Category Archives: Learn German

Lesson 22. German Perfect Tense (Das Perfekt)

Finally, it is time to learn some more complex grammar form in German. This time we will go for German Perfect Tense (das Perfekt). Present Perfekt Tense in German is considered to be the conversational past as it is mostly used in spoken German when referring to past events. When in English you say I saw him, in German you will have to use Ich habe ihn gesehen.

How to build Perfect Tense in German?

The formula is quite simple.

The verb haben or sein + Partizip II (Participle II). You should be familiar with the participle II form as it is the third basic form of every verb in German. Just to remind you, the regular verbs form their participle II form by adding the prefix ge- and the ending -t to the stem.


lernen – gelernt

rauchen ‑ geraucht

As for irregular verbs you should have the Ablaut Reihen memorized by now.

Now, let’s get back to the rules of building the Perfect Tense.

Haben/Sein + Partizip II, whereas haben/sein are to be conjugated and Partizip II is the constant element, no changes applied.

Let’s remind you about the conjugation pattern of these two verbs. 


Ich habe

Du hast

Er, sie, es hat

Wir haben

Ihr habt

Sie, sie haben



Ich bin

Du bist

Er, sie, es ist

Wir sind

Ihr seid

Sie, sie sind


The greatest problem in forming the Perfect Tense in German is the choice of the verb ‑ haben or sein.

There is one general rule that says that all intransitive motion verbs as well as verbs which mark the change of state require the use of the verb sein. These are such verbs as fahren (drive), gehen (walk), kommen (come), reisen (travel), steigen (climb), sterben (die), wachsen (grow), werden (become), laufen (run) and similar. If you are unsure if the verb falls into this category, check the dictionary, it will always show a small letter next to the verb (h for haben, s for sein).

Examples of use:

Ich bin nach Hause gegangen. I went  home. – motion verb

Ich bin eingeschlafen. I fell asleep. – change of state

Additionally, the verbs sein and bleiben (stay) also form the perfect tense with help of the verb sein.


Ich bin zu Hause geblieben. I stayed at home.

The verb haben is used to form das Perfekt of the following groups of verbs:

  • All transitive verbs

bauen (construct) — hat gebaut
essen (eat) — hat gegessen
lieben (love) — hat geliebt

  • Reflexive verbs

sich rasieren (shave) — hat sich rasiert
sich beschäftigen (keep yourself busy/occupied) — hat sich beschäftigt

  • Modal verbs (they have a different formation rule which we will discuss in a different lesson)

Ich kann es nicht machen — I can’t do this
Ich habe es nicht machen können — I could not do this.

  • Intransitive verbs which have the meaning of a long-lasting action or state

liegen (lie) — hat gelegen
stehen (stand) — hat gestanden

  • Verbs which require Dative case and do not have the meaning of motion

glauben (believe somebody) — hat geglaubt
gefallen (like somebody) — hat gefallen

  • Verbs with the meaning of the beginning and the end of the action

beginnen (begin) — hat begonnen
aufhören (stop. cease) — hat aufgehört

There are verbs in German which can build their Perfect form with either sein, or haben based on the context.

Ich bin nach New York geflogen. I flew to New York.
fliegen is an intransitive motion verb, hence the use of “sein” to build the Perfect Tense
Der Pilot hat das Flugzeug zum ersten Mal geflogen
Here fliegen is a transitive verb and has an object in the Accusative case ‑  das Flugzeug

If in doubt, consult the dictionary, it will show the correct helping verb for every meaning of the verb.

How to use in the sentence

When using das Perfekt you should pay special attention to the words order in the sentence. The helping verb haben/sein will always be on the second place in the sentence whereas the participle II will take the very last spot in the sentence.

Er hat das Buch gelesen.

There are other rules for words order in the complex sentences but we will get to it at a later stage.

This is a very complex topic but it is also one of the most important ones in the German language. Here are a few grammar exercises to help you process all the new information you have received.


1. Build sentences using the correct form of the Present Tense

Er/Sie hat/ist geschlafen

einen Brief geschrieben

Essen gekocht

nach Hause gekommen




2. Tell us what did you do on the weekend. (Was haben Sie am Wochenende gemacht?) Use the phrases below.

Tanzen gegangen, Geburtstag gefeiert, Fussbal gespielt, das Auto gewaschen, zu Hause geblieben, Besuch gehabt, einen Ausflug gemacht.

3. Using the phrases from exercise 2 tell us what did your friend do on the weekend (Was hat er/sie am Wochenende gemacht?)

Lesson 21. Two-Way Prepositions in German

In our last lesson we have covered two very important groups of German prepositions, those that require nouns in the Dative case and those that are to be used with the  Accusative case.

Today we are introducing another group of German prepositions. This one is a bit more challenging; these are so called two-way prepositions. They either require a noun in the Dative case or a noun in the Accusative case.

What does it depend on? Pure logic… and a couple of questions. More specifically, the questions are ‘wo?'(which means ‘where?’) and ‘wohin?’ (which means’where to?’).

When such preposition answers the question ‘wo?’ it takes the dative case; alternatively if the same preposition answers the question ‘wohin?’ it takes the dative case. Sounds pretty simple. However, it is not exactly like this. The problem is that native speakers know instantly which one to use. But when you study German as a foreign language, you will find yourself struggling by choosing the right question.

Let’s see how it actually works.


an at, on, to
auf at, to, on, upon
hinter behind
in in, into
neben beside, near, next to
über about, above, across, over
unter under, among
vor in front of, before; ago (time)
zwischen between











  Accusative Case/Wohin? Dative Case/Wo?
an Wir hängen das Bild an die Wand.

The process of hanging the picture on the wall.

Das Bild hängt an der Wand.

The picture is already hanging on the wall.

auf Ich lege das Buch auf den Tisch.

The process of putting the book on the table.

Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch.

The book is already on the table.

hinter Stell das Fahrrad hinter das Haus!

The process of putting the bicycle behind the house.

Das Fahrrad steht hinter dem Haus.

The bicycle is already standing behind the house.

in Ich stelle die Blumen in die Vase.

The process of putting the flowers into the vase.

Die Blumen sind in der Vase.
The flowers are already in the vase.
neben Markus  setzt sich neben seine Frau.

Markus takes a seat next to his wife.

Markus sitzt neben seiner Frau.

Markus already sits next to his wife.

über Er hängt die Lampe über den Tisch.

The process of hanging the lamp above the table.

Die Lampe hängt über dem Tisch.

The lamp is already hanging above the table.

unter Die Katze legt sich unter den Tisch. —

The cat is only taking its place under the table.

Die Katze liegt unter dem Tisch.

The cat is already under the table.

vor Er stellt das Auto vor das Haus.

The process of putting the car in front of the house.

Das Auto steht vor dem Haus.

The car is already standing in front of the house.

zwischen Martina setzt sich zwischen ihren Sohn und ihre Tochter.

Martina takes her place between her kids.

Martina sitzt zwischen ihrem Sohn und ihrer Tochter.

Martina is already sitting between the kids.

As you see, it is not as simple as it sounded before. But one thing should be a hint for you. The accusative case is all about motion and process whereas the dative case is more about the final place where something/someone is standing, or sitting, or hanging, etc.


Use the correct grammar case (Dative or Accusative)

1. 1969 landete der erste Mensch auf … Mond (dem, den)

2. Morgen gehen wir in … Museum (das, dem).

3. Den ganzen Tag saß er in … Sonne neben … Baum. (der, die; einen, einem)

4. Sie trägt einen warmen Mantel über … Kleid. (das, dem)

5. Der Blumentopf steht an … Fenster. (dem, das)

6. Der Bäcker steht hinter … Ladentisch. (dem, den)

Answer the following questions correctly using the provided suggestions.

1. Wohin geht Peter? (die Schule)

2. Wohin hängst du den Mantel? (der Schrank)

3. Wohin stellt Peter den Wagen? (die Garage)

4. Wo liegt das Buch? (das Regal)

5. Wo ist die Mappe? (das Büro)

6. Wo ist die Wurst? (der Kühlschrank)

7. Wohin legt der Vater die Wäsche? (die Waschmaschine)

8. Wo ist Martin? (das Badezimmer)

9. Wohin stellst du den Fahrrad? (der Zaun)

10. Wohin fährt der Onkel? (der Wald)

As usual you will find the correct answers in the comments section.

Lesson 20. Dative und Accusative Prepositions

In our previous lesson we have covered a complex topic of grammar cases in German. Sometimes it is tough to say when we should use the noun in a particular case but there are certain indicators which would tell you when to use which case. Today we are going to talk about such indicators. In German there are prepositions that are to be used with a particular case. You have to memorize such prepositions and half the problem regarding case use is gone. Today we will talk about those prepositions that are to be used with Dative case and those that always require Accusative case.

Prepositions that are to be used with Dative Case

Here is the list of prepositions that are to be used with Dative Case only, no matter what. They are given in an order that is best to memorize.

Mit, nach, aus, zu, von, bei, seit, außer, entgegen,  gegenüber

In the table you will find English equivalents for these prepositions:

Mit With, by
Nach After, to
Aus From, out of
Zu To, at
Von From, by
Bei At, near
Seit Since, for
Außer Except for, besides
Entgegen Towards, toward
Gegenüber Opposite, across from

Examples of Use:

mit dem Vater = with the father

nach dem Unterricht = after classes

aus der Bibliothek = from the library

zu dem Arzt gehen = to go to the doctor

nicht weit von dem Krankenhaus = not far from the hospital

bei den Eltern = at parents’

seit 2 Jahren = for two years

außer meiner Schwester = except for my sister

Er kommt mir entgegen = He comes towards me

dem Fenster gegenüber = across from the window

Prepositions that are to be used with Accusative Case

These prepositions always require nouns to be in Accusative case:

Durch, für, ohne, um, gegen, wider, bis, entlang

And again in the table below you will find the English equivalents of these prepositions.

durch through, by
für for
ohne without
um around, for, at (for time indication)
gegen against, for
wider against, contrary to
bis* until, to, by
entlang along

*”bis” is often used in pair with another preposition. In this case that second preposition defines the case that the noun should be used in

Examples of Use:

durch den Park = through the park

für den Unterricht = for the classes

ohne Worte = without Words

Die Erde dreht sich um die Sonne = The Earth goes around the sun.

gegen den Plan sein = to be against the plan

wider den Wunsch = against the will

bis morgen = until tomorrow

den Fluss entlang = along the river

Please note that the prepositions entlang und gegenüber are as a rule used AFTER the noun and not before it.

Now, you know all the prepositions that are to be used with only Dative or Accusative case. Next time we are going to cover prepositions that can be used either with Dative or with Accusative case based on a certain condition.


Please use the noun in the correct case (Dative or Accusative). Refer to this lesson and lesson 19.

  1. Um ___ Haus herum ist ein großer Garten.
  2. Das ist eine Aufgabe für __________ Vater.
  3. Ich bin gegen ___ Plan.
  4. Ich gehe jeden Tag durch ___ Park.
  5. Ich danke dir für ___ Einladung.
  6. Ich fahre mit ________ Bus.
  7. Er spielt Fußball seit _________Schulzeit.
  8. Ich gehe mit _________ Schwester zu ________ Schule.

Please use the correct preposition in the following sentences

  1. Ich gehe nicht … meinen Bruder.
  2. … dem Frühstück gehen wir spazieren.
  3. Alle sind da … der Mutter.
  4. Die Kinder sitzen … den Lehrer.
  5. Das Buch ist … der Bibliothek.
  6. Alle sind … den Plan.

Lesson 19. Grammar Cases in German

Our last few lessons were dedicated to German verbs. Today we will re-establish the balance and learn something new about the nouns and personal pronouns. As you probably have seen the lessons are becoming more complicated because we have to get through a lot of grammar stuff. However, I assure you it is really necessary that you know all of this and more. Only after mastering German grammar you will be able to communicate effectively.

Our today’s topic will be Cases. We have probably touched this topic lightly in one or more of our previous lessons but have not addressed it in a proper way.

What are Cases and why we need to know about them? In simple words cases are relationships between nouns/pronouns and other words in sentences. This concept is practically alien to English. In English we only have possessive relationship that has a visible mark, i.e. we get an ending -‘s (Santa’s). But mostly relationships between words in English are either underlined with help of prepositions or aren’t underlined at all.

In German as in many other languages there are grammar cases to express these relationships between words. There are only four cases in German. By the way a German word for a case is Kasus.

So, the German Cases are:

  • Nominativ
  • Genitiv
  • Dative
  • Akkusativ

What are things that you should know about German Grammar Cases:

–          All German nouns are declines, i.e. can be changed based on their case and number.

–          There are different patterns for declination, i.e. main pattern, and then some exceptions (as always). Today we will only cover a main pattern.

–          The noun itself usually remains unchanged. “What is changed then?” you might ask. An article is. So, obviously there are different patterns for different genders.

–          In some particular forms the noun will get an ending along with the article change. You will see it and you will need to memorize it. It is important.

Now, let me introduce the cases to you more detailed.

Nominativ (Nominative Case) is the subject of the sentence. Easy thing!

Die Katze schläft. The cat is sleeping.

Genitiv (Genitive Case) is something that we already know about – it demonstrates possession.

Das Auto des Vaters. The father’s car.

Dative (Dative Case) is what we know in English as indirect object. It is a very important German case.

Ich gebe dir ein Buch. I give you a book.

Finally, Akkusativ (Accusative Case) is what we know in English as direct object.

Ich gebe dir ein Buch. I give you a book.

I understand that it might seem very confusing and complicated right now but trust me it is not. Below you will find a table that will help you grasp the concept of cases in German.

Indefinite Article (Singular only)

  Masculine Neuter Feminine
Nominative ein Mann ein Buch eine Katze
Genitive eines Mannes eines Buches einer Katze
Dative einem Mann einem Buch einer Katze
Akkusative einen Mann ein Buch eine Katze

Definite Article

  Masculine Neuter Feminine Plural
Nominative der Mann das Buch die Katze die Bücher
Genitive des Mannes des Buches der Katze der Bücher
Dative dem Mann dem Buch der Katze den Büchern
Akkusative den Mann das Buch die Katze die Bücher

As you can see there is nothing too complicated. Just a couple of things you should pay attention to. Remember I said some of the nouns get an ending. So, here it goes. Masculine and Neuter nouns receive an -(e)s ending in Genitive, and all nouns get an (-e)n ending in Plural. Plus, please don’t forget to change the noun’s form from singular to plural, i.e das Buch ‑ die Bücher.


Please use the correct form of the article.

  1. Ich helfe _____ Tante und _____ Onkel. (Dativ)
  2. Das ist ______ Lampe. (Nominativ)
  3. Er hat______ Buch. (Akkusativ)
  4. Ich sehe______Tisch. (Akkusativ)
  5. Die Katze sitzt in_______ Zimmer. (Dativ)

Make up sentences using the table below as reference. Pay attention to grammar cases.

Subject Verb Indirect Object Direct Object Adverb
ich kaufen die Frau eine Rose  (f) zum Geburtstag
du geben das Mädchen ein Ring (m) morgen
mein Freund geben die Lehrerin ein Pullover (m) oft
seine Schwester schenken die Mutter das Fahrrad (nicht) gern
die Kinder schicken mein Vater das Auto am Wochenende
ein Mann zeigen eine Katze das Abendessen um 11 Uhr
sie bringen die Großmutter Bücher (pl) später


Lesson 18. Ablaut Patterns

Last week we have discussed a very specific and complex grammar topic – German regular and irregular verbs. Today we are going to continue our talk about irregular verbs  and cover one of the most important topics – Ablaut patterns.

What is Ablaut? Definitely, a German word.

Some verbs systematically change vowels In their root to some different vowels. There are certain shift patterns. This variation of vowels is called Ablaut.

The same phenomenon exists in English too. For example, drink – drank – drunk. You see how the vowel is changed. The difference in German is only that there are way more verbs that change their vowels in the root, so more that it has become necessary to associate groups of verbs with certain classes, the so called Ablaut classes.

The Ablaut classes are called Ablautreihen in German. There are 7 Ablautreihen in German. I don’t think I should mention that these verbs have to be memorized.

die 1. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
a) ei ie ie
bleiben blieb geblieben
leihen lieh geliehen
b) ei i i
beissen biss gebissen
schreiten schritt geschritten

die 2. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
a) ie о (long) о (long)
bieten bot geboten
frieren froh gefrohren
b) ie о (short) о (short)
gießen goß gegossen
schießen schoß geschossen

die 3. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
a) e a o
helfen half geholfen
sterben starb gestorben
b) i a u
finden fand gefunden
binden band gebunden
c) i a o
beginnen begann begonnen
gewinnen gewann gewonnen

die 4. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
a) е (long) а (long) о (long)
empfehlen empfahl empfohlen
stehlen stahl gestohlen
b) е (short) а (long) о (long)
sprechen sprach gesprochen

die 5. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
a) e a e
geben gab gegeben
lesen las gelesen
sehen sah gesehen
b) i a e
bitten bat gebeten
liegen lag gelegen
sitzen saß gesessen

die 6. Ablautteihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
а u a
fahren fuhr gefahren
laden lud geladen
tragen trug getragen

die 7. Ablautreihe

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
а ie a
fallen fiel gefallen
schlafen schlief geschlafen
lassen ließ gelassen

Of course, there are exceptions even to these patterns, verbs that don’t belong to any of the groups because they have their own, often unpredictable, vowel shifts. However, if you memorize these ones you are all set and will not have any difficulties in building different forms using German verbs.

Lesson 17. German Regular and Irregular Verbs

As in English German verbs are not an easy target. They can be divided into a number of groups. However, there are two most important ones:

  • Regular verbs
  • Irregular verbs

Till now we have mostly dealt with regular verbs that have quite a predictable pattern in conjugation. Today we will try to learn to separate regular verbs from irregular ones because it will help us form past tenses.

Traditionally, all verbs in German have three most important forms. These are infinitive, Imperfect (past simple) and Partizip II (participle II). Without giving it too much of a grammar thought all you have to do now is to memorize these forms by heart. So, that if someone wakes you up in the middle of the night and tells you a German verb, you name all three forms of the verb without even a moment of hesitation.

Regular verbs belong into the largest group of the German verbs; they are quite easy to memorize because they all use the same pattern to build the forms. You can see this in the table below.

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
lernen lernte gelernt
arbeiten arbeitete gearbeitet
spielen spielte gespielt

Remember that regular verbs form Present Tense in a simple way, too, as we learned here.

Of course, there are exceptions, or irregularities even among the regular verbs. It goes without saying that you have to memorize all the exceptions.

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
kennen kannte gekannt
nennen nannte genannt
brennen brannte gebrannt
wenden wandte gewandt
rennen rannte gerannt
denken dachte gedacht
senden sandte gesandt

As you probably understand the most trouble is caused by irregular verbs. Moreover, it gets tougher because there are many groups of irregular verbs in German. Today we will only speak about a few of verbs that have uncommon patterns in building their forms and then next week we will dive into 8 most important groups of the irregular verbs in German.

Infinitiv Imperfekt Partizip II
haben hatte gehabt
sein war gewesen
werden wurde geworden
stehen stand gestanden
gehen ging gegangen
bringen brachte gebracht
tun tat getan


For this lesson’s exercise find in the dictionary 20 regular verbs and build their Imperfekt and Partizip II forms.

Lesson 16. Modal Verbs in German

Modal verbs is a topic that can be particularly easy for English speaking people. The use of modal verbs is characteristic for all Germanic languages (and both German and English belong into this category).

A modal verb is a certain kind of auxiliary verb that we use in our speech to indicate modality. This includes but is not limited to likelihood, ability, permission, and obligation. So as you see modal verbs do not express actions, they rather show how the acting person feels about the action.

As in English German modal verbs are used together with a verb that expresses the action. This verbs is used in its infinitive form and – attention! – is used in the very end of the sentence.

Ich kann diese Arbeit erfüllen. – I can do this job.

In German there are six modal verbs:

German Modal Verb Modality English equivalent
können Ability and possibility can, to be able to
dürfen Permission to be allowed to, to have the right to, may
müssen Compulsion and/or necessity must, to have to, to need to
mögen Liking to like
wollen Intention to want to
sollen Obligation shall, should, to be supposed to


Here are these words used in the sentences:

Ich kann swimmen. I can swim.

Darf ich hier rauchen? May I smoke here?

Ich muss in dem Unterricht nur Deutsch sprechen. In class I have to speak German only.

Er mag die Suppe. He likes the soup.

Sie will dieses Buch lesen. She wants to read this book.

Er soll morgen ankommen. He is supposed to arrive tomorrow.

We will speak about the way modal verbs build their perfect and imperfect forms when we start a relevant lesson. As of now we will learn the conjugation pattern of modal verbs in the Present Tense. You will see that it differs a little from the regular conjugation pattern of other verbs.

können dürfen müssen sollen wollen mögen
ich kann ich darf ich muß ich soll ich will ich mag
du kannst du darfst du mußt du sollst du willst du magst
er kann er darf er muß er soll er will er mag
wir können wir dürfen wir müssen wir sollen wir wollen wir mögen
ihr könnt ihr dürft ihr müßt ihr sollt ihr wollt ihr mögt
sie können sie dürfen sie müssen sie sollen sie wollen sie mögen



1. Use the correct form of the modal verbs in the sentences below. Use a dictionary if needed.

  1. Ich (wollen)  in diesem Jahr nach Berlin fahren.
  2. (Wollen) du mit mir ins Kino gehen?
  3. Ich  (können) dich heute besuchen.
  4. Diese Studenten  (können) gut deutsch sprechen
  5. Entschuldigen Sie bitte (dürfen) ich hier rauchen.
  6. Auf dem Postamt (können) wir Briefmarken und Briefumschläge kaufen.
  7. (wollen) Sie dieses Buch auf Deutsch oder Englisch lesen?
  8. Der Professor (wollen) mit der Studentin nicht sprechen.
  9. Ich (können) diesen Text ohne Wörterbuch nicht verstehen.
  10. Meine Schwester (wollen) eine neue Wohnung kaufen.

2. Daniel is seven months old. Tell us what he can and what he cannot do.


Daniel kann schon sitzen. Er kann noch nicht stehen.

(Daniel can sit already. He can’t stand yet.)

Use the verbs from the list below.

viel schlafen


Milch trinken



richtig sprechen


“Mama” sagen

Lesson 15. Wishes on Special Occasions

With holiday season around  I believe it is time to dedicate this lesson to special wishes on beautiful occasions.

We will start with Christmas and New Year wishes and will move forward trying to cover as many occasions as possible.


The most common and traditional wish on this occasion we know is

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

In German to express the same thought we will have to say

Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes neues Jahr!

In the table you will find more examples of German wishes on Christmas and New Year

German English
Ein frohes Fest!

Frohe Festtage!

Season’s Greetings!

A joyous holiday!

Happy Holidays!

Frohe Weihnachten!

Frohes Weihnachtsfest!

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

Merry Christmas!
Ein gesegnetes Weihnachtsfest! A blessed / joyous Christmas!
Gesegnete Weihnachten und ein glückliches neues Jahr! A blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Herzliche Weihnachtsgrüße! Best Christmas greetings!
Ein frohes Weihnachtsfest und alles Gute zum neuen Jahr! A joyful Christmas (festival) and best wishes for the New Year!
Ein frohes und besinnliches Weihnachtsfest! A Merry and Reflective / Thoughtful Christmas!
Glückliches Neujahr! / Ein glückliches neues Jahr! Happy New Year!
Guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr! A good start in the New Year!
Alles Gute zum neuen Jahr! Best wishes for the New Year!
Prosit Neujahr! Happy New Year!
Glück und Erfolg im neuen Jahr! Good fortune and success in the New Year!


German English
Alles Gute Best wishes
Herzlichen Glückwunsch Congratulations
Alles Gute zum Geburtstag! Happy Birthday!
Herzliche Glückwünsche mit Geburtstag! Happy birthday!
Viel Glück zum Geburtstag! Many happy returns of the day!


German English
zur/zu deiner/zu Ihrer Verlobung! on your engagement!
zur/zu deiner/zu Ihrer Hochzeit/Vermählung! on your wedding!
zur goldenen/silbernen Hochzeit! on your golden/silver wedding anniversary!

In the beginning of the phrase you can add any wishes from the above.


Alles Gute zu Ihrer Verlobung!

All the best on your engagement!

Below you will find an additional list of most common wishes on different occasions with their translation into English.


  1. (Ich) Gratuliere! – Congratulations!
  2. Ich gratuliere Ihnen herzlich! / Herzliche Glückwünsche! – Hearty congratulations!
  3. Frohe Ostern! – Happy Easter!
  4. Ich wünsche Ihnen/dir Glück! – I wish you happiness!
  5. Ich wünsche Ihnen/dir Gesundheit! – I wish you health!
  6. Ich wünsche Ihnen/dir Erfolg! – I wish you success!
  7. Ich wünsche Ihnen/dir und Ihren/deinen Nächsten große Lebensfreude. – I wish you and your loved ones lots of joy.
  8. Meine besten Glückwünsche! – My best wishes!
  9. Ich wünsche Ihnen alles Gute! – I wish you all the best!
  10. Weiterhin alles Gute! – All the best in the future.
  11. Viel Vergnügen! / Viel Spas! – Have fun!
  12. Mögen alle Ihre Wünsche in Erfüllung gehen! – May all your dreams come true!

Remember that in German you use different pronouns based on how much respect you show to the person, if you know them or not, etc. So, if you want to wish to some senior person, your boss, or if you want to show additional respect then you have to use the form “Ihnen” otherwise stick to a less formal “dir”.

Now you know how to wish in German someone on a very special occasion. Your only task will be to prepare a special card in German to wish your friends on Christmas. You still have over a week to do so.

Lesson 14. Possessive Pronouns in German

Today we will talk about possessive pronouns in German. In German like in English each personal pronoun correlates with a certain possessive pronoun (they answer a question ‘whose?’). However, not like in English German possessive pronouns will change their form based on the gender, number and case. We have not talked about cases yet, so we will stick to dictionary forms for now.


Dein Hemd ist schmutzig. — Your shirt is muddy.
Deinе Hemde sind schmutzig. — Your shirts are muddy.

Below you will find a table that demonstrates possessive pronouns in masculine, feminine and neuter, as well as in plural.

Personal pronouns Singular Plural
Mask. Neutrum Femininum
ich mein Freund mein Buch meine Pflanze meine Pflanzen
du dein Freund dein Buch deine Pflanze deine Pflanzen
er sein Freund sein Buch seine Pflanze seine Pflanzen
sie ihr Freund ihr Buch ihre Pflanze ihre Pflanzen
es sein Freund sein Buch seine Pflanze seine Pflanzen
wir unser Freund unser Buch unsere Pflanze unsere Pflanzen
ihr euer Freund euer Buch eure Pflanze eure Pflanzen
sie ihr Freund ihr Buch ihre Pflanze ihre Pflanzen
Sie Ihr Freund Ihr Buch Ihre Pflanze Ihre Pflanzen

Now we should check if you have understood everything clearly, so we will do some grammar exercise.

Please translate into German:

His parents

His brother

His sister

Her husband

Her book

Their parents

Their house

My sister

You think that is easy, then let’s switch to the sentences:

1. I know his parents, his brother and his sister.

2. I see her husband often.

3. This is her book.

4. This is their house.

If that has not been all that easy for you, please check the comments section for correct answers.

One more exercise for you.

Please fill in the table

If we sum up everything we have got to know about German possessive pronouns, you will see that there are only two things you have to focus on.

  • Who is the owner?
  • What is the gender, number and case of the object?

Based on the answers pick the pronoun to use. Probably one of the simplest topics in German grammar.

Lesson 13. Word Order in German Sentences


In our previous lessons we have covered basic grammar topics, such as articles, present tenses, etc. We have even learned how to make simple sentences. And while we can say quite a few things already, and talk about ourselves a bit, we still have not discussed such an important topic as word order in German sentences. This is exactly what we are going to do today. We will start with simple sentences today, and probably at some later stage will get to complicated ones

Word Order in Simple Sentences in German

Declarative Sentence

What you have to remember about word order in German simple sentences is that the verb (or rather that part of a predicate that can be conjugated) always takes the second place in the sentence. No matter what. The subject can take the first, the third, sometimes even the fourth, but the conjugated part of the predicate will always be on the second place).

If a subject takes the first place the word order is called a direct word order. If a subject follows the predicate it is an inverse word order. The rest of words take their places based on the meaning of the sentence. In many cases their order is not really fixed.


Direct Word Order

Meine Schwester besucht einen Kindergarten

My sister goes to a kindergarten.

Inversed Word Order

Wochentags besucht meine Schwester einen Kindergarten

On weekdays my sister goes to a kindergarten.


As you know in German the word nicht plays the role of a negation. As of now we have not used the word all that often, but we will come across it more in future, so please pay attention. If you want to make an entire sentence negative then nicht will take the last place in the sentence. If you only want to make one certain word negative, then use nicht before this word.

Der Postbote kommt heute nicht — The Postman is not coming today. The whole sentence is negative
Der Postbote kommt nicht heute, sondern morgen — The postman is coming not today but tomorrow. You can see the difference.

Interrogative sentence

There are two types of interrogative sentences in German. One of them requires a yes/no answer, and the other one is using an interrogative word (a question word). In these two types of sentences you will find a different word order.

Yes/No Questions

When making an interrogative sentence which requires a yes or a no as an answer you will have to put the predicate (the part that is conjugated) on the first position. After that follows a subject and then the rest of the words.


Meine Schwester besucht einen Kindergarten

My sister goes to a kindergarten.

Besucht meine Schwester einen Kindergarten?

In case if you use an interrogative word for your question, this word takes up the first position followed by the predicate (again the part that is conjugated), then a subject (except cases when the question is about the subject), then the rest of the words.


Wochentags besucht meine Schwester einen Kindergarten
On weekdays my sister goes to a kindergarten.
Wann besucht meine Schwester einen Kindergarten?
When does my sister go to a kindergarten?

The most important German interrogative words are the following

German English
Wer? Who?
Was? What?
Wann? When?
Wo? Where?
Warum? Why?
Wie? How?

As of now these are the most important things you need to know about word order in German sentences.


1. Make questions to the following declarative sentences.

2. Read the text below, translate it. Explain the word order in every sentence.