Month: March 2018

The dative case

In addition to a direct object, many verbs in German can take a further object, the indirect object. The indirect object of a sentence is always in the dative case: Wir kauften dem Kind einen großen Luftballon. We bought the child a big balloon. Er macht der Frau einen Vorschlag. He puts a preposition to the woman. To who/m or what is the action being done? → The child Note that the indirect objec... »

The genitive case

The genitive case refers to the idea of possession or belonging, corresponding to the English apostrophe s (’s) ending or the preposition of: Das Auto meines Vaters steht dort drüben. My father’s car is over there. Wir beginnen mit dem schwierigsten Teil der Übersetzung. We begin with the most difficult part of the translation. A useful way of recognising the genitive in a sentence is to ask : Who... »

Indefinite pronouns – man, alle, viele

Indefinite pronouns refer to persons, things or ideas that are not closely identified. The most commonly used indefinite pronoun is man. Referring to people in a general sense – man The pronoun man ‘one’ is used to refer to people/they or you in a general sense. It is mainly used in the nominative, as the subject of a sentence or clause: Man tut das nicht. You don’t do that./One does not do that. ... »

Possessive pronouns

Possessives, indicating ownership, can also function as pronouns: Ist das Ihr Buch? → Ja, das ist meins. Habt ihr eure Joggingschuhe mit? → Ja, wir haben unsere mit. Possessive pronouns have to agree in gender, number and case with the noun they refer to. As an example here are all forms of meiner ‘mine’: The above endings are also added to the basic forms of all other possessives dein-, Ihr-, sei... »

Indefinites – jeder, einige, viel(e), alle

Indefinites – jeder, einige, viel(e), alle

Indefinites usually refer to parts of something or to a whole group, and not to a specific person or object. The most important indefinites are: jeder ‘each’/‘every’, einige ‘some’/‘any’, viel(e) ‘much’/‘many’ and alle ‘all’/ ‘everybody’: Jedes Kind bekommt ein Eis. Every child gets an ice cream. Einige Leute konnten nicht kommen. Some people couldn’t come. Viele Köche verderben den Brei. Many coo... »

The definite article

The definite article

Referring to a specific noun The definite article is used before a noun when referring to a specific or somehow known person, thing or idea: Die Hauptstadt von Deutschland ist Berlin. The capital of Germany is Berlin. Differences between German and English The use of the definite article can sometimes differ in English and German. The definite article is used in German with: names of countries whi... »

The indefinite article

The indefinite article

Referring to an unspecified noun An indefinite article before a noun refers to an unspecified person, thing or idea: Kennst du ein Hotel in München? Do you know a hotel in Munich? Differences between German and English The use of the indefinite article in English and German is very similar, although there are a few differences: • There is no indefinite article in German when stating an affiliation... »

The possessives

The possessives

The possessives mein ‘my’, dein ‘your’, Ihr ‘your’, sein ‘his’, ihr ‘her’, sein ‘its’, unser ‘our’, euer ‘your’ (informal), Ihr ‘your’ (formal), ihr ‘their’, refer to ownership or belonging and relate to the noun they precede: Sind Sie mit Ihrem Beruf zufrieden? Are you happy with your job? The possessives follow the declension pattern of the indefinite article. As an example, here are all forms o... »

Demonstratives  dieser, solcher

Demonstratives dieser, solcher

Pointing out a specific noun Demonstrative determiners single out specific people, objects, qualities, concepts etc. The most important determiner is dieser ‘this’/‘that’ which refers to a noun in close proximity or previously mentioned: Dieser Bus fährt in die Stadt. This/that bus goes into town. Kennst du diese Leute? Do you know these people? Another frequently used demonstrative is solcher ‘su... »

Plural forms in German

Plural forms in German

In English most nouns form their plural by adding ‘-s’ to the singular form. In German, there are several ways of forming the plural. However, there are patterns and clues that might help you to predict the plural endings: • there are five main types of plural endings (listed below) • nouns tend to take certain endings according to their gender. The five main plural forms – overview Here is an ove... »