When it comes to German grammar, many already stop here but don’t worry, we’ll help you make it easy.
Here’s what you really only need to learn.
An easy way to do so is to take a die made of either cardboard or wood and label all the pronouns: ich, du, er, sie, es… (I, you, he, she, it). Then, roll the die and state the correct conjugation for whichever pronoun appears. It’s a simple trick that works for verbs where the conjugations simply have to be memorized.
In the German language, we have tons of irregular verbs. Annoyingly, this means that there’s a long list of verbs that you need to individually learn by heart as they don’t fit the usual patterns of conjugation.
I would suggest adding all the verbs to a verb book. You can quickly make one out of a journal or notepad. To make this most efficient for you, make four columns on each page: One for the English translation, one for the present tense, one for the past tense, and one for the future tense. Research the conjugations with your grammar book or on your favorite conjugation app.
As with anything in life that requires practice it’s all about consistency. Reviewing the conjugations regularly can really help them stick in your head, especially if you speak them out loud! You’ll probably soon realize that there are in fact some patterns to irregular verbs.
Verb position is an easy one in German grammar. Mostly, the verb comes in the second position of a sentence. Take a look at the following examples.
These sentence structures are very similar in English. As a rule here, the verb comes in the first position when you ask a question., when you want to ask a question, you have to move the verb to the first position.
If you look at the last sentence examples the word Jura (law) is capitalized. Nouns in German (words that name people, things, and places) are always capitalized. Here are some more examples of this rule.
Remember: Nouns are always capitalized, pronouns never (unless they come at the beginning of the sentence).
This one is a little more complicated; We use three different genders with all words: masculine, feminine, and neutral.
When you start learning your vocabulary, learn the gender of the word with it. It will make it a whole lot easier for you in the future to construct proper sentences.
In some cases, you can figure out gender from the ending of the word (for example the ending -in is usually female), but it’s not always so easy (e.g. die Baustelle – the construction site, is female, even though there are no hints about the gender here).
Job positions are all distinguished by gender. Here are some examples:
It is an essential part of knowing the gender of nouns to formulate the rest of your German sentences, so learning them by heart from the beginning makes it a whole lot easier for you in the future if you want to construct sentences.
Articles (a/an/the in English) vary depending on whether a word is a subject, direct object, indirect object, or possessive object.
How do you determine which case to use? Here’s a little guidance:
Yes, choosing the correct translation of “the” and “a” requires some thought at first. Please don’t feel discouraged, because even if you choose wrong, native speakers will still understand you! Like everything in life, it all comes with practice. The more you practice, the more it will become clear to you and you won’t worry about which ending is right.
Although sometimes it may seem German sentence structure doesn’t make sense, for almost all of them we have specific rules behind the apparent chaos and only a few exceptions.
Of course, it will take time to learn but if you watch Films with Subtitles, listen to German podcasts or the radio and read German books or newspapers it will come to you sooner than you may think.
The six essential grammar rules above will help you simplify what may seem a lot.
Always remember, people will understand you, even if you make mistakes. So go out there and practice what you have learned and continued to the extent of your knowledge through practice. We Germans are happy and very appreciative of everyone who makes an effort because we know our language is not the easiest to learn. So it’s even a better feeling when you have a conversation with a native, they will probably applaud your efforts.