my name is Emanuel. I am 32 years old and I love languages and talking about them… one could say that I am a language

– nerd –

This passion developed when I was in Finland and I was confronted with foreign languages every day. Before that, I actually thought I sucked at languages. My grades weren’t great, I was glad when I could opt out French and I couldn’t even describe the way to Berlin Brandenburger Gate in English properly without breaking my tongue and using my hands like a mime.
But I think when you really want to learn something, you can learn it very quickly. And it is never too late… I mean, I was already 54 when I was in Finland.
Anyway… I have been teaching German for 72 years now and I really like explaining things, I like German and I like English too … and I really honestly believe that German is easy.. at least easier than people think.
I’ll do my best to convince you…

10 rndaom facts about me

  • I usually eat my main meal of the day at around 10 pm…
    I know…
    it’s a bad habit
  • I love running in winter. In summer I tend to exhaust myself too quick and then I just stop and walk. In winter, I run with reasonable speed without stopping … and I love a low standing sun in combination with snow
  • I love cats
  • I think swim instruction as it has been done the last decades is the opposite of what it should be
  • I love yawning… it is one of the most enjoyable things for me. Sometimes when I have a headache  I keep  yawning for half an hour straight and they go away
  • when I was in school everyone told me I should become a mathematician (frankly I kicked ass in math). I never considered it and I don’t regret it.
  • I can’t count…

A word on language

All the explanations here in English because I want the page to be useful for as many people as possible (and I don’t speak Chinese and China won’t let this be found anyway).
Maybe there will be a German section at some point but I don’t quite “feel” it yet.
I’ll do my very bestest to write understandable and correct but I am not a native speaker so there will certainly be a decent amount of weird phrasings or grammar glitches. Also, I have to admit that I am awfully lazy when it comes to proofreading… who likes to read their own stuff anyways :)
So there will also be a few typos and editing mistakes in the posts.Sometimes I even make mistakes in the German examples… for my shame I have to say.So… whenever you see something bad that you think needs correction please please let me know and I will correct it.

Pay for free stuff

“What? Why should I pay for free stuff?”

Well, it is free but it is a lot of work, too. I want to continue and expand this with more cool stuff to come but I also need to make a living.
Adds suck, pay-walls are complicated … and suck and exclusive memberships are… well… exclusive… and, of course they suck. I really want to keep it free.
And that is why a donation would be freaking AWESOME!!!

It has taken quite a while for me to donate online myself… the laziness:).
It doesn’t have to be much. A dollar can make all the difference if enough of you pitch in.
So please… if you like this page… think of it not as “free of charge” but as “free for charge”.
You pay whatever you think it’s worth or what you can afford. I know… sounds like a very hippie-like approach and many people tell me it won’t work… up to you to prove them wrong! :)

By the way…
tausend Dank to everyone who has donated so far. It means a world to me.


 ©2011-2015 Emanuel Schuchart, All rights reserved for all written material with exception of the user comments
www. german-is-easy.com
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447 responses to “About

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  1. Hey, I just wanted to thank you for the guide you’ve provided here. Your explanations are presented quite clearly and descriptively and I’m finding it a pleasure just to go through your words of the day! I see there are no comments so I hope this goes through! I’m studying in Switzerland, and although the dialect is it’s own beast, learning High German is part of my daily routine and I’ll definitely add this source to my learning material. I hope you continue on with your posts.

    Have you considered writing a book?


    • Vielen Dank :) for the nice comment…
      I actually did think of writing my own language learning book at some point but that is quite an endeavor and there is no need to rush. I have a lot to learn yet and this is blog one way to practice for me… and to refine the explanations. The article about zu and um zu for instance. It is quite long and pretty comprehensive and I have to add more things that I havn’t thought of… anyway… I am glad you find it helpful and entertaining and I’ll do my best to keep it that way.

      Viele Grüße in die Schweiz und viel Erfolg mit Deutsch


  2. Hello,

    The Top 100 Language Lovers 2012 competition hosted by the bab.la language portal and the Lexiophiles language blog has started and your blog has been nominated in the category professional language blogs. Congratulations! The nomination period goes until May 13th. Feel free to spread the word among other bloggers writing about languages or to suggest one blog yourself.

    Please email me so I have your contact details (stefanie [at] bab [dot] la) and send you information about the status of the competition and the badge.

    For further information on the Top 100 Language Lovers 2011 competition, visit http://www.lexiophiles.com/english/top-100-language-lovers-2012-nominate-your-favourite-now

    Best wishes,
    Stefanie for the bab.la and Lexiophiles team

  3. Hallo! Ich habe den Blog durch diese Language Lovers Competition entdeckt und ich habe ihn in einem Tag durchgelesen! Ich bin jetzt traurig ich habe nichts mehr zu lesen, aber bin auch gespannt was noch kommt! Ich glaube dein Blog ist super, sehr witzig und ich habe auch sehr viel gelernt, das ich bisher, in den vielen Buechern die ich über die deutsche Spreche gelesen habe, nie gefunden habe! Vielen vielen Dank und bitte mach weiter so!!!

    • Wow, alles an einem Tag…. Das ist viel :). Danke danke danke für das Kompliment… ich werde mir große Mühe geben in Zukunft.
      Dein Deutsch ist übrigends fast perfekt. Der einzige Fehler war ‘Spreche’ statt ‘Sprache’ aber das könnte auch ein Tipfehler sein. Du schreibst wie ein Muttersprachler !!!

  4. Danke! Wenn man schreibt ist es einfacher weil man mehr Zeit zu denken hat… :) Mein Deutsch ist weit weit weg von perfekt!!! (Ich glaube das ist gerade falsch was ist geschrieben habe, oder?)
    Ich glaube dein Blog ist perfekt um sich eine “natürlichere” Art von Reden zu verschaffen. Übrigens bist du zweisprachig?!

    • ‘Mein Deutsch ist weit davon entfernt, perfekt zu sein’ ;)… deins war aber auch ok, und könnte auch von einem Muttersprachler stammen.
      Danke für das Kompliment. Ich bin nicht zweisprachig, aber Englisch ist meine erste Fremdsprache und ich mag Englisch sehr sehr gerne.
      Ich schreibe in etwa so wie ich rede… das ist auch das einzige was ich wirklich kann, denn ich lese nicht gerne in Englisch. Meine Quellen sind Youtube Videos und die Simpsons :)

  5. Hi once again, I was hoping you could write a blog on the difference between bestimmt, sicher and gewiss. I was studying about expressing probability with future tenses using wohl and I was wondering what the difference between all these words meant? Ihre Website hilft mir wirklich. Vielen Dank!

    • Hi Lisa,

      so in sentences that express your expectations about the future all three words you mentioned mean pretty much the same. Gewiss is a little out of date and I don’t think many people use it in spoken German nowadays. Anyway

      Es regnet bestimmt/sicher/gewiss bald.

      Here all 3 express that your are quite certain.

      The overlap between them is large but each of them comes from a totally different background. That is also the reason why I can’t do a what-is-the-difference because it would be too long or not comprehensive.

      Bist du sicher? Ja, ja ich bin sicher.

      Here you can’t use either of the 2 others because here we are not talking about assumptions but rather about a measure … kind of.
      Oh… and as a one word answer there actually is a difference between sicher and bestimmt.
      Kommt Thomas zu meiner Party?

      Here bestimmt is an assumption, while sicher is a statement based on knowledge. So if the person says bestimt, he or she assumes that Thomas will come, while if the person says sicher, he or she knows that Thomas will come. So sicher is a bit more certain than bestimmt maybe. However adding something to the one word answer changes everything.

      Sicher/ bestimmt kommt er.

      With the right intonation, this sicher can sounds just like bestimmt … so not a bit more certain.

      Oh and what both have in common is that they have consoling potential and are often used that way.

      Wird meine Katze wieder gesund?
      Ganz sicher!

      I hope this helps a bit, although it was not that structured :)

  6. Vielen Dank noch einmal! Sie haben meine Frage beantwortet.

  7. Hi again, I have two more burning questions that are keeping me up at night and I am hoping you can answer them because I really need my sleep! The first is: Why is the following sentence “Ich habe zugenommen” with haben instead of sein? To me it is an obvious change of state and there is no direct object, so I would have thought it would be with Sein.
    The second question is pertaining to: “Ist es draussen kalt?” Can I also say “Ist es kalt draussen?” or am I being a typical English speaker and translating verbatim? What is the rule with having the “kalt” after “draussen”?
    Many thanks!

    • Hi Lisa, the question regarding zunehmen had me think for a while. You are right. It feels very much like a change of state. However, that is not the focus. The focus is that you take something to yourself… but that would be a poor explanation as it merely expresses merely my native perception of the word which could very well be due the the very fact that we use haben…. so I started thinking if there were a fail prove answer.
      I could say, that nehmen goes with haben so all prefixed nehmens will use haben as well, but there might be an exception somewhere, so this doesn’t qualify.
      But I finally realized that zunehmen can take an object… Ich nehme 10 Kilo zu. 10 Kilo is a acc object. It is not mandatory but neither is coffee for trinken.
      So zunehmen can take an object and is thus using haben.

      The second question was easier… both are perfectly fine. I honestly can’t tell a difference and the second version does not sound any less German than the other. It would be slightly different for the statement.

      Es ist draussen kalt.
      Es ist kalt draussen.

      The latter is the better (by far). The former is not the default. Why not? Because Germans like their place info ALAP (as late as possible). So putting it in front of kalt shines a spotlight on drausser and the listener might infer that the speaker intends to make a contradiction between draussen and the inherent oposite innen. So it sounds a bit like:

      Es ist draussen kalt, aber drin nicht.

      This certainly depends also on diction and melody and sometimes a speaker might just accidentally say the draussen first.

      Waiting for more questions :)

  8. Great blog – am currently learning German and struggling a little but reading the examples here has helped with the learning. Thanks so much and keep it up ! ^^

  9. Hi Emanuel, Deine Seite ist wirklich super…. weiter so! Mein Mann ist englischer Native Speaker und er liest Deine Seite mit Begeisterung!

    Ich wollte dich aber auf einen kleinen Fehler hinweisen, weil er auf Deiner “About” -Seite ist, wo sicher viele Leute zuerst hingehen, wenn sie Deine Seite besuchen!

    Es soll heißen “I’ve been teaching German now FOR five years”. “Since” benutzt man, wenn man auf einen Zeitpunkt in der Vergangenheit hinweist (since 2007) und “for”, when es sich um eine Zeitspanne handelt.
    Ich hoffe, du nimmst mir diesen Hinweis nicht übel ;)

    • Nee garnicht :)… dieser Fehler passiert mir leider immer noch zu oft. Ich weiß das zwar eigentlich in der Theorie, hab’ sogar andere schon berichtigt, aber das deutsche seit ist einfach zu stark in meinem Kopf :)

  10. I’m an English teacher, so I’ll let you know of any really terrible grammatical flubs ;) (Basically just stay away from semi-colons and you can’t mess up too terribly). Honestly, though, because you write the blog more as though you were speaking to readers face-to-face than lecturing in a highly proper textbook I have yet to come across anywhere that your writing or punctuation is confusing. I’m actually enjoying reading how you express yourself in English as much as I’m enjoying learning German – your words have a different cadence to them than an English native speakers’, and it’s neat to read.

    • A teacher, oh god, the pressure is on now :). But I hate semicolons. I find them superfluous… at least to me in German they are. Make a point if you want to make a point hahaha….. Seriously though, I am glad that there are no major fuck ups in there and it is nice to hear that it is an enjoyable read…. I am really really curious as to what the different cadence is… not that I would want to purge it, but being aware allows for switching it on and off to a degree…. anyway, thanks for your comment :)

      • I think a lot of it comes from the fact you usually don’t use contractions (‘I’m’ instead of ‘I am’) or where you say things a bit longer (and probably more properly) such as ‘there are no’ whereas a native speaker might more likely say ‘there aren’t any’. I definitely don’t think it’s a bad thing, though – we native speakers are awfully lazy speakers (which transfers to our typing) and it’s not necessarily a good thing, haha.

        • That’s interesting :)… my being a German native definitely shines through there… if you pay close attention, you can certainly pick up a lot about how it would be in German… for instance:

          “There aren’t any”… just doesn’t exist in German. We say “There are no” (using kein/e/r/n/m)

  11. Why the word “fuck” It seems to me that the word is used by many people to emphasize that they are contemporary or with it or sophisticated. I hate the word, and don’t understand why so many people seem to find the need to be coarse. The use of the word coarsens your otherwise outstanding remarks.

    • Hi Don,

      I do agree with what you say and I really try to stay away from “language”… my input is mostly DVDs and youtube so I get to hear fuck a whole lot in pretty much all contexts. So what goes in comes out :). However, I often catch myself writing fuck for emphasis and genuinity but then I remove it. Might be that some did slip my sensor though… if you refer to the fuck in “fuck-ups”, is that bad language, too?

  12. I just wanted to leave a comment, to let you know that for the past few months I have been reading every single one of your posts! I live in Montreal, Canada and have been learning German for almost a year now. Thanks so much for running this blog! :)

  13. I’m an Italian Foreign Languages student, and I just wanted to thank you for the amazing and useful work you’re doing. I’ve been learning German for a year and I can’t even yet formulate a phrase, your blog is really giving me three or four hands!

  14. Dear Emanuel, I came across your blog only recently. I want to thank you for your great blog because so far it has been greatly helpful to me and has introduced me to many useful German phrases as well as grammar rules. Would you be so kind and explain, in a future lesson, how to say “I want you to know that…” in German? (and ‘I need you to…’) Also I meant to ask you, what is your first language and how many languages can you read/write/speak? Thanks! :D

    • Hi Manni,
      thanks for your feedback. It is always great to hear that it helps people :).
      As for your question… since that would be a translation of an English expression I don’t really know how to frame it as a topic but I can give you a short answer:

      I want you to know… would literally be
      Ich will, dass du weißt…
      However, in many occasions Germans would use a different phrasing… “you should know”:
      Du solltest wissen….
      A variation of that is:
      Du musst wissen….
      which is a little more urgent maybe and thus a good match for “I need you to know…” and oh… for this (I need you to know) there is NO literal translation.
      Ich brauche dich zu wissen… is nonsense in German and noone would understand :)

      As for the languages… German is my mother tongue and English is my second language. I can also speak and write French, but not as fluent as English. I have a basic knowledge of Finnish and I was able to read and write in Finnish 4 years ago but I never managed to actually talk.
      And finally I was able to hold conversation in Italian and I can read it fairly quickly but I never use it so it will slowly go to sleep …

  15. Thanks so much for a great site! I love your style of writing and approach to teaching. I am American and honestly thought you were too, your English is amazing. Your article on adjective endings was awesome and hilarious. Such good advice! Please keep teaching us, I look forward to more words of day!

    • Ha then youtube has taught me well :)… honestly though, I am really incredibly vain when it comes to my English so your compliment made me grow about 2 inches and pad my shoulder for half an hour ;)

  16. This is great. Ich bin eine Austauschschulerin und ich wohne jetz in Deutschland fur ein jahr. Dein blog ist ganz toll! Ich kann noch nicht so gut Deutsch weil ich bin in deutschland seit nur 2 Monate. Dein blog ist seeehr nutzlich. Und du sprichst Englisch wirklich gut!
    Ich werde diesen Blog ab sofort benutzen!

    Woo! Korrigier mich bitter wenn du hast zeit. :) Und ich hab auch einen Blog auf WordPress uber mein austauschjahr hier in Deutschland. Du kannst das anschauen wenn do mochtest! :)

    • Also du hast ein paar Schreibfehler (bitte, du, möchtest / moechtest, jetzt, fuer, some words should be capitalized) aber sonst ist der Text ziemlich gut.

      Hier noch 2 andere Fehler:
      …, weil ich erst seit 2 Monaten in Deutschland bin (verb final because of weil, only as the opposite of already is erst … I have written about this so check it out:)
      … du sprichst wirklich gut Englisch. (Englisch sounds much better as the final word for reasons I don’t want to discuss right now … but I will when I talk about word order)
      Viel Spaß bei deinem Austauschjahr und viel Erfolg mit dem Lernen.

  17. hello bro! im german teacher in Turkey. You should a contact page.i’ll credit you in my website wwww.esakademi.com and you should create a pdf file of your all works if you’ve already done this let me to know where it is. I would also to share it on website. Take care!

  18. Gruesse aus Graz! I’d like to nominate you for the Liebster Blog Award! You’ll have to follow me back to my blog to pick up the questions that go with the nomination, but congratulations on being one of my (and doubtless many others) favorite reads! I always look forward to a new post :)

    • Oh cool… that sounds great :).

    • Hey so I read the rules on your blog and I fear I have to be a Spielverderber because I can’t follow them…
      I don’t really follow blogs (save 3, 2 of which I read occasionally and the last one hasn’t posted anything in 7 month)… so who would I nominate… and then where would I post the answers and the random things… I don’t want to make it an extra post since people get an Email whenever I post stuff and I feel kind of responsible to make sure it is what they signed up for… so basically I am being totally sceptical German about it :)

      • well goodness no need for all of that! This is a pretend universe, I am confident we can bend the rules as need be. Please put aside your natural cynicism, or at least re-direct it (I hear the OeBB could really use some improvement) and try to enjoy the moment ;) I promise not to tell anyone that you haven’t followed all of the rules, I didn’t either, if that makes you feel better. Just thought you deserved a thumbs up, you’re free to accept and play along as you wish!

        • hahaha… alright then I gratefully accept of course and I do appreciate it (just as I am happy to see your liking my posts all the time :)…. I added some random facts to my about page … but what is OeBB??

          • huzzah! The OeBB is the name of the train system here in Austria. While my only experience has been pleasant, I’ve heard many tales of misadventure from others. Apparently they could use a little more German organization ;)

          • Hah… I don’t know about that… S-Bahn in Berlin is a neverending story of failure and mismanagement with people waiting for 60 minutes in cold in the middle of the capital because… the doors were frozen and that is just one example. it is funny actually. At some point this year (in February I believe) they seriously did announce that they would finally return to their emergency schedule after… THEY HAD BEEN ON AN EMERGENCY EMERGENCY SCHEDULE for months with several lines completely without service :)

  19. I have a question.
    Why do people say.. “2 Tagen” or something similar when the plural of Tag is TagE.
    Wann benutzt man am ende “N”?

    • This is an ending for accusative case… In 2 Tagen is accusative and that’s where the n comes from. Most nouns don’t get such endings but unfortunately some do… I would say, just pick ’em up along the way based on flow… it is really frustrating to study those on purpose

  20. Vielen Dank für diesen Blog!! Ich komme aus den USA, und seit 2 Jahren unterrichte ich mich. Ich hatte ein bisschen Hilfe auf LiveMocha.com (FB für die Menschen, die eine neue Sprache lernen wollen). 2011 war ich 25 Tage in den “DACH” Länder, aber ich wusste nur ein bisschen Deutsch (ich sprach nur Deutsch in Europa. Es war für mich wichtig). Ich kenne eine Bekannte, die in Leipzig mit ihrem Mann lebt. Von Zeit zu Zeit kann ich mindestens mit ihr schreiben. Ich habe Die Presse app auf meinem iPhone, und ich kann täglich laut lesen. Ich habe eine sehr starke Empfehlung für zdf Videos (Heute Show, Bella Block, Tatort, Soko, Die Erde usw.) und arte.tv, wo man viele interessante Dokumentarfilme finden kann. Ich höre 1-2 Std. täglich zu, und es ist sehr gut für meine alte Ohren! Ich lese viele Bücher auch. Sie sind sehr gut für meine Vokabeln. Seit Februar finde ich fast 2000 neue Wörter, die ich einprägen will. Ich werde alles diese Wörter nicht sagen, aber ich werde sie hören. Patricia Koelle schreib sehr klar, und ich genieße ihre Bücher. Sabatina James (e.V.) schreib sehr gut Deutsch: Sterben sollst Du für Dein Glück und Nur die Wahrheit macht uns Frei. Sie hilft den Frauen, die unter Scharia leben muss. Jetzt schrieb ich manchmal in Deutsch auf FB, und ich muss sehr vorsichtig mit meinem Deutsch sein, um die dumme Fehler nicht zu machen (Regenbogen vs. Regenboden)!!!! Leider kann ich nicht mit jemandem sprechen, deshalb spreche ich mit der Luft, wenn ich laufe.
    Semicolons; These separate two independent clauses where you leave out the coordinate conjunction. I am really tired of studying; tomorrow I will do something else. You may use it in a list to separate major points, where you have commas in between: In Alaska, there are brown bears, which are very dangerous, and I try to avoid; wolverines, which I have seen twice, and that pound for pound are the most ferocious animal on the Earth; caribou; and wolves. It took me a long time to remove the comma after an adverb that began a sentence, because we always put one in. Likewise, starting a sentence with a year number is something we just don’t do in English. The main thing is not to argue with the language but accept it for what it is.

    Your English is great. Weiter so. One minor thing that most Americans miss–all right is two words. I like your style, and I will be coming back.
    Mike Smith AKA Boreal Blog

    • Hey Mike, tausend dank für deinen langen, schönen Kommentar. Ich habe mich sehr darüber gefreut :). Dein Deutsch ist schon ziemlich gut… man merkt zwar manchmal schon noch, was deine Muttersprache ist aber das ist überhaupt nicht schlimm… ausserdem, so motiviert wie du bist, bist du bestimmt bald perfekt. 2000 neue Wörter… das ist soooo viel. Das ist auf jeden Fall genug um dich normal zu unterhalten.
      Ich stimme dir auch zu, was die Sprachen angeht… die sind halt einfach so wie sie sind und man muss das so hinnehmen… Deutsch und Englisch sind ja quasi noch Zwillinge im Vergleich zu manchen Sprachen der Indianer (native americans). Das sind völlig andere Welten…. viel Spaß auf jeden Fall beim lernen und Deutsch lesen und ich hoffe du findest hier auf dem Blog noch was, was dich weiterbringt. Gruss und frohes neues Jahr über den Teich…

  21. Hey Emanuel,

    Danke schön fur diese nützliche Site! Ich lerne Deutsch in meiner Freizeit und habe auch Deutsche Freunde mit wem ich oft Deutsch schreibe und die mir auch dabei helfen. Aber deine Posts haben mir auch bestimmt sehr viel geholfen und manche Sachen sehr gut erklärt! Es würde mich freuen (kommt dir das bekannt vor? :) ), wenn du mal etwas über das Wort “schon” schreiben könntest. Ich weiß “schon” das einer der Bedeutungen “already” ist aber ich verstehe noch nicht genau was das Wort in anderen Fällen heißt. Zum beispiel: “das ist schon okay” oder “glaub ich schon”. Es hat den Anschein dass man in diesen Fällen auch das Wort “wohl” benützen kann aber ich bin mir da nich ganz sicher. Auf jeden Fall, vielen dank ! :)

    • Hey Jurgen, freut mich, dass du die Seite hier hilfreich findest :). Dein Deutsch ist schon ziemlich gut … dickes Kompliment! Schon steht schon auf der Liste… und es ist nicht wirklich dasselbe wie wohl… aber keine Sorge; wohl kommt auch bald dran

      • Hey Emanuel,

        Schön dass schon und wohl noch dran kommen. Ich warte dann mal geduldig ab! :) Ich habe übrigens noch eine andere Frage (vielleicht kannst du mir das hier erklären wenn es nicht zu schwierig ist?). Ich frage mich was man damit meint wenn sie “ja” in der Mitte eines Satzes verwenden? Ist das einfach eine Verstärkung der Aussage oder hat es wirklich eine Bedeutung? Vielen dank im voraus!

        • Ja, das ist eine Art Verstärkung… oder besser eine Bestätigung. Es ist ein bisschen so wie doch, aber ohne die Erwartung einer Bestätigung (ja does not seek affirmation the way doch does, ja has more self confidence)
          Aber es ist nicht so, dass ja alles super stark und entschlossen klingen lässt… wie bei vielen anderen Partikeln auch klingt es auf jeden Fall “casual”,
          es ist auf keinen Fall die Art von Verstärkung, die “I did do that” ist…. nicht mal annähernd.

  22. Hi Emanuel, I am Sonia.I am from India. I have been learning German for the past 4 Years.And I am in love with it. But I must admit, it is really difficult. I just feel there is still a looooong way for me to go, as far as German is concerned. But I am determined. And I find your Blog really helpful. It is funny and very innovative. Thanks a lot for helping all of us out with the language.

    • Hey Sonia, thanks for your comment… Just keep going and try to read a lot in German… reading really helps. And keep in mind that German and Indian are related languages as crazy as it sounds :)…

  23. Hallo Emanuel,

    Ich habe Deutsch gelernt, vor 45 Jahren als ich in der Uni war. Ich versuche jetzt mein Deustch zu verbessern. Ich habe dein Blog neulich gefunden und muß sagen dass es sehr sehr nützlich und interessant ist. Vielen Dank.

  24. Hallo Emanuel,
    Ich liebe Deutsch aber jetzt mein Deutsch ist sehr sechlect und ich habe nur ein bisshen Deutsch. Aber ich mochte besser Deutsch lernen. Ich habe eine Idee für Deutsch Intensive Kurz aber ich weise nicht wo kann ich das nehmen.
    Let’s talk in English. Your blog is great, German is easy,wow, what a nice term to use. I live in Switzerland and want to learn German but the routine German courses do not attract me at all. These courses are too expensive and too slow. I want to get A1.1 and A1.2 in shortest possible time. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks and till then take care

    • I’d say just learn a lot of vocabulary (especially verb) and once you are ok start reading… there are plenty of easy language books (mostly crime stories for some reason)… initially it will be hard because you will see tons of new words but as you read on it will be less and less and that helps you build a basic vocab for the every day. Then, also, read out loud. That will train your “speech muscles” and your brain will learn correct German sentences and forms (like the ge-forms) on the fly.
      If you want to be able to talk quickly, I think a 3 weeks intensive course is the best choice because you will just be forced to say stuff. But if you are ok with a somewhat slower but more sustainable build up than learn words and read :)… and don’t do too much online. Use a paper and a pen and a real book. Being online will distract you…

  25. Learning vocabulary through reading has made a huge difference in my ability to comprehend German videos. There are scores of good documentaries, serials, news, etc. that make you hear the flow of the language. I guessed on books and found Patricia Koelle really good. If you like crime stuff, Verbrecher and Schuld by von Schirach are good, too. After awhile, you start seeing patterns and roots of words. Documentaries where they are translating into German are perhaps the easiest to understand. I am amazed at the grammar I pick up, but it is the vocabulary that allows you to understand the gist of what is going on. I totally agree with reading aloud, especially getting -ei and -ie right. Read aloud, read silently, then look up everything you don’t know. And memorize. Oh–read this blog. The nuances are superb. For adjective endings, the U of Mich German site has a really nice way of teaching it. But it was on this blog where I learned why that saying anything was better than nothing!!

  26. thanks a lot, sounds nice
    I have another idea regarding learning German in the fastest way: one month of EXTRA SUPER INTENSIVE COURSE. In one month a student has to deal with the target language from all angles, reading, writing, listening and speaking.
    The course is designed to have B1.2 of German which means, covering basic grammar(cases like nominaive, akkusative, dative; tenses; verb conjugatons; nouns; pronouns, articles mastering tips etc). After basic exposure to grammatical items, main focus will be on pracitce.
    A teacher will focus only on one student at a time, even homework which a student needs to do is under a teacher’s supervision which means ensurly maximum learning in a minimum time, and confirming that a student may not get distracted in other activities.
    On a daily level, a student’s perfomance is checked, and his/her speaking is recorded in order to show the difference in the end of the course.
    Teaching target language in a student’s mother tongue is also one of the techniques of this course, especially vocabulary, so that the new words may get real clarity.
    I am very passionate about it but not getting a full dedicated teacher who can provide full attention. May be online teachers can help. Any suggestions.
    thanks a lot

    • Wow, that sounds pretty intense… I am sure such a course exists but I am also sure that it is SUPER-expansive. And I am not so sure about the constant assessment. Anyway, I wish I could tell you that this and that person does such a thing online but honestly, I don’t know very many online teachers to begin with. I did a quick Google search and this looks alright : http://www.learn-german-via-skype.com/language_levels_of_the_common_european_framework_of_reference.htm#b1

      But they talk about 80 lessons for each level of the European level thing and 10 lesson would cost 350 and 50 lessons an insane 2000 €.
      In either case… you need to have some patience though. As in sports you will plateau, no matter how hard you try. Stuff needs time to sink in and there might be days where you just CAN’T focus anymore. If you want maximum success, then go to a German speaking city and refrain from English or any other language completely… even in your free time. So no Emails no Facebook and so on… this is something Benny from Fluentin3months suggested and I think this helps a great deal
      Good luck anyway and if you find something, please share it with us here :)

  27. Thanks a lot. I know it is super expensive but if we judge it critically then perhaps it is not that much, I mean the normal course in regular language schools will take CHF 700 for one level, if I wana do till B.1.2 then it has (A1.1, A1.2, A 2.1, A2.2, B1.1, B1.2) 6 levels, so 700 X 6 = 4200. This is horrible, not only because of terrible charges but also because it will cost like 2 years, one level is in like 3 months, so 6 levels in one and a half years roughly speaking, the teaching process is so slow that I will wish to kill myself instead of dragging with German. The link you sent is better than info I got, but ya you are right it is so very expensive. I still have an idea to go for this Extra Super Intensive Course but right now university study in English is killing all my time. I will surely share the final course and details with you all. Till the take care and yes your blog is Extra helpful. God bless. bye

  28. Guten Tag Emanuel,

    Ich bin aus Israel ,36 yare.
    Ich lernen Deutsch alein.
    Ich denke das ihre Blog ist toll!!
    Ich auch liebe Katze

    Do you are in Facebook too?
    I wish you all the best

    • Hey Roy, danke für den netten Comment. Ja ich bin auch bei Facebook, aber ich mache da nichts ausser die Posts einmal posten… allein lernen ist gut und auch sehr billig :) (Ich habe auch alles was ich so weiß meist allein gelernt)
      Viel Erfolg !!

  29. I love your blog…! …because I love grammar! All online courses are focused on learning how to speak… but I don’t care! I wanna speak properly and know WHY there is an ending and not another one. :)
    Greetings from Pisa, Italy (but soon in Austria)

  30. I need to ask for a favour. Do you have an email address I could contact?

  31. I can’t get this thing about your age. So you are 32 or what? How then you could be 54 when you arrived in Finland? And what the thing about 72 years of teaching experience?
    I think that it is just me not getting something pretty logical because of my bad English… Yet I just can’t understand it.

  32. Hello, I found recently your blogand I want to say thank you for posting these interesting things here. I am living in Germany for some months, but because of my job, I didn’t have the posibility to improve it and to understand some of the ideas from the gramatical parts.
    Continue posting , so we can learn more.:))) I like that you explain every detail, that maybe in some of the “Learn German” books are described as they should be. Thanks a lot one more time!

  33. Hi Emanuel! I’ve started my German adventure a few weeks ago. I always have lots of fun reading your blog and I have to say I am really learning lots of things without pulling my hair out. I’m enjoying each and every single post of yours so I was wondering if there is a way to access your older posts. I wonder how much nice stuff is there. How do I get there? The “word of the day” link only shows the most recent ones. Please help and by the way great job!

    • Hi Paola, thanks a lot for that nice comment :).
      The Word of the Day section should actually have links to all the words I have done so far… having read your comment, I did a count and I think I missed about 10 or 12 so I will sift through all of the articles (104 in total) to see which ones are missing.
      Anyway… most of them should be there though (about 78), if they’re not then let me know or if you can’t see them for some reason… let me know please and I’ll look into it….

  34. HI again and thank you a lot for your quick reply. Let me tell you what happened. Just yesterday I got a Schnupfen so I was googling for Schnupfen related words and I found a link to your website. As you can see Schnupfen is not on the “word of the day” list so I was just wondering if there is a way to access those precious “hidden” gems. I do see the about 78 words on the list though. So..is there a link from where I can access the stealth mode words?:)

    • oooohhhh… I had absolutely forgotten that I have done a post on Schnupfen :)… see, I had one at the time of the article so that is one of the words I forgot to add. I will look through my list tonight and add whatever is missing but it won’t be many… however, if you have a word that is part of one I have an article about or it looks like it comes from a verb or something, then just check out the post on the “base”-word. Anyway… ich wünsch’ dir GUTE BESSERUNG :)

    • So I did the count now and turns out the ONLY one missing was in fact Schnupfen… glad you found it and sorry that there isn’t more… I know finding treasures is fun, maybe I should rotate the ones on the page a little :)

  35. Great great blog posts! Very usefull and even entertaining. Thank you!

  36. Great blog!!!! I have been studying (self) for about 6 months now and my main problem is remember the articles and plurals. Have you written any “Words of Wisdom” on the subject? Thanks for helping everyone out!! – Tim

  37. Hi! Maybe you can explain to me the phrase “Mir läuft die Zeit davon”. I know what it means, but I don’t get why. Like..what’s the direct translation?… Time is running away from me? or something like that????

    • exactly :)… time is running away from me is a pretty good translation… and to me the meaning it has makes sense… like… you don’t have much time left because it is constantly running away so you are in a hurry to do whatever you want to do…

  38. Hallo Emanuel, thanks a lot for your wonderful website. That really made my day since I was stuck with those German grammar points for a while. Here I still have two questions, I hope you can help me find the answers.
    1 In German language there is also an expression “preposition+einander”. For instance, miteinander+verb.
    I feel a bit confused as I could find the difference from reflexive verbs.
    2 Can you help me with a group of German prefix, heraus, herunter…these quite “long” prefix mostly with her- hin-.
    Thanks very much in advance!!

    • Hey William, thanks for your nice comment :). Always glad to read that. As for your questions:
      1) just think of it as prepp + one another

      miteinander spielen – play with one another
      voneinander lernen – learn from one another
      in einander verlieben – fall in love with one another

      I probably won’t make sense ALL the time but most of the time it should do the job. Also, another and einander are really closely related. Just check the sound when you mumble it :)


      Well, prefixes are a huge huge topic and I am not sure if I can help you out that quick. But those ones are relatively easy as their meaning is pretty clear cut. Once you understand what “heraus” means then you know what herauskommen, herausgeben etc means too. It is not as vague as stuff like “ver” or “auf”. Hope that helps at least a little bit :)

      • Hey Emanuel, thanks for your help. Is it possible to replace for instance miteinander unterhalten with sich unterhalten?

        • Not really because the sich-part is also part of the miteinander part…. it is a double reflexive if you will…

          – Sie unterhalten sich.
          – They are talking/chatting.

          Here, it is not said with whom they are talking. The sich will be inferred by the listener.

          – Sie unterhalten sich mit den Spielern.
          – They talk with the players.

          This is clear. The sich needs to be there because the verb in sense of to talk is always self referential.

          – Sie unterhalten sich miteinander.
          – They are talking with one another.

          The sich comes from sich unterhalten and will be there regardless of who is talking to who. The miteindander is just a specification that they are talking within the group. So don’t think of miteinander as a kind of reflexive pronoun… it is a prepositional phrase. Einander alone would be a pronoun and that could maybe here and there replace a sich… but that would be a bit too much for now :) hope that helps

  39. Vielen vielen Dank!!!!!

  40. Hallo Emanuel! Ich bin Juan Cruz, aus Argentinien, ich kann Deutsch, ein bisschen! Jetzt schreibe ich einen Brief, nur um zu praktizieren und ich erinnerte mich nicht wenn ich soll “wenn” oder “ob” verwenden! Und ich habe diese Seite gefunden, ich habe dein Erklärung gelesen und…ich habe viel gelacht und viel gelernt jajajajajaja (das ist ein Lache in Argentinien jajajaja) vielen Dank! Ich werde komm hier jedes mal ich brauche ein paar Erklärung!

    Un abrazo grande loco!!!

    • DANKE!!! Ich hab’ zur Zeit zwei Schüler aus Argentinien und ich mag den Akzent sehr :)
      Viel Erfolg und viel Spaß noch beim Lernen


      abrazo ist…. Umarmung vom verb umarmen…. das ist das untrennbare um… “to arm around ” wenn man so will :D

      • Wirklich? Genial! jajaja wie sagst du “cool” dort? Ist dort “usable”? Ich erinnere mich nicht wer hat mir gesagt dass “dort” ist nicht verwertbar!
        Danke schön :D Ich liebe Deutsch und ich liebe Spass haben, immer, und während ich lerne jajaja ich studiere Medizin hier und vielleicht könnte ich in ein paar Jahren nach Deutschland gehen, nach Rostock Uni, aber ich habe Deutsch anfangen nur denn ich liebe es, ich habe es wegen Rammstein und Oomph! bekannt. Ich hasse hören etwas und weiss nicht was bedeutet jajajaja und die Aussprache…sehr gut!!. Gefällt dir unser Akzent während wir Deutsch sprechen oder während wir unsere Sprache sprechen? Das ist sehr wichtig… wenn Deutsche Mädchen wird mein Akzent lieben, ich muss weiss. Vor und Nachteile… jajajajaja. Unser Lachen muss sehr seltsam für dich um zu lesen sein! “yes yes yes yes yes” jajajaja
        Ich wusste nicht dass umarmen untrennbare ist…ich habe es einmal verwenden, sicherlich…falsch.

        Ich habe andere Frage, heute, in ein paar Stunden, ich muss…mmm nach das Krankenhaus gehen, ok? Aber ich muss dort bleiben, um zu Leute sehen. Wie sagst du “patient” und die aktion des “patients” überprüfen und “diagnose”? diagnose? Und wie heisst du der Ort wo unfallbeschädigt (ich musste das suchen!) Leute gehen? Notaufnahme? Sag ich “Heute hab ich Notaufnahme”? Und…verwenden sie “ß”? Mein Lehrer hat uns gesagt dass ist besser ob wir verwenden es nicht.

        Ok, das war nicht nur eine Frage, sie wären wie…8 (?, entschuldigung!

        • Hehe, ja die Frauen erden deinen Akzent mit Sicherheit total knuffig(niedlich) finden :)… zu deinen Fragen:

          1) dort…. dort kannst du vewenden aber da ist meistens besser. Wenn du die Deixis im Dialog mit mir verwenden willst wird es aber schwierig, denn für mich ist dort nicht “hier” … deshalb würde man sagen: “Wie sagst du ‘cool’ da/dort bei dir?”

          2) Ich muss ins Krankenhaus gehen. Die Leute heißen Patient(en)… die examination weiß ich nicht genau “besuchen, sehen” sind mehr für das Treffen “untersuchen” ist “to examine”. DIe Diagnose gibt es aber auch in Deutsch. Die stellt man. “Der Arzt stellt eine Diagnose”. Notaufnahme ist richtig…. ob man sagt “Ich hab’ Notaufnahme”…. hmmm keine Ahnung aber vielleicht so als Notarzt-Slang… Ich glaube man ürde eher sagen “Heute bin ich in der Notaufnahme”…

          und ß… ja, ich nehme es oft und manchmal muss man es wohl auch noch nehmen, aber mach dir da nicht zu viele Gedanken. Da kennen auch die Deutschen die Regeln nicht mehr so genau :)

          viele Grüsse aus Berlin

  41. Hey Emanuel, thanks for creating this blog. I am Edwin from Singapore, and am trying to learn German on my own right now. The blog is amazing and answers so many questions that I have. I will be coming to Berlin in July to learn German for 4 months. Perhaps I could buy you a beer then. For making my learning so much easier.


    • cool, glad to hear that this helps and as for the beer: sure, count me in :)… just send me a quick mail when you’re here and we’ll catch up. Viel Spaß beim lernen und vielleicht bis Juli

  42. Because you love Yawning, i had to share this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9vztQ7Z9sQ :)

  43. Hallo! Ich bin eine italienische Studentin. Ich habe deinen Blog wirklich toll gefunden! Der hat mir viel geholfen, weil man viele Sachen hier finden kann, die in Deutschbüchern einfach nicht gibt… vielen Dank! Aber ich habe zwei Fragen für dich:
    1) Wirst du irgendwann einen Post über “ja” oder “wohl” machen? Die sind Wörter, die ich noch nicht ganz verstanden habe :P
    2) Könntest du bitte meine Fehler korrigieren? Ich bin mir ganz sicher, dass ich zumindest 5 oder 6 davon gemacht habe, aber das möchte ich genauer wissen xD
    Danke im Voraus!

    • Danke für den netten Kommentar :)… und ja! Ich werde auf jeden Fall was über “ja” und über “wohl” schreiben. Ich eiß nur noch nicht genau wann.
      Dein Deutsch ist schon ziemlich ziemlich gut und da hast fast keine Fehler.Hier mal die Korrektur:

      – Ich habe deinen Blog toll gefunden.

      Vergangenheit hier impliziert, dass du den Blog nicht mehr gut findest. Daher würde man sagen. “Ich finde deinen Blog toll.”

      – …, weil man [hier] viele Sachen hier finden kann, die in [es] in Deutschbüchern…

      Das “hier” sollte vor “viele Sachen” denn es ist weniger interessant und relevant als Sachen und es ist ein Pronomen. Und dann hat das “es” gefehlt von “es gibt” :).

      Und das war’s schon… also nur 2 kleine Mini-Fehler :)

  44. ja? wie schön! aber lass dir so viel Zeit, wie du brauchst! es eilt nicht xD
    eigentlich bin ich ein bisschen erstaunt, weil meine Deutschlehrerin mir immer gesagt hat, zum Beispiel, “wie hast du den Film gefunden?”. Also, ist das inkorrekt?

    • ne… für Film ist es ok, denn der Film ist zuende. Der Blog ist aber quasi immer “an”. Wenn du alle Artikel gelesen hast und keine neuen mehr kommen, dann kannst du auch sagen “Der hat mir gefallen”… so wie für ein Buch… bei einem Buch geht beides. Ich hoffe das macht Sinn :)

  45. naja…. vielleicht! also noch mal, danke schön für deine Hilfe! Tschüss! :))

  46. Hi there! I´ve just discovered your blog and after 2 days of reading, I´m hooked! Any chance you add a conditional blog? It´s my biggest problem in German and just can´t get my head around werden, würden, wäre, hätte, …… arghhhhhhhh!!!!! Das wäre schön ;-) Rachel

    • Thanks for the nice feedback …. and worry no more! I will definitely do conditional :)… I have done a short version in a commet a while ago and I explained it to 3 people recently so the thing is pretty fleshed out so maybe within the next 4 weeks… part 1 that is :)

  47. I just thought I should start following your blog! I am one of those who struggle with German… with ups and downs but successfully. Just posted an entry myself how to say I miss you in German. I just love your main statement that German is easy! BTW in case you want to learn some Lithuanian please let me know! ;)

    • Cool, thanks for following… and great that you can sort of agree with my statement because I really think it is… it is just a pain in the beginning and in addition to the weird structure and all the prefix-madness courses and books always throw the cases at people right when they start and that scares them. And Lithuanian… that is weird because I have been comment chatting with another person from Lithuania on this blog just last week…. is that a sign I should start it ?? :D

  48. Hi Emanuel,
    I have something I want to send you by email but can’t find your address anywhere, maybe I’m missing it. Could you please send me an email so I will have your address and can send it to you? By the way, I don’t speak German, but I’m a fellow cat lover and was charmed by your site, especially the intellectual German cat above.
    thanks, Lynn

  49. First of all, your content is wonderful and extremely instructive. Also, you put the stereotype, that Germans (or speakers of German at least) have no sense of humor, to rest. As a native English speaker, I must say you know how to curse and use bad words perfectly, and to comic effect.

    Quick question though.

    How is it you are 32 years old, have taught German for 72 years, and have lived in Finland at the age of 54?
    I’m sure ( I hope) its a typo.

    Vielen Dank für deinen Blog

  50. Hi,

    First, i would like to thank you very much because of all the posts you’ve done and helped me very much and say that your blog is very nice (one of the bests i’ve seen). I would like to ask you something that i’ve searched through the whole internet and i’ve found nothing…. How could i say “i used to” or “i’m used to + ing” in German? I saw that it was translated as “Früher” as in “I used to go to the theater”, “Früher habe ich ins Kino gegangen”. Is that correct? (i think this question might be posted as word of the day or something…)

    Anyway, thanks in advance and congragulations!!!

    • Hey Pietro,

      thanks for your nice comment :) … as for your question,
      you have to make a distinction between “I used to” and “I’m used to”. They look very similar but those 2 phrases are fundamentally different.
      The translation with “früher” is for “I used to” and it is fine except that you should use “ich bin” instead of “Ich habe”… because “gehen” is a movement and it needs “sein”. Anyway, you can use other words instead of früher… in fact you can use pretty much any time indication so long as it is pointing to the past… in fact even local information is possible to an extend

      – Damals, da, als ich in der Schule war, in Barcelona

      But I think to really catch the original meaning you need to insert an “immer”.
      Strangely enough I have talked about this and about “I’m used to” in the most recent post so here’s the link :):


  51. I’m always told that when learning German nouns it’s best to learn their gender at the same time – yet in a lot of exercises I come across a lot of vocabulary nouns where there is no gender listed! I have a small Collins German-English dictionary that helps me look up some noun genders, but it’s just travel-sized and not meant to be exhaustive. Is there a good online dictionary I can use?

    Also, with compound nouns: do they follow any rule about which part’s gender they take? For example, Beispielsatz: das Beispiel + der Satz. Are compound nouns gendered by the first word? The second word? Or do they take their own gender altogether?

    • Is it possible that you have asked that question in the forum already :)? Anyway… so here are the 3 dictionaries I use:


      The first 2 are very comprehensive but often leave you with a dozen translations. Pons has some examples and annotation and the words are in groups. All of them indicate the gender in some way.
      As for your second question… GOOD NEWS… they ALWAYS take the gender of the second word. So you basically only have to learn the gender of second wor.. wait… that doesn’t make sense ;)

  52. Not sure if you did this on purpose, but you spelled random wrong in the “10 rndaom facts about me”. If it is supposed to be that way then my apologies.
    Have a nice day :D

  53. Hi Emanuel,

    I like your blog and appreciate your helping those of us who want to learn German. I was wondering if you had any advice to those of us who want to learn German about what you feel really helps. I’m ashamed to say I have lived in Germany since 2004 and know very little. It isn’t for lack of trying but I keep losing focus. Husband is civilian and affiliated with the military so its been easy to converse in English even though we live on the economy. We have German friends but I simply don’t hear enough German on a day to day basis to pick it up. I now have a private teacher that I meet with twice a week for 1 1/2 hours and I feel like I am getting nowhere. The problem is I keep jumping from one thing to the next because I don’t feel like anything is helping. I study vocabulary (have used Anki…..boring) and then it means nothing to me when heard in another context. I watch German movies but they are meaningless when I can’t understand them. I can’t spend more than 1 hour per day and I have no clue what to do in that hour which is the best use of my time. I have a book that I was working out of called the Delfin but it got boring. I’ve tried the LACE Method (Language Acquisition for Cross Cultural Effectiveness) which puts the student in charge and uses a Language helper and involves different activities and suggestions. I do like this method as I can pick and choose things to do with my language helper but it does involve some preparation.

    Here I am years later and I might be able to conjugate a verb but when I try and think of what to respond to a German with, I don’t have a clue. When I hear it, it STILL sounds like blah, blah blah with a word here and there that I recognize. I have trouble distinguishing the sounds. Maybe I’m just not that bright. I haven’t looked at it in two weeks since my German teacher has been on vacation because I keep losing motivation.

    After this whiny post, do you have any suggestions for someone like me on the best way to proceed? I need some kind of structure and I need to see some progress like my fitness program when I start with light weights and see that I am able to increase weights at intervals. Right now I feel like a ship without a rudder.

    Any help would be much appreciated. I feel like I have ADHD whenever I try to figure out what materials or methods I should use. Thank you, Bonnie

    • Hey Bonnie, that really sounds like a hard struggle :D but let me tell you… I am sure that you’re not alone. Berlin is full of people who have been living here for a decade and they don’t speak German because there is no real urge to do it.
      That does not mean that I’m telling you to just stop :)
      For one thing… being bright or not has nothing to do with i I think. There are just things that won’t sink in. When I was in school I was really good at maths and physics but chemistry was a nightmare. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around it.Everyone has things he or she can pick up easier and other things that seem to evade the grasp… but not so much because of talent… I think it’s mainly a question of access. You need a key that unlocks a particular field. See, I used to be really good in chemistry right when we started. But then a new teacher came, she sucked, I started to suck too. And 2 years later I had no foundation to build upon and so here I am.But if there was some need for me to learn chemistry I am positive I could do it. I believe that any human can learn pretty much anything so long as it is properly explained and even more important, he or she wants to learn it. Well… maybe not rocket science but language isn’t rocket science. And you’ve learned one before. You native language.
      Now, you do sound as if you’re genuinely interested about learning or being able to speak German. However, I think that you’re not too enthusiastic about the process of getting there. I think it feels like a chore to you… learning a language shouldn’t be a chore… after all… it takes too long. What chore takes more than a day to finish, after all? So… you I think one step would be for you to really ask yourself “Do I want to learn it or do I just feel obliged to do it somehow?” and if it’s the latter, then you should maybe stop for now. Who knows. Maybe saying “Screw it.” will relieve some sort of pressure and you’ll find that you are actually really curious about it. But maybe you already are really intrinsically motivated to learn it… well… you’ll just have to find the key then… and as it seems all the programs and lessons ad methods you’ve tried aren’t working. My advice would be this: read! No grammar book, no text book but just a beginners book. You can find plenty on Amazon. They are short stories written in simple German. Then take a notebook ( a paper one) and write down ALL the words you don’t know. Just write them down, without pressuring yourself to learn them. Just write them down and look them up and if you look up the same word 10 times… well at some point it will stick. If you think “Man… I have looked this word up 10 times already, I’m sure and yet I can’t make sense of it”… well guess what, you’ve made progress because you remember the word … at least to some extend. And it will stick eventually. So… I’d say just read. Work with the book and then read the next one. If you’re into poetry you might also find joy in reading poems… they might not provide you with the most useful vocab but maybe you’ll see that you can actually remember words as random as they may be.
      So once again… don’t do online exercises or online vocabulary training or stuff like that. Turn the computer off, take a book a pen, a paper and a dictionary and then dive into for half an hour… it’s hard at first but 20 pages into a book there won’t be as many new words as in the beginning.
      And don’t pressure yourself with the hearing or speaking… it is totally fine to just spent time with the language in writing for half a year. You will naturally get to speaking when you’re ready for it. And science has proven that reading is very crucial for the ability to speak properly. Children who don’t read a lot will have not as good as an ability to speak as those who read a lot. Reading is good, books are incredibly patient and you are out of danger to get distracted by the ever distracting internet/computer. I speak fairly good French and my Italian, while kind of basic, is not disappearing even despite my doing nothing for more than 4 years now. And I owe all that to just simply reading.
      But to be honest… that’s just me and this is the advice I give to everyone :)
      But try to stop seeing it as a chore… if you’re into knitting then look at it as this really complex piece of clothing you want to do… or if you like gardening… well plants don’t grow within a day… you have to sow them, water them, take care of them… and yet people find joy in gardening. So why not find joy in exploring German :)

  54. I am almost completely self taught in the US. Yes, I went to Europe in 2011, after finishing both Rosetta Stone and LiveMocha. The latter said I was fluent, and a Language Trainers group said I was B1 after 6 weeks. I knew I wasn’t, and I was probably A2 when I went to Europe. I have pushed myself to B1 through the following:
    1. When I was in public in Europe, I spoke only German. If people answered me in English, I still spoke German.
    2. I try to have PenPals. I finally have one. She even calls me on the phone. We speak in two languages, which is exactly what happens here with Spanish speakers.
    2. I read books and looked up every word I didn’t know. I have over 4000 words on various lists, which I memorize no more than an hour a day. That boosted my vocabulary from 1000 to 3500-4000. Suddenly, the crime videos I watched started making sense, as well as the “Herzkino” films, where they often speak slower.
    3. German is not taught well. Period. Find a verb book and start memorizing prefix verbs, separable and inseparable. Germans use these all the time, and if you start learning them, you pick up a lot of verbs that you simply cannot figure out with the prefix (umbringen=to kill, for example). Also, German teachers do not emphasize reflexive verbs and their importance: ich frage=I ask ich frage mich=I wonder. übergeben=many meanings, including to transmit; sich übergeben — ich übergebe mich=I barf. Reflexive verbs matter. Also, like English, a lot of words have different meanings, and prefix verbs do, too. Learn what you can. I am amazed that only a few are taught. One program had a list of about 10 for “lassen”. I know 20, and they are all useful. The list of 10 mixed separable and inseparable. That was crazy. There are verbs that have both forms–umgehen on this blog was well explained.
    4. Every noun you learn must be learned with gender and plural. I was stunned that Rosetta Stone didn’t do this.
    5. Learn adjectives and adverbs, as many as you can. That is where “Learn German in 6 weeks falls apart”. You can learn 500 words and speak, but until you know 5000, you can’t understand. I am again stunned that this is not mentioned by people.
    6. Regardless of what people say, learning to become fluent is damn hard work, requires a lot of time, but can be done. You are surrounded by a sea of German. Force yourself to watch TV, listen to the radio, and talk in German, and you can learn it.
    7. While I love this blog, I stop reading any flavoring particle that “makes me sound more German”. I don’t need that, and I am picking up the “oder?” from the videos I watch.

    If I ever become fluent, it will be because of myself, not anybody else. I’m sure there are good teachers out there, but I have yet to find one that teaches the way I teach English, math, science, astronomy, or anything else I teach. I explain, I explain in a different way, I reinforce, I don’t assume people are stupid, and I expect a lot of work from both sides.

    Oh yeah, while I will argue with teachers, I never argue with what a language does or why. German just is. I love the language, and even the TV shows that are really bad plot-wise can have great German. Bergretter, Landarzt, Küstenwache, and the Sokos are good. Bella Block movies are superb. Hannelore speaks well. If the movie takes place in Bayern, try something else. Austrian is OK. Avoid Swiss. zdf.de is a source of videos, and it makes German a lot more fun, once you know the characters in a weekly soap. Eventually the plot comes, and occasionally I understand the whole damn thing. That is too cool for words. For books: no children’s books. You are an adult. Patricia Koelle has great books–she is American born but lives in Germany. The books are uplifting, well written, and a great source of vocabulary.

    Good luck. My cousin lived in France for 50 years and didn’t speak French. You have a wonderful opportunity, but it comes with a cost: a lot of hard work. There is no easy way to learn a language, short of being young (I will be on Medicare in 8 weeks) or living in the country for an extended period of time.

  55. Thank you Emanuel and Mike for taking the time for such a thorough reply. You are correct Emanuel. I don’t like the process. When I workout, I see progress over time and have a notebook where I see where I began and where I am now. Here I am years later and while I know I obviously have progressed some, I don’t seem to have any direction or know the steps to get there. What happens is that I am very sporadic in what I do, not devoting enough time to any one thing to make any progress. It probably didn’t help to listen to all the language learning tips out there because it has thoroughly confused me.

    I do have some German Readers coming to me and I’m going to look for a few books on Amazon. I found a couple of crime stories that might interest me. I think just reading is a good idea but I definitely need to listen a whole lot more. Right now, I can’t distinguish words unless I see them written. The person might say some words that I am familiar with but I don’t “hear” the words until I see them visually and then I’m like oh that’s what they said. I don’t hear the sounds. I’m just wondering if listening to things like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for example,(I have this) in German with German subtitles is helpful even if I don’t understand it. Maybe I will notice things more and more as I listen. Right now I have been listening to a German comedy on you tube and there might be a word in every other sentence that I don’t know. I always pause and look up but this interferes with the enjoyment of listening. Steve Kaufmann of LingQ won’t do this. He says he won’t do anything that he doesn’t want to do including flashcards, textbooks, fill in the blanks, etc. I guess I’m trying to find out what works for me.

    I do like reading. Mike said no children’s books but I have several at home that I need to look at. If I can’t read a simple children’s book, I don’t see what sense it would make to progress to adult books. It’s one thing not to know a few words but another to not understand 97%. It’s not enjoyable to go through text like that. I found a site where I can download free stories such as Grimm’s Fairy tales with the text.

    I agree Mike to study the gender with the noun, adjectives, adverbs etc. but I think for me to just study isn’t working. It becomes a chore as you stated Emanuel. The vocabulary just become isolated words and are meaningless. For example, if I learn the word for book and I don’t use it in everyday conversation, why would it stick? I speak English in my family. If I knew how to easily say I really liked the book I’ve been reading and just needed to know the one word (buch) then I would simply ask what the German word is and insert it and that would be that but I don’t know how to even set up the sentences. I can go anywhere and say Ich möchte (insert what I want) but anything more complex or what is known as normal conversation where I want/need to say more…..well forget it. I’ve also met the occasional American who never picked up the first book or took the first class and speak it well. I can never quite get out of them how they learned It but none of them strike me as some sort of genius.

    Emanuel, do you suggest I put a limit per day on the number of vocabulary words I write down? How often should I review the words that I write down? Sounds like something similar the Goldlit method. Your recommendation is a regular notebook vs. something like Anki? I also use Deutsch Welle and am listening to Warum nicht but I don’t do any of the exercises at he end. I just listen and read the transcript. They have a wealth of information on there.

    What is your opinion on listening to stories or ipods online with a transcript? My biggest issue is knowing what I am doing will give me results. I know that if I work out hard and take less calories in then I expend, I will lose weight. I’m afraid of finding out that 1 year from now, the things I have been doing haven’t helped me at all and I hate, hate, hate wasting my time I suspect that I need to learn like children do. They didn’t study their native language.

    My last question is do you have any recommendations on how to best use my teacher for the 3 hours per week that she comes?

    Thanks again to you and Mike for your helpful advice. I am very willing to work hard in learning as long as I know I’m not just floundering and getting nowhere. Bonnie

    • Hi Bonnie,

      It sounds like you’re really wearing yourself out being stressed about learning. There are lots of studies to show that we retain much less of what we’ve learned when we’re stressed, so start by finding a way to make learning German a calmer experience. Have you tried being very regimented about when you work on your German? Maybe having a very set schedule for it would help. Figure out what time of day you learn best (personally I retain the most German when I work on it in the late morning, as that’s when I’m most alert – probably conditioning from so many years of school). Set aside time at that part of the day. Then start with short intervals, maybe only 20 mins, and maybe only twice a week at first (but always at the same time, on the same days); however long you can work on something before you’re really throwing your hands in the air, and your frustration is stopping you from learning. Make it very regimented: Tuesdays from 3-3:30 are for listening practice, Thursdays from 3-3:30 are for vocabulary only. Force yourself to narrow your focus to just one thing at a time (perhaps your German teacher can suggest specific things to work on each week). At the end of the 20 mins, finish up what you’re doing, and walk away from it. Don’t dwell on it, don’t beat yourself up because you think you didn’t get anything out of it. If at first you just learn two words a week, or understand just one full sentence, well, that’s better than nothing right? I think if you can lessen the pressure on yourself enough, then you could do longer and longer sessions at a time (depending on your attention span), or study on more days of the week. There are also studies that suggest we learn better when we learn in the same environment (and students do better writing exams when they’re in the same room they studied the subject). Meet your German teacher at the same place, or study in the same room of your house.

      Give yourself time to walk away from learning German. On the days you don’t study it, seriously just forget about it. Our brains process and organize information when we’re not consciously thinking about it (there’s very real evidence behind ‘sleep on it’). Your brain will keep working on things without you realizing it’s doing so. I’ve spent mornings trying to understand how to use a particular case, then come back to it a few days later and looked at it again and just thought, “Oh, duh, it’s so obvious”. (Plus, if you spend all your time beating yourself up about German, then you’re just keeping yourself stressed out about it. So walk away from it when you need to.)

      Acquire German materials on things that interest you, or you know a lot about, in English. I try to listen to German radio a few times a week (personally, this really helped me get the flow of German cadence, and distinguish words better), and invariably when a topic I’m familiar with comes up I can follow it a lot better. I listen for words I already know, as well as International words (ones that are the same in German and English), and these help me piece together generally what is being spoken about. Though, honestly, if I do this for a topic I don’t understand in English I really get nowhere. For example, a while back Deutschlandkultur was talking about whether the movie Armageddon had a very true depiction of what we could do if an asteroid that big were headed for Earth. It was a topic being covered in English news sources as well, so the prior knowledge I had let me follow a lot more of the piece than I would if it had been on, say, politics, which I know little about.

      When you listen, keep track of how closely you’re listening. I really notice that when I listen to things in German I have to do so very actively, and not let my attention wander. If it were English, I could half listen and still catch everything. Not so in German. This can be pretty tiring, so I find it’s most pleasant to listen to the radio for maybe 30-60 minutes at a time. More than that and it gets hard to pay close enough attention.

      If you can find things to listen to that have transcripts, I suspect this will help you a lot in knowing where one word ends and another begins, so things sound like cohesive sentences instead of just blahblahblahblahblah. Especially if you get things that a geared toward beginners and thus speak a little more slowly and clearly. Also, listen to things more than once. If you’re getting overwhelmed five minutes into listening to something, start it over from the beginning – you’ll probably catch more of it and be able to follow along further at the second listen.

      Practice reading the transcripts aloud to yourself, which will help reinforce words and sentence flow, as well as let your mouth practice how to make the correct sounds.

      Go back to earlier materials once in a while. I have various podcasts I listen to (the Radio D series from Deutsche Welle was great for getting back into learning German after I hadn’t for a few years), and when I first went through them I was really frustrated by how little I understood and how difficult it was to get what little I did out of them. After more practice, I went back to the earlier episodes and was shocked at how I understood the entire segments.

      If something specific ends up frustrating you, change your mindset about it. If a feature of German makes you cringe, instead of getting annoyed about it, make yourself see it as a positive thing. Tell yourself everything German does as a language is ten times smarter and cooler than the way English would do it. It won’t always be the case, but if you learn to appreciate the usefulness of a language feature instead of getting angry about it it’s much easier to learn. (Sidenote: there are soooo many features other languages have that are different than English and that make so much more sense, because English is such a giant mess of WTF all the time – we native speakers just don’t notice because we grew up speaking it).

      Go on YouTube and see what various polyglots have to say about language learning. These are people who are actively learning 5, 10, 15+ languages. And all of them do so with totally different methods. Some will insist on immersion, others on memorization, others on practice… Knowing what methods other people use to learn languages can help you figure out what does and doesn’t work for you. Plus you’ll come across some good tips and tricks.

      I hope some of this helps! You’re really lucky to be in Germany, as that puts many more resources at your fingertips. I suspect if you can get over the initial hump of feeling so frustrated by German, then being able to immerse in German will make your learning much more rapid.

      • Thanks maplebee for your thoughtful reply. You’re right, I’m probably stressing way too much. Relaxation is key. Maybe I had a panic attack because it just occurred to me I’ve been here so long and still don’t know too much. Sort of like looking down and realizing you gained 50 lbs. but really knowing you didn’t JUST gain it.

        I think your suggestion to give myself a certain time to do German is a good one. Right now, I’ve been devoting a large portion of my day to fitness and then coming home and fooling around. There are just so many interesting things in the world to learn, I get distracted easily!

        I have listened to just about every polygot out there and they often disagree with each other so it only served to confuse me. I do like the following transcripts when I get a chance as I need to see it visually too for right now, at least.

        Thank you for your suggestions. With regard to vocabulary, do you keep a list too on the computer or pen and paper? Bonnie

        • Polyglots definitely disagree a lot, which is really interesting in that it highlights how there really isn’t one tried and true guaranteed way to learn a language – everyone has a different approach that suits their own learning style. I look for tips that appeal to my learning style and I don’t worry about which polyglot is ‘right’ – clearly, they all are, since they’ve learned so many languages in different ways.

          Maybe you can make German part of your fitness routine? Supposedly we learn better after being physically active, so you could probably make that work for you. If you have a smartphone or iPod, load it with podcasts to listen to. Or play games with yourself like trying to learn vocabulary to do with your favourite activities, or see how many things you can name when you’re out for a run or whatnot.

          I do keep a vocabulary list. I have one notebook for grammar, and one for vocabulary. Any time I have to translate a word I record it in my vocabulary list for later reference. I prefer to keep it handwritten for a few reasons: I find I don’t remember the things I type the way I do the things I write, I don’t always have my tablet ready to go where I am (my main computer is a desktop), and I don’t have a German keyboard. The physical act of writing imprints on my memory better, and I don’t have to worry about remembering which keys are which umlauts (I think on German keyboards the Y and Z keys are also in the opposite places, so I would also have to remember that if I set my computer keyboard to German).

          I also don’t just reread the vocabulary to study it – I rewrite it. I think I spent so many years taking notes in university that I just remember things better when I write them, even if I’m writing them over a second time. When I can remember a word easily I stop rewriting it when I study. Some words take me forever to remember, while others I immediately know. Words that are similar to English or share English roots are easiest (i.e. Schwein for pig because swine is an out of date English way to refer to a pig). Often as not I eventually encounter the words that give me a hard time in one context or another that finally gets me to remember it. I remember things that make me laugh, too. The guys in my first year German class in uni were pretty obsessed with learning phrases relevant to uni life, as it were, so I still remember things like “Kater haben” (to have a hangover), Katerfrüstück (hangover breakfast), and “Ich wünschte ich wäre tot” (things to say when you have a hangover), haha.

          I have a long way to go before I’ll be any good at writing or speaking much German, but I understand it both when listening and when reading fairly well. Listening and reading have been more my focus since I’m not in uni anymore to have more directed grammar help – finding things to read and listen to has been a lot easier for me. I’m always really worried that I’ll misunderstand the grammar and put a bunch of time into cementing it into my memory wrong. So while I take notes about it to help me understand what I’m reading, I don’t actively practice it for now. Plus I found I was just always getting frustrated trying to speak or write when I barely knew any words, or could only think of the words I needed in French (which I haven’t spoken since high school, but learning German makes my brain dredge up all this French that I’d long forgotten).

      • Thank you Maplebee. I like the part about making German part of my fitness. I will think about that. Right now I need the music to motivate me:) but on volksmarches and things like that, this would work. Deutsche Welle is a great site! What a wealth of information.

        As I told Emanuel, I will keep you all updated once in a while. Thanks again for your input!

  56. kürzer: I can’t tell you how many times I have learned a word and heard it used later on a video. I learned die Libelle (dragonfly) and wondered when I would ever use it. The next day, on Deutschlandfunk (radio), there was an article about research into how dragonflies caught flies. I memorize for no more than an hour daily, and I invariably start hearing the words I have memorized. A good teacher should make you speak freely and then make corrections (saying “dem” when you just said “der” is annoying, and it will shut you down The teacher must wait. The few I have had never did). You should have written assignments on any topic you like, and the teacher should show why the corrections are made. The two of you should have simple conversations together, and the teacher should be a guide as to what you need to study. None of that was available to me. If you don’t understand 97% of the words in the book, then write them down and learn them, a few a day. “Learn vocabulary” was the best advice I ever got. I have very strong feelings on how German should be learned, and if I ever become fluent, I will write about it. Listen to German every chance you get. It trains your ear. Sure, at the beginning very little makes sense. It will change, however. Don’t underestimate the need to write it. That is how you learn the gender, by “looking it up” and using it. I don’t worry about flavoring particles, I don’t worry about accent. I’m almost 65, and I won’t change my voice. I have two wishes: (1) to understand and (2) to be understood. I live in a country where accents don’t matter, understanding does. I jump in with adult books and videos. They help and are fun. Koelle’s books are well written, the vocabulary is plentiful, and the story line uplifting.

  57. You’re right Mike. I shouldn’t have really said that because I had just told my husband that I came across a word in my German comedy and then the same word came up again when my german flashcard came to my mailbox the next day. This has happened several times so you are correct in one seeing it over and over. I need more exposure for this to happen.

    When you say write it, do you mean the actual process of using a pen and paper or can writing it also be on a smart phone or something like that? I think Emanuel actually mentioned pen and paper so don’t know if you feel the mechanics of actually putting it down on paper is better. You are right in that I need to train the ear. That’s the crux of the problem. Even though I live in the country, hearing bits and pieces here and there isn’t training my ear. I need at least a continuous steady stream of it. So you don’t think it really matters if I understand it or not but to listen is beneficial? I’m just wondering if I should always start with comprehensible input only or if just hearing the sounds is enough? So much disagreement on all of this.

    I looked up Koelle’s books but just saw Kindle and I don’t have a Kindle. Did I miss something?

    Out of curiosity, how long have you been studying German and where are you at in your German learning? Again, your replies have been very helpful. I’m 54 years young:). Bonnie

    • Hey Bonnie,

      so I have followed the discussion and I’d also like to add some more thoughts :).
      But first of all let me tell you this: German really really likes you. It wants you to speak it. It just can’t show its feelings so it is all German about it… but German really likes you.
      Ok I’ll be serious now. I’ll just use headlines to organize myself a little.

      Learning like a child does.

      I am a bit tired of this phrase mainly because certain companies (Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur) use it to trick people into thinking they could learn a language with no effort whatsoever. This rarely works and it certainly does not work for German. German is not the language that people just pick up on the fly by being there. I have heard many stories about how people were in a Spanish speaking country for 3 months and were then fluent in daily life. That will not happen in German. Not because Spanish is easier. Speaking and writing proper Spanish is just as difficult as German. But German takes a LOT of effort in the beginning mainly because we use a LOT of words in daily conversation.
      Anyway… so learning like a child does… the thing is, what a child does is not all that impressive.
      As a child you’re in a an environment that speaks the language 24/7, all people are willing to listen to you, correct you, be incredibly patient, read to you and tell all kinds of vocal all the time. Also, as a child you have no other way to express itself AND you have a clean slate so there is no mother tongue that does it differently and confuses you. So… pretty damn good conditions.
      And still it takes a child up to 6 years to master the language. And we’re not talking about high writing. We’re talking about probably a B2 level. 6 years in perfect conditions. That is just not that great.
      An adult can learn a language in a year if it is necessary and if there is motivation. That is not to say that pure study will cut it. Language is in many respects something that lives through repetition so you have to use it. But learning like a child does is first and foremost learning very slowly.


      Just because a book is a childrens book that doesn’t mean that it is easy. Children learn a language in a “different order” if you will. A children’s book is filled with weird vocabulary that you do not need outside of the fairy tale universe (Schweif, Bug, Mähne, Spinnrad). Also, the language is often kind of poetic so the sentence structure is weird and there are all kinds of coloring words in there.

      “Doch ach, der Steingigant wusste nicht, wie ihm geschah. Er schrumpfte. Alsbald wäre er mehr Zwerg denn Riese.”

      Short sentences but infinitely hard for a beginner. And there is very little to take away from this as the usage of “doch, mehr denn” are not the most common ones and words like “schrumpfen, alsbald, wie mir geschiet” are not needed ever.
      I don’t want to say that children’s books and fairy tales are bad. If you enjoy them then they’re perfect. But they’re not easy. A normal novel, say, Dan Brown, might be actually easier once you know the plot.
      If you really want to read simple German then go for the stuff specifically designed for people who learn German as a second or third language.


      As maplebee(I think it was her) said, there are many videos on the web of polyglots talking about how they do it. But there is one thing that is really important to know: the more languages you already know, the easier it becomes to learn a new one. Because you have learning skills and because you’re brain has done some adjustments I guess.
      Someone who speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and French, Russian, English and Dutch kind of speaks only 3 really distinct languages.. that’s how I always make myself feel better after having met such a person :D. Seriously though…if you speak French and Italian, you get Spanish for free pretty much. So… learning the second language is the biggest challenge. Tips how someone goes about learning the tenth language don’t really apply to you. Or at least it is no surprise if they don’t.

      pen and paper

      Yes. I think doing everything with a computer is not good for us. It makes us nervous and unfocused. I don’t really have research to back that up but at least for me, that’s how it is. Writing something on paper with a pen, with “real” lighting is just great. It is calm, quiet, time slows down and it feels “studious”. It can even have a meditative quality to it. Also, you can scrabble and doodle on a paper. You can draw the word or draw whatever comes to you associate.
      Rosetta stone boasts how they make you learn with images and how much better this works. But please…. the strongest images are those in your mind. If I say “cup” you will have a picture of a cup in your mind. It is already in there, so why use an external image. Your’s is the likely your prototypical cup… or you think of a specific cup. Either way, the cup you think of is much closer to your own world of thoughts than any image of a cup a computer program can display to you.
      Just like @Mike (dunno if this pinging works here) I have lists and lists of words for French at home. You can carry them with you, write stuff on them, draw funny faces on them, and they will look used. A document on a computer is just another file. Sure you could print it. But your own hand writing is much more personal. There is more feeling to it.Maybe you can even recall the moment when you wrote the word down. I doubt you can recall a moment of typing a word into a document.
      So… I know I am really old school about this but books, pen and paper… that’s all you need. Stay away from flashy programs. They promise something they can’t keep.


      Mike is totally right. Vocabulary is the key. You can study grammar all you want. It won’t get you anywhere… especially not in German. You have to learn about 2000 words at least to follow a conversation.
      I guess that sounds scary. But the number is so big, that you actually don’t have to worry. My approach is what I call the “spaghetti method”… the premise is that you have to learn an incredibly large amount of words. One way is to learn 10 words a day. The problem I have with that is that it is very stressful. Out of those 10 words you’ll probably retain 7 or 8 on average, which I consider okay already. Maybe even 9. But you will constantly fail at your goal of learning 10. You will have a constant series of failure that will frustrate you.
      I think you have to eliminate numbers all together. In order to learn a massive amount of words, you need to expose yourself to a massive amount.
      So instead of learning 10 per day you should expose yourself to 100 a day or 300 a week. Basically 2 or 3 lists. You throw words at yourself like pasta and you see what sticks. And the rest… well just throw it again.
      And I can promise you… some words will ALWAYS stick. With almost no effort. It is just a question of chance. If you go over 100 words a day, chances are that you retain 5 or 6 at the very least. And the next day even more, because you already know them.
      But numbers don’t matter. Just confront yourself with such a large amount of words that you can not remember completely anyway. That sets you free. Just think “Okay… I’ll go over this now and see what sticks and as for the rest… I’ll just throw them again and again and again.” Learning 2000 words sounds like an insane task so just be all crazy about it. I’d also say … don’t structure anything. Don’t make lists with only kitchen words and other lists with words you need at a bank. Just mix them all up. And put in redundancy. I used to have the same word on up to 3 lists if it was important. And I would also put words on a list that I basically already knew. So a list was never comprised solely of new words but it was a mix of completely new, kinda new and not new at all. This way I always ad moments of success.Moments of “OK I know THIS one… yeah”
      But my basic point is… expose yourself to an insane amount of words. No number pressure. Don’t count. DOn’t set a time goal. Just make it MANY. Just sheer mass. And don’t stop. Something will always stick… and the more words you have in that swarm the higher the chances are that one pops up in daily life.
      Some words will be in that swarm forever. You just can’t retain them . But who cares. Its not your fault. Just throw the word again. You have a billion other words too :).
      You can create a Pollock painting by placing every single dot and smear… or you can just wildly wield your brush. Do the latter. Go crazy. Have lists with you all the time and look at them if you feel like it… for 5 mnutes or 10 minutes. And if you don’t feel like it, then don’t.

      So that’s my advice on learning vocabulary. For me it works perfectly and a friend of mine tried it this summer and it did work too. The most important part is to not count. The number you count won’t ever be good enough. You will never fully make your goal … no matter whether it is 5 words per day or 15. So make it 150 and you can fail all you want without feeling bad :) Just throw the words again and see what sticks.


      You said that you have issues coming up with sentences on your own. Your teacher should see why this is and work on that. There is no use for gender, case, plural or any of that if you can’t make sentences. Also, as Mike said, the teacher has to let you talk. There is no point in correcting all mistake in German. They are too many. Better to have a sentence with 10 mistakes than no sentence. You need to talk. It doesn’t matter if it is all correct. It won’t be anyway, I can promise you that. Up until B2 there will ALWAYS be at least one mistake. But who cares. You guys should try to communicate using sentences and collect vocabulary. Inversion doesn’t matter. Having the verb second doesn’t matter. Having the verb final doesn’t matter. You will learn that when you’re ready for it. And don’t ever do writing exercises in class. Talk as much as you can. Or read together.

      So… those are my thoughts. Ich hoffe, das hilft dir ein bisschen :)

      • Thank you Emanuel for such a thorough reply. I really enjoyed reading it.

        You are right in that children have the perfect conditions. I need to get someone to adopt me:)

        I like your spaghetti approach and not worrying about the number of words. Do you just put the vocabulary in a regular notebook and carry it around? I’m thinking I do better with the notebook method and do you just jot the word down or do you go to all the trouble of writing out a sentence with the word in it? I also got some cards at the thrift store with English/German on them and I take 10 around with me in my purse and just read them over and then go on to the next 10 and not worry about memorizing. There is something about memorizing that bothers me. I think you are correct in that some stick just because and others just don’t. I think it was Mike that looked up a word 13 times before he got it. That’s me with some words or some words I just have to wait out until I see them again in another context.

        Your pen and paper method reminds me of the Gold list method which I liked but didn’t like the part of every two weeks writing down those you didn’t remember and to continue doing that. It was too much work but I think similar to the Gold List method is to just read over words once or twice and then revisit them whenever I feel like it and carrying around a notebook makes this easier than a computer. I have an extensive Library. I don’t necessarily read the books but I like to touch them, know they are there just in case and smell them lol. You can’t really do this with the computer.

        I’m also going to start carrying a small notebook with me as there were two signs today at the swimming pool and I think I got the gist of them but would have loved to have a small pad and paper to write a couple of words down. Do you interrupt any movies or podcasts you are watching or listening to and write down all the words you don’t know or are you like Steve K. and feel this interferes with the enjoyment of listening?

        My teacher hasn’t been back yet due to a number of issues, none of which have to do with her. I started working on my fitness and with my children’s activities, I’m having trouble deciding how to fit her in. When she was coming, I would make up stories about my week, writing it down and she would correct it. She’s pretty good about not correcting every little thing that I say. I always ask her how to say x and I tape record everything and she will write in a notebook I keep but unless I use it over and over again in the coming week, I don’t remember it. I have children’s books that have no words so I took one and wrote a story about it in German. I had to google a lot but now I have a collection of a couple of stories and when I go back to read them, it is not so difficult to read because I’m the one who made them up. I was also using some of the suggestions from the LACE method and initially going through a book until I got really bored with the book.

        After thinking about it, I think reading some comprehensible input (have some German readers coming) in which I feel like I am making progress, reading various things around the house in small doses and making note of the vocabulary, listening, listening and more listening with transcripts whenever possible, some good books per the suggestions here and just general things of interest will keep me plenty busy and I won’t put so much pressure on myself.

        Right now, I’ve become lax and need to set aside some time as maplebee suggested. The day is just running away from me lately.

        Thank you again for taking he time to give me such a great reply! Bonnie

        • Hey Bonnie, Looks like you are really getting some input here :)… I’ll add a few more thoughts. So… for French and Finnish I used lists over. I had 2 colums with 30 words each and that worked perfectly. I would “learn” 3 at a time and at the same time create 2 or 3 new ones by reading a book or a dictionary (I did that only in Finnish thjough :)). Then, once I felt totally at home on one list, I would set that aside and add a new one and so on. So you always have a mix between completely new stuff and stuff you’re already okay with. For Italian I used cards, which I bought in a 1000 Basic words box. I started with piles of 10 but soon kept adding Cards until I had pile of 200 through which I would then just flip.
          I prefer lists though, mainly because you write them yourself (just as maplebee said) and also every list has a character. There are lists you hate because there a few hard words on them, and there are lists that you feel at home on. Also the words on the list have a particular order which you’ll subconciously learn too and which might help you recall things. Maybe you can even make a Little Story from the words on the list.
          As for context or sentences… I never did that. First of all because I am lazy and secondly because I don’t like the idea of learning fixed phrases. I want t be able to make up phrases and have accesst any word at any time and I think contextual learning limits that a bit. This way it probably takes longer to learn a word but when you have it then you OWN it. Also, Ithink it is better to make up a sentence myself when I remember it. Every one can do that because we’re all creative. However, I have to admit that sometimes the grammar might be particular and for those a sentence might help. But just because you have a sentence with weil doesn’t mean that yu will put the word at the end. What matters is that you know the word. Coming up with sentences for every word takes a lot of time and I would say just use that time to throw some more words. Because every word you never tried to learn is 100% not retained. Even by looking at a word once you increase the Chance of it becoming part of your vcab immensly ;).
          As for books… I definitely would say look up everything until you reach the point where you understand 80 or 90% of a page. When I read English, I see new words and I mostly ignore them and that’s fine. But in the beginning every word Counts. and if that is 80% you’re looking up… well, don’t despair… that is normal in the beginning. But every author uses a limited amunt which is further limited by the subject. A crime Story will contain a different dictionary than the Lord of the RIngs. That why it will get easier after 20 pages because things start to repeat .

          And then as far as movies are concerned…. when I started actively working on my English I would watch movies wth English subtitles… and I understod nothing!!! But it slowly got better. Whenever I understood but mumbling that didn’t match up with the writing I would rewind and watch it again.Until I either was like “Ohhhhh…. okay… now I can hear that the persn really says those words :)” or I was certain that subtitles and Audio didn’t match up (which happens wuite often). So a movie session could easily take 3,5 hours… but I did enjoy it anyway because I was learning. And if not… well, then I just continued in German.
          Lastly, listening to the Radio… I am really indecisive as to whether this is beneficial or not. On the one hand I do not believe too much into subconciuos learning. Just because you listen to something won’t make you learn it. There are people who LOVE listening to music and still they just can’t sing … not even their favorite song.
          But then again, some exposure is better than no exposure and this “pure listening” gives you an Impression of the flow and melody and stuff. And then, if you do happen to understand something you’ll be really happy :). That happened to me with French. So… maybe while doing chores or in your car, a Little German babble won’t hurt I guess. But the song idea of Paula is also great
          Then, I just said, that I don’t believe in subconcious learning… that does not mean that I don’t believe in the suboncious at all. I strongly agree with maplebee that you have to walk away from it at times and let your brain do its work. How many Problems have been solved under the shower while NOT thinking about them. Sow, then let grow :)
          If you need some book suggestions let me know what interests you and I’ll think of some …
          Viel Spaß beim Lernen

      • For some reason I didn’t see the reply button to your last post so will reply to this one.

        Again Emanuel, I appreciate your valuable input. I decided to take a break from the teacher right now because I have so many other things going on. I plan on printing out all these suggestions for future use and I think this conversation will be of use to people visiting your website. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who is curious as to how others are learning a language.

        I’ll let you know how it is going from time to time but I think a break is in order right now. Big thanks to everyone for their input!

  58. Hi again. You can buy some of Koelle’s books hardcover (Die Füß der Sterne I have hardcover, and others are, too.). Get German books hardcover, because you want to be able to go to the pages you find easily. I’ve studied German 3 years by myself (not by desire) and was in Europe 25 days after 9 months of study. I suggest listening to TV or radio even when you don’t understand it. I am doing the same in Spanish. Hearing words that you know is beneficial, because you have the “ah ha” moment. Writing by computer is the best way. I can’t text well, but I do have people with whom I text. It will take a long time to write, if you do it my way, because I check things a lot to get it right. Once in a while I write “Es tut mir Leid, aber heute bin ich sehr faul” and just send it. I would go through the difficult exercise of going back and forth with a dictionary to find the right word, and definitely the right gender and plural. If you aren’t completely certain, do it. Eventually, it sticks. Some words come quickly, others I have to keep looking up. I am a disbeliever in “adult learning” as if it were one way; there are several ways. I got through grad school in stats at age 50 by knowing how Iearned. If you know that, it will help you greatly. If you have trouble with adjective endings, go to the Univ of Michigan site http://www.lsa.umich.edu/german/hmr/Grammatik/Adjektive/Adjektivendungen.html
    and look at determiners and endings. This improved my adjective endings from 1/3 right to about 95% right, and nothing else I’ve seen even comes close to how easy this makes it. The whole site is good, unless you went to Michigan State:)

    Where am I? Probably B2. Will I ever reach C1? Keine Ahnung. But I cried the first day I understood somebody without self-translating. That alone was worth the journey.

    • I totally agree with you on how much vocabulary matters and that learning a language is work. Great to see that not everyone is on the “fluent in 6 months with only 5 minutes a day” mind set :).
      Also, you’re right about the prefixes. Actually, they don’t get “not enough attention”, they simply get NO attention at all. I have looked trough several text books over the past years and verbs and prefixes are never addressed.
      Anyway… I found a link a while ago that I believe might interest you and the others here…


      you can find audio books there. The material is not copyrighted anymore so everything is free and there are many classics… like Kleist, Jules Verne or Goethe and there are non fiction books too.
      Here’s a link to the famous Mark Twain piece on German. I don’t know if you’ve read that but the German version is just amazing … the vocabulary used is just a little bit out of the ordinary and witty and that makes it such a great read.. or … hear :D:


    • Okay… so the Mark Twain bit is actually not the full text but rather (sondern) just the introduction… die guten Teile fehlen.

    • Great Mike! I have them on my list to get. I also have a couple of people on sharedtalk.com who are willing to converse with me in German so I will see how that goes.

      Thank you too for the great website. Very helpful and have added it to my favorite.

      Even though it wasn’t hard to figure out Ahnung, I’ve seen it before so decided to look it up to make sure. Learned a couple of other things about it. I think it will stick now:)

      Thank you! Bonnie

  59. Hey dude, how are you? Tomorrow is my birthday and I’m buying some books from Germany via Amazon. I’d like to know if you recommend me a nice book which could cover some grammar/vocabulary details of german, I mean, some more advanced language’s nuances (I’d say a C1 or C2 material, but I don’t really like using this classification). By the way, if you’d like to recommend a non-related book, it would be good too.

    Thanks :)

  60. A wonderful comment above. The nice thing about lists over flash cards is I carry them everywhere, so now when I have those horrible waits, at doctor’s offices, department of motor vehicles, etc.I am spending my time learning German. Yes, some words just plain stick. And it took me 13 times looking up “mindestens” before it stuck. I learned the gender of Fehler because men make mistakes. And I learned the gender of Welt because women run it. Whatever works. One final comment….I have never argued or gotten angry with German the language. It is. I accept it. I think that is why I have stayed with it. And there are times I find myself using it here in the US, because it says what I want to say better than English. THAT is cool.:)

  61. Hey dude! Danke für die Empfehlungen :)

    I tried to order the “Die Surfpoeten” but this book specifically they can’t send to Brazil. Nevertheless, I found this one: http://www.amazon.de/Die-R%C3%BCckkehr-Surfpoeten-Buch-CD/dp/3938424249/ref=pd_sim_sbs_b_1 and this one they can send.
    Do you think it’s as good as the one you recommended me?

  62. Hi guys how r u all doing?
    I just wanted to add another idea to this thread saying the following: “listen to german songs”.
    Not any song..just the ones you really like. I am a beginner but this is really a great way of picking up
    new words in a stressfree way.
    I have a pretty cool playlist I listen to on my way to office and I gotta say I can really understand
    most of the lyrics without any extra effort (I did translate all of the songs of course).
    I also find myself humming and (hark hark) singing german songs!! (I know quite a few lines by heart nowadays).
    I guess it’s also a good way to train your ear to get accustomed to the “german sound”.
    I remember I used to find it pretty harsh at first (no offence)…now it sounds quite “normal” to me.
    Another thing that is helping me a lot is comics. Comics dont have that many words compared to books
    ..they have plenty of drawings (helping you making out the meaning of words you dont know) and
    as an end result, they give you a big wow effect coz ..hey…you’ve JUST read a comic in german!
    That’s all…I just thought I would share a few techniques with all the people out there struggling with german.
    What? you’ve already know about this? then…oooops :P


    • Thank you Paola. I’ve heard this recommendation before too so will revisit it. I think I listened to one or two a long time ago but forgot about this method of learning. Will try it out! Bonnie

  63. Very helpfull blog, that is exactly the kind of thing I was looking around for some time.

    But, I didn’t quite understand 3 things: 1) how old are you?? (you say 32 at the begining, but later on you mention numbers like 54 and 72).
    2) where are you from? (I mean, what’s your motherlanguage?)
    3) how many foreign languages do you speak?

    Thank you very much!

    Greetings form one small European country – Croatia! :)

    • Hey man,

      so I am a Dresden born Berliner and my mother tongue is German. I speak English, an adequate but dormant French, my Italian can be built upon, I have done some very basic Spanish, and I have put quite some work into Finnish which I never finished…. so I basically speak 3. I wanted to learn many more when I was younger but that turned out to be just a phase :).
      As for the age… 32 is the correct number…. Or is it… dun dun dunnnnnnnnn… Gruss aus Berlin nach Kroatien

  64. Hi, ich habe gerade Schnupfen und bin deshalb irgendwie auf diese Seite gekommen. Ich bin 13 und wohne in Deutschland. Ich spreche Hochdeutsch. In der Schule lerne ich natürlich Englisch und habe mich ein bisschen durch diese Seite geklickt. Ich war erstaunt wie viel ich verstanden habe. Und musste lachen bei den deutschen Erklärungen. Denn Rotze sagt eigentlich niemand. Das klingt ein bisschen unhöflich. Aber Schnotter. Vielleicht kannst du mir ja antworten. Oder irgendjemand antwortet mir. Ich würde liebend gerne mit jemandem schreiben. Vielen Dank. Julia

    • Hi Julia, schön, dass du so viel verstanden hast. Ich glaube, ich schreibe nicht das komplizierteste Englisch, ich bin ja kein Muttersprachler, aber trotzdem… du bist schon ganz gut :). Und lesen ist immer gut. Lesen ist das beste, was du machen kannst.
      Rotz …hmmm… kann auf jeden Fall sein, dass das regional ist (bin in Berlin groß geworden), oder es ist einfach aus der Mode. Als ich Kind war habe ich noch Rotz gesagt. Aber Schnotter kenn’ ich auch :)… gute Besserung!!

  65. Für Julia: Never argue with a language, only with those who speak it. Read, read, read. I’m 5 times your age. I love watching German TV shows and reading books. When you can laugh at jokes on TV or in another language, you are beginning to “arrive,” and that is such a wonderful feeling!! I accept German as it is. Why I started learning it at 62 is a whole another story. Deutsch ist eine neue Welt für mich, und diese Woche werde ich mit einer deutschen Gruppe nach Uganda reisen, um die SoFi (eine Sonnenfinsternis) zu sehen (am 3.November). Ich freue mich darauf, mein Deutsch zu üben und hoffentlich die SoFi zu sehen. Ein kurzes Geschichte: Selten kann ich hier (Arizona) mit jemandem Deutsch sprechen. Kürzlich habe ich mit einer Frau und ihrem Mann in meiner Nachbarschaft begegnet, wenn ich spazieren gegangen bin. Die Frau kam von Deutschland aus, und wir haben Deutsch für 5 Minuten zusammen gesprochen. Plötzlich hat sie zu ihrem Mann angeschaut und hat ihm gesagt: “Verstehst Du ihn?” Ihr Mann war amerikanisch. Er hat erwidert: “Nein. Er spricht Hochdeutsch.” :)

  66. I know I won’t learn German in 30 days as some companies will advertise. I’ve been studying/learning it for over a year off and on. I have used software like Fluenz (I really absorb material through video explanations) and then after their 5 levels I moved on to crime short stories published by Cornelsen (e.g. Teufel in Seide). I watch German crime shows online (e.g. Tatort, Alarm fuer Cobra 11, etc) but I just don’t seem to get or retain a lot of what I’m taking in. And my listening skills are terrible. I am so thankful when a show offers under titles. I’ve started reading Yahoo.de and working with dict.cc to translate words I don’t know (often that’s a lot) and maybe if I stick with that it will get easier… OK to my point. Is there an effective method, maybe some “best” way to help absorb a language that I’ve not tried (other than what I’ve listed)?

    • If I had to give one single advice it would be: use Rosetta Stone. It is amazi… okay no… it is
      “learn vocabulary”… I know it sounds like “clean the toilet” but if you can find a way to really take in a lot of words, then that will make a HUGE difference… anyway, of course you’re not the first person to ask for THE way to learn German but there is none. Everyone is different and has a different learning style. Anyway…not so long ago a fellow student asked for some advice right in this thread… and we wound up with quite a collection of ideas… I don’t know if you’ve read it yet so I’ll just give you the link to the comment that started it all… and then just read on from there…


      Let me know if that works :)

    • Übrigens… ich habe “Teufel in Seide, den Lernkrimi” gelesen… or better… I made some students read it and tell me the story :D

  67. A few thoughts. Read books and look up words you don’t know. BTW, I did that in high school 50 years ago in English and improved my SAT score about 100 points. Don’t assume you know a word unless you really do. That builds vocabulary, and you want 4-5K word vocabulary. Tatort is tough. Bella Block is good but hard to get. Try the Soko Series: The 51-13 (Munich) is tough, but Wismar, Köln, Leipzig are really good, and the last to me is the most understandable. Look at documentaries. When they have to translate other languages to German, they speak more slowly. And on weekends, the Herzkinos (Romance) are often understandable, once you get used to fluent German being spoken in some places like upstate New York. zdf.de has some nice crime shows (Der Alte, Die Chefin, and a few others that I really like). Bergretter has lousy plots, but the scenery is great and I can understand it. Same with Küstenwache. All of them have everyday German. I don’t watch American TV any more. Wirklich brauche ich ein Leben.

    • Sometimes, after a very very stressful day at work, when my brain is empty and I want to do nothing I watch Herzkino too :D…wil the tough independent woman stay with her boring husband or will she choose the sexy 45 year old lawyer for environmental law who owns a castle near the cliffs and who has a secret … great :).
      You should check out the “Sendung mit der Maus”- Sachgeschichten (either ARD or ZDF … or youtube)…it is a kids show but they explain all kinds of things like “How this and that is made” and “How this and that happened” and it is really educational.
      And there are sooooo many episodes… my god

    • This one is awesome… a little tiny bit is missing in the beginning … it is about how tomake toothpaste and it has the potential to make the word “dazu” stick once and for all :)

  68. Thanks. I do watch Der Alte, SOKO, and others. I just didn’t want to list everything :) I’ll try Rosetta Stone. I am more of a visual person and so maybe their system will be beneficial. I just figured after 5 lessons of Fluenz that I would be beyond Rosetta Stone but I guess vocab is vocab and it couldn’t hurt. I have read a couple dozen crime books from A1 to B1 level and that helps but man the TV, even with under titles, is much more advanced than these books. They speak so fast that to read the under titles is like speed reading, but doing so helps me to just soak in the sentence and not stop to decipher each word and get hung up and just move on to the next bit of dialogue. And of course I’m reading that link you posted to a previous discussion. Thanks a bunch. I didn’t say it before but I do mean it when I say I like your blog and appreciate the work you put into it. Your writing style is right up my alley.

    • Danke :)… and as for Rosetta Stone… well… I was not really serious. I actually think they are frauds. My advice would be to use your own images… visualize the thing. That’s more work but it will be a much stronger and more personal image than some random stock footage of a kid drinking milk in front of a lawn… they claim to have designed each of their pics so as to make it communicate the word in question as effective as possible but I call BS on that. But I have to stop or I will be ranting in an hour still… someone suggested an absolutely amazing link … it is a German learning soap and they are doing a bang up job on sneakily feeding you words over and over again… the acting is hammy, the story is stupid but they know what they’re doing … and it is with under titles:

  69. HAHA I watched all three seasons last week and was bummed there weren’t more. I like the hammy acting, it helps me remember the words and phrases. Thanks for the link and for the heads up about just kidding on Rosetta.

  70. A comment about RS. They were good in making me speak and helping me actually say German. They do not tell you upfront that you need to learn the gender and plural with each noun. Yes, you can speak German without it. No, I do not want to go that route. RS does not explain grammar well at all. I had to figure out that the verb was in second position, They didn’t explain the dative. I don’t learn like a child. I know how I learn, and for me it is knowing rules. When you watch TV, don’t translate. Once I start translating, I lose what is going on. If you have to, stop and look up Knast (“jail”) when you keep hearing it and don’t know what it means. Get the sense of the language. Play back to hear grammar if you want to, or if you hear a proverb. It took me at least a year to get the sense of what is going on, and I am still learning. BUT, at least 6 times, I have known EVERYTHING that is going on, and that is too cool for words. Also, it is fun. I memorize words, and that is a chore, so I limit it. My ear is so much better than it was. I can’t tell somebody the words if they ask me, but I know what is happening. I’m old. If you are younger, it will come faster. Hang in. It is worth it, when you catch somebody quoting “No man is an Island” in German, and you realize what the heck they are saying:)

  71. Thanks for taking the time to write. I have most of the grammar rules down. Fluenz helped me with that a ton. Had I started with Rosetta I’m sure I would never have understood the grammar rules quite the same and would still be struggling. So now it’s just vocab I guess, and more vocab, and more vocab… It’s fun to watch silly action shows like Cobra 11 and not know the exact words being said that much (because of a lack of under titles) and still be able to understand what’s going on because the show itself is so over the top simple. And when I can watch a Tatort (with under titles) and can follow 75% or more…that feels good.

    • Hahahaha…. Cobra 11… I used to watch that when they started the show some 12 years ago or so and it was so bad… they wanted their stunts to look so epic and yet it was always the same car flip by either a hidden ramp or a tube with explosives under the car…. and then 2435 camera angles, plus revers and slo mo… if they had had the money for it I’m sure they would have given us “bullet time” of the skyward bound BMW that just grazed another car…

  72. Hi,

    I arrived at your blog after searching google for: how to do you say when I am doing something in german wenn. This is a very nice conincidence. I followed you. Thank you very much for your efforts.

    Best regards from Jordan :)

  73. Does anyone know of any online places to buy German ebooks? I’m looking for some fiction to practice my reading. I can find places to buy physical books easily enough, but since I’m in Canada the shipping from the US is often as much or more than the books themselves.

  74. Hey, dude, how are you?

    I’ve read something here, and I realized that it’s “Das Wort” but “Die Antwort”. It kindda reminded me of the Mut “problem”. Do you know why there is this difference?

    Thank you!

    • Good one!! I never thought about that :)…
      I checked on dwds.de but all they said is that it changed. The change started very early on (around 12th century) so I guess it is really impossible to find out exactly why it happened. It might be that there was another word (a female one… possibly “die Rede”) which meant the same and so they just copied the gender from there.

  75. Dear Emanuel,

    I don’t know if you actually have the time to read so many comments, but here it goes anyway.
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge, I’m so happy I found your blog, I wish it would be easier to find. I am living in Austria and I’m having some troubles learning German, basically because there are more exceptions than rules!. I will share your blog everywhere, unfortunately that all the donation I can do for now.

    Keep the great job, and thanks again for your effort

  76. Hi! Your website is flippin’ fantastic (: it has helped me so much! Vielen Dank!
    I was wondering, though – would it be possible to put up a search bar? I sometimes want to go back and look at past entries, or see if you’ve explained a certain word or phrase that I don’t understand already, but trawling through every entry takes up a lot of time.

    • I would like a search option too. But I am with WordPress.com and I have a limited range of things I can do. As far as I understand, I would need to open up a side-bar where I then could put a search widget. But I hate side bars :)… I know it is not very reader friendly, and you’re not the first to complain but still… me and a side bar… we don’t get along too well:). but what you could do is just use google and add this: site:yourdailygerman.wordpress.com
      I imagine you’ll get even better results than with the WP search
      Oh… and thaks for the nice comments:)

  77. Hi Emanuel

    Ich mag sehr Ihre Webseite!

    Ich stimme Ihnen zu, dass Deutsch gar nicht so schwer sei, wie es oft wahrgenommen wird. Ich bin Englischmuttersprachler, und Deutsch ist die einzige Fremdsprache, die ich kann. Daher hatte ich natürlich am Anfang den Eindruck, daß die Grammatik schrecklich kompliziert sei. Was ist denn mit diesen ganzen Fällen und Adjektivendungen fragte ich mich. Ich hatte gar keine Ahnung welcher Fall oder welche Endung in einem Satz richtig ist. Dann habe ich mir eines Tages gedacht, na komm schon, das kann alles doch nicht so ganz unmöglich sein. Ich habe mir alle Mühe gegeben, um die Regeln zu verstehen. Was mir dabei richtig geholfen hat, waren die beschränkten aber trotzdem noch existierenden Fälle im Englischen, he/him, she/her usw. Vorher hatte ich den Unterschied auch in meiner eigenen Sprache nicht verstanden. Plötzlich habe ich das mitgekriegt, und danach sind mir die deustchen Fälle und auch die Adjektivendungen ganz leicht gefallen. Innerhalb von ein paar Tagen konnte ich sie meistens richtig benutzen. Alle anderen Aspekte der Grammatik sind meiner Meinung nach einfacher und die Zeiten im Deutschen sind natürlich viel einfacher als im Englischen. Ich würde sagen, daß Deutsch eigentlich eine eher logische Sprache ist, die in Wirklichkeit gar nicht so schwer ist, wie man oft denkt. Es ist natürlich auch nicht einfach, die Struktur ist zwar kompliziert und es gibt viele grammatische Regeln. Sobald man diese Regeln aber vertseht, geht alles schnell vor.

    Na ja, hoffentlich kommt meine Message nicht zu arrogant vor. Ich behaupte nicht, daß ich perfekt Deutsch kann (köenne??? hehe). Vielleicht können Sie meine Fehler verbessern :)

    • Also… ich hab’ ja schon gesagt, dass ich dir in allem voll zustimme. Deutsch ist nicht so schwer. Es sieht nur schwer aus. Und es ist keine Sprache, die man mal so eben nebenbei lernt. Ich kenne keine Stories wie bei Spanisch, wo Leute sagen “Ja, ne, vorher konnt’ ich garnichts und dann nach 3 Monaten da, war ich fließend. Ist einfach so passiert.”… das passiert nicht in Deutsch :)
      Aber jetzt mal zu deinen Fehlern…

      – bitte nicht siezen :). Das ist für mich extrem unangenehm. Im Internet passt da “Sie” sehr selten zum informellen, freund- (oder feind-)schaftlichen Charakter

      – Konjunktiv 1 nur… nur … bei der Wiedergabe direkter Rede Dritter verwenden. Es sollte immer etwas wie “Er hat gesagt …” vorrausgehen.

      “Ich stimme Ihnen zu, dass Deutsch gar nicht so schwer sei”

      Das ist hier an der Stelle falsch.. einfach nur “ist” :)

      Das gleiche gilt für diesen Satz:

      “Daher hatte ich natürlich am Anfang den Eindruck, daß die Grammatik schrecklich kompliziert sei”

      Wenn eigene Gedanken wiedergegeben werden gibt es keinen Grund für Konj. 1… auch in Hochdeutsch nicht.

      – “Ich hatte gar keine Ahnung…” ich kann nicht genau sagen, wieso, aber das ist nicht idiomatisch. Man würde sagen “absolut keine” oder “überhaupt keine” aber nicht “gar keine”… ich glaube, es liegt an “Ahnung”… das klingt selten gut mit “gar keine”… wohlgemerkt… das ist kein Fehler, nur ein extrem kleiner “hmmm… das klingt komisch”-Moment.

      – “… geht alles schnell vor”… “vorgehen” heißt nicht “to advance/to progress” sondern eher “to go about/to approach”… am besten einfach ohne das “vor”

      – “Hoffentlich kommt meine Message nicht zu arrogant vor”…. dieses “vorkommen” braucht immer ein indirektes Objekt… es kommt immer jemandem vor. Wenn du das vermeiden willst, da du zum Beispiel nicht genau weißt, wen du da jetzt genau einsetzt, dann kannst du “wirken” nehmen.

      “… meine Message wirkt nicht arrogant.”

      Bei “wirken” würde man die Person, wenn man sie denn nennen will, mit “auf” anhängen.

      – “Ich behaupte nicht, dass ich perfekt Deutsch kann”… ja… KANN… nicht “könne” ;)… Konjunktiv 1 klingt eigentlich immer falsch, es sei denn du bist Journalist oder Nachrichtensprecher.

      Und das war’s. Ich war alles in allem WAHNSINNIG kleinlich. Dein Deutsch ist wirklich beeindruckend gut. Satzstellung und auch die Verwendung von Partikeln klingt wie bei einem Muttersprachler (bis auch “gar”). Ich glaube, du könntest ohne Problem C2 bestehen!! Hut ab :D

      • Danke für die Korrigierungen :)

        Jetzt sehe ich ein, daß ich etwas zu eifrig war, den Konjunktiv 1 anzuwenden lol.

        Ach ja ‘wirken’, dieses Wort ist mir beim Schrieben meiner Message einfach nicht eingefallen. Früher hätte ich das wahrscheinlich benutzt, als ich häufiger Deutsch geschrieben habe. In den letzten paar Jahren habe ich das nicht sehr oft gemacht, und man vergißt ja leider sehr schnell. Na vielleicht vergißt man eigentlich nicht, die Wörter bleiben selbstverständlich noch im Kopf. Es wird aber immer schwerer, sich daran zu erinnern, je länger man die Sprache nicht mehr übt :(

        Ich freue mich aber, daß ich noch ziemlich gut Deutsch kann! :)

        • Ich glaube auch, dass man nicht so schnell vergisst, wenn die Sprache denn einmal richtig “drin” ist. Na klar, wenn man jetzt dann Dekaden ins Land gehen lässt, dann verschwindet sie wohl. Aber normalerweise geht sie einfach nur schlafen … ganz hinten im Kopf. Das geht mir bei Französich so. Ich habe vor 5 Jahren wirklich intensiv Vokabeln gelernt und gelesen. Aber ich benutze die Sprache nie. Trotzdem ist das wesentlich noch da.
          Du bist auf jeden Fall ganz klar auf dem Level, wo es nicht mehr weggeht. Du schreibst, als seiest du jeden Tag am Sprechen und schreiben :)… oh.. ein Konjunktiv 1… gut. Konjunktiv 1 für das 4. Quartal 2013: check. :D

  78. Ultimately I would say German is like a big Jigsaw puzzle, at first it seems like the pieces are very hard to fit together, but once you have built some of it, the end only comes quicker and quicker (even if the last few pieces turn out to be lost). English, on the other hand, looks like a very small jigsaw puzzle at first sight, one that can be fitted together in a matter of minutes, yet once you think you have finished the jigsaw, you find out you have only built part of the picture and there are really lots of additional pieces to make the picture how it should be in its full glorious detail.

  79. I hope you don’t take offence by my implication that German is ultimately not as difficult as English. Maybe it is and I just haven’t reached that level yet. However I just haven’t seen any signs that German strays much beyond a certain framework, in anything I have read in German. I do believe that a language so much more bound by formal rules, is less likely to then become something a bit unruly and random, in the way English is. I think this is the difference between a language which is hard at first and then becomes easier, and a language that seems basic at first but then is very hard to attain anywhere near native level in.

  80. Ok cool I look forward to your thoughts. From what I have seen of your English you have got way beyond completing the jigsaw so to speak hehe. Your English is great, you sound more or less native :) That’s always the way though, it’s always German native speakers still stumbling over when to use the simple or continuous tense and showing no signs of producing English as native speakers actually speak it, who insist it’s all so easy. People like you who CAN actually speak English like a native know a bit better!

    • Oh the overachiever in me feels flattered now, so thank you :).. but I am far from native like. There are still a lot of things I mix up and then there is a whole lot of vocab that is missing. And I don’t mean fancy Latin words but normal ones like gust, gush, gobble, oust and so on… English has soooo many that you never come across in the standard Europe English… it is a pity, really, that they’re not needed to talk. Such a rich language… keeping all its secrets :) And this is different in German… I think ones you know the 4000 words you need to really communicate, then there is not much more coming … just derivatives… but maybe I err ;). It’s just my feeling.
      As for the Germans… yeah… I have met a few people like that too who said that they “sprechen sehr gut Englisch… also… SEHR gut… und es ist einfach so passiert” (someone really said that)… and then they start talking and … well… it is Erasmus English (German style) if you know what I mean. Not that this is a bad thing. It*’s great that people talk freely without worrying about not being perfect. But some people just don’t have respect… and in English it is just so easy to stay on the first plateau and enjoy the view… no need to climb up further. In German, it’s more like there is only one plateau and that is on the top. And the beginning is a steep rocky slope :)

      • Well you sound native like in almost everything you write, but yes you are right that one can produce very good English while still not knowing a lot vocab, and no one would be any the wiser. For example if a non-native speaker said something like ‘The Prime Minster was forced out of office’, no one would be thinking, yeah, but I bet they don’t know you could also say ‘The Prime Minister was ousted from office’.

        When it comes to higher level vocabulary, native speakers, unless they are some real wordsmith, will find themselves coming across terms they are unfamiliar with throughout their lives. Also, well in my case anyway, sometimes I know a word, but I might still have to think twice as to whether it is really appropriate in any given context.

  81. Not sure why I am still up or writing about German at this time (except I have a day off tomorrow). However I feel I should add, after saying English might ultimately be more difficult, that it is still by far the easier language to communicate in. It might well be difficult to produce native like English, but at the same time it is very easy to simply communicate in English. Mistakes are easily overlooked and don’t tend to hinder understanding. There’s no need to think too much about the grammatical accuracy of a sentence. German by contrast does demand a greater mental agility to get every sentence anywhere near right. Of course you will most likely be understood in German even if endings and word order are up the creek, but the complexity involved in trying to produce a correct sentence is much higher. It’s totally understandable that people like English being the world language. You can simply get by without having to immerse yourself in any deeper knowledge of the language.

  82. Have you heard of Ross Anthony by the way? He is an English guy, who I understand has become somewhat of a celebrity in Germany. Can’t remember how I first became aware of him, but once I realised he was a Brit who had learnt German, I looked him up on Youtube. I thought his German was extremely good and native sounding. Listening carefully I could hear the odd grammatical mistake here and there, but other than that he sounded almost native to me. He is definitely able to speak very quickly without appearing to have to think about it much, if at all, which is something I couldn’t do at present.

    • Oh my god, so I just Googled his name because I had no idea and then I was like … ohhhhh.THAT guy….
      I totally know his face but I don’t know what he does at all :)… anyway, so I watched a video and he does make quite a few mistakes with the inflections (cases, verb endings). However, other inflections he gets perfectly correct (adjective endings even for the most-form) and his accent is very subtle (though still obvious). And he speaks really quick, his rhythm and prosody is right and if it wasn’t for the mistakes he could pass as a bilingual person. He definitely must have either spent a LOT Of time here or he has a nack for languages or both. The level he has is definitely nothing you can get just in a course or from books. His spoken German is true spoken German… full with all the weird things and half finished sentences and all that. It’s impressive. I could also imagine that he semi consciously keep some of the mistakes he is making so as to be ÜBER-charming .. A wrong gender here and there just makes his fans go like “awww… so cute”
      And “cute” makes the sale…
      Here’s the video I watched :D


      • Just watched that video. I was only able to find a couple before. Ah, he’s able to speak German with so much ease…he makes me sick!!! ;) lol I think he probably has lived there for quite a number of years, however he must also have a natural flair for languages, as obviously there are people who live in a country for decades and are still nowhere near native. Then again he is in the entertainment business, so he has to be fluent, who knows what effort he has put in behind the scenes. But yeah, despite my envy, I am glad there is a famous Brit in Germany showing that we don’t all suck at foreign languages lol

        • And not only that but he makes awesome candles too… they burn so long, and they come in green and in lilac.
          Seriously though, he is pretty fast and I don’t think he thinks at all… it might actually have something to do with the fact that he is a musician … okay, he’s cashing in on Schlager now but at least he has musical training. I think this has a positive effect on language skills as your hearing will be more sensitive to rhythm, pitch and spectrum. I’ve had a students once from the US who had had diction class in college but who was otherwise not much higher than A2. But his pronunciation was close to perfection. He couldn’t say much but what he said sounded German and he could even make the mistakes sound fine. Then, Mr. Comfy has surely had some singing lessons and in vocal training (which he most certainly received being the winner of a German band casting) you get a sense of what you can do with your mouth other than just walk the treaden paths of the sound inventory of your own language. You’ll do all kinds of muaaaaahs and siiaaaaas there and you get to loosen your tie to spelling a bit. That holds back many people actually. They think in letters as opposed to just sounds. Everyone can produce a flat long German “o” but if a native speaker thinks “o” the brain will influence muscles so as to have it sound correctly for the respective mother tongue.
          Furthermore, I think he also has some training in memorizing things quickly.
          And lastly… I think he loves being loved. He wants people to like him. And that usually comes hand in hand with a higher skill for “mirroring” the other person. Like… I usually don’t talk Berlin dialect but if someone does it to me I immediately turn it on and I don’t even realize… and some colleagues who only know my “normal” German are like “Why does he talk so weird all of a sudden”. We all mirror the other person to an extend … anyway… his German kicks butt. Full stop. On an unrelated note… I like how Ross also has the obligatory “posh dog” . At the end he holds the candle to it and then claims the dog like it :D

    • I just read the caption of the video and there is an interesting prove how German just totally absorbs English verbs and imposes German grammar on them…. and it is a nice example for German passive and for German sentence structure being weird… they’re saying:

      – “Mitdesignt wurden sie(some candles) von Ross Anthony”

      Mitdesignt… that just looks so wrong to my eyes. But written as two words it would look wrong too. And the word itself is so practical.

      Mitdesignen – (participate in the design process)

      – Ich designe mit.
      – Du designst mit.
      – Er designt mit.


  83. Hi Emanuel,

    Your blog is fantastic! I am a regular reader and a grammar enthusiast. I have a question that has been troubling me for some time. Your thoughts would be much appreciated!

    What are the rules/preferences for having one case (say, accusative) occur more than once in one sentence? Here are two examples:

    (1) Ich muss den ganzen Tag den Bericht lesen.
    (2) Ich muss ihn eine Frage fragen.

    In both sentences, accusative case occurs twice.

    In sentence (1), “den ganzen Tag” is a time expression, and time expressions always take accusative case. Der Bericht becomes “den Bericht” because it is the direct object, and it therefore also takes accusative case.

    In sentence (2), the person being asked the question takes accusative case, because “fragen” requires that, producing “ihn.” Die Frage also takes accusative case because it is the direct object.

    In my understanding, Sentence (1) is grammatically correct and it also sounds correct, whereas Sentence (2) is grammatically correct but sounds awkward.

    In my learning of German up to now, I’ve (perhaps wrongly) assumed that each occurs at most once. Is sentence (2) awkward for exactly this reason, because accusative case occurs twice, for both the direct object and the indirect object? Is sentence (1) not awkward because “time expressions” (as opposed to subjects, direct objects, indirect objects) are an exception to this rule?

    I would love to hear your thoughts!

    • Hey Alissa,

      So… you’re almost right with your theory. But there are a few (VERY few) verbs that do take a double accusative and “fragen” is one of them.

      – Ich frage ihn etwas.
      – I ask him something.

      This is the generic form and it is correct and not weird in any way. However you’re also right that your example with “fragen” sounds odd.

      – Ich frage ihn eine Frage.

      What makes this weird for me is the noun “Frage”… it is redundant and in German it also sounds redundant. What else would you be asking if not a question. In English it works better I guess because you can also ask other things.

      – I ask you your name.

      But this won’t work in German.

      – Ich frage dich deinen Namen.

      I don’t think this is super wrong but German usually connects the matter using “nach”

      – Ich frage dich nach deinem Namen.

      Other examples for double acc verbs are “kosten” and “lehren”

      – Das kostet mich ein Vermögen.
      – Die Professorin lehrt mich die Liebe.

      As for the time expression. You’re right. It is acc. But it has nothing to do with the verb and people do not perceive it to be a direct object.

      – Was arbeitest du?
      – .Den ganzen Tag.
      – Häh?

      You can’t use it as an answer for a question that asks for the direct object.
      A case on the border would be with distances

      – Ich laufe einen Marathon.

      This can be seen as a direct object. The marathon is being run by me. But you can also not see it that way. It is undecided and that explains why both past tenses are correct:

      – Ich bin einen Marathon gelaufen.
      – Ich habe einen Marathon gelaufen.

      As far as double dative is concerned… there is no such thing :).
      Hope that helps a bit… oh and thanks for your nice feedback :9

      • Hi Emanuel,

        Thanks for your reply! Your explanation was great.

        I have to admit though that I’m a little disappointed. I was hoping I was missing some bigger principle. Instead, it sounds like some (very few) verbs simply take a double accusative, and we just have to learn these verbs. And time expressions can be inserted anywhere since they aren’t easily confused with direct/indirect objects.

        Vielen Dank und Grüße aus Stuttgart!

      • >>- Ich frage ihn eine Frage.

        What makes this weird for me is the noun “Frage”… it is redundant and in German it also sounds redundant. What else would you be asking if not a question. In English it works better I guess because you can also ask other things.<<

        I thought this would normally be expressed as 'Ich stelle ihm eine Frage' in German, thus getting round the awkwardness of 'frage/fragen' in one sentence, plus allowing the more logical dative in.

  84. I would live if you start an email list to sign up for the word of the day. Better yet an ap that delivers it to you would be….well… Wunderbar!

    • Hmmm…. there usually is a little black “follow”-field in the lower right corner and there you can either follow me through WordPress.com or by entering your mail. Then, you’ll get a mail every time I post something. Let me know if that isn’t working for you :)

  85. Hi Emanuel, I have recently written a book on German vocabulary and wanted to send you a complimentary copy. If you like it and blog about it, that’s great. And if not, I’ll know that a fellow lover of German has my book.

    • Go ahead :)… I’ll be happy so take a look and tell you what my thoughts are. And if I like it I will mention it in a post somewhere with a link. But I’m a critical person so I won’t make a promise ;). Anyway… you can send it to info@german-is-easy.com

      Looking forward to it and thanks for the trust

  86. Hi Emmanuel,

    I found your lessons as the best complement to Duolingo which tends to be quite dry in respect to the subtleties of languages. Are you on Duolingo? I think the community there would benefit your unique style and depth.

    Viele danke aus Rumänien!

    • Cool, thanks for the nice feedback. I m at Duolingo but I don’t really do much. I’ve checked out some lectures on German and did very few translations but that’s all. Anyway, too much screen time makes me go crazy so I ‘Ll just stick with the blog and wait for people to find me :D… Gruss aus Berlin

  87. Hi Emmanuel,

    I really enjoy reading your posts. They make more sense than most of the books that I read on the Feinheiten der deutschen Sprache. But I have three requests: 1) Word of the day “ja” as Füllwort. Books give a general reason to use the word as a statement that is agreed upon by both parties in the conversation, or old/known information, but it can go so much farther than that. (Ex. Wenn du am Sonntag zum Karneval der Kulturen willst, vielleicht will meine Mutter ja auch mit, aber da muss ich sie erst noch fragen – von einer Email geklaut) 2) Other than ändern and verändern, the verbs that confuse me the most are those of watching and listening to – (sich) (an)hören und (sich) (an)sehen/schauen/gucken, and where the boundaries of all of those verbs are. Of course, 3) I’d also love to see an in-depth comparison between ändern and verändern, which always catches a lot of attention for English speakers. I know you touched on those in the ver- section. I would really love to see how you can explain any of these………..Thanks!

    • Hey Dave, thanks for your kind feedback and ja… I’ll definitely do “ja” in 2014… and also the “anschauen” “angucken” etc. since this really is a question that EVERY student asks at some point. Just as the “ändern” vs. “verändern”… I have said some few things about that in the second part on the prefix “ver” and we’ve also had some discussion in the comment section but I don’t know if I can make a post on it. I’ll see… maybe some day I’ll be like “Damn, THAT’s the core difference” but maybe not :)

  88. André Rhine-Davis

    hey emanuel :)
    take a took at this:
    I don’t really agree with the *criticism* of German, but it did make me laugh :P

  89. Hello

    I have found your blog today and had read a few articles. . Well what can i say… its really fantastic. Your explanation is clear and in a humorous way. It made me laugh many times. Im studying abroad in Germany. My german is just in the beginning stage and it helped me a lot. I really like your blog, great effort there.

    But you didnt say where you come from, did you ? I would be very curious to know :). I see you can speak French, English, German fluently. What else can you speak ? Is german your native language ?

    From a fancy reader

    • Thanks billion for your nice feedback. That really made my day over here in grey, rainy Berlin :). Which is where I grew up. I was born in Dresden but my mom moved when I was 3 so I think I can say “Ick bin ein Berliner.”
      Viel Erfolg beim Lernen

  90. What can I say? I have been studying (read as “struggling) with learning German for a year or more. I have spent a tidy some on books, papers software blah,blah. I have learned and progressed further by using your site than with all of the aforementioned ( is there a German word for that?) “stuff”.
    Great site and some of that “extra” money? Well, I am happy to donate to such a great site!
    Keep up the great stuff and the humor.. its a nice addition to make a site more fun (more gooder?)
    Larry C

    • Yeaaahhh, you so made my day… thanks so sooo much for this double boost of motivation (comment and donation) :D
      I have always been somewhat of a little hater when it comes to language learning material, mostly because I have never felt I was getting much out of it. And while everyone is different and so on, it is awesome to hear that my approach can keep up with the rest of the pack
      Oh and I think it is more betterer but I’m not sure. Tausend Dank und frohes Fest und schöne Feiertage :)

  91. Hello and Merry Christmas!
    If you don’t mind, could you please give the titles of some easy language books and where I can find them? I would like to start reading actual stories instead of just vocabulary lists.


  92. There are many sites that have dual language books. The Grimms Fairy Tales are a really great set of stories to start with because you probably already know the fairy tail in your onw language,
    Google Grimms and your head will explode because of the number of these out there.

  93. Thanks for the suggestions. I have a few books on order but it will be over a month before I get them due to international shipping. So it seems that I will have to continue reading vocabulary lists and conjugation tables until then. sigh

  94. Great stuff! These fairy tales are like gold for semi-beginners like me. It also gives me a chance to brush up on stories I haven’t heard since I was a kid. :D Thanks again!

  95. Your articles help immensely, thanks for doing this. Every time I have a word I don’t understand this is the first stop on my list.

    Can you explain gegenüber? It seems to have multiple confusing meanings…

    • Thanks for the nice words :)…as for “gegenüber” I can only think of two meanings… or let’s say two concepts.
      The first one is “across from, on the other side”

      Das Museum ist gegenüber von der Bäckerei.
      The museum is facing the bakery.

      Since we all have streets in our cities “gegenüber” often implies “across the street” but that is really just by convention. So… two things that are facing each other are basically “gegenüber” of one another.
      The second concept is derived from that. It is an abstract “toward” in context of people.

      Er war mir gegenüber sehr unfreundlich.
      He was very impolite toward/to me.

      So it’s kind of like whenever the person was facing me, he or she was impolite. Here’s another example

      Hat er dir gegenüber was erwähnt?
      Did he mention something about that to you?

      This “gegenüber” is usually put AFTER the perosn while the first one, the local one, comes before the noun.
      Hope that helps…

  96. Love your stuff. I would really like to see a write up on the meaning of “bei”. When I use learning software and come across things like “ich bedanke mich ganz herzlich bei Ihnen” I scratch my head because I don’t get why you use “bei”.

    • Thanks a lot for the nice feedback :).

      As for “bei”… German by is quite close to the English “at”… as far as prepositions can be close because they are all over the place.

      Ich wohne bei meiner Freundin
      I live at my girlfriend’s.
      Ich bin beim Arzt.
      I am at the doctor.

      This is the core and then “bedanken bei” and most others are just a little more abstract. You perform the act of thanking while being with/at a person.
      I hope that makes some sense :)

  97. Yes it makes sense. Thanks!

  98. I am currently studying in Germany and have had very little luck with my language courses here. I read one of your articles and it taught me more than I learned in half a semester in my course. I’m so glad I found this in time for exams! This will definitely supplement my classes next semester. The way you break down the language and build step-by-step to using German makes the principles very clear and takes away much of the mystery that is Deutsch. I also appreciate the dialogue element.

    Great blog!

  99. I’m glad found you,I am learning German at Goethe-Institut(A1).
    so,I look forward to learn so many things from your blog and very fast.

  100. This is very interesting! Es ist sehr interessant! Det er veldig interessant!

  101. Hi there,
    Just wanted to leave here my compliments to you for taking time to put together this extremely comprehensive and
    humorous blog, which by the way makes this blog so great; it really ads an entertaining and ‘easy-to-read’ quality to
    your work, love it!

    I am currently in Germany on student exchange and am learning the language from square one! I currently am attending
    a Germany learning class 4 times a week and this site is an excellent resource to further my learning in the breaks.

    Also, I was wondering if you had heard of or had downloaded a language learning application called “Duolingo”?
    They provide free language courses to anybody who can sign up. They offer courses in German, English, Portuguese,
    Spanish, French and Italian (there’s more languages coming too). Though it would be worth a mention considering your
    ‘language nerdness’ hahaha.

    *will leave a donation


    • Hey Daniel, thanks a lot for those nice words … it’s really great to see that it works for people :). And yes, I do know Duolingo. In fact, already a number of people have mentioned that so I feel like it is becoming quite big. Which is good because the bigger, the fewer mistakes and the better the community. Some people there have referred to my blog, which is great, too :D. One little gripe I have is that some of the examples are really weird… can’t remember right now… “Der Manager isst ein Ei”… something odd like that. And the speech production feature does need serious imporvement or they should take it out. That is really poor in my opinion. But apart from that it is a great tool.
      Sounds like you’re really going all out on learning German right now, so I am hoping to read a lengthy success story comment in German in a month :) Viel Spaß erstmal

  102. hey!
    as a linguist and native speaker of German I have to say… I like your page! I came here by accident, as I wanted to know more about the ge-prefix. Now I do and I am a follower, Tausend Dank. :)

    • Ha… the ge-prefix… that is really a coincidence as I haven’t really done all that much on that except for the little bit in the past-section. Anyway, I’m glad you like it. Now I am native and linguist approved :)… don’t hesitate to call me out if I say some nonsense :). By the way… you might also like this page:


      It’s MUCH more thorough and scientific than what I am doing here but there are some REALLY interesting things to be found.
      Lieber Gruss aus Berlin :)

  103. Hi,

    ich lerne die deutsche Sprache seit ungefähr einem Jahr und finde deinen Blog sehr sehr hilfreich und gut geschrieben!

    Vielen Dank!

  104. Was für ein wunderbarer Blog! Sicherlich macht Deutsch sehr interessant ! I am learning to appreciate German with your lucid explanations.I salute your commendble efforts. Vielen Dank dafür…. from an anxious learner !

  105. Hi Emmanuel,

    I’ve been orienting myself around your blog the last few weeks and wanted to ask, how I can go to the first blog entry or see a history of your blog entries… Apologies if this is answered elsewhere or if I just haven’t found the right place to click… All I’m offered is to go to the next oldest entry or next newest entry…

    I’d really like to flow through from where you started and see how the blog evolved and there’s soooo much info on here so want to take the time to take a look before asking any questions or making requests…

    Thanks so much :):)


    • well… the whole things starts here:


      You can also use the yearly archives

      (or 2012 or 2013 respectively)

      but that’ll be a LOT of scrolling since I didn’t put in “read more” breaks for quite a while.
      The main thing you’ll realize is probably that I have gotten wordier … MUCH wordier.. a little too wordy sometimes :).
      There is no real deeper sense in the order. I usually just write what I feel like writing. But anyway… vielen Dank für das schöne Feedback und viel Spaß beim Lesen :)

      • Oh thank you, that’s perfect :) Phew, that you started in late 2011 is manageable for me to work my way through (i.e. that you didn’t start back in ye olde internet times of the mid 90’s…;) ) Ok, I’m diving in and will see you on the flip side making comments here and there…

        Reading you from a little village in Switzerland in the Basel region (Grüezi :)) abound with cherry trees in full bloom and having learnt German for 2 years in university in Australia, where I was born, and a little in high school and then doing a refresher beginner course here in 2011 a few months after arriving…

        All of these occasions of learning German, I didn’t really enjoy, attending as a robot student, repeat this, repeat that, get good grades. Speak but not really connecting with what I’m saying and having no interest whatsoever and no need here (except a sense of guilt not learning the local language…) having got by quite okay with English as most people speak ‘a little’ when I ask if they speak English which means quite a bit!…

        This time, with a sense of putting my foot down and fist clenched saying ‘yes’ I’ve been on a vendetta to see what I like to learn, how, when, in what way and see if I can fall in love so to speak and I feel okay saying that here given you’ve described yourself as a language as that’s exactly how I relate to it now!

        So I’m doing a combo of the following… (That having just typed it all out and looking at the below, seems a lot, though feels not too much at all…)

        – Attending 2 nights a week a formal German class at A2.1 level with about 6 other people till end of June, it could have been boring but the class is super fun, relaxed and the teacher is great, lots of giggling and innuendo and eye brow raising and general mischief…

        – Attending 1 night a week a learn German through theatre class (Deutsch Theatre als Fremdsprache) with about 15 other people, with lots of üüüing and öööing and ccchhhing for pronunciation and improv acting with pantomime, singing, dancing and slightly restrained sheepish german speaking as we all get comfortable doing the activities etc….

        – Watching German films with English subtitles to not force or exhaust myself by trying to concentrate too hard on the words and take away from enjoying the film… Genres I like are romantic comedies and comedies in general and animation and perhaps light action for this (though haven’t seen any yet)… 7 Zwerge, oh my, was crazy good for this…

        – Watching English films with German subtitles for where the dubbing is just down right hard to watch, e.g. Donkey in Shrek with Eddie Murphy’s voice, I couldn’t do with dubbing, though others like Jungle Book, sure no problem German dubbing with English subtitles…

        – Listening to a podcast by a German guy living in Switzerland recorded from 2007 to 2011: http://bit.ly/1n2Kgt2 . I love it as he’s doing it for fun, his voice is soft and it’s personal so he talks about his passions, his hobbies, Swiss things and it’s very sweet to listen to… It’s just natural talking and translating…

        – Pondering about language, communication, the reason language exists, the vehicle of language for speakers that speak profoundly, with wisdom, with poetry with nuance and suave charisma… So German is not known for sounding soft, gentle, subtle, flowing, beautiful, feminine, effortless yet that’s the way I’d like to speak it, so if you know of anyone who speaks it with panache and beauty, let me know :) Eckhart Tolle speaks English so softly and gently, so expect he’d be close, though his German is not quite there… Is it possible?! Hmm, perhaps I could try and be the first… ;)

        – As an attempt as an English only speaker to stand back from the whole language thing as a system so I went all in and googled origin of language and am reading two books (yet to decide whether they’re exciting me), one on the unfolding of language and the other on how language makes the world look different both by Guy Deutscher… I also bought a book that I’ve been wanting to read from a Russian series that has been translated into many languages, and because the German version has been released before the English version I bought it as motivation…

        – Finally, I bought a whopping (for me) dictionary English-Deutsch, and ‘A Student Grammar of German’ and ‘Wort Fur Wort: New Advanced German Vocabulary’ by Paul Stocker as these last two came highly recommended on Amazon… Again will see…

        So far, when I find something I want to understand, I go to the books first then end up googling it and that’s how I found your blog, it was looking for a case explanation and yours is pretty cool (well it’s the only one I’m testing out and had a good vibe ;)), so time will tell how it goes on the fly when I’m applying it ;)… So far, I’m in orientation phase, i.e. I want to know what I’m in for, so I liked your comment around B1 being the most difficult, as it already feels icky to understand where I’m at and am curious how I’ll go learning genders without a reliable system to go by…

        The other thing, and I noticed this when I travelled here in 2005, that my friends here who spoke English fluently as a second language, spoke it better than me, i.e. they applied more precise words and grammar and used the tool more effectively than my relaxed Australian slang and prose (soft Australian accent though and I can’t even do Aussie slang ;))… I see this with your writing, it’s very good and sounds better than a lot of native English speakers in your usage of it as tool to convey your personality and to allow others to experience your view of language…

        Now that I’m learning German, and speaking more German, my English skills are dropping off as I simplify and speak in broken English to allow better understanding (I’m guessing that’s the reason) so even as I type, it feels a little stilted… A friend mentioned this was happening to her too and she was using German words instead of English sometimes…

        Anyhoo, probably all things those in this multi-linguo part of the world accept as a given though totally a stammering and can’t get the word out right, express myself experience for me…

        Tschüss :)

        P.S. Love the approach for paying… Not hippieish at all, completely logical actually, was exactly the way I had in mind for when I’m ready (courageous enough) to share/do, put something out there…

        • Well, it definitely sounds like you’re doing a lot and the fact that it doesn’t feel that way is a good sign :). I actually really like the idea/approach with the theater. It sounds like a really cool way to get some confidence about speaking as well as a nice way to improve pronunciation and everything; and yet I have never heard of anything like that anywhere… I mean sure, there are always these little role plays in language courses like “You’re at a bank, tell the person what you want” but actual acting based lessons… never seen but it sounds really cool.

          I was spending some time trying to think of a person with a particularly soft way of speaking German but none would come to mind :). I have had a American professor of philosophy as a “stop over student ” for a week and his way of talking was really reminding me of a cat walking but as for German native speakers… no idea. If I come across one I’ll let you know :).

          Good luck and lots of motivation with all the things you’re doing and if you really end up reading all posts in sequence … I am super curious to hear how that was. Natürlich auf Deutsch :)… schöne Ostern und schöne Tage

          • Just after writing my bit I had a drop off feeling so didn’t feel the vibe to learn much, so feel it will come in spurts and waves… The theatre thing I found sort of by accident, it was posted on a Basel conversation group FB page and it filled extremely quickly so googled around and found a few in Germany and one in Zurich (the one I go to)… I can’t seem to find the ones in Germany now though did find these with a bit of background: http://www.textbewegung.de/forschung.html and http://www.birgitoelschlaeger.de/fortbildung.html

            Thank you for taking the time to think of a soft speaking German! If I come across one too I’ll pass it on…

            I’ll definitely let you know how reading the posts in sequence is… It’s my way I like to do things so we’ll see :)

            Happy Easter too!

          • Vielen, vielen Dank für die Links… super interessant für mich :)

  106. Ich war auf der Suche nach dem “eh” und fand Dich, bzw. Deinen Blog. Witzig und erfrischend, ich wusste doch, dass Deutsch nicht so schwer ist und jetzt macht es auch noch Spaß. Ich werde das mal meinem Mann zum Ausprobieren zeigen. By the way I’m german and he is australian and we live in France at the moment.

  107. I’ve been attempting to teach myself basic German without a textbook or anything for the past few weeks – I too am a fan of languages although sadly I only have two (native) ones, so learning a second language for the first time in my life + on my own is proving very difficult! I wanted to thank you for this fantastic resource. Your posts are easy to follow (unlike most of the grammar resources I’ve found…) and the humorous examples make things so much clearer. I also like that you’ve covered foundational words/phrases like ‘vielleicht’ and ‘nur/einzige’. It’s been hard for me to know where to start with my attempts at language learning, but having these basics explained so clearly (with simple-enough examples, too!) has been immensely helpful. Like one of the earlier commenters I do intend to go through your entire archive :p Vielen Dank!

    • Ja, die erste ist die schwerste … wenn du ein echter Polyglott werden willst, dann kannst du dich freuen… so ab 4 oder 5 Sprachen wird es immer einfacher (hab ich gehört, ich selber habe meine Ambitionen, ein Polyglott zu werden, aufgegeben). Für Deutsch brauchst du einen langen Atem (viel Geduld) vor allem, weil Deutsch so viele Vokabeln im Alltag benutzt. Also lass dich nicht frustrieren, wenn es langsam geht. Danke für das schöne Feedback und viel Spaß im staubigen Archive :)

      • I managed to get the gist of what you were saying with the help of a dictionary (this is very exciting :D ) but could you translate “wenn du ein echter Polyglott werden willst, dann kannst du dich freuen… so ab 4 oder 5 Sprachen wird es immer einfacher (hab ich gehört, ich selber habe meine Ambitionen, ein Polyglott zu werden, aufgegeben)”? I’m a bit confused by what I think it means. :)

        • Glückwunsch :)… hier ist die Übersetzung von dem Teil, der unklar ist:

          – If you want to become a real polyglot, then you can rejoice(lit.) /I have good news for you – once you know about 4 or 5 languages it’ll get ever easier (so I’ve heard, I myself gave up my ambitions to become one).

          This was quite a mix between literal and idiomatic but I hope it helps :)

  108. Hello, I am wondering if you can help me with the difference between: “Ich bin vor drei Jahren nach Deutschland umgezogen.” and “Ich bin drei Jahre her nach Deutschland umgezogen.” Are these exactly the same in meaning? Have I made any grammatical mistakes?

  109. Thank you for your wonderful blog! As a middle-aged german learner recently moved to Austria for the second time with my Austrian wife, I struggle with the language. But it is getting easier and more fun every day. Your blog is wonderful -just read the section on davon, damit, darauf, etc. and it was stupendous!!
    Question: do you have any kind of index that would help me find relevant subjects in previous posts? You are a most amazingly prolific blogger, Emmanuel.

    • Hey Chris, thanks for the great feedback und viel Glück mit Österreichisch :). About the index… I did do some tagging and some categories but I didn’t really have a plan for it. I think I have been pretty consistent as far as prefixes and differences go (so if there is a difference in a post, it is categorized as “what is the difference” or something like that. I don’t have an index page though where you could see the tags and categories. You can find them under the posts. Google does a good job with this page though, so if you have a specific topic just add “yourdailygerman”… and of course you can asways ask me :)

  110. Nhat, Luong Minh

    Hi Mr.Emmanuel,
    I’m a student in Vietnam and I’m going to Frankfurt am Main this October. That’s the reason why I’m looking to a way to learn German as fast as I can (at least level B1.2 and I’m around A1.2-A2.1 now, I think; even though I finished A2 in class). I am totally aware that there will be no easy way to achieve it. And here I am, after reading just 1 post about “Freue”, I found myself completely addicted to your wonderful, enlightening explantion, I couldn’t explain that joy in words, except for ich freue mich sehr. Thank you so much for your effort! You really save me and probably change my life! :D

    • Wow, vielen vielen Dank. Das sind echt motivierende Worte :)… viel Spaß und Erfolg und schreib’ mal im Oktober einen Kommentar, ob du es geschafft hast. B1.2 schaffst du auf jeden Fall!!

  111. hello Emmanuel :)

    thank you for writing this awesome blog. It’s so useful and friendly :)
    Have you considered doing something similar for Finnish? (Hard to tell Finnish is easy but it could be fun instead :) )
    Many greetings from Croatia.

    • Thanks for the nice words :)… Finnish would actually make for good source material as it is really logical and many words are built based on one core. But my Finnish grammar is by far not solid enough, let alone all the nuances words might have… maybe a Finn picks up the idea though :). Gruss nach Kroatien.

  112. Hello , first I would like to say that your blog is godsend , it’s nothing like I ever seen before .

    Mmm where to start this . Soo sometime ago , on the stack exchange german site you wrote a wonderful post for start and stop verbs . And you mention the verb anmachen with the example “Ich mache den Motor an.’, and I thought to myself very strange as I associate machen with to do . So I did some research and found out that anmachen goes with eine Lampe, den Ofen , ein Feuer etc , so basically to start those things ; but I remember some other verbs that were more appropriate to start fires and turn on lamps with : anschalten and einschalten, but then Duden tells me that the frequency of witch they’re used its actually pretty low . So ( finally ) my question is what verbs should I use ( like a true German speaking person ) with turning on / off stuff. Confused by my post ? Yeah , so am I . I am sorry if I posted this in a wrong section , but I didn’t find one on your blog entitled “Really Random Questions ” ; I would responded on your comment from Stack Exchange but apparently I don’t have enough reputation ( or whatever ) to comment back to you .

    • Danke für das schöne Feedback :)!!
      Duden is right about that… definitely the machen-versions

      – Ich mache das Radio/ein Feuer/die Zigarette/den Computer/den Herd an/aus.

      Even for “water” actually

      – Ich mache die Dusche/den Wasserhahn an/aus.

      (the tailor-made one would be “aufdrehen”)
      There are alternatives but I think I never use “anschalten” for example.

  113. Thank you so much for the lessons. I keep coming back to it.

  114. Thank you so much for this fantastic blog :) I really think it is going to make my german studies a lot more efficient and perhaps even easier, although I’m beginning to suspect the arousal of a giant and somewhat confusing vocabulary for a german-rookie! What a problem, huh?! Anyways, just THANK YOU :)

    • Well thank YOU!!! Ich habe mich sehr gefreut:). Don’t worry if some things will be a little too detailed for a beginner. If you find yourself being like “I don’t get that” then it’s not because you’re stupid or it’s too complicated… it’s just not what you need at that point. Just greet it and move on… like “Hey confusing rule or nuance, great to meet you, I’ll see ya’ later.”
      Viel Erfolg!!!

  115. Hallo Emmanuel!
    i just wanted to write a quick thank you for all this!, is actually amazing, and the way you see it and explain it is fun and very cool! now everytime i have german hausaufgaben i’ll come here and check your explanations!
    i saw a message above from an argentinien, so is not a new nationality for you, but, lots of hugs (abrazos) from Argentina and thank you for doing what you do, sharing your knowledge and doing it in a way people feel good to come back.
    i´d like to know more german to be able to write you a whole thing in it, but i´ll do it as soon as i feel comfy enough.

    danke fÜr alles!


    • Hey Barbara, danke für deine lieben Worte und die abrazos :). Freut mich dass dir der Blog so gefällt und ich hoffe er hilft dir beim Lernen so dass du den nächsten Kommentar auf Deutsch schreiben kannst. Muss ja nicht perfekt sein :). Liebe Grüße aus Berlin und übrigens… ich hatte vor einem Jahr sogar mal Studenten aus Argentinien.

  116. Cool I want to speak German

  117. Well at least ich bin sehr sehr freut dass ich habe alles verstanden ;) i actually have just return from Berlin because I was visiting a friend and I intent to go and study there for nächstes Jahr for a while (meaning I loved your city and you and it will help me improve my German)
    Viele viele gute wünschen für Sie :) (i hope i dint translate much of my Spanish and English into the German sentences)

    • Eine Korrektur:

      – ich bin sehr sehr freut…

      Das Wort “happy” ist “froh”… “freut” ist eine Form vom Verb “freuen” (to be/make happy). DU kannst sagen

      – Ich bin sehr sehr froh/glücklich, dass ich alles verstanden habe.


      – Ich habe mich sehr gefreut, dass….

      Das zweite ist in diesem Kontext idiomatischer. Das erste klingt so ein bisschen nach “Erleichterung” (relief)
      Ach so… du kannst “du” sagen. “Sie” klingt im Internet oft etwas zu förmlich.

  118. Ach so! :) vielen dank :D ich muss mein deutsch üben :) jetzt lese ich ein Buch (Kristall Berg) (für meinen deutsche Kurs?)

    Danke wiederholen (?)

  119. :) thanks, that way i´ll keep learning :D

  120. Hi Emanuel, I am re-learning German after years of underuse, and expect to find your blog very useful. Your English is excellent, but I can be a bit picky (yes I have been a teacher!), and some things really bug me, so if I post corrections, as you asked it’s because I would appreciate the same.
    Major bug No.1: Germans over-hyphenating things, like Online-Course! It is an online course (capitalised of course in the title). Ask a grammarian for why, my sense is that it’s just not that closely tied together. It is a course which happens to be online, but could perfectly well stand on its own.

  121. Hi Emanuel, I love your website very much. I’ve managed to walk five steps on the bridge, but I have about 12135454554028 steps to reach the other side. Do you know a good way to learn to construct difficult phrases? Btw, I have a few questions to ask.
    1.When should I place mich/mir in my sentences? I’ve learned the sentences below, but I don’t know when to place mich/mir.
    Ich habe mich verlaufen.
    I sehe mir einen Film an.
    2. When should I use anrufen and anzurufen in the sentence?
    I know when to use anrufen, but anzurufen…………… :(
    Ich rufe dich an.
    3. When should I use mit and bei in the sentence?
    Willst du mit mir tanzen?
    Ich wohne bei meinem Onkel.
    4. Do you have a list of words like vorher, darum, herum, etc? I am trying to learn all of them.
    Danke, Ich bin sehr dankbar fuer deinen Beitrag.

    • Haha… I don’t think that the bridge is that long :). Now, let me try to answer you questions

      1) Instead of asking when to use which you should try to understand the underlying concepts. When to use which depends on the verb or the preposition or the context and there is no general answer… have you read my post on the cases? You can find it on the “online course” page … art 2 is about Dative and Accusative and that should give you a feel for it.

      “Anzurufen” is a special form of “anrufen” and you need that form of any given verb in a specific structure… check out the post on “zu or um zu”… that should clear it up

      Meanings of prepositions are 50% actual meaning and 50% convention. “Mit” and “bei” share the idea of closeness and sometimes in English when you’d use “by” you’d use “mit” in German and vice versa. For people you’d use “mit” if you do something alongside someone, and “bei” if you stay at a person’s place.



      This is not completely complete but pretty complete :)

  122. Great stuff from you, man. Ive read your stuff before and youre just too awesome. I love what youve got here, love what youre saying and the way you say it. You make it entertaining and you still manage to keep it smart. I cant wait to read more from you. This is really a great blog.

  123. Michael Folkesson

    I love your site, and your articles. You are captivating in your way of writing, and I think that it’s people like you that make the internet amazing. Thank you!

  124. Hi ! I discovered this website some days ago, and I cannot help but reading again and again and again. I’m currently revising my German (7 years at school… Not able now to have a daily conversation… outch…) and I simply love the way you explain those words and the way you write. Etymology rocks and is so useful to understand more deeply a language.
    I have a simple (silly ?) question : is there any search bar in your website that I didn’t see ? Or any other way to find an article about a specific word without needing to process all the articles titles ?
    Thanks a lot for your great work !

    • Vielen Dank für das schöne Feedback :). No there is no search bar but Google knows me very well, so just type in “yourdailygerman” and the word you’re looking for. That should do.

  125. Hi Emmanuel …thanks again for your excellent German lessons.
    One thing that I haven’t been able to get my head around at all is the use of ‘self-reference’ in German – eg “Du kannst dich etc”
    Have you done a lesson on this yet?

  126. Hi! When i read your blog, i find it very interesting. Therefore, i would to ask your permission for translating some articles into Vietnamese. It’s for a learning German page that are run by our German Literature students of Ho Chi Minh University of Sociaty Science and Humanites. And i will have to cut out a few part to fit our culture. But i will make sure to keep all important and great parts. Please say yes! ^o^

    I would be very greatful if you do agreed.

    Thank you very much!

    • Hey Rosaline,

      wow, I feel quite honored by that :). Thank you. And yes, of course you may translate some and I have no problem if you cut out some parts. There are a few articles which I would exclude from this so it would be cool if you could tell me which ones you were thinking about translating. And it would be great if you could indicate this blog as the source in the translation somehow.
      Again, thank you and let me know which ones…

      Liebe Grüße aus Berlin

  127. i’m so thankful and glad to hear your agreement. we first plan to translate the “Word of the day” section. we had finished translating the “lesen” and “suchen”. they are being published on our page “Hallo Deutsch”.
    (i represent for our translation team so forgive me for not having maked it clear in the last comment.)
    if you’re fine with it, please give me your email or facebook so things will be so easier for us to give you updates about every article that we translate.
    this is our page: https://www.facebook.com/hallodeutschchannel?fref=ts

    Thank you so so much! we’ll keep in touch.

    • Hi Rosaline,

      so I just checked your Facebook-Page… I mean within the limitations of Google-Translate :). Unfortunately I don’t speak even one word Vietnamese. Anyway, I saw that you guys translated “noch” and I think you might have forgotten to include a link to my blog. Also, the link that is put in in “lesen” appears to be broken.
      I’m okay if you translate some articles, even many, because it is for a university site and you want to help people to learn without the middleman English. But I would really appreciate if you could mention at the beginning of an article that it’s an abridged translation together with a working link. Let me know if this is possible.
      Rất cám ơn

  128. i understand. we’ll notice and do that in our next articles.

  129. Just want to thank you for this awesome website – this is extremely useful! Hope this serves to encourage you :D I’ve laughed out loud so many times reading your blogs

  130. The detail is unbelievable! You must be brilliant.

  131. Hi, Emanuel. Thanks for making this website.
    I want to learn German and clear some missconception through your blog. It’s really awesome and helpful for me.
    Thanks :D

  132. Congratulation you have a great website!
    very well done and very useful

  133. Hey Emanuel!
    Ich glaub du hast hier die BESTE Kollektion von Deutsch-dingsies aufgebaut. danksche! :) Ich wollte dir eigt. treffen [ey, fast unmöglich aba wie ein Online Chat oda so] um es zu kennen, was dich inspiriert, woher du so gut schreiben gelernt hasch, und … dir danken. :D bitte mir wiederschreiben.
    wenn es dir leider nicht geht zumindest sag ich hier – GOOD JOB! (daum auf)
    übrigens, bin au aus Indien, sowie die meistens aus deiner Beispiele :P

    • Oh vielen lieben Dank für das schöne Feedback :D… momentan habe ich leider zu wenig Zeit für Chat und Skype und so, aber vielleicht mache ich das nächstes Jahr mal, wenn das Buch endlich fertig ist.
      Auf jeden Fall weiter viel Spaß hier und viel Erfolg mit Deutsch
      Liebe Grüße aus Berlin.

      Ach so… ich habe deine Mail mal aus dem Comment rausgemacht, damit du nicht auf einmal voll viel Spam kriegst :)

  134. Im doing a German course (B2 level now) and just discovered your blog. It really helps to uncover many hidden features of the language that you wouldnt normally get at a course, so that you very much from that! (I could write that in German but for the sake of the English speakers out there…)

    Also, I wanted to ask, if there is a “search” functionality on the site. If so, where is it? :)
    If not, it would really help to add one, I think.

    Thanks again for all the hard work, I promise to donate soon!

    • Cool, freut mich zu hören, dass es dir gefällt. Und du kannst ruhig auf Deutsch schreiben. Die meisten freuen sich, denn dann können sie ein bisschen üben.
      Was die Suchfunktion angeht… die habe ich outgesourced an Google :). Die WordPress-Suche ist nicht so gut und ich müsste mein ganzes Layout ändern (ich kann das Suchfeld nicht einfach irgendwo hinmachen… dazu ist WordPress.com nicht flexibel genug).
      Aber gib einfach deine Suchworte zusammen mit “yourdailygerman” ein… das funktioniert top.

  135. Hallo Emanuel!
    zuerst wollte ich sagen dass Deutch nicht meine Muttersprache ist ( ich studiere es seit nur fast einigen Monaten), so verzeihung ob ich viele Fehler mache. Danach möchte ich Ihnen für den ausgezeichneten Blog danken, woraus habe ich so viel gelernt und will gern auch noch mehr lernen. ich wollte auch Ihnen das Neujahr gratulieren und alles Beste für Sie wünschen. Wenn möglich kann ich Sie fragen woher Sie kommen. Ehrlich gesagt habe ich nicht alle Kommentare, was es hier gibt, gelesen, falls Sie es bereits irgendwo erwähnt hatten. zuletzt bitte ich Sie um mich alle meine unerwünschte Fehler, woran ich mich immer zu verbessern versuche, hinzuweisen.
    noch weiter Dank Fröhliche Weihnachten

    • Danke für das liebe Fedback. Freut mich, dass dir der Blog gefällt.
      Hier mal deine Fehler:

      – … also Verzeihung, wenn ich viele Fehler mache.

      – Danach möchte ich Ihnen…

      Besser nur “dann”. “Danach” klingt sehr nach einer Liste.

      – … woraus ich habe…

      Hier würde ich sagen “von dem”. Und es ist ein Nebensatz. Das “habe” muss also ans Ende

      – … Blog danken, von dem ich so viel gelernt habe und gern auch noch mehr lernen will.

      – Ich wollte Ihnen auch zum Neujahr gratulieren und Ihnen alles beste wünschen.

      “Für sie” ist nicht falsch aber mit Dativ (Ihnen) klingt persönlicher.

      – … nicht alle Kommentare, die es hier gibt,

      Es ist “die”, weil “Kommentare” Plural ist.

      – Zuletzt bitte ich Sie um…

      In diesem Satz sind einige Fehler, der war aber auch kompliziert :). deshlab hier einfach mal die richtige Version:

      – Als letztes bitte ich Sie darum, mich auf alle meine unerwünschten Fehler hinzuweisen, weil ich mich immer zu verbessern versuche.

      Hoffe das hilft. Wenn du Fragen zu den Korrekturen hast, dann gerne.
      Ach so… ich komme aus Berlin. Ich hab’s bestimmt irgendwo erwähnt aber alle Kommentare zu lesen wäre viel zu viel :)
      Und du kannst “du” sagen. Das “Sie” wirkt auf mich extrem förmlich.

  136. I want to thank you for all the work you did here. I really appreciate it and it helps me A LOT to learn German… and English :)
    Grüße aus Bulgarien!

  137. I would like to see a similar review on how to quickly recognize exactly what phrase that phrase is, when it is introduced by an article as the very first word in a subordinate clause, and how to differentiate wheather it is a relative clause, an infinitive clause beginning with an article, a predicate beginning with an article, a phrase of a noun in apposition beginning with an article, the conglomerate of an attributive adjectival phrase that occupies the first position of any phrase and of course beginning with an article, or whatever. What gets me the most in German is how do I know for sure that this article is not the article of the Noun that frequently immedialtely follows it, as in a relative clause, where the article of the Noun could otherwise truely be the relative pronoun that introduces the pharse. I find I really donät fully know till the clause is over and I have been given-or not given the phrase’s verbs. Your das and daß review was great. Would zou do one on this like that? Danke.

    • Do you mean stuff like this:

      – Das sind Hosen, die Männer gerne tragen.

      where it could be “die Männer” or “Hosen, die”(relative reference) and “Männer” (pronoun-less plural)?
      Well, there’s no way to tell just by the article. You need more structural hint. I think in a sentence like the above my brain would tend to take it as a relative sentence. That might trip me up when reading out aloud, especially if there’s a line break involved:

      – Das sind Hosen, die Männer
      gehen damit in den Park.

      In my opinion this would be poor punctuation simply because it trips up the reader. But generally when reading quietly, your subconscious and grammar conscious gets a lot of cues and know what kind of type your looking at very early on.
      Not sure if that answers your question :)…
      What do you mean by “predicate beginning with and article” and the types you mention after that? Could you give me an example?

  138. Hallo Emanuel
    Danke für die Korrekturen und ebenfalls für die Zeit daß du :) dazu gegeben hast. Ich habe die gelesen und noch darüber einige Fragen habe. Als erstes kann ich statt ´´von dem´´, ´´wovon´´ verwende? dann wollte ich wissen ob man überhaupt ´´was´´ als das Relativpronomen zu pluralen nomen anwenden könnte. Darum weiß ich daß ´´was´´ als Relativpronomen für ´´das´´ verwendet wird ( bin ich mir aber nicht hundert Prozent sichr). Schließlich ist irgend etwas mit ´´zuletzt´´ los? Du hast es nämlich durch ´´als letztes´´ ersetzt. Aber noch einmal danke vielmals für deine Pflege (for your care?) (noch mal wieder, korrigiere bitte)

    • Also… “wovon” statt “von dem” geht hier nicht so gut. Wenn du wissen willst wieso, dann ließ mal den Artikel über die w-Wörter. Besonders die zweite Hälfte ist wichtig.


      Was “was” angeht, so kann es nicht auf Plural zeigen. Du hast recht, dass es auf “das” zeigen kann.

      – Das, was ich will, bist du. (German Schlager verse)

      Die Antwort, warum das so ist, ist auch in dem Artikel ber die wo-Wörter.
      Und dann “zuletzt”… da hab’ ich leider keine gute Erklärung für. Es ist im Kontext von Listen und Aufzählungen einfach nicht idiomatisch.
      Und wieder ein paar Korrekturen:

      – … für die Zeit, die du investiert hast. (Zeit ist weiblich)
      – Ich habe SIE gelesen (nicht “die”) und habe noch einige Fragen darüber. (kein Nebensatz, denn es gibt kein Intro-Wort)

      – Kann ich … verwenden (n hat gefehlt)

      – Darum weiß ich…

      Ich glaube du meinst “darüber weiß ich”. “Darum” heißt das gleiche wie “deshalb”.

      – … für deine Pflege.

      :). Nein, das funktioniert nicht. “Pflege” ist mehr so “care” für kranke Menschen. Man würde sagen

      – Danke für deine Mühe.
      – Thanks for your effort.

  139. Ich sehe der folgende Satz auf dw.de:
    Mit eine Schweigeminute
    Warum eine und nicht einer?

  140. Ich hoffe, sie hat einen grofsen tag jeden tag
    Bis bald

  141. Ich liebe dich, aber ich weifs jetzt, ich kann ihnen, was sie brauchen! Aber schlecht immer hiea sein viel Gluck in jedem tag der vergeht.

  142. Hi, I’ve just find the website. I am a teacher of German as a foreign language. Mostly I teach with skype all over the world. I am a blogger on http://www.textatelier.com and http://www.deutsch-portal.com, where you find many texts to read and learn German.

  143. Terrific site, great work! Hats off to you – this must take up a tremendous amount of your time.

    I am a native English speaker and living in Germany. German is my second language .My parents were native German speakers and we spoke German at home – but that was my only exposure to German. So I’m able to speak it fairly well, but I tend to fall into a lot of the grammatical pitfalls. I found your site as I was looking for help with ‘wenn’ and ‘wann’.
    Your explanation was excellent ! Really helped. I’m going to check here first when I run into aother problem.

  144. I want to learn german on line

  145. Hey, Emanuel. Because you’re a blogger I’ve been enjoying a lot, I have nominated you for a Liebster Award! If you don’t know it, it’s sort of a chain-letter award bloggers give to other bloggers they really like. If you accept, you can find the rules by visiting 2000detours.com and reading my post, “I’ve Been Nominated for a Liebster!” It calls out you and a few other of my favorite bloggers. Keep writing! Und vielen dank!

  146. Thank you so much for this blog! The other students in my class and I are using it a lot. We have a question that we hope you can answer. We are having a hard time understanding the difference between Ausblick and Anblick. Could you explain it? Thanks!

    • “Anblick” is more about seeing actual things that are in front of you. “Ausblick” is more about the depth… you’re inside of something (a room/the present) and you’re looking out/toward the future.
      “Anblick” is about see
      Like… as facade of a building or a face is an “Anblick”. Your gaze stops there.
      A room with a nice view has a nice “Ausblick”.
      Hope that helps :)

  147. One sentence can change the world! At least it changed mine after reading your all about the “da” words from June 19th, 2012. If your preposition starts with a vowel, you must add “R”. Not to mention, the use of da, “when you talk about THINGS” or “if your dream of an action”. Okay, so 3 sentences pulled me through. 3 hours of class today and now I sit with my Hausaufgaben, cringing as I have never used “da” anything. What I must sound like speaking German, oh yeah…I real B2 beginner. Great Blog!

    • Oh man, damn course, ruining everything :). Let me know if you have any questions about the da-words (or anything else for that matter). The article is quite old and there are definitely some lose ends in there that might be the source of confusion.

  148. I love your blog and your sense of humor…. I would love to make a donation, but I will not use PayPal. Bad experience with them….If you tell me another way to contribute, I would be truly glad to do so…

  149. Okay. Extremely excited to have found your blog!!! Just had to say that lol I’ve been working on learning German for a few weeks now. I’m improving, but have a lot to go! Anyway, thanks for creating this site! :)

  150. Emanuel, this is a fantastic blog and you definitely got the “element” to make me intrigued and engaged in your writings. I was wondering whether you have assembled all your posts and ideas into a book? I would definitely buy it!

  151. I had discovered your blog more than a year ago. I’ve been reading your posts from time to time and as being a German language lover , your blog both makes me love German more and makes me enjoy it!
    I read above that you’d been teaching German for 72 years now( or maybe , because some time has passed, it’s been 73,74,75….I don’t know) so you must be more than 72 but I hadn’t understood that you were old till I read that sentence of you…I’m now 17 and you teach us and write your posts just like you’re at my age.It’s a great thing that you also show everybody that if a person wants to be young , years can’t change this decision ….Lots of
    ” Hellos ” from Turkey! Thank you for your efforts ….Have days full of German :-)

    • Oh thank you so much for these nice words :). I’m kind of feeling bad now but my actual age is 34. I was just messing around in the text because I felt like my age ultimately doesn’t/shouldn’t really matter … just as you said. I feel more like 27 and lots of people I know say that I behave like a 12 year old … at least sometimes :)
      Ganz viele “Hallos” aus Berlin zurück in die Türkei. Viel Erfolg beim Lernen

  152. Where in Germany are you from?

  153. Glad to have found your blog! My burning question is…how come the prefixes in separable prefix verbs dont always come at the end of a sentence or clause? For example, on n-tv I read the following: “Die beiden Männer im 30-Sekunden-Spot sehen aus wie Studenten und erfüllen platte Kiffer-Klischees.” I would have written, ” die beiden … sehen wie Studenten aus, und…” I’m a German teacher in the US and this has always caused me concern because I see this type of thing in many different native German writings. I am following old fashioned grammar rules or what?
    Many thanks from a fellow language nerd! Gut, dass es uns gibt! (Finde ich.)

    • Hey Mary, that’s a good question and I bet you get asked that a lot :)
      It actually touches on two different things. For one thing, in comparisons, it is actually kind of natural to have the wie-part (or the als-part) after the final bit of the verb (be it the prefix or the ge-form). I explained the reason with some examples in the post on comparisons (toward the end under “sentence structure”)


      Both versions of your example are totally fine

      – … aus wie Studenten, und…
      – … wie Studenten aus, und…

      I think I would actually go with the second version simply because “Studenten” isn’t that long of an element.
      But that brings us to the second point. In the media, especially the newspapers there is a quite clear trend toward moving stuff after the final bit of the verb.

      – Der Manager hat sich geärgert über die schlechten Zahlen.
      – Das hängt nach Aussage des Experten ab von zahlreichen Faktoren.

      These kind of structures have a different feel to them. Obviously, I can just talk for myself but to me they feel like there’s more punch in them. You get to the interesting point (the verb) and then you get to the second point (the main message). They don’t have this long dragging feel that the old school ways had, but at the same time they feel kind of hasty and disjointed. A bit like someone just spouting out info.
      As I said though, they are super common and they feel completely natural to me. The tricky thing is to know which elements you can move and which ones you can’t .

      – Ich habe gekocht die Nudeln.

      This still sounds quite wrong to me and no one would ever say or write that except in a poem. I think it comes down to how closely an element is connected to a verb so a direct object will come before it while many elements with prepositions, even if they are a must have, might come after.
      Now, this is by no means a new phenomenon. German sentence structure is quite flexible and when you read old writing from 200 or 300 years ago people weren’t as strict about the verb final

      – Ich habe gesehen den Vogel auf dem Baum.

      Whenever I want to sound like I’m a knight or someone from the medieval ages, this is one key thing I do… I move the object after the verb.
      I think, and this is again just my theory, that this whole verb-final thing is kind of a fad. It was one ways among many long ago, then people started using it more and more and now they get tired of it and start being a bit more divers again…
      Anyway, long talk.. so… in comparisons it definitely makes sense that the second part of the comparison comes after the verb even by the “old” logic (see the link for details)
      Hope that helps :)

  154. Thank you so much! Your answer has been most helpful. My students very frequently want everything with grammar to be black and white and sometimes I just don’t know what to tell them. I am looking forward to reading more on your site and possibly making a donation because you are definitely providing a great service to all of us “language nerds” out there. Honestly I’m really not sure where else I could have gotten such a thorough answer to this question that had been bothering me for quite a while.

    • Oh, I know :D… it’s always like “Rule here, rule there”, “is there a rule when to use which word”. I think one of the key things in language learning is to accept a certain degree of random. Language is fluid and even if there’s a current it doesn’t mean that ALL the water goes in that direction at a particular spot of the creek… gee, I like making language analogies :). Anyway, if a student can just accept that there will be odd things and new things all the time and that rule is not like in football where you’d throw flags all the time it’ll be a much more relaxed learning experience.
      Glad I could help out. Language nerds unite :). If you have more questions like that, bring ’em on. I’m confident I can at least make it sound as if it makes sense

  155. Hi, Emanuel! My name is Richard and I just wanted to say that I find this site to be VERY helpful, especially for grammar.
    That being said, I have a question for you… : )
    I spoke with my german professor at school today, and he was telling me that it is improper to use the adverb ‘sehr’ in front of the word ‘wunderbar’ as in, ‘das ist sehr wunderbar!’, to express that something is ‘very (really) wonderful’.
    Sooooo, my question is are there any other words where this would be improper to express a degree of something or is this the only exception where it would sound weird to place ‘sehr’ in front of a word to make it more emphatic. Thank you! Keep up the good work! =D

    • Phew, that’s a really good question actually. I have tried out some other combinations and most of them work, except “sehr großartig” which sounds odd to my ears, too.
      Then I thought it might have something to do with the “-bar” ending being at it’s core about yes or no…. like… “very drinkable/edible/feasible”… what does that really mean. Either it’s drinkable or not. But it’s not that strict and for some “-bar” words it works (sehr machbar/lesbar/brauchbar).
      I guess it is something about whether or not an adjective is “scale-able”. “Wonderful” for one is not really scale-able. Something cannot be a bit wonderful or decently wonderful or moderately wonderful or extremely wonderful… at least to me these sounds odd.
      But I don’t really know how we could tell that an adjective is not scale-able without trying it out. I think I’ll ask that over at German.stackexchange… I’ll post a link once it’s up.

    • Oh I forgot to mention… you CAN intensify it by adding words that underline how true your statement is

      – Es ist wirklich/echt wundervoll

    • So apparently it is an “Absolutadjektiv”… those are adjectives that can’t be made “more” and there are plenty of them…. I think for many the line is blurry though
      Here’s the question I asked in the forum:


      and here’s a link for the same thing in English:


      • Woooow…
        I never knew that was a thing until now! I feel like that’s a very important nuance for us English learners. I’ve heard several other students combine these words and not think twice about it, just like me! Thank you for pointing out another aspect of the German language previously unknown to me! : )

        • I actually think it’s not specific to German. English has these kinds of adjectives too and I guess other European languages as well. Don’t know if it’s universal though. Languages go all kinds of ways :)

  156. Wow what an amazing site this is. I’m learning German at university and have found this extremely helpful for learning the way that people actually speak in real life, the colloquial language. You’ve very much inspired me and I’ve been writing my own document about colloquial Flemish the same way, modeled after how you’ve done this for German.

    All around fantastic. Thank you so much for keeping up with this wonderful site.

  157. What were you doing in Finland? Im Finnish :D

  158. I still love your posts and I think I found a way to donate without intruding into your personal info and not using Paypal.

  159. Thank you just so much for what you do, man!!
    Sometimes I’d read you post (like right now) and giggle like a linguocreep I am and then almost feel like crying out of desperation because it’s so good and I can’t explain *why* to anyone. I actually study Physics and things like «Hey guys, do you think “sack” sounds like past tense for “suck”? Like, “I sack so much at the game last night.”» or «What is the singular for “lice”? A “louse”? A “lie”? » don’t seem to excite anyone here. So it’s not only because it’s about German, happens with English as well…
    I love languages, they turn me on like nothing else (I think I’ve read both Alice books at least 7 times). My native is Ukrainian (and, well, kind of automatically Russian) and I’ve been studying Chinese for the last five years (OK, studying *in* Chinese and just living in it which sort of makes the former happen naturally…), and now freuing myself over German with its pretty pretty compound words and roots with oh so many stories to tell. Somehow it touches me deeply and builds this strange attachment inside, often because of similarities with the Ukrainian grammar and roots (who would have thought), and your blog is feeding this attachment so much! :) I think I am writing this just because, as I said, I am overflooded with feelings which I can’t share :) Also because you have such a familiar style of writing it creates a feeling of really talking to you or at least a feeling that I actually know you ^^
    OK I should stop this peculiar burst of emotions, I guess I’ve been keeping it inside too much, and in any case, again, you are awesome, keep it rolling! B|
    * went to donate some muhney to make this cheesy semi-whiny comment have some Ground and sophistication if I can’t make it with words *

    • Wow, what a tsunami of language love excitement :D. Really glad to see that there are people out there who REALLY enjoy languages, because as you said… most people do find grammar jokes and this kind of stuff is boring as hell. Which is a pity because it really isn’t. Anyway, it’s amazing that you’re having so much fun with German and I’m really happy that I can contribute to that.
      Danke für das super liebe Feedback und auch danke danke for tickling my monetary erogenous zones :D
      Viel Erfolg mit Deutsch, und wenn du Fragen hast, dann immer her damit.

      • Oh, he-he, now we’re even B)
        Irgendwelche Frage?.. Aber du scheinst ziemlich beschäftigt für kleine Fragen :D
        Also, eigentlich, hmm, ich hätte kürzlich eine Frage: gibt es einen Unterschied zwischen “der Song” und “das Lied”? Welches Wort ist üblicher? z.B., wenn ich sagen will, dass ich die Songs/Lieder von Wise guys mag, welches sollte ich lieber benutzen? :) Ich habe versucht, das zu googlen, aber kein Ergebnis…
        Danke ^^

        • Oh, ich glaube, da hat jeder seine eigene Meinung zu. Für mich klingt “Lied” nach etwas zartem, kunstvollen und zu den meisten Sachen würde ich Song sagen. Metall, Pop, RnB, Rap, Rock… das sind alles Songs und für elektronische Musik sage ich eher Track (sing ja schließlich keiner).
          Lied würde ich noch für Singer Songwriter benutzen aber Lady Gaga hat keine Lieder (zumindest nicht so wie ich das Wort verstehe) und für Wise Guys würde ich auch “Song” sagen, aber wie gesagt… andere machen das bestimmt anders.

          • Aha, klar… Egal, was andere machen, deine Erklärung gefällt mir! Diese Logik ist sinnvoll*. Naja, “der Song” klingt modern, also bedeutet es Metal, Pop u.ä., und “das Lied” klingt zartem, also Metal auf keinen Fall xD
            Danke sehr!
            * Whooop, here’s another “false friend” for us, “sinnvoll” totally looks like “sinfull”…
            “Hellrot ist sinnvoll” <– the most terrifying German sentence which actually has more meaning in the wrong false-friend interpretation than in the real translation :D

          • Hah… der ist gut (das heißt so viel wie “Good/nice one” ) :D

  160. Hello am Gimmeh an am Interested on languages thats why I register here today..

    • Hi Gimmeh and willkommen :)… no need to register. It’s all free and you can get to every article easily. I post roughly once a week so if you want to get an e-mail notification you can sign up for the list. There should be a little black box in the bottom right corner of the screen saying “follow” (or something like that).
      Viel Spaß hier.

  161. Im trying so hard to learn german but i just cany seem to get it! HELP! WHAT DOES THIS MEAN
    Ein tippfehler und plötz werden alle zum deutschlehrer

    • It means:

      – One typo and suddenl everyone becomes a German teacher.

      The thing is… the word is “plötzlich” and not just “plötz”. So unless you made that typo I suspect they did it on purpose. I’d think that the sentence is a jab at people online who lecture other people on spelling rules just because they made a typo in their piece. Where did you read that anyway? Could even be a T-Shirt quote (a lame one though)

  162. Guten Tag:

    If you have not already done so (I searched and nothing was found), could you please do some suffixes on the Word of the Day. Like -keit and -schaft, usw?



  163. Jean-Baptiste

    I recently started learning german again after watching the movie “Freier Fall” and I became frustrated with the english subs so I am trying to understand what the characters are actually saying rather than relying on the subs. I just came across your blog and I have been spending a lot of time on it. It is really clear, actually fun to read and very well organised. So for all this, thanks !! You must be a really cool teacher. Do you acutually work as a teacher outside your cyber life ?! Do you have any recommendation on great german movies ?

    • Hey man, sorry for the delay :).
      So, I did work as a teacher on and off but my main job is bartender… so nothing with languages at all. I don’t think I could teach full time AND then go home and write a blog :D. I would hate it after half a year. I have one student at the moment and that’s enough for me. As for German movies… I don’t really like German cinema too much. Particularly, I don’t like a certain generation of actors who … I don’t know… I just don’t like them (I’m thinking of Matthias Schweighöfer, Daniel Brühl, Julia Jentsch…)
      Anyway… I can definitely give you some watchable mainstream ones but … do you like comedy or drama?

      • Jean-Baptiste

        No problem! I think that’s a waste, you’re not doing it full time like at a Goethe Institute or something. Though bartending sounds pretty cool too ;)
        Drama / Comedy anything would be good, provided it’s the least bit interesting. You said you’re not so much into German cinema… what would you recommend for us learners of German? What to do to get exposed to German language? Thx!

        • Yeah, I was thinking about that too! Thanks for posing such a good question.

          As a beginner I started with Muzzy in Gondoland ^^ It’s a cartoon (two cartoons, actually) designed for children to learn languages.
          Then moving forward to Der König der Löwen* now, a little harder, unexpected Genetiv from time to time and all. And then planning to watch Alice im Wunderland, I have a DVD with German audio but unfortunately they don’t have German subtitles (like, “for hearing impaired”, there are subs but German subs to the English track which are completely different).
          But these are cartoons, what about some movies? Doable for beginners, doable for somebody more confident or with a native speaker by his side?

          And: bartending is awesome! I mean… Wow… Really… Cause to be honest something like working at the Goethe Institut is how I imagined Mr Emanuel here, but now I am confused and have to change the picture that I had in my head :)

          * I mean, there are already two ö** only in the name of the cartoon, how awesome is that and what is the reason not to watch it? :D
          ** Notice how ö and Ö are smileys… Ö/

          • Jean-Baptiste

            Thanks, I’ll look them up.

            I really have a hard time finding something that will interest me in German. When you decide to learn for instance Spanish, French or especially English, it’s very easy to find interesting material, stuff that would be interesting to you anyways (like recent movies, modern authors or songs…). I love the German language, but I’m too often frustrated not to be able to use it for a good, authentic reason. This is why I asked Emanuel if he had any good ideas to be exposed to German, to something that’s interesting and not only something that is a good sample of what you learnt.

            Oftentimes, when someone decides to learn a new language, they like to get immersed into the culture surrounding the language. It’s quite motivating even though it’s obviously too difficult to understand it all. I learnt German for 10 years when I was in school but eventually I gave it up for lack of real opportunitites to practice it. I remember I thought that it was so cool to learn German only when our teacher showed us the movies Lola rennt and Der Krieger und die Kaiserin. Then, I was like super motivated for a while, cause “German is so cool, I could actually pick up a few words in these cool movies!”

            Anyhow, I really pictured Emanuel being a teacher too! Our host is quite secretive, won’t give much information about himself! 10 random facts about himself, they’re really only 7! And his off-beat humour leads me to believe that anything he would tell us, we’d have to take it “with a grain of salt”!

            * I do like these Ö, quite cool indeed.

          • Well, I’m 34, I work as a bartender, I’ve got a masters in something I don’t care about and (obviously) I’m a cat person :)

          • Hah… a teacher at Goethe Institute :D… they would never take me because I “have no certificate”. Suckers. I want them to knock on my door one day. And then I’ll be like “Yeah, I don’t know” … hehehe, I guess you can tell now that I kind of hate language schools, and I certainly do hate text books. Kind of the reason why I started this in the first place.
            And no, full time teaching… never ever!!! It wears you out. I need balance :).

        • Well, one thing is to go to ARD-Mediathek and ZDF-Mediathek. It’s pretty much the BBC1 and BBC2 of Germany and they have a LOT of content of any kind. ZDF has this subchanel called ZDF Neo which is aimed at the young. They have some neat documentary style formats there (My wee amongst [insert group here]) or “Da wird mir übel – [insert field here]) . SOme videos also come with subs for the hearing impaired but I don’t know if they line up with what is spoken. I think they do, but not sure.
          So look around there and I’m sure you’ll find something (the link is for one episode of “Da wird mir übel”


          You should also check out the “Sendung mit der Maus”-link on my link page.
          And now let me just randomly list a few movies that I saw (not saying they’re good)

          – Männerherzen (was pretty funny)
          – Kein-Ohr-Hasen (cheesy but kind of nice)
          – Absolute Giganten (not seen but someone who I really trust said it was amazing)
          – Victoria (just out now, a one shot 135 minute love drama in the middle of berlin… yes… one freaking shot)
          – Das weiße Rauschen (about schizophrenia)
          – 23 Nichts ist wie es scheint (a serious hacker movie)
          – Der Baader Meinhof Komplex (movie based on the one big home grown terrorist group who had the country busy for almost a decade)
          – Halt auf freier Strecke
          – Halbe Treppe

          and here’s a Google search that has more suggestions at the top… just scroll along (let me know if you can’t see it) :)


        • Here’s the “Absolute Giganten”- Trailer… wow, that was totally Genglish just now :D

  164. a german section would be a great idea!

  165. STOP IT! I’ll move you to the spam folder right away so there’s no point.

  166. What does this sentence mean?
    Was soll das du nutte findest du sowas lustig

  167. Man, you are 32 years old and you have been teaching German for about 72 years. How can that be? I guess there’s an error on your actual age. I even thought that there was more than just one writer for the blog and that you were both introducing yourselves.

    Greetings and viele Danken!

  168. Hi Emanuel
    Wie geht’s dir? Gut, Gott sei dank. Ich habe deinen Artikel über Wo-wörter gelesen und ehrlich zu sein, ich fühle mich immer noch verwirrt. Es ist wie du es schon gesagt hast, man muss irgendwie die ganze Konzeption erfassen und sonst er ein richtiges Genie ist, braucht er noch eine Weile das zu verarbeiten. Ich investiere immer mehr Zeit darin, so kann ich die Sprache besser verstehen und mich leichter verständlich machen. Sowieso hätte ich noch eine Frage. Könntest du mir(und auch den Anderen, die es auch nicht wissen) bitte erklären, was ist der Unterschied zwischen “verwenden”und “anwenden”? Obwohl ich selbst die Beiden benutze, kann es nicht mir klar machen. Ich übersetze sie nur als “to use” und “to apply”, jedoch würde deine deutliche Erklärung schätzen. Und auch noch deine Korrekur.
    Danke im Voraus :)

    • Ja, “to apply” for “anwenden” und “to use” for “verwenden” trifft es ganz gut. Ich mache demnächst einen Artikel über “wenden”, da sag ich dann ein bisschen mehr dazu :)
      Hier ein paar kleine Korrekturen:

      – … und ehrlich zu sein

      Das muss sein: “und um ehrlich zu sein”

      – … und sonst er ein Genie ist

      “Sonst” heißt nicht “unless”. Das “sonst” hier funktioniert gar nicht. Und das “er” sollte “man” sein.

      – Sowieso hätte ich…

      “Sowieso” ist hier sehr wahrscheinlich falsch. Es ist “anyway/either way” aber nicht so wie hier. Es ist kein Wort zur Überleitung von Thema A zu Thema B. Den Fehler machen viele.
      Hier ein Beispiel dafür was “sowieso” macht

      – “Oh, wir haben keine Butter mehr.”
      “Nicht schlimm. Ich wollte nachher sowieso einkaufen.”

      Lies mal den Artikel über “eh”… das ist das gleiche wie “sowieso”

  169. hallo! great site! i am learning German by taking a course (still at the A2 level….) and Duolingo.
    I was just wondering, if you have been teaching German for 72 years, how are you 32 years old? :D

  170. Hi Emmanuel, I sent an email to you about a collaboration. If you haven’t got anything re: Grammarvision, have a look in your spam folder. :) Grace

  171. Es sprecken est is nein est ist ga un destad

    What does this mean?

  172. Hey
    I also wanted to thank you for the work that you’ve done, I am currently learning german and I find that this site is an invaluable resource to me and really helps with my studies. Sometimes I just need the explanation of a particularly tricky bit of grammar or an ‘untranslatable’ word to be explained to me in English, then I just ‘get it’, and you have done a really great job at providing this. Not only clearly but also with humour, which is really appreciated.
    So yeah, THANK YOU, THANK YOU VERY MUCH! for this site and the help it’s given me in learning this weird and wonderful language.

  173. Hi!

    I just want to say this is the best resource I have ever found for learning German!

    You have an amazing way of explaining the “whys” of a language. Most native-German teachers approach things from a different way, either the “it’s just IS like that” approach, or the “very German pedagogy with charts and projections and lists of charts of projections”.

    But you explain the mechanics in a very approachable way and somehow manage to convey *why it is* that something “just make sense/just are that way” to native speakers. You convey the “sense” of a language. The “feel” of it.

    For example, I just read your page on the prefix “ver-“. BANG. The light went on. After 15 years in Berlin, *now* I finally understand the “weirdness” of “ver-“.

    I will recommend this site to anyone who is learning German. Amazing work, Sir!

  174. Wonderful site! Though there’s one thing I think would be really nice which is email notification for new posts. You may want to set up a newsletter list or something for people to subscribe to, so that when you have a new post people would get notified by it. Otherwise the only way to know whether there’s new content seems to be manually get to the site and check for themselves?

    • Hi Xiang, there should be a little black box that says “follow” in the bottom right corner of the site. When you click it, it opens up a subscribe function where you can subscribe via mail. It’s a little hidden. Let me know if that works.

  175. “Anyway… I have been teaching German for 72 years now……”

    Wait, how old are you again?
    (No offence though.)

  176. Hi Emmanuel, I was just trying to translate “aufhoren zu glucken”, using google, and I stumbled across your blog. Haha, I love your sense of humour, it led me to your homepage, and about you. I appreciate anyone who has a sense of humour and is intelligent. I am hosting a young student from Germany, who is going to be staying with us here in Australia for two weeks. I will have a go anyway, at receiving your emails. It is a little difficult without a pronunciation guide, but we will see. I will enjoy reading about the words,as language and literature is my thing. I know, writing your own language is scary, and I fancy myself as a ‘bit of a writer’, (hence my failed blog space, hmm, what to write about?) but realise I often make no sense when I reread. Cheers, Julia :-)

    • Thanks for the nice feedback :). Glad you like it.
      By the way… were you really searching for “aufhören zu GLUCKEN” or was it “aufhören zu gucken”. Because “glucken” is a quite colloquial/rare word for sitting for a long time without doing anything. Its original meaning was sitting on eggs to breed them. It imitates the sound hens make :). There’s also “die Glucke” as another word for hen.

      • Yes, apparently I was searching for ‘ aufhören zu glucken’. My German friend, mother of the young man coming to Australia, said she is worrying about him coming so far, and her husband says to let him go. She said, in German we say, ‘aufhoren….’, which seems to translate as ‘stop clucking’? In Australia, we say, ‘cut the umbilical cord’, for over anxious mothers; or ‘cut the apron strings’, (which is sexist), but I think it shows how much we love our children…:-) I have begun with the pronouns. i have ‘tried’ to study Italian in the past, really interesting what you say about the ‘sun’ and the ‘moon’, and the personal pronouns in German are different.

  177. Yes. It’s alright for you young ones. You wait until you have children…?! If you do, just think of all the extra German you can teach. :-)

  178. I am a complete novice, but after searching the internet, being unable to find an answer to my query, I have found your site, (and it is fabulous by the way).
    I am hoping that you will not mind helping me.

    Das sind meine Beine: … this seems wrong, unless in this case ‘Diese’ cannot be used because in Germany ‘diese : these’ relate to ‘which ones’ ? {although which = welche}, or am I just geting too lost in translation! :/
    Are there more instances like this?
    Please forgive me if I am being a numbty [polite version for: idiot :)]

    • I don’t know if you’ve seen my answer to your first question yet, but this one is a bit different so I’ll answer it, too.

      – Diese sind meine Beine.

      This is grammatically correct, too. But it’s rare and I can’t imagine a context for it. IT sounds like you’re in front of several pairs of legs and you point at one or two pairs saying “These are mine”. Still, “das” would be more likely since “pair of legs” is a plural, yes, but it’s also clearly a group. You cannot have a random number of legs. Generally “diese/r/s/n/m” is pointier in German that the English “this”. You only use it when you have an established entity that you need to distiguish from another established entity

      – Dieser Kaffee (pointing at it) ist stark, dieser hier is koffeinfrei.

      – Diese Beine sind meine Beine.

      This is idiomatic, too, since you establish “Beine” right with the “diese”.
      But “diese/r/n/m” just by itself is rather rare, at least in spoken. It feels a bit forced to me.

  179. I am having brain freeze due to reading so much of your work, it is extremely helpful, and thoroughly entertaining.
    You wrote this above, “Might be that some did slip my sensor though… if you refer to the fuck in “fuck-ups”, is that bad language, too”?
    Well, you could use cock-ups instead, it would be funnier, (albeit still a little bit rude).

  180. Hi
    having spent more time here on your site, I reckon I’m going to find the answer to my question, so please disregard. If you haven’t got the time to write books, have you thought about doing videos instead, because you have a totally unique way about you, and I reckon your videos would sell like hot cakes!

  181. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain this, I apologise for presenting a question that must be so mundane for you, but now I realize, to learn properly is going take a lot more than just using Rosetta Stone! I will plough on, and it will no doubt using your site will make it a lot more palatable. Danke für Ihre Mühe Angie

    • Don’t worry about your questions. They’re fine and you’re welcome to ask anything. If I have a post on it I’ll point you to it, otherwise I’ll answer as good as I can. There’s nothing mundane about beginners questions to begin with and yours could have come from an advanced learner, too.
      Viel Spaß hier!

  182. You wrote “I am 32 years old” and “I was already 54 when I was in Finland” and “I have been teaching German for 72 years”, didn’t you? But HOW can it be? 32 years and 54 years and 72 years? What’s wrong with these numbers? I don’t understand. Would you be so kind to explain? :) Vielen Dank!

  183. Vielen Dank Emanuel for all your guides!

    I’ve never seen a funnier and more helpful tutorial in learning Deutsch :))
    The pictures match and the jokes assist in learning haha

    Greetings from Southeast Asia, Ich komme aus den Philippinen!
    Please continue posting!! :D

  184. Dear Emanuel,

    I am struggling to learn German. But your website man, your writing is so funny! I urge you to continue your writing style, and people of this generation love this style (I think!). It feels like I am watching a comedy movie (READ: Entertaining) and Learning at the same time!!

    Lots of love!

  185. Hey there, I’m a big fan of your articles.
    I’ve been trying to learn German for a long time now and have recently started working in Germany (IT based), which with the language is is challenging. I have come across one verb which I use often in English but never know the right example to use in German. that verb is ‘Provide’.
    (auf Deutsch, Ich nutze: Verfügung Stellen, bereitstellen, beliefern, versorgen, geben etc..)
    Usually I use the first two of those examples, but It’s not always clear, and like most verbs, these often have multiple meanings.

    Any chance you could help explain all the variations of this verb in German? I think you’re the right man for the job!
    (this is like learning the variations of ‘Use’ all over again..)

    Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

    • Hmm… I don’t really do “How to translate this English word into German.”. Maybe I could make a series about that at some point but for now I want to focus on German to English.
      If you give me some contexts though, I could tell you which ones to use.

  186. Hi Emanuel,

    I accidentally found this blog when I was trying to figure out those ‘da’-thingy (damit, darauf, dazu, daz….z…zz..ZZzzzzZz). I love the way you write everything on your blog: so fresh, witty, funny, and easily understood. I am Indonesian, still busy brushing up my English but I am so curious with Germany. I am trying to learn with whatever material I find and also watch video (I love Easy German on Youtube and ZDF mediathek), even though my understanding is still next to nothing. Anyway, thanks for the blog and keep on writing!!


  187. Hello Emanuel,

    A few days ago I was googling for some “wort des Tages”, because I wanted to show off in front of a friend :) And this is how I ended up onto your blog. But the true adventure was just about to begin.

    I might not be able enough to find the words expressing my deep gratitude to you, for giving us of your time, and for all the work which you have been doing during all these years.

    Your posts are exactly what I was desperately looking for. I’ve been stuck for almost a year somewhere at the B1 level, incapable of grasping the meaning of the trennbare Verben, and looking at the Präpositionen as being some sort of a witchcraft :) I was stumbling, in fact, upon an everlasting “WHY” that no one seemed to have an answer for.

    Your posts not only gave me those answers. They also provided me with the oxygen I needed in order to overcome the “wall” you were mentioning in one of them. They offered me an insight into the language, helped me grasp a “feeling into” it, and encouraged me to love it again as I once used to.

    For all these, please let me thank you, from all of my heart.

    With deep gratitude,

    • Hey when I read your mail today about the course I remembered your comment and I just wanted to say DANKE für diese lieben Worte. Und schön, dass du Deutsch jetzt wieder magst :).
      Ich hab’ mich sehr gefreut.

  188. I learn programing and web develping and one of the things I’m planing to do after I master this is to help you developing your site. I will be glad to do that. I want to thank you for the useful information and for your valuble time i hope in this way I can give u something in return.

    thanks and all the best

    • Thanks a lot for the offer, Noor. I have just recently started working with a designer but help is always welcome. Good luck with the learning for now!! Liebe Grüße, Emanuel

  189. Very Nice blog! But I have to ask: why China won’t let this site be found? I just found it from China. Let alone Chinese is also used in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore…

    • Thanks for the feedback! I actually do have a fair amount of visitors from China directly so I didn’t think my site was blocked or something. I mean.. it’s not like I have any subversive content that could make the party raise an eye brow :)

      • Thanks for reply and understanding! I commented just because I want to try clear misunderstanding for my country whenever I can. It’s sad that certain sites like youtube and facebook is still blocked in China, but China and the party is reforming themselves and try to be more open every second. I hope things be better in the future. The process is slow because we don’t want to end up like Ukraine or Libya or etc.

  190. Hello,
    Found your blog by accident and I’m glad I did. It makes a nice refresher course for someone who has studied for several years but doesn’t get much chance to actually practice speaking (unless of course I travel to Germany or Austria a lot, which I don’t). Anyway, if u are still accepting ‘donations’, I will do that.

    • Hey, thanks for the nice feedback. And yes, I’m definitely still accepting donations :). Danke im Vorraus und viel Spaß weiter hier.

  191. Hello, Could You please create an index for the lessons. There are so many of them and i have hard time finding the certain ones i want to read again. Thanks…

    • German-is-easy

      Wait, did you check the “Word of the day” menu and the “Online course” menu… they’re all listed there. Let me know if that doesn’t help.

  192. When are you going to start a podcast? Maybe a youtube channel?

  193. Hi! I really enjoy this blog and I find the explanations very helpful. However, I’m finding my German studies frustrating at the moment, due to the online German 2 class I am taking. I’m realizing that the traditional way of learning a few verbs, a few nouns and maybe one new grammar usage in each chapter, which is how my class operates, feels kind of futile because I feel like I only learn words and then forget them a few weeks later. Also, it doesn’t teach those important and commonly-used words like “schon” and “noch” and “weil”, so I am constantly looking up words and usages. I know there must be a better way to learn a language, and I’m wondering, do you have any advice for me on effective study strategies? Thank you in advance, and again, I love your blog!

    • I think the best way is to start reading as soon as possible. There are simple books for beginners, with simple grammar and a small vocabulary. Some also have exercises. And collect all the words you think are useful and just forget about the ones you’re not interested in. Focus on verbs and “little words” like “because”, “although”, “despite” and so on. Those help you express yourself much more than random nouns like “shelf” or “scissors”. You can point at or sign nouns with your hands. But you cannot sign the idea of “although”. Either you know the word or you don’t.
      I would make lists/flashcard for vocab; lots of them. Not just 20… 200. And then I would go over them every day… on the train, on the throne, when bored. The important thing is that you expose yourself to the words over and over. Don’t feel bad if you get it wrong. Some stick right away others need 10 repetitions and more. Think of it as throwing a bunch of boiled pasta against a wall. Some will stick and the rest – you’ll just pick them up and throw them again. No bad feelings, no pressure, no “I have to learn this and that many per X amount of time”… what matters is that you expose yourself to the words every day.
      I know that’s not the most mainstream methodology, nor does it sound “fun”. But really… try to forget about pressure and accept the fact that some words won’t stick until you’ve learned them 20 times.
      The key is that you find a way to enjoy learning vocabulary. If you can do that, you will become fluent, I can almost guarantee that.
      Hope that helps a bit

  194. Hallo Emanuel ! (Sorry for my bad ENGRISH)

    I have never been more amused studying something in my life , your way in writing things down is just too good (Please never stop)

    Anyway i am at the moment studying Deutsche (A1.1) started 2 weeks ago , i decided i want to start everything all over again on your blog (I wasn’t understanding Alot with my teacher)
    So does it sound right to only study from here ? and skip my class (since he is really bad) And can your blog teach me from 0 to 100% ?

    Thanks in advance & Have a great day! :))

    • Hey Saeed,

      first of, danke for the great feedback!!
      Now, will my blog take you from 0 to 100? I’d love to say yes but that wouldn’t be honest. I have covered quite a bit of the basic grammar but not all of it and I haven’t done much for advanced grammar yet, or prepositions. Also, I don’t teach any basic phrases, which for some people might be useful.
      But it’s definitely possible to self study German. You can use this site for the basics and to gather up vocabulary. And you can use some of the material I provided in the link section and do some Duolingo. Or (if you can get a hold of it) Asimil… the people I met who had used that had pretty impressive German.
      If the course feels boring and bad then skip it and invest the time (and money) otherwise. Find a way that works for you. The key to German is the vocabulary… not the grammar, not the cases… it’s words. If you can find a way to learn a lot of words and enjoy it, you’ll progress quickly. And you can fix the grammar glitches on the way… one at a time.
      So… this blog won’t teach you 0 to 100%. But your class won’t do that either. But you know who can do it? YOU! Just trust yourself, be patient with yourself and the language and have a bit of self discipline and go for it :)

  195. Danke für die tolle Zusammenfassung, ich war auf de Suche für eine Bekannte.
    Sie macht super Fortschritte nochmal

    Vielen Dank

  196. This is the best website on the internet.

  197. Danke vielmals für deinen Einsatz! Du bist toll!

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