Category Archives: Grammar Basics

Sentence Structure Work Out – “bevor, nachdem, danach…”

german-bevor-danach-exercisHello everyone,

I hope you’re all fit and well rested because this week it is more than time to give our German language muscles a little work out. As last time we’ll focus on the word order and sentence structure core, and this time we’ll focus on one very important muscle in particular:  the timeceps.
You might have guessed it. Today’s exercise is all about:

Talking about the order of events

So let’s put on our sport’s pants, get out our sport’s pens and dive right in. Continue reading

Sentence Structure Work Out 2

sentence-structure-verb-undHello everyone,

and welcome to your little doze off German.. oh… I mean dose of German. Two weeks ago we did a little exercise for sentence structure and so we’ll do it again today. Yeaaaay. And if you’re now like “What… again? Can’t we rather do words or grammar?” then let me tell you to shut up. Oh… I meant: don’t worry. We won’t do work out all the time. I just want to do this one now because that’s how we roll. Haters gonna hate.
Seriously though, many of you enjoyed the sentence structure work out and I think we’ll make that into a regular thing here. Do a little session every once in a while, each time with a different focus and a bit of info around it. Topics like relative clauses, or danach or bevor or indirect speech or…  common mistakes. Which is what we’ll focus on today.
Many of you tried out examples in the comments last time and the great thing about that is that we can find common mistakes that way. And then we can talk about them, clear up the confusion and do some more examples. Give those muscles a little extra work out, if you will. So are you ready to step on the Structurator® and get sweaty? Great :).  Continue reading

German Work Out – Sentence Structure

Hallo ihr alle,

wie geht’s euch? Alles gut? Ich habe eine kleine Frage … oder eine Idee…. sie heißt:


Hah… you’re face tells me that you probably understood that :). Hausaufgaben…. boooooooh.
But it’s really just the word that has this negative spin. Homework is a good thing because if we want to learn a language, we need to practice. So… we’re already doing some listening every once in a while but I was thinking maybe it would be cool to have more exercises, you know, to get our German in shape and sexy. Wait, can German be sexy? Meh, anyways, so today I have a little exercise for the core…

the sentence structure 

I really like this exercise and I used to do that kind of exercise a lot myself which is why I have these killer abs today. But seriously… I think it’s a good way to get less intimidated and confused when it comes to making these loooooog sentences German is so famous for.
Here’s the idea: Continue reading

German Word Order – 3

Hello everyone,

and welcome to the third part of our mini series on

German Word Order

and if you haven’t read part 1 and part 2 yet, you really should do that because today’s post won’t make much sense without it. So here they are:

And no, there will be no recap. Our poles won’t get one either.
Wow, Worst Pun Ever Award, I’m coming.
Anyway, so last time was all about head final and the notion of important stuff coming very late. But it turned out that this couldn’t quite explain everything. Because it’s actually only half of the the truth. Today, we’ll look at the other half. So… are you ready to jump in once more, even if the water looks a little nerdy?
Awesome. Continue reading

German Word Order Explained – 2

Hello everyone,

and welcome to the second part of our look at the mess that seems to be

German Word Order

And before we get to it let’s do a super quick recap what we learned in part one. (find it here) we’ve learned three things.
Number one:
The rules you can usually find are … not very good. And how could they. Because number 2:
There are no rules. And there’s not one correct order. There’s a default order which is  the result of a fascinating interplay of several forces, pulling the elements in different directions. And the speaker has a lot of freedom to rearrange stuff for emphasis. Problem is that these interactions are  uber complex and dynamic. We cannot really “learn” that.  Which leads us directly to number three:
In linguistics there is the concept of a head of a phrase and we learned that German is at it’s soul a head-final language. You know… like its close relatives Korean and Japanese. They’re head final too.
Today, we’ll find out how this head-final-ness of German can help us explain everything. Well, not everything, but a lot. It’s going to be tough and I’m not saying that every sentence you’ll ever say will be correct. But at least things will make sense. Promise! Continue reading