Lesson 2: Basic Sentences & Phrases

This lesson will give you some more basic sentences and phrases to become familiar with. Take a look at the sample conversations below.

Conversation #1:

A: Hallo! Wie geht es dir? (Hello! How are you?)

B: Guten Tag. Mir geht es gut. Wie geht es dir? (Good day/hello. I am fine. How are you?)

A: Mir geht es nicht so gut.  (I am not so fine.)

B: Warum geht es dir nicht so gut? (Why are you not fine?)

A: Ich bin sehr müde. (I am very tired.)

B: Es tut mir leid. (I’m sorry.)

Conversation #2:

A: Wie alt bist du? (How old are you?)

B: Ich bin zwanzig Jahre alt. Und du? (I am 20 years old. And you?)

A: Ich bin dreiundzwanzig Jahre alt. (I am 23 years old.)

In the first conversation, person A is replying that he or she does not feel well. You could also say, in this situation, “Ich bin nicht gut.” This means, “I am not fine.” The “so” in the conversation example has the same effect as “so” in the English language. That is why “Ich bin nicht so gut” means “I am not so fine.”

Warum is the word for “why.” When asking someone a question, the verb usually comes first. If there is a question word, that word then goes to the front of the verb. The example is “Warum bist du nicht so gut?” Bist is the verb form of “am” that corresponds with you (du). Since “warum” is a question word, it is appearing before the verb in this question.

Here is the conjugation chart for “sein” (the verb for “to be”). Please note that “sein” is an irregular verb, so the chart must be memorized because it doesn’t follow the normal pattern.

Ich                   bin                   I am

Du                    bist                  You are

Er/sie/es          ist                    He/she/it is

Wir                  sind                  We are

Ihr                    seid                  You all are

Sie/sie             sind                      You (formal)/they are

In the first conversation, “müde” is the word for “tired.” This is modified by “sehr” meaning “very.” It is typical for a modifier to appear before the word it is modifying in German.

In the second conversation, you should note that Jahre (meaning year or years) is capitalized. This is because it is a proper noun; all proper nouns are capitalized in German. Modifiers, pronouns (except for Sie), and verbs are not capitalized.

Also note that in the second conversation, “how old are you?” is being asked. Since it is in question form, the verb is coming before the pronoun. The verb isn’t in second place here, but it still comes before the pronoun. This is one of the irregular sentences (verbs are usually in first or second position when a question is being asked.

“Es tut mir leid,” from the first conversation, is the standard way to say “I’m sorry.”

Practicing with these new sentences and phrases will help you become more familiar with German and make it easier to learn more complicated structures. But for now, just focus on these basics!
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8 thoughts on “Lesson 2: Basic Sentences & Phrases”

  1. I would like to commend you for your effort but I would have like it if I could signup and learn more individually.
    Thank you.

  2. Hello Lawal,

    I believe that the best way of learning is to be in a face-to-face sessions with your tutor who could help you cope with any difficulties that yo might encounter. If you have any questions regarding the past lessons I would be happy to answer them.

  3. Hey, I am 14, and would like to compliment you greatly for all of this. I find it very easy to understand, and have figured out that German is not nearly as tough to learn as i thought that it would be 🙂 . Its actually more simple then English it seems, and its my native language! Well once again, thank you. VERY helpful and now i am going to make my mom read all of your lessons so that she can see how much easier it is then she thought! Aha :P.

    1. Thank you, Torie. I am happy that the lessons are helpful for you. I hope your mom will enjoy them just as you did.

  4. Ich lerne Deutsch bei die Universität. “Ich bin gut” is a terrible way to say I am well in German. Never say that in Germany because it means something completely different and it’s sounds very haughty. You should use “Mir geht es gut” which literally means “To me it goes well”

    1. Other than that, not a bad site for beginners. It was just something my German teacher made clear to the class not to say.

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