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Hauptsachen zur Deutschen Grammatik:

Comprehensive Review of German Grammar

for High-School Students Entering a evel ! Class
$a"eel S% &andah
Cop#right' ()*(
Dedicated to all my German students, deep past, recent past, current, and future.
Wir Deutschen haben die Welt beherrscht, fremde Vlker, die Nordsee und die Natur - den Konjunktiv
Dieter ildebrandt !"#$%&', deutsche. Kabarettist
Table of Contents
-arts of Speech%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%.
0he $oun -hrase%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%1
Case in German %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%*)
der "estimmte 2rtikel:%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%*(
der-3ords 4 dies-' welch-' 5ed-%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%*(
Endings of other der-words using dies- as an e6ample:%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%*!
-lural Dative nouns%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%*,
Der un"estimmte 2rtikel%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%*,
Ein words%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%*,
2ccusative Case -repositions%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%*.
Dative-case -repositions%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%*7
Genitive Case -repositions%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%*1
0he either-accusative-or-dative-case -repositions%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%()
-ersonal -ronouns%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%((
der "estimmte 2rtikel 8noch einmal9:%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%(,
die -ronomen:%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%(,
-ronominal versus $ominal o"5ects and word order issues%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%(,
-repositions and -ersonal -ronouns%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%(.
Summar# of -ersonal -ronouns%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%(7
2d5ectives 4 these all-important Descriptive 3ords%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%(7
0he -redicate 2d5ective %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%(/
2ttri"utive 2d5ectives%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%(/
der "estimmte 2rtikel:%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%(1
2d5ective endings after der-words%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%(1
2ttri"utive 2d5ective Endings after ein-3ords%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%(1
2d5ective endings after ein-words%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!)
2d5ective Endings with no determiner "efore them 4 unpreceded attri"utive endings%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!)
:npreceded 2d5ective Endings%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!)
Comparative and Superlative ;orms of 2d5ectives%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!*
Comparing 0wo $ouns :sing 2d5ectives%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!(
<er"s in German%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!!
<er" 0ense 4 -resent 0ense%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!!
Stem-<owel Changing <er"s%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!,
=odal <er"s%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!,
ha"en 8to have9 > sein 8to "e9 > werden 8to "ecome' will in future tense9%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!.
wissen 4 to know%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!?
3ord @rder in German Sentences%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!?
Case in German - 2 Short E6plication%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!/
$ominative Case%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!1
2ccusative Case%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%!1
Dative Case%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%,)
Genitive Case%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%,(
Charts' 0a"les' -aradigms%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%,(
0eaching for so man# #ears the German language has "rought me to two firm conclusions a"out
the learning process: *9 in order to master German' ideas and concepts should "e constantl# ree6amined
and supplemented with deeper o"servation: (9 connections to prior learning and mother language
e6periences need to "e apparent and o"vious in order for solidification of linguistic input in the "rain
centers where language production takes place% +n other words' a whirlwind of language stimuli should
churn regularl# in the studentAs mind% Bes' one can reduce second language learning to nervous s#stem
components' like cells and dendrites and s#napses' and the release and reuptake of s#naptic chemicals'
neurotransmitters' and this can "e ver# interesting for students of ps#cholog# and "rain science' "ut for
the average high-school student' for whom this manual is written' neurolinguistics "e safel# assigned a
secondar# status in an effort to learn German% + recognize full# that learning German is as much a
social process as a mechanical process of linking together ar"itrar# sounds and morphemes and
s#m"ols% Cut without the latter' the mechanical>grammatical' our human desire to interact and associate
with other humans through the use of a common language would collapse into an unintelligi"le swamp
of confusion%
Rules are important' "ut in practice man# common ones morph into new rules' or shall + sa#
tendencies% 0hese common rule "reakages are learned more slowl# and "ecome a second tier of
language acDuisition% 0his manual is concerned with the rules' with the standard set of them' that occur
in the German language% @nce mastered' the e6ceptions and the nuance present in all modern world
languages can "e more readil# learned%
0he organisation of the manual follows a somewhat traditional grammatical tra5ector#: the parts
of speech in German are given separate treatments in distinct chapters% +tAs impossi"le to discuss the
parts of speech 8die Sprachteile9 in isolationE therefore' interconnected e6amples are given that + hope
will "uild the essential we" of German grammar necessar# for meaningful speech and writing%
2merican English speakers' particularl# high-schooler' have lamented the o"servation that the#
never learned English grammar adeDuatel# enough to assimilate the names for German parts of speech%
+ sa# then in German class it is high time the# do learn English grammar 5argon alongside the German
terms% +t is helpful to compare and contrast the forms in these two Germanic languages' for there are
man# similarities and a contrastive approach can shed valua"le insights into "oth languages% However
true the t#pical 2merican high-school lament is shouldnAt hinder an adeDuate understanding of how
educated people discuss language%
=odern teachers of living world languages might recoil at the thought of a purel# grammatical
treatise of German which + am currentl# presenting% 0he focus has "een for some time on the
communicative properties of language acDusition' and how we can replicate in the classroom natural
neuroprocesses in rewiring language centers of the "rain' much like a child learns its first language%
0here is validit# to this approach' + wholl# "elieve' and it forms the "ase of m# instruction' "ut older
learners in high-school seem to strive for a more anal#tical description of form% 0he# are more self-
conscious of making mistakes' despite teacher skill in 5udiciousl# correcting errors% + hope this manual
can provide an affective foundation for students so that the# take more risks in using the German
language in more comple6 communicative wa#s%
Parts of Speech
Englisch term German term in order of
frequency of usage
Adjectival/adverial forms of
the German terms, if
applicale / e!amples of said
part of speech
noun das Su"stantiv' das Hauptwort'
das $omen' das $ennwort
pronoun das -ronomen' das ;Frwort pronominal' fFrwortlich
personal pronoun das -ersonalpronomen er, sie, es, ihn, ihm, us(.
demonstrative pronoun das DemonstrativpronounE das
der, die, das, denen, us(.
definite article der "estimmte 2rtikel der, die, das, den, dem, des
indefinite article der un"estimmte 2rtikel ein, einen, eine, einer
ein-word das Ein-3ort mein, sein, ihr, unser, us(.
possessive ad5ective das -ossessivad5ektivE der
mein, sein, ihr, unser, us(.
demonstrative determiner der Demonstrativartikel dieser, jeder, alle, solcher,
interrogative determiner der +nterrogativartikelE der
(elcher, (elche, (elchen, us(.
der-word das Der-3ort dieser, jeder, alle, solcher,
manche, (elcher, (elche,
(elchen, us(.
gender das GeschlechtE das GenusE
grammatisches Geschlecht
case der &asusE der ;all
su"5ect das Su"5ekt
direct o"5ect das 2kkusativo"5ekt
indirect o"5ect das Dativo"5ekt
genitive o"5ect das Genitivo"5ekt
prepositional o"5ectE o"5ect of
the preposition
das @"5ekt der -rGposition
preposition die -rGpositionE das
to govern' i%e%' prepositions
govern certain cases
regieren' d%h' Gegen regiert den
prepositional phrase die prGpositionale -hraseE der
prGpositionale 2usdruck
da-compound das Da-&ompositum
wo-compound das 3o-&ompositum
nominative' accusative' dative'
der $ominativ' der 2kkusativ'
der Dativ' der Genitiv
im $ominativ' im 2kkusativ'
masculine mGnnlichE maskulin
feminine wei"lichE feminin
neuter sGchlichE im $eutrum
singular der SingularE die Einzahl singulGr
plural der -luralE die =ehrzahl im -luralE pluralisch
to decline' i%e%' to appl# changes
to articles and nouns
deklinieren dekliniert
first person die erste -erson' die +ch-;orm
second person die Du-;orm
third person die dritte -erson
first person plural die 3ir-;orm
forms of address ;ormen der 2nrede
formal address formelle 2nrede
informal address informelle 2nrede
ver" das <er"' das <er"um' das
strong ver"E irregular ver" das starke <er"E das
unregelmGIige <er"
weak ver"E regular ver" das schwache <er"E das
regelmGIige <er"
to con5ugate 8a ver"9 kon5ugieren kon5ugiert
su"5ect-ver" agreement die &ongruenz
past participle das -artizip 8-erfekt9
ver" tense das 0empus' die Heit' die
present tense das -rGsens' die Gegenwart im -rGsensE in der Gegenwart
present perfect das -erfekt im -erfekt
simple past tense das -rGteritum' das +mperfekt im -rGteritum' im +mperfekt
future tense das ;utur im ;utur
past perfect tense das -lusDuamperfekt im -lusDuamperfekt
helping ver"' au6iliar# ver" das Hilfsver"
modal ver" das =odalver"
finite ver" das finite <er"E finites <er" finit
infinitive der +nfinitiv' die $ennform
mood der =odus
indicative mood der +ndikativ
su"5unctive mood der &on5unktiv
imperative der +mperativ
ad5ective das 2d5ektivE das
predicate ad5ective das -rGdikatenad5ektiv
attri"utive ad5ective das attri"utive 2d5ektiv
ad5ective ending die 2d5ektivendung
adver" das 2dver"' das :mstandswort adver"iell' adver"ial
word order die 3ortstellung
normal word order die normale 3ortstellung
ver" in second position das <er" in der zweiten Stelle
s#nta6 der Satz"auE die S#nta6
sentence der Satz
su"ordinate clause der $e"ensatz
at the end of the sentence am Satzende
con5unction die &on5unktion
coordinating con5unction die koordinierende &on5unktion
su"ordinating con5unction die su"ordinierende &on5unktion
infinitive clause der +nfinitivsatz
3e start with nouns in German% @ne German word for a noun' das Sustantiv' is an interesting
one "ecause it underscores what a noun is: something su"stantial' something of su"stance% 0he classic
grade-school definition of noun holds true here: nouns are persons' places' things' ideas%
+n German' nouns are alwa#s capitalized in a German sentence' and nouns possess gender 4
das )eschlecht% 3hen asked what gender a noun is' one t#picall# gives the definite article in the
nominative case along with the noun: das "aus, der #ann, die Gael, das $ach, der %leistift, die
Schultasche' etc% Der signfies masculine' die signifies feminine' and das signifies neuter% 0hese are the
three genders among German nouns%
Genders of German nouns must "e memorized when learning the noun% 0here are some rules
that can help determine gender% ;or e6ample' all nouns ending in &ung, &'eit, and &heit are alwa#s
feminine: die (mgeung, die )ran'heit, die Sehens*+rdig'eit% $ouns for people are t#picall#
masculine unless tagged with the feminine &in marker and sometimes an added umlaut: der ,ehrer/die
,ehrerin, der Ar-t/die .r-tin, der Sch+ler/die Sch+lerin. $ouns for famil# mem"ers follow natural
gender' i%e% the#Are either masculine or feminine% @ne e6ception is the word for the child * das )ind%
Compound nouns in German have the same gender as the final noun in the compound% ;or
e6ample' "aus is neuter 8das aus9' therefore' )aufhaus, #ietshaus, /athaus, )ran'enhaus are
also neuter%
2lwa#s learn the gender - der, die das 4 when #ou encounter' list' learn' utilize' etc% new
$ouns are either singular or plural% 0here are a few German nouns that are alwa#s pluralE
common ones are die ,eute, die $erien, die Gesch*ister, die Eltern. 2ll nouns in the plural have the
definite article die as its nominative case marker%
Speaking of plural' not onl# should one learn the nounAs gender "ut also the nounAs plural form%
-lural forms in German fall into a variet# of classes: &e, &n, &, &s, 0&e, 0&er, &0% Here are some e6amples
of nouns in the singular and their corresponding plural form:
S12G(,A/ 3,(/A, 4,ASS
der Cleistift die Cleistifte -e
der Junge die Jungen -8e9n
der 0aschenrechner die 0aschenrechner - 8no chan+e9
das 2uto die 2utos -s
das ;ach die ;Gcher K-er
die Stadt die StGdte K-e
der <ater die <Gter -K
der Hund die Hunde -e
die &atze die &atzen -n 8all nouns ending in -e form
their plural this wa#%9
das Haus die HGuser K-er
der =ann die =Gnner K-er
die ;rau die ;rauen -en
das &ind die &inder -er 8reall# a modified 0&erE a
common neuter noun plural
das Glas die GlGser K-er 8see a"ove9
The Noun Phrase
Singular nouns 8and plural nouns9 in German sentences often appear not as single words "ut as
noun phrases% 2long with the noun itself' there might "e what we can call a determiner. 0hese
determiners can "e definite articles 5der, die, das, etc.6, indefinite articles 5ein, eine, einen, etc.6'
possessive ad5ectives 5mein, dein, unser, euer, ihr, 1hr, sein6' demonstrative determiners 5dieser,
jedes, alle, *elchen7 solche, 'ein, etc.6, indefinite ad5ectives 5*enig, mehr, alles, nichts, viel,
mehrere, einige, etc.6.
-lural nouns often appear without a determiner in a German sentence:
)inder spielen gern %rettspiele. ,hildren like to s-la. board +ames.
0he two nouns in the sentence' )inder and %rettspiele' are plural and are present without determiners%
See how the sentence changes when determiners are included:
Die )inder spielen gern meine %rettspiele. /he children like to -la. m. board +ames.
Determiners in noun phrases add a certain kind of specificit# to the noun' and when to use them in
German follows generall# the same rules as in English' st#listicall# and otherwise%
@ther elements that can "e present in a noun phrase are attriutive adjectives% ;or e6ample' if
we take the sentence a"ove and add some ad5ectives to spice up the sentence' we might come up with
Die 'leinen )inder spielen gern meine alten %rettspiele.
/he small children like m. old board +ames.
0here are other elements that can "e part of a German noun phrase' like relative clauses' e6tended
participial modifiers' and adver"s% 0aken as a whole' these added elements simpl# add information and
te6ture to the noun phrase% 2nd the# also add a certain level of comple6it#%
$oun phrases can also "e a part of a noun phrase' particular# with prepositional phrases and
genitive case nouns% Here is an e6ample of a noun phrase "eing part of another noun phrase:
Der #ann mit dem roten "aar ist am 8elefon.
/he man (ith the red hair is on the tele-hone.
+n this sentence we have three different noun phrases% 0he main one' the suject' is der #ann%
2ttached to it is a prepositional phrase containing #et another noun phrase' dem roten "aar% 0he entire
prepositional phrase adds information to der #ann' and in essence can "e removed from the sentence
and still leave "ehind a meaningful utterance: Der #ann ist am 8elefon% 0he final noun phrase is
another oject of a preposition, dem 8elefon' a noun in the dative case and the o"5ect of the
preposition an% 2n L dem is generall# contracted to form am%
+t is interesting to note in the previous e6ample that am 8elefon is not optionalE that is'
removing this particular element of the sentence would render the sentence incomplete% Some noun
phrases are essential to maintain meaning%
Case in German
$oun phrases are in a specific gender in a German sentence% +n the plural' we can sa# that
gender dissolves awa# and all nouns are die% $oun phrases in German sentences not onl# possess
gender>num"er 8i%e%' singular or plural9' "ut the# are also in a specific case% 0he determiners change
form depending on what case the noun is in in a German sentence% 0his is markedl# different from
English' where the determiners do not change form% +n German' changes in the form of the determiner
is known as declension% 0he determiners present "efore the noun change form% 3hat the# mutate to
depends on the case of the noun%
$ow' the discussion of case for 2merican learners of German is alwa#s fraught with indecision
and an6iet#' mostl# "ecause the corresponding terms in English are onl# superficiall# learned%
Grammatical case in German refers fundamentall# to function. 0he main Duestion one asks himself is:
3hat function does the noun serve in a sentenceM +s it the suject7 Direct oject7 1ndirect oject7
9ject of a preposition7 4ertain 'inds of time e!pressions7 9ject of certain special&case vers7
+n German' we can summarize the assignment of case as follows:
4ASE $(248192 12 8"E SE28E24E
der 2ominativ subject. 0ll )erman sentences
have a noun in the nominative case.
*% Su"5ect of the ver" 4 noun D@+$G the
action of the ver"%
(% @"5ect of the linking ver"s sein and
der A''usativ direct objects. Verbs that
normall. have or antici-ate a direct object are
kno( as transitive verbs. 12am-les3
*% Direct o"5ect of the ver" 4 noun CE+$G
2C0ED :-@$ D+REC0B "# the ver"%
(% o"5ect of the accusative-case prepositions
4 durch, ohne, gegen, f+r, um, is
!% o"5ects of the either-or prepositions 4
neen, -*ischen, auf, an, in, unter,
hinter, +er, vor
,% certain kinds of specific time e6pressions 4
jeden 8ag, dieses :ochenende, diesen
der Dativ indirect object. 4an. verbs that
antici-ate both a direct object 0ND indirect
object. 12am-les3
*% kaufen 4 to bu. someone somethin+
(% schrei"en 4 to (rite someone somethin+
!% "ringen 4 to brin+ someone somethin+
,% sagen 4 to sa. somethin+ to someone
5. er67hlen * to tell someone somethin+
*% +ndirect o"5ect of the ver" 4 +$D+REC0
REC+-+E$0 @; 0HE <ERCAS 2C0+@$%
(% o"5ects of the dative-case onl# prepositions
4 aus, au;er, ei, mit, nach, seit, von, -u,
!% o"5ects of the either-or prepositions 4
neen, -*ischen, auf, an, in, unter,
hinter, +er, vor
,% o"5ects of dative-case ver"s% E6amples
include helfen, gefallen, dan'en,
gratulieren, ,eid tun, *ehtun
der Genitiv a-ostro-he 8s in 1n+lish. /he (ord
order of -ossesive e2-ressions is reversed in
the bo.8s to. 9 das :-iel6eu+ des ;un+en
a teacher8s desk 9 der :chreibtisch eines
=ro-er names add an -s or a-ostro-he3
:usannes Kusine
ans8 0uto
)erhards aus
*% nouns that NpossessO another noun phrase
directl# preceding it in a sentence are in
the genitive case% Genitive descri"es
possession or relationship%
(% o"5ects of a few genitive-case onl#
prepositions: trot-, *egen, 5an6statt,
*<hrend, jenseits, diesseits, oerhal,
unterhal are some e6amples%
!% indefinite' repetitive' or non-specific time
phrases: eines 8ages, samstags, eines
0he summar# a"ove can "e e6panded% ;or e6ample' there are some ver"s in German that do take a
genitive case noun phrase% 0hese ver"s conve# a more elevated tone of voice' more educated and
erudite% Some e6amples of these low-freDuenc# ver"s include:
*% sich edienen to make use of - +ch "ediene mich des Spielzimmers fFr die -art#%
(% sich r+hmen to boast of - Er rFhmt sich immer seiner GeschGftserfolge%
!% sich enthalten to refrain from 4 Sie enthGhlt sich alkoholischer GetrGnke%
+ wrote a short discussion of case mainl# for m# evel ( students% + include it as an appendi6
and it should "e reviewed% 0he a"ove chart encapsulates the main points% 0he charts "elow illustrate
how the determiners are declined in German:
der bestimmte Artikel:
#AS)(,12 $E#1212 2E(8/(# #E"/=A",
$@=+$20+< der die das die
2&&:S20+< den die das die
D20+< dem der dem den' -n
GE$+0+< des -8e9s der des -8e9s der
Several o"servations to this chart are important% #asculine e!periences the most roust changes as
masculine nouns are used in the , German cases' followed "# neuter, *hich shares the same form as
masculine in t*o cases' and plural, *hich shares the same article as feminine&genitive% $eminine
sees only t*o changes.
$ote when the changes "egin taking place: in the m.acc% 0he other three gender>case com"inations
retain their forms in the accusative% Shading the pattern creates the "oundaries of the 2merican state of
@klahoma% + sometimes refer to this paradigm
as the N@klahoma chart%O
2lso note masculine>neuter genitive% $ouns in these two cases have an -s or -es tacked on the
end% =onos#lla"ic nouns generall# have an -es and pol#s#lla"ic nouns generall# have -s% Some
Das 2uto des =annes steht vor dem Haus%
Cringen Sie mir "itte die 2r"eit des =GdchensP
Der -reis des Computers ist gFnstig%
der-Words dies- !elch- "ed-
0he definite articles can "e called der&*ords% 0hese der-words have a specific set of endings that
mutate depending on the case and gender of the noun the# are attached to% 0here are other der-words
whose endings are virtuall# identical to the definite articles% 0hese added der-words are the following:
*% dies- - this, that, these
(% 5ed- - each, ever. !used onl. (ith sin+ular nouns'
!% welch- - Which> !used in ?uestions'
,% solch- - such !used in both the sin+ular and -lural, mostl. in the -lural'
.% 5en- - this, that !some(hat rare, used in concert (ith dies-, e2-ressin+ the former@ and the
$oticec + didnAt put endings on these der-words' "ecause the endings change depending on the noun
that follows% etAs take dies- as an e6ample and see what these endings are:
* 2 paradigm in a grammatical conte6t is a set of forms all of which contain a particular element' especiall# the set of all
inflected forms "ased on a single stem or theme% das -aradigma' das =uster"eispiel' das =odell are various German
translations of paradigm%
#ndin$s of other der-!ords usin$ dies- as an e%ample:
#AS)(,12 $E#1212 2E(8/(# #E"/=A",
$@=+$20+< dieser diese dieses diese
2&&:S20+< dies en diese dieses diese
D20+< diesem dieser diesem diesen' -n
GE$+0+< dieses -8e9s dieser dieses -8e9s dieser
0he endings are almost the same as the definite articles% 0he e6ception is in the neuter nominative and
accusative' where the ending is -es' still prett# close to das% Here are some e6amples of these der-
*% Dieser Junge wohnt in der $Ghe%
(% Jeden 0ag gehe ich schwimmen%
!% 3elches 2uto mQchtest du denn kaufenM
,% =it welchem ;ahrrad kommt erM
&asculine N-nouns or !eak masculine nouns
+ might as well engage a short discussion of a certain class of masculine nouns known as #asculine
2&2ouns, or 3ea' #asculine 2ouns% 0hese are masculine nouns that in the accusative, dative and
genitive case and an -n or -en to the noun% Some of these weak masculine nouns do add an -ens in the
genitive and most do not% Some common e6amples of these nouns are as follows:
der Alte old man 8-n' -n9
der Archite't architect 8-en' -en9
der %<r "ear 8-en' -en9' @ften des %<rs in informal genitive usage
der %auer farmer' peasantE #okel 8-n' -n9
der %eamte civil servant 8-n' -n9
der Deutsche male German 8-n' -n9
der Einheimische native' local 8-n' -n9
der Er*achsene adult 8-n' -n9
der $ran-ose ;renchman 8-n' -n9
der $remde stranger 8-n' -n9
der $+rst prince 8-en' -en9
der "err gentleman' lord 8-n' -en9
der )unde customer 8-n' -n9
der ,>*e lionE eo 8astrol.9 8-n' -n9
der #ensch person' human "eing 8-en' -en9
der 2ame name 8-n' -ns9
der 2achar neigh"or 8-n' -n9 @ften the -n ending is onl# used in the genitive singular%
der ?unge "o# 8-n' -n9
der 3lanet planet 8-en' -en9
der 3r<sident president 8-en' -en9
der Soldat soldier 8-en' -en9
der @er*andte relative 8-n' -n9
+n parenthese #ou see two endings' the ending for accusative and dative-case' and the second one is the
ending in the genitive-case' which is almost alwa#s the same% 0his is the wa# #ou might see these weak
masculine nouns notated in the most common dual-language English-German dictionaries%
0hese kinds of peculiaraties should "e noted whenever #ou look words up in dictionaries and when #ou
use these nouns in #our writing and speech%
Plural 'ati(e nouns
-lural dative nouns e6perience an interesting alteration: an -n is added to the noun whenever possi"le:
1ch gee den )indern 5pl.dat6 %onons. & A +ive the kids candies.
-lurals ending in -n or -s get no added -n ending in the plural-dative%
'er unbestimmte Artikel
0he forms of the indefinite articles are as follows% 0he indefinite article is the eDuivalent of
Englisch a, an' a decidedl# indefinite determiner% $ote that since there is no indefinite article in the
plural' + se the word kein to illustrate the all-important endings%
#AS)(,12 $E#1212 2E(8/(# #E"/=A",
$@=+$20+< ein eine ein keine
2&&:S20+< einen eine ein keine
D20+< einem einer einem keinen' -n
GE$+0+< eines -8e9s einer eines -8e9s keiner
0he endings for these determiners are virtuall# identical to the endings of the definite articles' e6cept
for m%nom and n%nom>n%acc% 2nd the classic @klahoma Chart applies here' tooP
#in !ords
0he indefinite article is the classic Nein-3ord%O 0here are other so-called ein words and the
reason wh# the# are called ein-words' is that these special determiners have the same e6act endings as
the ein-words% +tAs important to remem"er that in this ein-word paradigm' there are no endings in the
m%nom and n%%nom and n%acc% 0he ein-words + am refereing to here are die 3ossessivadje'tive:
mein 4 m.
dein 4 .our !s+.informal'
sein * his, its
ihr 4 her
unser 4 our
euer 4 .our !-l.informal'
ihr 4 their
+hr 4 .our !s+.-l.formal'
0hese determiners' these possessive ad5ektives' when used and declined in German noun phrases' have
the same endings' or lack thereof' of the indefinite articles laid out a"ove%
0ake note of the possessive ad5ectives unser and euer% 3henever the# have an ending' the middle -e- is
often elided' or' elision takes place to facilitate an easier pronunciation% unser R unsre8n98m98r9E euer
R eure8n98m98r9
0he ne6t topic of discussion' which follows logicall# from the a"ove discourse on nouns and noun
phrases in the German language' is 3r<positionen' prepositions% 0hese words relate one noun phrase to
another in time and space% 0he# occur "ound to a noun phrase' which is the oject of the preposition.
-repositional phrases generall# act independentl# of all other elements of a German sentence% =ost
times the entire phrase can "e left out of the sentence and the sentence will maintain meaning% -erhaps
with not as much information' "ut the sentence without the prepositional phrase is mostl# complete%
-repositional phrases can "e considered a t#pe of adver' a word or phrase that descri"es the ver" or
another ad5ective%
@ther times prepositional phrases are mandator# and "ound s#ntacticall# to the ver"% Regardless' all
prepositional phrases "ehave the same wa# with the same "asic word order:
preposition A noun phrase in a particular case
Bes' prepositions govern one of three cases in German: accusative' dative' or genitive% $ever is a
preposition followed "# noun in the nominative case%
etAs e6amine the various prepositions in German% 0he# can "e classified into four categories:
accusative&case only, dative&case only, genitive&case only and either&accusative&or&dative&case
5either-or prepositions; Wechselprpositionen9% -repositions have multiple meanings and it is
important to learn e6amples of the multiple uses of these highl# important words% earning them in
conte6t' or as chunks, is a useful wa# to "egin mastering the nuance of German prepositions% +n most
languages + have studied' prepositions can "e difficult "ecause of the muta"ilit# of meaning that the#
Accusati(e Case Prepositions
D@G;: is the classic mnemonic device to remem"er this small class of prepositions: durch, ohne,
gegen, f+r, um% 0here are three other ones actuall# 4 *ider, is, pro and weAll "riefl# discuss these
also% -erhaps we can change the mnemonic device to D@G-;3:CM
3/.39S18192 #EA212GS and e!amples
durch through -
*% durch die Stadt
(% durch das "aus
"# means of
*% used this wa# in passive voice sentences%
(% Die Stadt wiurde durch den 0sunami
zerstQrt% - /he cit. (as destro.ed b. the
ohne without -
*% ohne einen %leistift
(% ohne die Gitarre
gegen against -
*% ph#sical placementE spatial meaning
(% against' meaning' versus
!% Er stellt das /ad gegen die Garage.
,% :ir spielten gegen die #annschaft von
.% 1ch in dagegen. & A am a+ainst that.
towards -
*% in time e6pressions
(% gegen sechs (hr to(ards B oClock !but
not -astD'
fFr for -
*% f+r meinen %ruder
(% f+r meine Eltern
um around -
*% ph#sical placement
(% Er l<uft um den 3ar'.
!% Sie *ohnt um die Ec'e
wider against% 0his preposition is used primaril# as an
insepara"le ver"al prefi6 meaning a+ainst%
*% *idersprechen 4 to contradict
(% *iderstehen 4 to resist' withstand
!% *iderlegen 4 to refute' to re"ut
,% *iderrufen to revoke' repeal' rescind'
2nother meaning eDuates to contrar. to3
*% *ider Er*arten * contrar# to
%. *ider die @ernunft * against all reason
E. *ider esseres :issen 4 against "etter
"is until' as far as' up to% %is is often used in concert
with another preposition% 0he second preposition
decides the case:
*% is -um %ahnhof up to the train station
%is is freDuentl# in time e6pressions:
*% is neun (hr until 1 oSlock
(% is dannn 4 until thenP 8see #ou thenP9
!% von B is CD 4 from ? till *)
pro per 4 used as in English:
*% pro 3fund 4 per pound
(% pro ,iter 4 per liter
Common contractions with the accusative case prepositions include ums 8um L das9' f+rs 8fFr L das9'
and' less common' durchs 8durch L das9% =ost time using contractions is e6pected in German' unless
#ou want to reall# emphasize the nominal o"5ect of the preposition%
'ati(e-case Prepositions
0he dative case prepositions are the following: aus, au;er, ei, mit, nach, seit, von, -u. Sing these
prepositions to the main melod# of Johann StraussAs Clue Danu"e 3altz and #ou have a nice mnemonic
device% @f course' there is another dative-case preposition' gegen+er' that doesnAt easil# fit into the
song% +n an# case' these 1 prepositions alwa#s are followed "# nouns in the dative case% 0his set of
prepositions has a wide variet# of meanings which must "e learned and memorized% 0he "est wa# to
learn the various meanings is "# chunking them with sample noun phrases to form e6ample
prepositional phrases% etAs go ahead and look at these high-freDuenc# words methodicall#%
3/.39S18192E2 #18 DA81@ %EDE(8(2GE2 und %E1S31E,E
aus out of' ph#sicall# out of
1ch gehe dire't aus der Schule.
from 8cities' countries' nations of origin9
Die $rau 'ommt aus 3olen.
of' out of 8materials' cotton' leather' "rick' etc9
*% aus ,eder of leather' out of leather
(% aus %aum*olle out of cotton
!% aus "ol- & from wood
due to
aus einem Grund due to one single
reason' for one reason
auIer "esides' e6cept for' in addition to
*% Au;er Eva estanden alle das Eui-
nicht. & E6cept for Eva ever#one failed the
(% Au;er einem /echner rauche ich ein
paar %leistifte. & +n addition to a
calculator' + need a few pencils%
"ei "#' as in locationE near to' at' on
*% eim 3ar' & "# the park
(% ei seiner An'unft on his arrival
at someoneAs home
*% ei #oni'a at =onikaAs house
(% ei meinem %ruder at m# "rotherAAs
mit with
*% mit mir with me
(% mit ihrer Sch*ester with her sister
*% mit dem Auto "# car
(% mit dem /ad "# "ic#cle
nach after 8in time e6pressions9
*% nach der Schule
(% nach der 3arty
to 8countries>cities that reDuire no article9
*% 1ch fahre nach Deutschland.
(% Er reist nach %remen.
!% nach "ause home' used with motion
ver"s 4 1ch gehe nach "ause. & +Am going
*% nach lin's to the left
(% nach rechts to the right
according to
*% #einer #einung nach in m# opinion
8note position of nach in this phrase9
(% nach ihren Angaen 4 according to their
seit since' for 8in time e6pressions9 4 ta'e special
*% Seit einem ?ahr spiele ich die $l>te. & +Ave
"een pla#ing the flute for one #ear 8since
one #ear9%
(% Seit ?ahren fahre ich jeden Sommer
nach Europa. & ;or #ears' + have "een
traveling each summer to Europe%
!% Seit einem #onat sch*immt er HeAs
"een swimming for a month%
von from 8in time e6pressions' or general locale9
*% @on B is G (hr from ? until / oAclock
(% @om %ahnhof gehe ich geradeaus. & + am
walking straight ahead from the train
"# 8as in authorship9
Ein %uch von Stephen )ing
in passive voice sentences' descri"ing the a+ent of
the sentence.
Das %uch *ird von der $rau
geschrieen. & 0he "ook is "eing written
"# the woman%
zu to 8direction in general locale - with motion ver"s'
to someoneAs house9
*% =um $lughafen gehe ich.
(% =um 3ar' laufe ich.
!% #artina f<hrt -u #oni'a. & =artina
travels to =onikaAs house>home%
Special -hrases:
*% -u "ause at home
(% -u Ende finished' all over
!% -u %esuch for a visit
gegenF"er opposite to 8ph#sicall#9' compared to' across from
8usuall# used with von9' vis-a-vis
*% gegen+er dem 3ar'
(% gegen+er vom %ahnhof across from
the train station
!% deiner 1dee gegen+er 4 compared to
#our idea%
sometimes gegen+er is used 2;0ER its nominal
o"5ect' -ost-ositionall., instead of -re-ositionall..
0o reiterate' nouns that follow the a"ove listed prepositions are alwa#s in the dative case' therefore an#
determiners in the noun phrase must reflect the dative-case: dem/einem, der/einer, den/'einen onl#
three forms for the dative caseP
=an# of the dative case prepositions can "e used in contractions with the definite articles dem and der:
-um, vom, -ur, eim% 0hese are the onl# possi"le contractions among the dative-case prepositions' and
the# should "e used whenever possi"le%
Geniti(e Case Prepositions
0here are in German numerous prepositions that govern the genitive case% 0he most common ones
with their meanings are listed "elow:
3/.39S18192E2 #18 GE2181@ %EDE(8(2GE2
wGhrend during' while
*% *<hrend der Sommerferien 5pl%gen9
(% *<hrend eines Ge*itters 5n%gen9 4
durin+ a storm
8an9statt instead of
*% statt des )on-erts 8n%gen9
wegen "ecause of' on account of
*% *egen des :etters 5n%gen9
trotz despite' in spite of
*% trot- der schlechten 2ote 5f%gen9 4
des-ite the bad +rade
0here are other prepositions in German the genitive' listed "elow' and these are considered a more
elevated tone of speech' perhaps encountered and used more in non-fiction' essa#s' newspaper
editorials' and the like% Here the# are:
jenseits on the other side of
anl<sslich on the occasion of
'raft b. virtue of
anstelle in -lace of
laut accordin+ to
aufgrund on the basis of
seitens on the -art of
au;erhal outside of
e-+glich (ith re+ard to
innerhal (ithin
unterhal beneath
oerhal above
+n less formal forms of German' in some dialects' and even in prose and poetr# that aims to evince a
lower linguistic register' the more common genitive-case prepositions are sometimes followed "# the
dative case' particularl# with *<hrend, *egen and trot-. 0here are also some common adver"s
derived from the genitive case prepositions whose meanings are in line with the "asic meaning of the
preposition% 0hese are worth noting:
*% stattdessen instead of that, in lieu of that, rather
(% *<hrenddessen 4 mean(hile, in the meantime, alon+ the (a.
!% trot-dem & in s-ite of that, neverthless, in an. event, an.ho(, re+ardless
,% des*egen 4 therefore, on account of that, hence, for this reason
@ne can easil# see the genitive-case forms in the a"ove adver"ial permutations of the genitive-case
prepositions' aside from trot-' which is attached to a dative-case form%
The either-accusati(e-or-dati(e-case Prepositions
0his final set of prepositions are also known "# the term either-or -re-ositions or die
:echselpr<positionen% Wechseln is the German ver" for to change' switch' e6change% 0hese high-
freDuenc# prepositions are followed "# noun phrases in either the accusative or the dative case% 3hich
case the# govern all depends on the ver"% +f the ver" is a ver" of motion towards a goal' from point 2 to
point C' either in a straight line or an arc' actual movement' then the preposition governs the accusative
case% +f the ver" is a ver" of stasis' ein @er des Stillstands' of no motion' then the preposition from
this set governs the dative&case%
+n short' vers of motion H Accusative
vers of no motion H Dative
0here is an interesting set of German ver"s that nicel# illustrate the dichotom# of motion and no
motion and are analagous to their English analogs%% + include in the chart "elow the principal parts of
these common and oftern confusing ver"s% ook especiall# at their meanings and their related
#98192 @E/%S 29 #98192 49(28E/3A/8
setzen 8setzte' gesetzt9 4 to set !somethin+ do(n' sitzen 8saI' gesessen9 4 to sit, to be sittin+
legen 8legte' gelegt9 4 to la. !somethin+ do(n' liegen 8lag' gelegen9 4 to be do(n
stellen 8stellte' gestellt9 4 to -ut stehen 8stand' gestanden9 4 to be standin+
sein 8war' ist gewesen9 4 to be
stecken 8steckte' gesteckt9 4 to insert stecken 8steckte' gesteckt9 4 to be stickin+ out of,
be -laced.
hGngen 8hGngte' gehGngt9 4 to han+ hGngen 8hing' gehangen9 4 to be han+in+
$ote that the motion ver"s in this ver" set are all weak>regular ver"s' and their no-motion counterparts
are all strong>irregular ver"s' e6cept for stecken' which is alwa#s regular% 7n+en has two different sets
of principal parts' one for motion 8hanging something up' like a picture9 and one for no-motion 8to "e
hanging' like ne6t to the window9%
So when the following prepositions are used with these or an# ver"' the case the govern' dative-case or
accusative-case' depends whether the ver" is depicting motion to*ards a goal or depicting a static
situation, *ith no motion at all. 0o reiterate:
vers of motion H Accusative
vers of no motion H Dative
2side from the special set of ver"s listed a"ove' ever# ver" can "e classified as a motion ver" or a non-
motion ver" with regard to these prepositions% 0he issue of motion>no-motion is onl# a real issue when
using these prepositions' "ut as #ouAll' see the# are high-freDuenc# words that can have multiple
muances in their meanings%
Here are the either-or prepositions:
3/.39S18192E2 %EDE(8(2GE2
an at 8verticall#9' to 8"odies of water9' on
*% Das Regal steht an der 3and%
(% +ch h:ange die :hr an die 3and%
!% 3ir fahren an den Strand%
,% Er ist am 0elefon%
auf on' on top of' on to' at' to 8like an island9
*% Er legt das Cuch auf den 0isch%
(% Er geht auf die :ni%
!% +ch wohne auf dem Cauernhof%
,% Sie seglte auf eine +nsel%
.% +ch war auf der -ost%
hinter "ehind
in in' to' into
*% +ch kaufe in der Stadt ein%
(% Sie fuhr in die Schweiz%
!% 3ir sitzen in der Schule%
,% +m Sommer schwimme ich viel%
ne"en "eside' ne6t to
F"er a"ove' a"out 8alwa#s accusative in this case9' over
*% Er sprach T"er seine 3eltreise%
(% Das Cild hing F"er dem ;enster%
!% Sie hGngte die :hr ne"en das ;enster%
unter "eneath' under' among
vor "efore' in front of
zwischen "etween' among
Contractions are also common with some of the prepositions and should "e used when possi"le' and in
some cases' reall# must "e used% Here are the most common contractions of prepositions and definite
articles: vors > ins > am > ans > hinterm > aufs
=a#n of these prepositions' these either-or prepositions' appear in idiomatic ver"al e6pressions' and the
case the# govern trul# has nothing at all to do with motion>no-motion Duestion% ;or e6ample the ver"al
e6pression sich freuen auf 4 to look for(ard to has the preposition auf with it' "ut it governs the
accusative case: 1ch freue mich auf den Sommer. 2nother ver"al e6pression that uses an either-or
preposition is teilnehmen an 4 to -artici-ate in% Here the preposition an governs the dative case
8perhaps understanda"l#' since thereAs no motion towards a goal with teilnehmen: "enrich nimmt am
Deutschverein teil. 3hen learning vernal e6pressions that are "ound semanticall# and s#ntacticall#
with the either-or prepositions' itAs "est to learn the case the preposition governs 8accusative or dative9
"ecause sometimes the motion>no-motion rules get a little murk# and not entirel# helpful in
ascertaining the proper case%
Personal Pronouns
3e shift slightl# from our discussion of prepositions and look at the 3ronomen the -ronouns% 0hese
are little words that replace noun phrases in sentences' specificall# noun phrases that have alread# "een
mentioned% -ronouns help economize our language so that we can focus our language on "igger details
or more important details% 0he pronouns' as do full-"lown noun phrases' have associated with them
gender and also case% 0herefore' the pronouns do change form depending on their function 8i%e%'
su"5ect ' direct o"5ect' indirect o"5ect' o"5ect of preposition9% etAs look at the forms of the pronouns%
2ominativ A''usativ Dativ
first person singular ich mich mir
second person singular
du dich dir
third person singular
*% masculine
(% feminine
!% neuter
first person plural wir uns uns
second person plural
ihr euch euch
third person plural sie sie ihnen
Second person formal Sie Sie +hnen
-ronouns have what we call antecedents' the actual noun phrase the pronoun is standing in for' that the
pronoun is replacing% 0his of course is onl# important in the third person' "ecause the first person and
second person pronouns are self-referential% +n the first person' + or 3E is the antecedent' and in the
second person B@: are the antecdent' the people + am talking to% So reall# the whole issue of
antecedents is relevant mainl# to the third&person pronouns, singular and plural. 0he pronoun
agrees with the antecedent in gender' "ut the case of the pronoun depends on the function in the
sentences in which the antecedent is "eing referenced% 0ake a look at the series of the following
German sentences% 0he old words all refer to the same noun' der alte #annI
*% Der alte #ann geht langsam durch den -ark%
(% Er spricht auf einem Hand#' laut und mit herzlichem achen%
!% +ch sehe ihn mit einem ;ernglas von meinem Calkon%
,% Er sieht interessant aus% +ch mQchte mit ihm sprechen%
$ow + could have written these sentences with the entire noun phrase der alte #ann "eing used over
and over again' "ut st#listicall# it is awkward' so pronouns are naturall# used to economize our
language and emphasize other pertinent details a"out the antecedent% Rarel# are pronouns o"ilagator#
in a German sentence' "ut using them makes the language smoother and more concise%
0he nominative case forms of the pronouns form the "asis of ver" con5ugation paradigms% 3e use these
nominative case forms to illustrate how ver"s are con5ugated in the German language% Here is an
e6ample of a t#pical ver" co5ugation paradigm:
Singular -lural
;irst -erson ich spiel - e wir spiel - en
Second -erson
du spiel 4 st ihr spiel - t
0hird -erson

sie spiel - en
sie spiel - t
Second -erson'
;ormal Sie spiel - en
+n the pronoun chart a"ove' + purposefull# highlighted the third-person pronouns' in singular and
plural% + wanted to highlight the similarities "etween these forms and the definite article in German.
ooking at these similarities might help solidif# these forms in #our mind% Here the# are side "# side% +
had to turn the pronouns clockwise in order to contrast them effectivel# with the definite articles%
der bestimmte Artikel )noch einmal*:
#AS)(,12 $E#1212 2E(8/(# #E"/=A",
$@=+$20+< der die das die
2&&:S20+< den die das die
D20+< dem der dem den' -n
die Pronomen:
#AS)(,12 $E#1212 2E(8/(# #E"/=A",
$@=+$20+< er sie es sie
2&&:S20+< ihn sie sie sie
D20+< ihm ihr ihm ihnen
Do #ou see a patternM 2gain' the masculine forms are the first to change as we move through the
German cases' and the endings of the pronouns resem"le the endings of the definite article% Even the
plural dative pronoun ihnen resem"les its definite article counterpart den, &n 8ihnen > den' -n > ihnen >
den' -n % % % %sa# these a few times out loud9%
Pronominal (ersus Nominal ob"ects and !ord order issues+
Since pronouns refer to noun phrases' and noun phrases have in their forms pertinent grammatical
information 8case > gender > num"er9' then it stands to reason that the pronouns also carr# with them
pertinent grammatical information of case' gender' and num"er% 2nd the# do% etAs distinguish for our
ne6t discussion "etween two kinds of noun o"5ects 4 nominal ojects and pronominal oject%
$ominal o"5ects can contain numerous words' like a determiner' attri"utive ad5ective' adver" and the
noun itselfE the# are full-"lown noun phrases% -ronominal o"5ects are single words' the personal
pronouns' that stand in for alread# mentioned 8or the *
and (
person self-referential pronouns9 nouns%
0he issue that can arise with nominal and pronominal o"5ects is proper word order' specificall# when
the ver" is followed "# two noun o"5ects%
0here are in German man# ver"s that can have two kinds of noun o"5ects 8other than the su"5ect' which
is present in ever# German sentence9% 0hese two kinds of o"5ects can "e in either the accusative and the
dative case 8and rarel# the genitive caseE genitive case noun phrases usuall# follow another noun
phrase9' and this set of ver"s have a meaning of doing something to some"od#' or for some"od#% etAs
look at some e6amples with these ver"s:
ge"en 4 to +ive somethin+ to someone
kaufen 4 to bu. somethin+ for someone
"ringen 4 to brin+ somethin+ for someone
;or these three ver"s' the something "eing given' "ought' or "rought would the accusative case o"5ect
8direct o"5ect9 and the person for whom or to whom these things are given' "ought' or "rought is in the
dative case% 0he rules for eord order of the accusative and dative case o"5ects can "e illustrated with the
following e6amples:
Situation E6ample E6planation > Rule
two nominal
Der ehrer gi"t dem Jungen einen Cleistift% dative oject comes efore the
accusative oject when "oth
o"5ects are nominal%
one of each' with
Der ehrer gi"t ihn dem Jungen% pronominal o"5ect comes "efore
nominal o"5ects' regardless of
one of each' with
Der ehrer gi"t ihm einen Cleistift% same as a"ove: pronominal
o"5ect comes "efore nominal
o"5ects' regardless of case%
two pronominal
Der ehrer gi"t ihn ihm% when two pronominal o"5ects are
present' the accusative comes
efore the dative.
Prepositions and Personal Pronouns
+f prepositions are alwa#s followed "# noun phrases' can the# "e followed also "# personal pronominal
phrasesM 2fter all' whatAs a pronoun "ut a replacement or a stand-in for a noun phraseM So of course the
answer to our Duestion is #es' prepositions can "e followed "# personal pronouns' "ut only if the
antecedent is a human eing% @therwise' one must use a da&compound. letAs see how this works with
a sample sentence:
+ch fahre mit meiner Schwester in die Stadt%
0he prepositional phrases are mit meiner Sch*ester and in die Stadt% etAs work with mit meiner
Sch*ester first% +magine that meine Sch*ester has alread# "een mentioned in the conversation and for
the sake of "revit# the writer>speaker replaces meiner Sch*ester with the appropriate pronoun' in this
case ihr' "ecause the antecedent is feminine and mit alwa#s governs the dative case% 0he sentence can
"e rewritten then like:
+ch fahre mit ihr in die Stadt%
Since the antecedent is a human "eing' we can use a personal pronoun after the preposition% $ow look
at the second prepositional phrase in die Stadt' in "eing the preposition and die :tadt "eing its
accusative case o"5ect% +magine die :tadt has alread# "een mentioned in the conversation' and the
speaker wants to "e more concise and replace die :tadt with a pronoun% Can heM $o' "ecause the noun
die :tadt is inanimate% 3e would use a da-compound instead:
+ch fahre mit meiner Schwester dahin% or' even more concise:
+ch fahre mit ihr dahin%
+ chose an interesting sentence% Dahin is the standard da-compound that is used for prepositional
phrases that deal with direction toward a goal% 0he actual da-compound with in is darin' a legitimate
da-compound% Dahin is used a generic da-compound to replace directional prepositional phrases%
Consider these conversational couplets:
2: +ch fahre in die Schweiz% ;Ghrst du auch in die SchweizM
C: Sicher' ich fahre auch dahinF
@r this short e6change:
2: =onika reist morgen nach 2frika%
C: EchtM +ch reise auch morgen dahinP
Da-compounds can "e formed with an# preposition e6cept for the following:
the genitive case prepositions
=ore e6amples of the da-compounds are in order% Remem"er' when the antecedent is an inanimate
o"5ect or idea' da-compounds are used instead of personal pronouns when "revit# and econom# in
language is reDuired% 2nd if the preposition "egins with a vowel' then an e6tra &r& is added "etween the
da& and the preposition% 0he da in da-compounds essential means it: with it' to it' under it' through it'
2: HGngst du das Cild an die :andM
C: Ja' ich hGnge es daran.
2: Cist du dagegen oder daf+rM 80re .ou for it or a+ainst it>9
C: Dagegen%
2: 3o liegt mein &uliM
C: (nter dem 8isch%
2: 3oM
C: Darunter% 8pointing to under the ta"le9
2: 3ir ha"en den ganzen 2"end +er :eltpoliti' gesprochen%
C: SchrecklichP +ch spreche nicht gern dar+er%
Summar, of Personal Pronouns
0he personal pronouns stand in for alread# mentioned noun phrases% 0he third-person singular and
plural pronouns have antecedents: noun phrases the# refer "ack to% 0hese pronouns carr# forward the
gender or num"er 8plural or singular9 of the antecedentE the case of the pronoun depends on its function
in the sentence' 5ust like an# German noun phrase%
-ronouns after prepositions are possi"le' provided these pronouns have antecedents that are human%
@therwise' da-compounds are used 8dadurch, damit, darunter, daf+r, davon, etc6. -ersonal pronouns
are not reDuired in most cases' "ut their use makes our language more fluid and economical%
Ad"ecti(es these all-important 'escripti(e Words
Adje'tive 4 adjectives 4 are words that descri"e nouns% 0he# add color and detail to our language%
0here are hundreds of ad5ectives in the German languages' and dozens more can "e made when need
"# using special grammatical word-"uilding rules% Here is a list of some ver# common ad5ectives in
German' found on the +nternet:
alt 4 old
Gngstlich 4 scared
Grgerlich 4 anno#ing
aufgeregt 4 e6cited
"escheiden 4 modest
"Qse 4 mean
dank"ar 4 grateful
doof 4 stupid
dumm 4 stupid
ehrgeizig 4 am"itious
ehrlich 4 honest
eifersFchtig 4 5ealous
einfach 4 eas#
erfahren 4 e6perienced
erfolgreich 4 successful
ernst 4 serious
fett 4 fat
frech 4 cheek#
freundlich 4 friendl#
froh 4 glad
geizig 4 tight
gemein 4 mean
gierig 4 greed#
glFcklich 4 happ#
grausam 4 cruel
groI 4 tall' "ig
gut 4 good
hGIlich 4 ugl#
hervorragend 4 e6cellent
hilflos 4 helpless
hilfs"ereit 4 helpful
hQflich 4 polite
hF"sch 4 prett#
5ugendlich 4 #outhful
5ung 4 #oung
klein 4 little' small
klug 4 smart
lGcherlich 4 ridiculous
langsam 4 slow
langweilig 4 "oring
laut 4 loud
leise 4 Duiet
lustig 4 funn#' cheerful
mFde 4 tired
neidisch 4 envious
nervQs 4 nervous
nett 4 nice
neugierig 4 curious
pFnktlich 4 punctual
ruhig 4 calm' Duiet
schlau 4 clever
schnell 4 fast
schQn 4 "eautiful
schFchtern 4 sh#
schwach 4 weak
seltsam 4strange
sFI 4 cute
traurig 4 sad
treu 4 honest
F"errascht 4 surprised
undank"ar 4 ungrateful
unge"ildet 4 uneducated
ungerecht 4 unfair
unglFcklich 4 unhapp#
verrFckt 4 craz#
vorsichtig 4 careful
weich 4 soft
weise 4 wise
wFtend 4 furious
zufrieden 4 content
zuverlGssig 4 relia"le
3ords like these descri"e noun phrases or even pronouns% 3e should first distuingish "etween two t#pe
sof ad5ectives' the 3r<di'atenadje'tiv and the attriutive Adje'tiv the -redicate adjective and the
attributive adjective% 3e look at these separatel#%
The Predicate Ad"ecti(e
-redicate ad5ectives are ones that appear directl# after a special group of German ver"s called linkin+
verbs% 0hese predicate ad5ectives descri"e the su"5ect of these linking ver"s and the# never have an#
ending% 0he# are not declined' that is' the# have no added endings% 0he most important German linking
ver"s are sein 4 to be' *erden 4 to become' scheinen 4 to a--ear% 0here are other linking ver"sE see
the article found on the we" for an interesting contrastive stud# of "oth English and German linking
ver"s% etAs look at some e6amples:
*% Der Junge ist 'lug%
(% Das &ind war -ufrieden mit dem Essen%
!% Er wird nerv>s' wenn es dunkelt% - e becomes nervous (hen it +ets dark.
inking ver"s act like the U sign in mathematics: whatAs on the left side of the eDual sign is the same as
whatAs on the right side% +n our conversation' the predicate ad5ective is descri"ing the su"5ect' and
therefore can "e considered referring to the same thing%
Attributi(e Ad"ecti(es
$ow we enter a discussion that is notoriousl# disliked "# students of the German language% 0he whole
topic is met with groans of frustration and other decidedl# piDuant words% 0he topic deals with
ad5ective endings' and for whatever reason is has "ecome the "Vte noire of the German language%
2ttri"utive ad5ectives are those that are directl# followed "# the noun the# are descri"ing% 0hese
ad5ectives are part of German noun phrases' and the# are followed "# the noun in the German noun
phrase% 2ttri"utive ad5ectives reDuire endings in the German language% 3hich endings the# get depends
on several factors' looked at in the following order:
*% whether or not there is a definite article' indefinite article' or no article>determiner in the noun
(% the case the noun phrase is in 4 nominative, accusative, dative, genitive.
!% the gender of the noun > whether the noun is plural%
0he first factor listed a"ove is pro"a"l# the most important% Does the noun phrase containing an
attri"utive ad5ective have a determiner that introduces the noun in the sentenceM @r is the attri"utive
ad5ective unprecededM 0he answer to this Duestion determines which ad5ective ending chart to use%
etAs e6amine the charts% 0hese charts illustrate the endings that attri"utive ad5ectives take in the
various conditions% 0he first chart shows the ad5ectives endings when the ad5ective follows a der&*ord'
i%e%' a definite article or dies-' welch-' 5ed-' manch-% + am going to contrast these ad5ective endings with
the endings>forms of the der-words% Hopefull#' a pattern can "e seen%
der bestimmte Artikel:
# $ 2 3,
$@= der die das die
2&& den die das die
D20 dem der dem den' -n
GE$ des -8e9s der des -8e9s der
Ad"ecti(e endin$s after der-!ords
# $ 2 3,
$@= -e -e -e -en
2&& -en -e -e -en
D20 -en -en -en -en
GE$ -en -en -en -en
How a"out some e6amples of attri"utive ad5ectives after der-words in action:
Der grosse =ann steht ne"en dem "lauen 2uto%
Die kleine ;rau geht schnell durch die ruhige 2ltstadt%
Das glFckliche &ind spielt mit dem freundlichen Hund%
Die aufgeregten ;ans warten auf die tolle Rockgruppe%
Das 2uto des alten =annes war total kaputt%
Attributi(e Ad"ecti(e #ndin$s after ein-Words
3hen attri"utive ad5ectives follows ein-words' a different set of endings is utilized' the so-called mi6ed
endings% 0hese endings are a com"ination of strong and weak endings% etAs e6amine the pertinent
charts side "# side as we did with the attri"utive ad5ectives following der-words% Remem"er' ein-words
include not onl# the indefinite article 8ein' einen' einem' eine' einer9' "ut also the possessive ad5ectives
8mein' dein' sein' ihr' unser' euer' +hr9% 2nd since
there is no indefinite article for plural nouns' weAll use
the ein-word 'ein to illustrate the important endings%
der unbestimmte Artikel:
# $ 2 3,
$@= ein eine ein keine
2&& einen eine ein keine
D20 einem einer einem keinen' -n
Several o"servations and comments are in order%
*% the onl# endings are -e and -en after the der-
(% attri"utive ad5ectives after plural determiners
alwa#s have -en ending%
!% attri"utive ad5ectives descri"ing nouns in the
dative 2$D genitive are alwa#s -en%
,% $ote the similarities of the @klahoma chart%
0he ad5ective endings "egin changing in the
masculine accusative-case' 5ust like the
definite articles%
3e can call these ad5ectives Nweak endings%OSince
the determiners in their form provide enough
information a"out the case and gender>num"er of the
noun' the attri"utive ad5ectives need onl# reDuire a
weak ending%
Some o"servations for this set of endings:
*% Since the ein-words in the m%nom and
the n%nom>acc cases have no
descerni"le endings 8ein9' then an#
attri"utive ad5ective that follows must
have a strong ending: &er / &es%
(% 0hese strong endings correspond to the
definite article endings%
!% 0hese strong endings conve#
information a"out the noun that the
indefinite articles' with their lack of
ending' do not conve#%
,% 2ll the other ad5ective endings are
identical to endings after der-words%
.% 0he @klahoma chart applies here also%
GE$ eines' 8e9s einer eines -8e9s keiner
Ad"ecti(e endin$s after ein-!ords
# $ 2 3,
$@= &er -e &es -en
2&& -en -e &es -en
D20 -en -en -en -en
GE$ -en -en -en -en
E6amples are instructive% 0he attri"utive ad5ective endings are in "old%
*% =ein alter 3agen "raucht Reparaturen%
(% :rsula ist wirklich ein nettes &ind%
!% Er kaufte einen neuen 0aschenrechner und eine modische Handtasche fFr seine nette ;rau%
,% Sie ga" ihrem Gltesten Sohn ein neues 2uto zum Ge"urtstag%
.% +ch fahre dieses 3ochenende zu meinen sFIen GroIeltern%
Ad"ecti(e #ndin$s !ith no determiner before them unpreceded attributi(e endin$s
$ow we discuss the final situation with these pesk# attri"utive ad5ectives% 3e looked at the endings
when the noun phrase is headed "# a der-word and we looked at the endings when the noun phrase is
headed "# an ein-word% 0he final situation is when the noun phrase is headed "# no determiner
whatsoever' when the noun phrase has no der-word or ein-word% 3e can call these attri"utivead5ectives
unpreceded adjectives%
Sometimes noun phrases have no determiners% 0his occurs most often with plural nouns and with food
words that are often e6pressed without definite articles% +n a nutshell' the unpreceded ad5ective endings
are virtuall# identical to the endings of the definite articles in the same cases and genders% Here is the
chart of unpreceded ad5ective endings' using an appropriate noun and ad5ective that might "e used
without a determiner:
-npreceded Ad"ecti(e #ndin$s
# $ 2 3,
$@= frisher Spargel warme Suppe kaltes 3asser gekochte Eier
2&& frichen Spargel warme Suppe kaltes 3asser gekochte Eier
D20 frischem Spargel warmer Suppe kaltem 3asser gekochten Eiern
GE$ frischen Spargels warmer Suppe kalten 3assers gekochter Eier
$ote the endings% 0he# look almost identical to the endings of the definite articles% 0his makes sense'
"ecause the nouns have no determiners "efore them that NtellO the listener or reader the case and gender
of the noun% +f there is an attri"utive ad5ective and no determiner' then the attri"utive ad5ective reDuires
a strong ending%
=asculine and neuter genitive endings however do not resem"le the -es ending of the definite article%
+n these cases' the attri"utive ad5ective has a weak ending' "ecause that strong ending that marks the
noun as masc>neut%genitive' the &es ending' is added to the noun% etAs look at a few more e6amples of
these unpreceded ad5ectives%
*% Hausgemachter -udding schmeckt mir sehr% - m%nom
(% +ch "rauche heiIen &affeeP - m%acc
!% Schokolade gefGllt immer kleinen &indern% - pl%dat
,% Er "ekam als Geschenk eine ;lasche roten 3eins% - m%gen
Comparati(e and Superlati(e .orms of Ad"ecti(es
Since weAre on the topic of ad5ectives' we might as well discuss the three different forms ad5ectives that
are found as predicate and attri"utive ad5ectives% 0he positive form of the ad5ective is the "ase form'
the dictionar# form' the normal form% 0hen we have the comparative form' used to compare nouns
with other nouns% 3e have this in English and we use these forms all the time: #y car is faster than
your car. A igger hypocrite youJll never find. "e *anted a more ovious ans*er. 2ll the
underlined ad5ectives in these English sentences are comparative forms% 0he#Are formed mainl# "#
adding the &er morpheme to the positive form of the ad5ective% Sometimes we use the word more to
form English comparative ad5ectives%
0hen we have superlative ad5ectives' which descri"e the highest level of an ad5ectiveAs essence% +n
English we form the superlative forms "# adding an &est to the ad5ective or "# using the word most:
8he tallest mountain is in the "imalayas. 8he most ovious ans*er had eluded us for some time.
"e o*ns the fastest car on our team.
+n German' the comparative and superlative forms of the ad5ectives are formed similarl#% etAs look at a
few e6amples and then we can summarize a few rules and e6ceptions to these rules% 0he following are
e6amples of predicate adjectives' that is' ad5ectives that appear after the German linking ver"s' the
most common one "eing sein% $ote the superlative forms of the predicate ad5ectivesE the# occur as
prepositional phrases with am 5an A dem6 and an &en ending%
3ositive 4omparative Superlative E!amples
* einfach einfacher am einfachsten Das E6amen war einfach%
Sein E6am war einfacher%
+hr E6amen war am einfachsten%
( schnell schneller am schnellsten =ein 2uto ist schnell%
Euer 2uto ist schneller%
+hr 2uto ist am schnellsten%
! klein kleiner am kleinsten Er ist klein%
Das &ind ist kleiner%
Das Ca"# ist am kleinsten%
, 5ung 5+nger am 5+ngsten +ch "in 5ung%
Du "ist 5Fnger%
Sie ist am 5Fngsten%
. sFI sFIer am sFIesten Der &affee ist sFI%
Der 0ee ist sFIer%
Das Con"on ist am sFIesten%
-rett# regular and predicta"le these forms are% $ote e6ample ,: monos#lla"ic ad5ectives take an umlaut
on their vowel 8if possi"leP9 in "oth the comparative and superlative forms:
arm 4 Grmer 4 am Grmsten
dumm 4 dFmmer 4 am dFmmsten
kalt 4 kGlter 4 am kGltesten
E6ample . illustrates another minor issue% +f the positive form ends in an -s' -sch' -z' or -t then in the
superlative' an &est is added% 2n e6tra -e- is added to the superlative marker in order to facilitate
nett 4 netter 4 am nettesten
kurz 4 kFrzer 4 am kFrzesten
weit 4 weiter 4 am weitesten
0here are some irregular ad5ectives that reDuire special attention% Here are several of them:
3ositive 4omparative Superlative
* viel 4 a lot mehr am meisten
( gut "esser am "esten
! nahe 4 near nGher am nGchsten
, groI grQIer am grQIten
. gern lie"er am lie"sten
? hoch 4 hi+h hQher am hQchsten
Comparin$ T!o Nouns -sin$ Ad"ecti(es
3hen comparing two nouns' we use the word als and a comparative form of the ad5ective Als means
than in this German grammatical conte6t%
Das Haus ist gr>;er als die Garage%
=ein 2uto ist schneller als dein 2uto%
3hen making eDual comparisons of two nouns' one uses so....*ie.... plus a positive form of the
=ein 2uto ist so schnell *ie dein 2uto% 4. car is as fast as .our car.
Er ist so gro; *ie sein <ater% e is as tall as his father.
Genauso is sometimes used also in these eDual comparisons:
=ein 2uto genauso schnell *ie dein 2uto%
/erbs in German
3e now discuss ver"s in German% <er"s are action words' and the# form an important anchor to all
German sentences% Ever# German sentences has a ver" that is con5ugated with a nominative case noun
3e can distinguish two kinds of ver"s: the finite ver and the infinitive. 0he finite ver" is the ver"
form that is conjugated with the su"5ect% 0he finite ver" agrees with the su"5ect% 2ll languages have
some sort of su"5ect-ver" agreement% 0he forms of the finite ver" change depending on the su"5ect% +s
the su"5ect the first-person pronoun ich7 0hen the finite ver" changes% +s the su"5ect a (
pronoun' like du, ihr, or Sie? 0hen a different finite ver" form is used% 2nd so on and so forth% 0he
finite ver" in German must agree with the su"5ect in all German sentences%
Der 1nfinitiv the infinitive 4 is the "ase form of the ver"' the dictionar# form of the ver"% +t is the
non-finite form' and the form #ou would find in the dictionar#% +n English' infinitives alwa#s have the
word to in front of the ver": to -la., to drink, to (in, to run, to +o, to eat, etc% +n German' the infinitive
alwa#s end in &en 5or &n6: spielen, trinken, gewinnen, laufen, gehen, essen, usw%
$ow' we can also use the term the -redicate to refer to the refer to the ver"% 0he predicate can consist
of two or more ver" forms that are utilized to form a certain tense or other kind of ver"al construction%
-redicates can "e simple or compound% Simple predicates are single ver" forms% Compound predicates
consist of two or more ver" forms: helping ver"s' infinitives' finite ver"s' au6iliar# ver"s' etc%
/erb Tense Present Tense
0ense refers to time' that is' when the action represented "# the predicate occurs% 0he first tense we
learned is the present tense. +n German' the "asic con5ugation pattern in the present tense looks like
Singular -lural
;irst -erson ich spiel - e wir spiel - en
Second -erson informal du spiel 4 st ihr spiel - t
0hird -erson

sie spiel - t
sie spiel - en
Second -erson' ;ormal
Sie spiel - en
$ote of course the endings% 0o the stem of the ver" 8the part remaining when the &5e6n infinitive
marker is removed% one adds the appropriate ending in the present tense% 0his present tense con5ugation
is highl# predicta"le and regular% @f course' there are e6ceptions%
Stem-/o!el Chan$in$ /erbs
Here is one e6ception' the stem-vowel changing ver"s% +n the present tense' these ver"s have change in
the stem vowel' onl# in the du and er/sie/es 5third&person singular6 forms. 0hese ver"s are also
known as strong or irregular vers. 0he same endings are used as noted a"ove' "ut the stem-vowel
mutates% Here is a list of some of these ver"s% +n parentheses after the infinitive is the vowel the stem
vowel mutates to:
a R G
fahren 8G9
gefallen 8G9
laufen 8G9
e R i
treffen 8i9
helfen 8i9
ge"en 8i9
essen 8i9
"ewer"en 8i9
sprechen 8i9
nehmen 8i9
e R ie
sehen 8ie9
lesen 8ie9
2s #ou learn ver"s' learn whether or not there is a stem-vowel change in the du and er>sie>es forms%
&odal /erbs
2nother e6ception to the a"ove paradigm of present tense con5ugation is with the modal ver"s% 0hese
ver"s are t#picall# used with a dependent infinitive which is placed at the end of the sentence% 0his is
an e6ample of a compound predicate' where two ver" forms are used to e6press the action words of the
sentence% =odal ver"s add a special modalit#' or a special twist' to the meaning of the main ver"% Here
are the modal ver"s in German:
mFssen 4 must, have to
sollen 4 should, su--osed to
wollen - (ant
kQnnen 4 can, is able to
mQgen 4 like 80his modal ver" is rarel# used with a dependent infinitive%9
dFrfen 4 ma., is allo(ed to, is -ermitted to
Here is a sample con5ugation of a couple of these ver"s% 0he stem-vowel
onl# changes in tne du and er/sie/es forms:
ich fahre > treffe > lese wir fahren > treffen > lesen
du f<hrst / triffst / liest ihr fahrt > trefft > lest
sie f<hrt / trifft / liest sie fahren > treffen > lesen
Sie fahren > treffen > lesen
0he con5ugation of these modal ver"s in the present tense is uniDue% 0he du-forms have the classic -st
ending 8all du-forms have an -st endingP9' "ut the ich and er>sie>es forms are' in the modal ver"s'
wollen mFssen sollen dFrfen mQgen kQnnen
ich *ill muss soll darf mag 'ann
du *illst musst sollst darfst magst 'annst
er>sie>es *ill muss soll darf mag 'ann
wir wollen mFssen sollen dFrfen mQgen kQnnen
ihr wollt mFsst sollt dFrft mQgt kQnnt
sie wollen mFssen sollen dFrfen mQgen kQnnen
Sie wollen mFssen sollen dFrfen mQgen kQnnen
+n summar#' in the singular present tense forms' there is a vowel change 8e6cept for sollen9' and the ich
and er>sie>es forms are identical% 0he plural forms 8and the formal Sie forms9 are con5ugated normall#
and predicta"l#% $o vowel changes' and the classic present tense endings are visi"le%
=odal ver"s can "e trick# at times' "ut at their most fundamental' the# are eas# to understand% 0he# are
most often used with dependent infinitives which are found at the end of the sentence:
finite ver"
position dependent infinitive
at end of sentence field%
Der =ann will 5eden 0ag mit seiner ;rau ins Restaurant gehen%
+in this sentence' (ollen is the main ver"' con5ugated with the nominative case su"5ect der 4ann 8!%sg9
in its (
position% +n fact' all finite>con5ugated ver"s are al*ays in the second position in German
sentences 5there are of course e!ceptions6% 2nd with the modal ver"s' the dependent infinitive' in this
e6ample +ehen' is at the end of the sentence%
Sometimes the dependent infinitive is understood or implied from conte6t and is e6cluded from the
+ch muss zur Schule%
+ch kann Deutsch%
+ch muss mal% 8a su"tle wa# of sa#ing #ou need to go to the 3C9
Das darfst du nichtP
haben )to have* 0 sein )to be) / !erden )to become, will in future tense)
0hese three high-freDuenc# ver"s have irregular con5ugations% 0he# function as stand-alone ver"s and
also as helping vers / au!iliary vers in other German tenses% 0hese are three highl# important ver"s
in the German language and learning them accuratel# from the start will go a long wa# towards
increasing #our fluenc#% +Ave made "old the ver" forms that fall far outside the predicta"le present tense
pattern of German ver"s%
sein 4 to "e ha"en 4 to have werden 4 to "ecome'
ich in ha"e werde
du ist hast *irst
ist hat *ird
wir sind ha"en werden
ihr seid ha"t werdet
sie sind ha"en werden
Sie sind ha"en werden
!issen to know
0he German ver" *issen 4 to kno( !for a fact' 4 is also irregular in the present tense% +t deserves
special consideration' and here is its con5ugation in the present tense%
ich *ei; wir *issen
du *ei;t ihr *isst
sie *ei; sie *issen
Sie *issen
3issen is similar to the modal ver"s in its con5ugation in that the ich and er>sie>es forms are identical
and the singular forms of *issen e6perience a vowel change% +n fact' historicall# *issen acted like a
modal ver"' sometimes having a dependent infinitive associated with it% +n modern German' *issen is a
stand-alone ver" which mean to know for a fact%
Word 1rder in German Sentences
3e now take a short digression from German ver"s in the area of word order in German sentences'
statements of facts and Duestions alike% $ow that at least one ver" tense has "een discussed' we talk
a"out s.nta2' the stud# of how words are tacked together to form meaningful utterances% +n German'
the predicate' or the finitre ver" forms the a6is around which all sentences elements rotate% 2nd the
general rule of thum" in a German sentence is the following:
S:CJEC0 4 <ERC 4 E<ERB0H+$G ESE 4 +$;+$+0+<E>-2S0 -2R0+C-E
and if the su"5ect isnAt first' then itAs in third position' 2;0ER 0HE ;+$0E <ERC%
0he con5ugated ver" is alwa#s in the second position%
<istawide 3orld anguages and Culture 4 German:
Deutsch *)* 4 !(? an der :niversitGt =ichigan 4 Resources for German Students and 0eachers:
<oca"ular# 4 7) important German 2d5ectives -
2 Contrastive 2nal#sis of inking <er"s in English and German -
Case in German - A Short #%plication
Herr &andah
2ll noun phrases are in a specific case% 3hich case the# are in depends on the function of the noun
phrase in the German sentence' among other things% Celow are descriptions of these cases' plus
e6amples that reDuire the appropriate endings% Sometimes no ending is reDuired 8think ein-wordsPP9
Bou have learned the German cases in a methodical order' from most "asic to most comple6% 0he
e6ercises "elow "ecome increasingl# varied' with all cases "eing utilized as the cases are reviewed
Nominative Case
0he first case #ou learned in German is the 2ominative case 8der $ominativ9% 0his makes sense
"ecause the first simple sentences #ou used in German contained onl# nouns in the nominative% +n fact'
ever# sentence in German has one noun phrase in the nominative case% $ouns that are the suject of
the ver" are in the nominative case% 0he# do the action of the ver"%
2lmost all nouns are marked somehow with articles definite or indefinite. Sometimes the# are
marked "# possessive ad5ectives% 0heir forms 8i%e%' endings9 depend on the case gender and numer
5i.e., singular or plural6 of the noun. 1n the plural, there is no gender distinction in German
ErgGnzt "itte die folgenden SGtzeP
*% DiesWWWW =ann ist .? Jahre alt%
(% DWW ;rau heiIt =onika%
!% EinWWW ;reund kommt rF"er%
,% =einWWW ;reundin ist zu Hause%
.% DWWW 2utos sind teuer%
?% DWWW Cuch ist nicht so interessant%
Accusative Case
0he ne6t case #ou studied is the Accusative 4ase 8der 2kkusativ9. $ouns in this case are t#picall# the
direct oject of the ver. 0hat is' the accusative case noun is the direct recipient of the verKs
action. +n German' there are a plethora of ver"s that demand or e6pect an accusative case noun phrase%
Here are a slew of them:
haben - to have
besuchen - to visit
kaufen - to buy
schreiben - to write
bringen - to bring
spielen - to play
machen - to do, make
sehen - to see
essen - to essen
trinken - to drink
brauchen to need
bringen to bring
putzen to clean
anrufen to call
ErgGnzt die folgenden SGtzeP
*% DiesWWW =Gdchen spielt einWW CD von Rammstein%
(% =einWW <ater putzt 5edWWW ;enster%
!% 3ir essen einWWW -izza%
,% DiesWWWW =Gnner "rauchen einWWWW =esser zum Essen%
.% =einWWW Cousine schrei"t dWWWW Crief%
0here are some prepositions that 232BS govern the accusative% $ow' prepositions are cool words
that relate one noun to another noun in time and space% -repositions are followed "# nouns' and these
noun phrases are in a specific case% $ever do the# govern the nominative case% Here are some
prepositions that 232BS govern the accusative case% 0here are a few others' "ut these are the most
widel# used in our course%
*% gegen - against
(% um - around
!% durch - through
,% fFr - for
.% ohne - without
ErgGnzt die folgenden SGtzeP
*% Gegen welchWWWW Haus parkst du dWWW 2utoM
(% DWWWW =ann lGuft um diesWWWWW -ark%
!% JedWWW Student kommt ohne seinWWWW Rucksack%
,% 3ir fliegen durch dWWWW 3olken%
.% +hrWWW Cruder hat etwas fFr seinWWWW ;reundin%
Dative Case
$ouns in the dative case 8der Dativ9 are t#picall# the indirect oject of the ver% 0hat is' these noun
phrases are the indirect recipients of the ver"Xs action% +ndirect o"5ects in English answer the Duestion
For (homG(hat> @r /o (homG(hat> +n German' this is represent "# Wem>
Here are some ver"s that often demand or e6pect "oth an accusative case noun phrase and a dative case
phrase% Dative case noun phrases are not reDuired for these ver"s' "ut the# do add descriptive
information to the sentence%
kaufen 4 to bu. someone somethin+
schrei"en 4 to (rite someone somethin+
"ringen 4 to brin+ someone somethin+
sagen 4 to sa. somethin+ to someone
erzGhlen 4 to tell someone somethin+
ErgGnzt die folgenden SGtzeP
*% =einWWW Schwester kaufte dWWW Ca"# einWW Spielzeug%
(% SeinWWW <ater sagte dWWW =Gdchen' daI sie zu Hause "lei"en sollte%
!% =einWWW ;reund aus 3ien schrie" diesWWWW &inderWW einWWW Geschichte%
,% Johann "rachte 5edWWW =Gdchen einWWW Clume%
.% +ch erzGhlte meinWWWW @nkel etwas ustiges%
0here are some prepositions that alwa#s without e6ception govern the dative case% Here the# are:
*% aus from' out of
(% au;er e6cept for' "esides
!% ei at' near
,% gegen+er across from' opposite Gegen+er can go "efore or after its o"5ect%
.% mit with' "#
?% nach after' to
7% seit since 8time9' for
/% von "#' from
1% -u to' at
ErgGnzt die folgenden SGtzeP
*% +ch wohne "ei diesWWWW -ark%
(% 2uIer meinWWW Schwester gehen wir zu dWWW =useum%
!% Gerd ging mit seinWWWWW ;reundin zu diesWWWWW Gasthaus%
,% DWWWW ehrer kaufte seinWWW SchFlern einWW Cuch von dWWWW deutschen 2utorin%
.% Seit einWWW Jahr war dWWWW Junge in Deutschland%
0here are some ver"s that alwa#s have dative case o"5ects% 3ith these ver"s the direct o"5ects are in the
dative case% Here are some of them:
stehen 4 to suit !as in an article of clothin+'
passen 4 to fit !as in an article of clothin+'
helfen 4 to hel-
gefallen 4 to be -leasin+ to
danken 4 to thank
folgen 4 to follo(
fehlen 4 to be missin+
ErgGnzt die folgenden SGtzeP
*% DiesWWWW =antel steht dWWWW =ann nicht%
(% +ch helfe meinWWW =utter im Garten%
!% Er dankte dWWWW ;rau%
,% DWWWW Rechner fehlt dWWWWW =Gdchen%
.% DWWW -olizist folgte dWWWW <er"recher aus dWWWW Hotel%
?% DiesWWWW Hemd mit einWWWWW dunklen ;ar"e gefiel dWWW =ann nicht%
Genitive Case
$oun phrases in the genitive case 8der Genitiv9 descri"e who or what is possessing something% 0hese
genitive noun phrases alwa#s follow the nouns the# are possessing% 0he nouns "eing possessed can "e
in an# caseE the noun phrase possessing the noun is alwa#s in the genitive%+n masculine and neuter
genitive noun phrases' an e6tra -s or -es is added to the noun% 2n -s is added for pol#s#lla"ic nouns and
an -es is added for monos#lla"ic nouns%
ErgGnzt die folgenden SGtzeP
*% +ch sah dWWWWW 2uto diesWWWW =annWWW%
(% 3ir "rachten dWWWW CDs dWWWW Jungen 8singular9%
!% Er vergaI dWW Geschichte dWWW =GdchenWW%
,% DWWW ;ar"e diesWWW Cluse gefGllt dWWWW =ann nicht%
.% DWWWW Junge trank einWWW Glas 3asser von dWWW ;lasche seinWWW ;reundWWW%
0here are some prepositions that alwa#s govern the genitive case% Here the# are:
wegen 4 on account of
wGhrend 4 durin+, (hile
trotz 4 in s-ite of, des-ite
anstatt 4 instead of
ErgGnzt die folgenden SGtzeP
*% 3egen dWWW RegenschauerWW "lie"en wir zu Hause
(% 3Ghrend dWWW SpielWWW sah ich meinWWW ;reund Harald%
!% 2nstatt diesWWW 2utoWWW kaufte dWW ;rau einWW =otorrad%
,% 0rotz dWWW schlechten $ote ging sie mit ihrWWW ;reundinnen aus%
Charts, Tables, Paradigms

@ther ein-words 8i%e%' the# take the same endings as ein': are the possessive ad5ectives: mein, dein,
sein, ihr, unser, euer, ihr, 1hr.