and welcome to a new episode of the epic series
A quick practical guide to important German verbs
Or AQPGTIGV for short.
Yo yo yo, what’s up peeps, AQPGTIGV-time. Ya’ll ain’t ready for this!!!
Coffee is a hell of drink.
And you know what’s also a hell of a thing?
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FlexiSpot is running a winter sale at the moment till the end of February so if you’re looking for flexible height desk or a chair, this might be interesting for you. Here are the links:
I think they also have stores in the US and Canada, so just check if you’re living across the pont.
But now let’s get to the article.
Many of you probably already know this series. In each episode, we take one of the most important German verbs and go over all the common structures and phrasings that you’ll need in daily life.
And the crucial part is, it’s not just in theory, but in actual real practice, because you… yes you, right there in front of the screen… you will have to SPEAK.
I am using an speech grading AI developed by EF languages which will give you feedback on your pronunciation, and while it’s not perfect and can NOT replace a native speaker, it’s still a really great way to learn because learning in theory is one thing, but actually speaking is another. And especially with these basic structures and sentences it’s great to get some actual mileage in, and not just theory.
Today, we’ll take a look at
And what we’ll learn is of course the conjugation and how to use it in past and present, thereby reviewing these concepts.
And we’ll also see how Germans use that weird little hin and we’ll learn a side meaning of gehen, that’s really really important in daily life.
So if you’re ready to jump in then let’s go.
How it works
Quick primer on how it works, for those who are new or need a refresher.
I’ll give you a sentence in English, which you will then have to SAY in German.
Of course you can note then down somewhere before, but the goal is that you can make them up on the fly, after you’ve done this practice a few times.
To start the recording just press the button and press it again to stop.
You’ll then get feedback how your pronunciation was.
You can try again as often as you like, you can listen to your recording by using the play button on the left next to the result and you can delete a version by clicking the red X.
And you can also hear me say it in “my version”.
Let’s give it a try, with our “verb du jour” gehen:
Some of the examples also have a hint, that’ll help with cases or gender or if there’s new vocab. Just click on the light bulb to see it. But not all of them will have a hint, so make sure to have your memory activated :).
If the button is not working, you might have blocked mic-access for the site. To change that, click on the little lock icon next to the website address.
And the distance you have to the phone or mic has a HUGE influence on the recording quality and hence on the grade, so if you get poor results, just try to get closer.
Cool, so now we’re all set, and let’s start with the two basic meanings.
gehen – the basics
Gehen is of course the German brother of to go.
The core idea is the same in both languages, but there are some important differences in when the verbs are used. We’ll look at those in a minute but let’s do a couple of simple sentences first.
Gehen in present tense is completely regular, so there are no stem changes or other surprises.
Go ahead, give it a try :)
And the plural forms
And now, let’s make a simple sentence.
This is as basic as it gets, so let’s make it a bit longer.
And now let’s make it even longer and give Thomas a companion and add with Maria – mit Maria.
Which of course raises the question WHERE to add her.
And the answer is… put her BEFORE the park. So it’s the opposite way to English.
You might of course now wonder WHY that is. Well, it’s kind of a general trend in German sentence structure and we can’t really go into this too much here, but in short, the location is the most important bit for the verb gehen, and in German, the more important something is for the verb, the LATER it’ll come in the sentence, whereas in English it stays close to the verb.
So… time to actually make the sentence
This is pretty long already, but we want even more.
So let’s add some time information and say that he’ll go to German class with Maria tomorrow.
Some of you are probably thinking: “Wait… he will go… isn’t that future tense? I haven’t learned that yet.”
And you’re right that it is set in the future BUT (and this is important)
German does NOT use its future tense all that much!
Especially in spoken German, people use the present, whenever context makes it clear that we’re talking about the future. And using the actual future tense can sound quite stiff and scripted. So using present isn’t only an option… it’s kind of a need.
And that goes for any verb, by the way; not just for gehen.
So… whenever you want to say a sentence that’s with will in English, like “I’ll do that.” or “You will go.” – you absolutely should use good old simple present in German.
Let’s practice and start simple
Did you feel an itch to do something special? Well, that’s normal, but learn to ignore it. The present tense is really the way to go.
Now let’s get back to the example we had earlier :
And let’s switch it up a bit and also throw in some more info
And while we’re at it, let’s play around with the word order a bit and move the time information to the front.
And keep in mind… in German, the verb will STAY in the second slot, so you have to make some “adjustments™”
And let’s try one that’s completely new
And now, let’s hop on over and do some questions.
Using “gehen in Questions
They key difference between German and English when it comes to questions is that German does NOT use a helper verb the way English uses to do. Instead, it just always moves the verb to the front for yes or no questions, or puts a question word before it.
- Do you eat Sushi?
- Isst du Sushi?
- Why do you eat Sushi?
- Warum isst du Sushi?
These sound very strange if you translate them word for word. I mean… “Eat you Sushi?”… what’s that supposed to be. But English does it, too. “Are you at home?”, “Can you speak German?” This is the same structure. German just uses it for ALL its verbs while English only for an elite group. Maybe that’s Verbism actually. English needs to be careful not to get cancelled.
Seriously though, time to get active.
And a bit longer
And a bit longerererer and trickier
And now let’s threw in a question word
Even if you can’t hold all of it in your head right now, don’t worry… just do the exercise a few more times and it’ll start flowing naturally.
Now, maybe the most important question word for gehen is of course where.
And here, German is a little tricky. Because the German word for where, wo, can by itself ONLY ask for a currently fixed location.
With gehen, however, we want to know a destination. We don’t want to know “at what location” someone is performing the act of going. We want to know what the DESTINATION is of the act of going.
One of the most common ways to express that is by adding hin to the sentence. You’ll encounter this a lot in your German learning career, and the earlier you get used to it, the better.
The hin is kind of a free spirit, and we have two options to place it. One is to attach to wo, and say wohin. But the more common one is treating it as a verb prefix, and that means we have to put it… exactly… at the end.
Let’s give it a try.
And a bit longer
And once again a bit longer
Let’s do one more
And now, I think it’s time… for some past tense :)
gehen – The Past Tense
If you have some experience with German past tense already, you’ll know that the helper verb for the spoken past is haben for most verbs, but some go with sein. These are the verbs that are about changing one’s state or location, and that’s exactly what we’re doing when we’re going somewhere.
So of course, gehen goes with sein.
Here’s an example:
- Thomas ist nach Hause gegangen.
And now it’s your turn.
Did that throw you off :)?
Remember, the version of past that you use in English has very little to do with what’s going on in German.
Let’s make it a bit longer.
And now, do you dare do a side sentence :)?
What you need to do is basically move the verb that’s on position two to the very end.
Let’s be bold and give it a shot right away
Let’s maybe do a different sentence:
And again, let’s be bold and try a side sentence.
Again, if you have trouble keeping all the elements in your head – that means you’re a normal, sane human being who is nota native speaker of German. I bet two thirds of people reading this have trouble with it, but hey… let’s do a little poll real quick and find out :)
Now let’s do some questions in past tense. And remember… just like for the present tense, also in past you do NOT use a helper like in English but just the actual verb instead.
and a bit longer
And now let’s throw in a question word, and throw in a modification for good measure.
So far so good.
And now, are you ready for where?
Then let’s do it.
Remember how we needed hin in present tense as an indicator of a destination?
Well, of course we also need it in past tense. And remember how we put it at the end, just like a verb prefix?
Well, we’ll keep treating it that way because that’s pretty much what it is.
The verb is hingehen and the ge-form is hingegangen.
You know what… maybe it’s a bit too cocky, but let’s try without an example
It’s not a problem if you didn’t get it right. What matters is that you understand why.
And that you get the next one right
And let’s challenge our mental short term RAM memory again
If you could do that without writing it down before… congratulations, you’re B1 now :)
Seriously, I’ve said it multiple times, but I’ll say it again: the goal of these is not that you come and ace them all at the first try. If you do that, then you don’t really need this.
The goal is that you work your way through it and do the exercise a few times within a couple of weeks to really get used to the phrasings. That’ll increase your chances that they come out automatically when you’re out in the wild.
All right, so now we have quite a few building blocks already, but there’s one more thing we need to talk about … beacuse all the examples we had so far were about going in the sense of actually going to a location.
But that’s not all gehen is used for.
So let’s now go over at its other uses and practice those a bit, as well.
“gehen” as “working out”
The first one is gehen in the sense of working out or being possible.
It’s super common in daily life for short statements that some plan or idea works or doesn’t work.
Like… suppose your friend asks you if you can help them move the couch on Monday, and you want to reply that it works. In German you’d say.
- Yeah, that works.
- Ja, das geht.
And now let’s do the same in the negative. Which in German simply means that we add in a nicht, because German doesn’t use helper phrasings like “doesn’t” or “won’t”.
And now let’s try it with questions. Like, suppose you suggest to your friend to meet tomorrow at six, and you want to ask if that’s possible.
Yes, it’s THAT short :).
And now, because your friend say no, let’s find out why…
This gehen is pretty much always used with das or es. So you wouldn’t really use it with a noun like der Plan for instance.
The only exception to this is when you talk about a device not functioning. Like your phone for instance.
And because the phone does it regularly, let’s throw in some anger :)
And now let’s do that in past tense.
And there’s actually a difference to what we already learning because these figurative uses of gehen go with the written past, the preterit, even in spoken German. Which for gehen is ging
- Das ging nicht.
- That didn’t work.
This is pretty important actually, because saying “Das ist nicht gegangen.” sounds very very weird. Like… as if something actually didn’t “go”, as in “walk”.
There are only a few verbs where you do need the preterit, but gehen is definitely one of them, and the same goes for most of its prefix versions. So yeah… let’s give it a try.
Suppose your friend is asking you why you didn’t reply to their messages. You could say this:
And let’s do one more, one that’s a bit longer… do use the hint, if you need it :)
And now last but not least, let’s look at the
gehen for “how are you”
English uses to go quite a bit to express how things are.
- How’s it going? (general)
- How’s it going with the project? (specific)
And German uses gehen like that as well, but it’s more limited. Because in German it’s ONLY used in the general sense (example one).
For stuff like example number two, German uses laufen, which we’ll cover in a separate article.
So yeah…it’s actually best to think of this gehen as the counterpart for to do, in phrasings like this one:
- How are you (doing)?
- Wie geht es/geht’s (dir)?
(in spoken German, “geht es” is pretty much always shortened to geht’s unless you want to sound really really serious.)
In German you basically say “How is it going” with an optional dir , which is kind of like “to you” or “for you”.
Without the dir, the question sounds very casual and chatty, while having the dir there makes it sound more serious and empathetic.
So Wie geht’s? is perfect for meeting friends or coworkers or whatever. Wie geht’s dir? is more suited for sitting down with your friend who just got dumped by their partner.
It’s not really a difficult phrasing, but let’s give it some practice anyway.
And for the reply, you can of course just say an adjective like gut or nicht gut. But the full phrase would be
- To me, it is going [adjective].
So… let’s put this into German.
You can of course say:
- Es geht mir gut.
But that sounds a bit stiff.
Let’s maybe do one with a third person.
Names get no case, so we’re good here.
And let’s do a reply:
And let’s try the same but with a pronoun and a negation.
And let’s also ask about Maria real quick.
And last but not least, let’s do one with the past tense. And just like for the use that was about functioning, we acually need the written past/preterit here.
So if your boss asks you why you weren’t at the company party yesterday, you could say this:
And I think that’s it for today!! This was our practical tour of the important phrasings and structures with the verb gehen and if you can master these, you’ll do pretty good in daily life.
As I said, it’s best to come back to this exercise and do it again. It’s probably a bit overwhelming for one session. But do it a few times over a few weeks should be enough to make them sink into your brain :).
I really hope you enjoyed this. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions.
Have a great week and I’ll see you next time :)
More exercises like this:
- aufhören – A Practical Guide
- nehmen – A Practical Guide
- sein – A Practical Guide
- finden – A Pratical Guide
oof ei, I don’t know what it is but the audio test thing doesn’t like my vowel + R combos, lol. Need to practice those more often, it’s a very useful thing to have added to the site this testy thingy
In the example………”Wo ist Tomas nach dem Konzert mit Maria hingegangen ?” does it matter if it may be expressed….”Wo ist Tomas mit Maria nach dem Konzert hingegangen.” ?
No difference pretty much. These two elements in this configuration have the same “default” location, so you can switch them back and forth.
I finally got around to trying out these exercises on a machine capable of handling microphone input in a browser, and (as with each such exercise so far) it was pretty fascinating to see where the AI was slapping me down, and doing so allowed me to uncover some sneaky little bad pronunciation habits that must have been kicking around since the dawn of my interest in learning German.
There were a few prominent culprits this time, but the most general one, and the one that helped a lot with improving the way my recordings sounded when played back (as well as the scores I was seeing) was the “Auslautverhärtung”. (That’s the softening of a final d/k/t/g/… on a word, for those who haven’t tripped over the term before.) It’s one of those things I know about abstractly, and have applied to certain situations, but it hasn’t yet become “automated” enough for me. Having recognised its necessity and efficacy here I think it’ll begin to stick a lot better in my mind as I speak. Listening back to some of my recordings where I’d missed it, the effect was really, aaah, *pronounced*, and things really did sound much better —to my ears at least— once I consciously started to withhold the aspiration on those final consonants.
Other observations? Pronouncing “wir” more like “veer” (but without a hard final “r”) helps: I guess it’s mainly helping me to almost bite my bottom lip, hardening that leading “w” a little, and moving further away from “vier”. Another word I’ve had trouble with before is “Bruder”: after comparing with your recordings here, I’ve definitely been too close to the plural “Brüder”, and needed some adjustment so as to make that first vowel sound more like an owl hooting! Lastly, because all of this is likely to be of little to no interest to anyone bar me, I was being lazy with my “-er” endings (as in “wieder”). It’s probably a super-common thing for English speakers to have trouble distinguishing “-e/-er” pairs (meine/meiner” and so forth), and I think my “wieder” was closer to how “wiede” would be pronounced, were it actually a word ;-) Once the ending was turned to sound more “-ah”-ish, all involved were much happier!
[[ What’s not yet been resolved? Well, one ongoing project is going to be my pronunciation of “geht’s”, which I couldn’t consistently convince the AI to award high marks for. If anyone has any tips I’d be grateful: I just seem to have a tin ear for this word, in that from about 50 attempts, with multiple listens and re-listens to the recordings, roughly 90% were “green, but not bolded or outlined”. And that kills me a little on the inside when everything else is working well (ie, green, bold, and with a thick black border!).]]
Could you upload a recording of your saying”geht’s”? I’m happy to give it a listen.
I also have to check my own “geht’s” but I’m at a cafe right now with lots of background noise, so I can’t do it right now and see how the AI reacts.
Overall, I feel like the AI is actually doing a really good job (props go to EF) since it seems to be really helping you with identifying what’s not ideal.
This is one reason I like the EF system, because with the Google “text-to-speech”, you’d not be able to get this kind of grading.
Thanks very much for the offer: you should be able to hear my slow versions of the phrases involving “geht’s”, as listed below, at
I’ve said them rather slowly so you can hopefully hear the sounds better: the end result sounds a little like I’m super depressed (and despite my crowing about “Auslautverhärtung” above there’s still a bit too much “t” at the end of “gut” when I listen back :-| )
But, to be honest, the AI also rewards me when I slow down a bit! Some of the highest scores I’ve been able to coerce it into giving me for the dreaded “geht’s” are when I pronounce it in an almost comically elongated manner. Not that the numbers matter in any absolute sense. Anyway, enough blather, we have:
(*) Thomas geht’s sehr gut (AI happy with all but “geht’s” => 94% or so for the phrase)
(*) Ihm geht’s nicht gut (AI happy with everything (100%) as long as I pretend to be sad)
(*) Wie geht’s Ihr? (It dislikes my “geht’s” again, but all else is fine => 92% for the whole phrase)
(*) Mir geht’s gut (And again, the “geht’s” just isn’t cutting the mustard! => 93-ish% overall)
Honestly, your pronunciation sounds really good to me. Just a bit slow, but the phoneme quality is worthy 90% and above.
For “geht’s” the only thing I could imagine is that you have a bit too much of “gates” in there. Like…. an ever so slight diphthong. It’s REALLY subtle, but it’s more than my Berlin influenced flat line “eeeee”.
What you could try is to slope down from “i” and pronounce it a bit the RUssian way…. “gieht’s”. And then try to take out ANY sloping in any direction.
But yeah… you’re doing amazing!
Oh and I tried it and I get 100% for “geht’s”.
Thanks a million for the feedback: good to hear that it’s not something that leaps out immediately, but is a tad more subtle. I’m sure you’re right about the diphthong/”gates” thing, my ear just doesn’t seem to be particularly well attuned to picking up that . (It’s also something that coleussanctus suspected might be triggering the AI’s scoring.)
In any case, moving to “geht’s” from “giehts” sounds like a great strategy, pretty much the reverse of what I’ve been attempting so far. I’ll certainly give that an extended whirl!
(Warning, this got longer than intended.) The long E can be tricky because there’s no English equivalent. This video might be helpful (link starts at E, keep watching for I). And my tips:
Make sure you’re not saying a diphthong. That can be easier said than done because most of the vowels in German are pure (one steady sound), and most of the vowels in English are diphthongs or even triphthongs. Try saying “face.” Can you hear how it starts with a sound sort of like the German E and then glides into a long I (like in “tea”)? Say it slow and exaggerated if you need to. That
change in the sound is what you don’t want in German.
Get the right tension. In other words…smile! There needs to be a little tension in your facial muscles to get the sound right. Sounds complicated maybe, but all you have to do is smile a little. Not a Cheshire cat grin. And not just a lip smile. A real one that involves your eyes. Or at least the start of one. Just enough so you can feel your cheeks rise a little under your eyes and the corners of your lips come up a tiny bit. Now keep that feeling when you make the sound.
Finding the right sound. I tried to come up with something more than “watch and listen to native speakers and try to copy them.” There are 2 things that work for me.
One, start with a long I like “Liebe” or “ziehen”. Feel how close your tongue is to the roof of your mouth? OK, now picture your tongue is a scaffold and you’re shifting it down a little. Like half a centimeter. You can open your mouth a little more too. Play around with it until you get the right sound.
Two, start with the English word “sate”. Rare, but helpful here. Hold the vowel and try to stop before you get to the long I (ee). Just say the first part. Now add the hint of a smile. The corners of your mouth should be pulled back a little (but not uncomfortably so). You should also be able to see a little bit of your bottom and top rows of teeth. Use a mirror to check. That should get you pretty close.
A couple other tips. Hear the sound in your head before you say it. Think E and then say “Weg.” You can also take your hand and use it to draw a flat line in the air as you’re saying the vowel. Both of those things help you keep the sound steady.
“Geht’s” can be hard because the E is pronounced in the front part of your mouth and the G in the back. Vowels aren’t always pronounced in exactly the same place. They tend to shift around to be closer to whatever consonant you’re saying. But you want to keep the E from slipping too far back. I like to close my eyes and just play around with it. Listen and feel until it sounds decent. Visualizing the movements can help too. Frustration and failure are normal.
Wow, thank you so much for the fantastically detailed response, which I’ll definitely spend some time working through. (I shall, however, instantly sign up to the “Frustration and failure are normal” club! Occasionally, for example, I manage to convince myself that my German “r” is almost there, only to come crashing back to Earth when I listen back some of my recorded efforts. So let’s settle with it being considerably improved, and possibly even passable, which is, ultimately, what I’m going for!))
The link to “fröhlich Deutsch” is also very welcome: in my mind Michaela, together with Patrick (from “Sprakuko Deutsch”) are two of the most horribly underrated teachers of German on Youtube: there’s so much pure gold hiding in plain sight on their channels.
You’re also spot on the money with the clue about not “diphthong-ing” German vowel sounds: I’ve bumped into that several times before, but still sometimes fail to hear the change. “Bier”, for a stupidly simple example, was giving me a truckload of grief until I finally heard how I had carried over a kind of “yah” at the end of the word from my Australian pronunciation (Bee-a).
I’m about to put a link to my slowish pronunciations of the phrases involving “geht’s” in my reply to Emanuel (just above this one): all suggestions warmly welcomed, be brutal when it’s deserved(!!), and thanks again.
The last version (“mir geht’s gut”) sounded really good. I wouldn’t worry about it if the algorithm gets picky with you about that.
I don’t hear any “ee” (like “tea”) at the end of the vowel, but there’s a small change at the end that sounds a bit like a diphthong (mostly in the first 3 versions). It might just be a drop in pitch or letting go of a little tension.
I know what you mean about “y” carrying over into a lot of vowels. That’s a hard one to get rid of. Never heard of Sprakuko Deutsch but it looks pretty good.
Great: thanks again for taking the time to listen and analyse what you were hearing. I’ve got a truckload of invaluable info from this comment thread, now I’ve just got to spend the time to let it sink in (and emerge relatively naturally). As the not-so-late, not-so-great Rachel Hunter put it, in her impeccable New Zealand accent: “Ut won’t heppen ovahnight, but ut wool heppen”.
(And yeah: Patrick from Sprakuko just seems like he *couldn’t possibly* be anything other than a lovely person in real life, and gives every impression of being someone who actually loves what he does. Which is enough to get me on board. Admittedly that’s a conclusion obtained through the, aah, none-too-reliable lens of youtube, but I’d be willing to bet a lot of money on it being correct. Sollte ich jemals einen formellen Deutschkurs belegen, würde seiner definitiv ganz oben auf meiner Liste stehen. (Welche größere Empfehlung könnte ich geben?))
Same words I had issues with, particularly Bruder. I think for me though the issue with that word was that my mouth shape for having both the R and the U sound was having me inadvertently making my English R as it’s rather labialised the way I say it.
It did fix it when I used an alveolar tap for the R though, so I do think it was the R for me lol
I loved the speaking practice. Very impressed on the tool’s ability to pick up each word or if a work was missed. Nice.
Full credit goes to the engineers at EF languages. It’s a small team and they did a great job training the system.
Schöne Übungen. Leider konnte ich trotz mehrere Wiederholungen die folgenden Wörter nicht richtig aussprechen, also nie damit 100% bekommen konnte:
“wir, Park, Bruder, morgen, warum”. Offenbar geht es um den “r”. Hast Du ein Tipp, wie man mit Englisch als Muttersprache die Aussprache vom deutschen “r” lernen kann? (Ich habe auch immer Probleme in der Bäckerei, wenn ich “Drei …” sage – die Verkäuferinnen erkennen nicht, um welche Zahl es geht.) Mein Mann schlägt vor, dass ich “Zwei plus eins….” sage :-)
So the middle and northern German “r” (the one that is NOT tongue roll) is basically a nothing but a short very subtle scratch a the beginning of the throat. Pretty much the location of the “ng” in “single”. You “just” have to manage to lift your tongue off of the upper part that it touches. Much easiest to say than done :).
If you’re American, one thing you need to practice is to keep the tip of your tongue down when you say “r”. If you roll up your tip and lower the middle part, saying the German sound is MUCH harder, simply because the tongue has the wrong shape.
Not sure if that helps :)
Thank you. Very helpful. I’m Australian, but I do lift the tip of my tongue when I say “r”, so the same applies to me as to an American.
Thank you, very useful.
One question, what do the different colours mean in the written version (transcript) of my recording? Wondering if knowing that would help improve my pronunciation.
They’re based on how well that word was pronounced. I have made 5 levels:
Those are somewhat arbitrary, so there’s no specific reason why one group ends at, say, 79%. It could be 85% just as well.
But generally, if you get 80% or higher, you’re pretty good and 50%+ should be understandable.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. Truly excellent.
Happy to hear that :)
Love this! I learn best by practicing and building upon what I’ve learned, so this is perfect! I’m hoping for more more more of these. Thank you!
Ideally, I’d love to have one for every common verb. I want to shape that into a new kind of A1 A2 course, but I don’t have the time right now, so “only” posts for now.
Anybody else having trouble logging in? When I try, I don’t get any kind of error message, it just takes me back to the page I was on and there’s a “login-failed” bit in the URL. (berlingrabers here)
[Edit]: I see that it’s displaying my username and avatar… I guess you’ll be the only one to see this, Emanuel? Guess I should have just emailed XD
I actually recently realized that myself that I don’t have a proper “login failed” indication. I need to fix that!
“Es wird also langsam bei mehr und mehr Wörtern im Wörterbuch zu sehen sein”
What is the “bei” referring to?
You’re referring to the newsletter, right?
I’m not sure I understand the question. The phrase is
– bei mehr und mehr Wörtern
Do you want to know the translation, or what do you mean by “referring to”? Danke :)
Speaking practice is my favourite!
In the intro, I think it should say “you can also hear me say my version”. I’m not sure what the “it at” are there for, unless you mean something other than what I think you mean.
In the section about where to put Maria, it says she should go “before the class”. I assume in an earlier draft of the article, Thomas was going to class instead of to the park? Again, unless I’ve misunderstood something.
Re: “how you doing”/”how’s it going?”, In the UK and USA these are the two common ones, but in Australia they usually say “How you going?” Which really confused me when I first went there but pretty quickly became super natural to me. But since leaving there it’s dropped out of usage for me again. But maybe I’ll try to bring it back ^^
I also have a question:
It never occurred to me before but… Why don’t we need “hin” for “ich gehe nach Hause” or “ich fahre nach Hamburg” or “ich gehe zum Supermarkt”? The “hin” feels kind of redundant to me even when it’s needed, so how can i figure out when it’s needed or not?
In a nutshell, verbs of motion want a destination in the sentence. If you don’t give you, one need a generic one and that’s “hin” (or her).
If you do have a destination in the sentence (like “nach Hause”) then you DON’T need “hin” because it would be a double indication and can sound confusing.
Check my article on “hin” for more :)
The Australian question is actually “How are you going?”, but the “you” ends up effectively disappearing (heck, maybe some native speakers don’t even notice its absence any more…), and the whole spoken expression tends towards something like “airgun?”, or maybe “eh-yuh-gun”, should someone be feeling particularly loquacious ;-)
Australian, if the speaker REALLY goes all in on their accent, is incomprehensible to me. Such a weird dialect. Like as if British English and American English had a child.
I imagine a really broad Australian accent could be a bit tough to decipher: there’s a strong *drawl* involved (some words are both drawn out –particularly certain vowel combinations– and have the odd consonant or two wiped off. “wanna” for “want to”, “gotta” for “got to”, shoulda, contractions and abbreviations left, right and centre… you doubtless get the idea.). There’s also a big dob of nasalness in there, “r”s in the final position of a word tend to be lost, and certain regions of the country have very particular vowel sounds: those in the Eastern States go to “skeel”, and sometimes go “dair-ncing”, or travel to “Fr-air-nce” unlike South Australians, who tended to go to “scool” and –at least until recently– go “dahncing” and travel to “Frah-nce”. Over the last couple of decades a lot of American pronunciation has supplanted parts of the local dialects, just like elsewhere around the world, so the “ah” is on the way out.)
It certainly can be a kind of fun, lazy, laid-back, sometimes slightly sing-song take on English pronunciation, and I find it occasionally pleasant to hear (particularly among older speakers, among whom there’s nary a thought of having an *accent*!), but it can also be totally cringeworthy, particularly when faked completely or deliberately intensified.
“preterit”? Diesem Wort bin ich noch nie auf Englisch begegnet. Ich glaube, dass halt “past tense” viel verständlicher wäre.
The problem is that “past tense” can be two things in German:
– Ich habe gegessen
– Ich aß
Both are past tense. I am using preterit to specifically refer to the second one. I usually call it “written past”, but I figured I’d use the term that’s commonly established.
This is another use case:
“Hier geht es um deinen offenen Betrag…”
“If you could do that without writing it down before… congratulations, you’re… B1 now??” Das war ja eine Enttäuschung… Unlike the rest of the post :) thank you for the awesome work you do!
That was really a helpful exercise. Vielen dank!
Hi Emanuel – Great course! I have a question about the following sentence:
Ich habe gesagt, dass ich gestern früh nach Hause gegangen bin.
Why does “bin” shift to the end? Why isn’t it “Ich habe gesagt, dass (bin) ich (bin)… gegangen.” with gegangen at the end?
You explain everything so logically and it helps me to understand the reason why something is happening. Of course, the answer may be, “German is just like that.” That’s fine, too. At least I’ll know!
“dass” is one of the “kicker-words” that kicks the verb from position two to the end.
Structurally, a “dass-sentence” is a subordinate clause, an integrated sentence that fills up one “box” in the sentence that contains it.
That means you can ask for it within the “universe” of the containing sentence.
– Was habe ich gesagt?
– Dass ich gestern früh….
And these integrated sentences have all the verbs at the end in German.
I don’t have a dedicated article on this yet, but I hope this helps.
Yes, that helps! Thank you! :)
Thought it might be useful info that the scores definitely seem to be affected by all kinds of factors and its good to check the recordings of oneself for quality. On my work laptop (mac laptop running chrome) i usually get a high-ish score (in the 75-95% range) Just tried on my own laptop (Dell running Pop OS with Firefox) and i consistently was getting around 30%.. listened back to the recording and it was distorted. Moved myself further from the laptop and started getting 70% but can’t seem to get higher……..
How does the audio sound when you’re further away? 70% sounds like it could be just not loud enough now.
Let’s gehen and correct some typos:
get some actual milage in (get some actual mileage in)
what’s going in in German (what’s going on in German)
who is not native speaker of German (who is not a native speaker of German)
There are only few verbs (There are only a few verbs)
Thanks for yet another practice article and, since we’re on the subject of gehen, I’m stuggling with the difference between vorgehen and losgehen, as in the following examples:
Was geht hier vor?
Was geht hier los?
Are these the same? Not the same? Both valid?
They’re not the same :)
The second one is NOT idiomatic. I just used it to show the difference between the verbs.
Hope that helps :)
About “few verbs”… is it really wrong to say “there are only few..” or is it just better with “a”. I feel like there are instances without “a” in English, but they might be special phrasings.
Thanks for the explanation, it did help :)
Few without a sounds as if it’s a “bad” thing, e.g. “Few people attended” (when you were expecting more).
“There are few verbs that demand a single dative object” sound fine to me, but probably has a bit of an old-fashioned feel about it. People tend to add the “only a” piece when speaking. It actually sounds a little better to me without the “There are”: “Few verbs demand a single dative object”. “Few politicians would be so daring as to suggest a minimum basic wage.” But again, it’s (very) slightly elevated, and you would be unlikely to hear it in a casual conversation.
As Elsa mentioned, “There are only few…” doesn’t work at all. You either put the “a” in, or skip the “only”, or slim the whole thing down even further, as above.
– There are few X “nice”
– There are only few X “hell no”
– There are only a few X “nice”
Oh English… such a mess. I feel like being a grammarian in English who has to formulate rules or even analysiseseseses for a language that is so heavily based on “intuition” is a nightmare.
Yeah, it’s a hot mess. Ever tried to explain how to put different verbs together?
I don’t like going out (OK)
I don’t like to go out (OK)
I dislike going out (OK)
I dislike to go out (nonono)
Why? Just is. Or maybe the people who thought up the language had a few too many beers xD
“There are only few” sounds off to me. But what pmccann said got me thinking. When people talk, they’ll say “there are only a few,” but the “a” can be hard to hear. Check this guy out. What he’s doing is common.
Couple things going on there. “There’re” is smushed down to just a longer R sound. Kind of like “ein” and “einen” in casual speech. And the “a” isn’t really a proper “a”. You just stay where you need to be for the two surrounding sounds (the “y” from “only” and the “yu” in “few”). And then just think about letting out some sort of really quick vowel-y type sound, and continue on your merry way.
Great example!! I hear that as “there are only few things”.
He is American. What do you expect?
Es ist super nutzlich, meine Stimme zu hören (manchmal es ist ja frustrierend..abet trotzdem) Aussprache wird mit der Zeit fest, deswegen brauche ich ab und zu solche Aussprache Check-up um zu verbessern..danke!