and welcome to a brand new episode of our “German Prepositions Explained“. In this series, we’re looking those little suckers one at a time and explore what they mean as a stand alone, as a prefix and most importantly as part of those infamous FVPCTGOENs. Erm… that’s short for Fixed Verb Prefix Combos that Go on Everyone’s Nerves.
If you don’t know what that is, well, you’ll find out soon enough ;).
Today, we’ll take a detailed look at
and I’d say let’s jump right in… I mean on.
and welcome back to our look at the German past tense. Last time we spoke about what we call the written past (‘dem scholars call it preterit) and we’ve seen that it’s fairly similar to how it works in English. So some verbs build the form with an ending, others change their stem and for those you should just learn what change is happening.
If you haven’t read that part or you’re like “Hmm… I feel a bit shaky, maybe I should review” then you can find it here
Oh wait, wrong link…
“Man, Emanuel, you really can’t help it with these silly jokes, can you?”
Nah, not really.
Anyway, what will we do today? Today we’ll find out the verbs you need to use the written past are the idiomatic choice even for spoken German and we’ll check what effect is created when the other form is used. Because that varies. For some verbs it just sounds strange, for others it actually could change the meaning.
Sounds like we’re in for a lot of fun. Okay, no actually it sounds like work. But make no mistake, the things we talk about today are crucial if you want to speak idiomatic German. So let’s dive right in, shall we….
and welcome to another part of the best German language online course ever.
Today (after about 4 god damn years of waiting, for the long-time readers), it is time for a new episode of the epic HBO series called “German Past Tense”. If you haven’t watched the first 29 episodes you can find them here:
Yeah… okay, I’m being silly. Of course, it’s only two episodes so far.
Part 1 was an overview about German Past tense and what we’ll have to learn, part 2 was all about the spoken past and today, in part 3, it is time for a look at:
the written past
In grammar jargon, this tense is known under the name preterit. But preterit is not intuitive at all and it sounds a bit scary, so we call it written past. Why written past? Because it’s one of THE main features of written accounts of stuff, while spoken past is what people use in daily life. Like… if Harry Potter were to tell Ron in German what he’s been up to all day on sick leave (sleeping, eating pizza, watching a movie, casting spells), he’d use spoken past.
When J.K. Rowling will narrate the same stuff in “Harry Potter 45 – Harry Potter and the Cursed Lumbago”, she’ll use the written past. When you read a novel in German, you’ll see written past all over the place.
Now, that would be a great system – if German were consistent about it. But it isn’t. German is consistent about pretty much no rule.
There’s a group of verbs for which the written past is also idiomatic in spoken language. For some, you can use both forms, for others the written past is the better choice, and then there are the ones you’ll REALLY love: The ones where the spoken past and the written past are both used, and mean two different things. But before we talk about that, we’ll learn how to build the forms. And for that, we’ll begin with a look at good ol’ English…
it’s been a while since we’ve had a real grammar episode but the wait is over. Welcome to a new episode of the German is Easy – Learn German Online Course. And this time we’ll have a look at the perfect topic for a hot summer day:
the position of “nicht”
The question where to put nicht in a sentence is one that confuses many learners. And it is one that textbooks have the perfect, spot-on answer to…
nooooot! Stupid textbooks.
Okay, to be fair… the stuff about sentence negation vs element negation, is not all wrong, but it gets really confusing once you look closer. Because just like with sentence structure, the standard material kind of fails to look under the hood. It explains symptoms, not the cause.
So we’ll try a slightly different approach, one that captures the underlying mechanics just as well as this picture does.
Haha. Get it? Underlying mechanics?
Seriously though, our approach is gonna be AWESOME because all we need is one rule and get this – the rule has no exceptions. WOW!!
Oh, beside that rule we also need very open mind. And a coffee because it’ll be intense.
In part one we’ll get to know the basic rule and we’ll lay a fair bit of groundwork. And before you go like “Dude, I’m a working man, mother of 4 and full time student… I ain’t got time for groundwork.” let me tell you… you will want to read this. You need this groundwork like Burger King needs ground beef.
So, are you ready to dive in? Perfect!