends.
Formation The informal plural is formed exactly like the second person plural ihr: Addressing more than one person formally Sie form If you address more than one person in a formal way, you use the Sie plural form.
This structure is very similar to English. Exclamation marks In written German, you often put an exclamation mark after the command form.
This puts more emphasis on what is being said. Frequent use The imperative is used quite frequently in German.
It is not impolite or rude to do so. English tends to use more elaborate structures, often in question. Sie mir noch ein Bier, bitte. Put the following in the command form, using the du form.
Two types of questions There are two main types of questions. Interrogative Where do you come from? Examples Here are some examples which show how the question words work.
Wohin fährt Juliane nächstes Wochenende? Wie ist deine E-Mail-Adresse? Wie viel kosten Gramm Mozzarella?
Wie oft gehst du aus? Where is Juliane going next weekend? What is your e-mail address? How much is grams of Mozzarella?
How often do you go out? Useful points As you can see, the usage of most question words in German is very similar to English. Note the following points.
Wie ist dein Name? It is incorrect to use was in such questions. If motion to or from a place is indicated, German always uses wohin or woher:.
How to ask about professions and where you work The most common way in German to ask what somebody does for a living is: Was sind Sie von Beruf?
For whom do you work? Where do you work? As you can see, it does not need a question word. Sie wohnen im Hotel Zur Sonne.
Here are some more examples: Arbeitet er bei MTV Deutschland? Does he work for MTV Germany? Läuft sie wirklich jeden Tag 10 km?
Does she really run 10 km each day? German is much simpler than English in this respect. Wie alt sind Sie? Manchmal aber auch ein wenig stressig.
Eine Tochter und zwei Söhne. Ich spreche aber sehr gut Englisch. What is your name? What is the time? Do you have children?
Do you speak English? Checklist 1 Which question word do you use when you ask for a name or an address? What is a noun? A noun is a word used to name a person, an object, an abstract quality or a concept: Biological gender in English In English, the gender of nouns conforms with their status: German uses instead grammatical gender, where there is no such obvious relationship.
Three genders in German In German, all nouns are masculine, feminine or neuter. Note that in the plural all three groups take the same article: As you can see, it is easy to guess the gender for nouns where the natural gender is fairly clear: It is therefore advisable to learn a new noun with its gender: The most common abbreviations are: Nevertheless, there are some clues that can help you work out whether a noun is masculine, feminine or neuter.
One is the ending of a noun. There are also certain groups of nouns which have identical genders. Here is an overview.
Clues for masculine nouns Typical endings The following endings usually indicate that a noun is masculine: Groups of nouns There are also certain groups of nouns which are masculine.
Clues for feminine nouns Typical feminine endings The following endings usually indicate that a noun is feminine: Note also that about ninety per cent of nouns ending in -e are feminine: Groups of nouns Nouns which tend to be feminine are: Clues for neuter nouns Typical endings As for the other two genders, certain endings help you identify that a noun is neuter.
The most important are:. Groups of nouns There are also certain groups of nouns which tend to be neuter: Compound nouns You may have noticed that German speakers love to form long words.
In grammar terms a word that is made up of more than one noun is called a compound noun. Nouns take capital letters in German Remember that all nouns in German start with a capital letter: Der Computer hat eine neue Tastatur.
In the plural all three are die. For more details see Units 10— Summary of main pointers Here is a summary of the main clues that can help you identify the gender of a noun in German: Groups of nouns include: Do you remember which article they take?
Most words have appeared previously, but, if you are not sure about the meaning, check in your dictionary. Now make a list of the typical 1 masculine, 2 feminine and 3 neuter endings that have appeared in the above examples.
All German sentences start with a capital letter. The Ferrari is very fast. The table and the window are broken. The daughter is called Marianna.
The newspaper is too expensive. The rose is very beautiful. The cinema is closed. The beer costs 2 euros. The town centre is very old.
Is the computer new? The cheese is from France. Checklist 1 Why is gender so important for learners of German? What is meant by grammatical gender?
Singular and plural When nouns refer to only one item grammatically they are in the singular form. If you talk about more than one item you use the plural: Patterns in German German has several ways of forming the plural.
It is therefore advisable to learn a new word with its plural form. But as with gender there are patterns for typical endings, or plural formations for masculine, feminine and neuter nouns.
Clues for masculine nouns Adding -e The great majority of masculine nouns form their plural by just adding -e:. Nouns ending in -er, -el or -en Nouns ending in -er, -el or -en have no change or sometimes add an umlaut: Clues for feminine nouns Adding -n or -en The huge majority of feminine nouns add -n or -en: Mutter and Tochter for instance both only add an umlaut: Clues for neuter nouns Adding -e Most neuter nouns add -e but no umlaut: Nouns ending in -chen or -lein Nouns ending in -chen or -lein do not change in the plural: The plural form is usually given in third place following the gender and the genitive ending see Units 10 and 12 of the noun: In some cases an umlaut plus another ending is required: Most masculine nouns need an extra -e: I would like two bottles, please.
The apples are very sweet. He has got two sisters and three brothers. She reads three newspapers. The parties are always interesting.
This Unit will give you a very short overview of the basic rules governing the cases in German and will compare them to English. Units 11—14 will explain each case in detail and give examples and exercises.
How does this compare to English? You know that a noun is a subject when it comes before the verb. If it is an object, it comes after the verb.
The nominative case The nominative is used when the noun is the subject of the sentence, i. The man is reading. When the noun is the direct object, i.
Der Mann liest einen Roman. Der Mann gibt der Frau einen Roman. The genitive case This is used to show the relationship between two nouns.
Der Hut des Mannes. Why are cases important? Can you spot the changed endings in the examples on the previous page? Factors which determine case There are three factors which determine case.
We have explained one of them above: There are two more factors, which decide what case must be used: Verbs The verb determines which case you use for the object: The majority of verbs require the accusative.
Very few verbs take the genitive case. If you have a verb which requires the dative case, then the object in the German sentence must be in the dative even if it would be a direct object in English: Der Mann hilft der Frau.
Very few prepositions take the genitive. If you have a preposition which requires the accusative case, then the object in the German sentence must be in the accusative, even if it would be an indirect object in English: Ich kaufe einen Roman für meinen Freund.
It is particularly important to learn which verbs take the dative, and which prepositions govern which case. Die Frau isst einen Hamburger.
Der Mann geht ins Kino. Das Kind spielt mit den Autos. In der Garage steht das Auto. Um acht Uhr verlässt die Nachbarin das Haus.
Can you identify which one is in the accusative and which one in the dative case? Check the tables above for endings.
Sie gibt dem Mann eine Zigarette. Ich schenke der Frau ein Buch. Er kauft dem Mädchen ein Eis. Herr Schulz zeigt dem Gast seinen Garten.
Der Kellner bringt dem Mann das Essen. One of each has been done for you. What is the nominative case? German uses the nominative case if the noun is the subject in a sentence — a person or thing doing the action.
Examples Here are some examples of nouns in the nominative case: Der Mann hört Musik. Die Frau liest das Buch. Das Kind kauft einen Apfel. Die Gäste wollen es nicht.
The man is listening to music. The woman reads the book. The child buys an apple. Here is an overview of the most common endings: How to spot the nominative case The subject does not have to be at the beginning of the sentence: Morgen fährt die Klasse nach Berlin.
Nach dem Essen trinkt er einen Expresso. Who is drinking an espresso? The genders of the nouns are given in parentheses. Computer kostet Euro. Auto ist ein VW.
Das ist Das ist Zeitung. Das ist Flasche Bier. Flasche kommt aus München. Das ist Das ist Supermarkt. Studenten kommen aus Kanada.
Briefmarken kommen aus der ganzen Welt. Morgen fahren wir nach Italien. Hast du heute Zeit? Im Sommer wohnen wir in Berlin. Trinkt er gerne Bier?
This is a house. The house is very old. The man is called Mario. He is an engineer. The newspaper is very interesting.
Aldi is a supermarket in Germany. Who are the children? Checklist 1 What function does the noun have in a sentence when it is in the nominative case?
What is the accusative case? German normally uses the accusative case when the noun is the direct object, i.