German Cases Exercise – Masculine

Hello everyone,

and welcome back to our
brain wrecking, cramp inducing, no mercy having German summer boot camp.
Yup, that’s a thing now :)!
Last week, we got sweaty over the question how to translate before and after and this week, we’ll take on one of everyone’s favorite grammar topics:

Cases

And we’ll do something a little bit unusual, something that is kind of rare to find but that I think might be really helpful… we’ll eliminate gender from the equation.

Cases are quite a big topic. There’s the different endings for different word groups, then the question of which case to use with verbs and which case to use with prepositions. And overall it’s way too much to digest at once, so it’s broken down into little chunks. Like… the section about Accusative case in a beginners book. Or a chart of the definite articles for all cases. Or a lecture about Two Way Prepositions and which case to use.
There are many ways, to break up the big topic cases into smaller chunks, but there is one thing that most textbooks and exercises you can find online have in common… they deal with all three genders at a time.
And I’m not so sure this is very helpful.
You see, the grammatical gender itself has NOTHING to do with cases in the sense that they don’t influence each other. They just both influence which entry of a table is correct.
But picking the right gender for a noun and the right case are two completely independent tasks. If you got the case right but you were wrong about the gender, your answer will be wrong and you’ll have this little moment of failure. And maybe you don’t even know whether the case or the gender was the problem.
And another thing is, that you can’t build up automatisms if you’re constantly gender hopping. Let me give you an example…

  • I see a dog. It is running.

It translated to er, because Hund is masculine in German. For an English speaker it is already an effort not to say “es” here. By knowing the gender, by knowing that it’s NOT es, your free up brain capacity that can actually really notice this it and thus build awareness.
Not sure if that made sense. But either way… I want to try out a new kind of exercise and see how it works for you and how you like it.

The exercise

And I’ll give a warning right away…

!! This exercise is a challenge for B1 learners !!

You can of course try it as a beginner. In fact, you might learn a LOT. But it will be virtually impossible for you to get even close to 50% correct. And even for B1 learners, it is a challenge.

So here’s what we’ll do: I’ll give you a statement in English and you have to translate it, using the proper words in the proper case.
And you’ll need pretty much the entire case skill set… Here’s an example.

  • “I see a dog. It is sitting on a table. Is it yours?”
    “No, I don’t have a dog.”
  • “Ich sehe einen Hund. Er sitzt auf einem Tisch. Ist es deiner?”
    “Nein, ich habe keinen Hund.”

Articles, pronouns, indefinite pronouns, possessives, negations, two way prepositions… it’s pretty much all there, except for adjective endings and noun endings.
But what you don’t need to worry about is the gender. Dog is masculine, table is masculine. All these nouns will be masculine. So you can forget about the other genders completely. Still, I know it’s quite a tough exercise.
But the goal isn’t to just fill in some gaps with the correct form from a table.
The goal is rather that you build up a feeling how a masculine entity “moves” through an everyday statement or dialogue. We’ll go over lots of really common situations, and you’ll see that there’s a rhythm to it. And even if you feel lost in the beginning, I’m pretty sure you’ll get better toward the end.
If you have to answer something and you just pick the right answer based on gut feeling… PERFECT!! That’s the goal. And if you get it wrong, that’s also great because then you can analyze why you made a mistake and that’ll (slowly) build gut feeling.

Now, of course translation is a super mega challenge, so if you feel like that’s too much for now, then just click on the “?” to get the German version with gaps to fill. NO SHAME IN THAT!!
The solution is in the audio and you can also show it by clicking the circle O.
And if you want, you can type your solution into the text field. It doesn’t check it but you can compare it with the correct answer.

Oh and one more thing… I have a few examples where I’m using the possessive her and hers. I didn’t notice it right away, but now I realized that this might be confusing, since I said everything is masculine. The thing that is hers is masculine, not her herself.
I thought about changing the examples, but then I left them in because I thought it’s good to have this contrast between sein- (his) to ihr- (her) in the exercise.
Just wanted to mention that :).

Oh and yet another thing…. ONLY the nouns that are bold are all masculine. The ones you have to do the case work with.If you do translation, you will have to deal with all genders. Forgot to mention that but some people pointed that out in the comments :).
So now, I’d say… viel Spaß!!

What? Oh… you want a table with all the options?
Well, nope… since we’re doing pronouns and articles and possessives and all that, it would be a bunch of tables. The idea is NOT that you use a table. Just try to do it from your head, and if you don’t know an option… write it down. You’ll need it again. I think that’s the better way to learn than just picking a table cell.

***

1.
I would like a coffee.
Ich hätte gern ____ Kaffee.
Ich hätte gern einen Kaffee.

2.
“Do you know the man there?”
“No, I have never seen him.”
“Kennst du ____ Mann da?”
“Nein, ich habe ____ nie gesehen.”
“Kennst du den Mann da?”
“Nein, ich habe ihn nie gesehen.”

3.
“Did you like the movie?”
“Yeah, I found it really good.”
“Hat dir ____ Film gefallen?”
“Ja, ich fand ____ sehr gut.”
“Hat dir der Film gefallen?”
“Ja, ich fand ihn sehr gut.”

4.
I’m waiting for the bus. It‘s late again.
Ich warte auf ____ Bus. ____ kommt mal wieder zu spät.
Ich warte auf den Bus. Er kommt mal wieder zu spät.

5.
Thomas is calling his brother and tells him where he is.
Thomas ruft ____ Bruder an und sagt ____, wo er ist.
Thomas ruft seinen Bruder an und sagt ihm, wo er ist.

6.
Do you like the wine or is it too strong for you?
Magst du ____ Wein, oder ist ____ dir zu stark?
Magst du den Wein, oder ist er dir zu stark?

7.
“Have you seen the new Star Wars movie?”
“Yeah, it was really really really really really really good.”
“Hast du ____ neuen Star Wars Film gesehen?”
“Ja, ____ war wirklich wirklich wirklich wirklich wirklich wirklich gut.”
“Hast du den neuen Star Wars Film gesehen?”
“Ja, er war wirklich wirklich wirklich wirklich wirklich wirklich gut.”

8.
I just got a call from my boss.
Ich habe grade ____ Anruf von ____ Chef bekommen.
Ich habe grade einen Anruf von meinem Chef bekommen.

9.
I just called my boss.
Ich habe gerade ____ Chef angerufen.
Ich habe gerade meinen Chef angerufen.

10.
Maria told him about her plan for the date.
Maria hat ____ von ____ Plan für das Date erzählt.
Maria hat ihm von ihrem Plan für das Date erzählt.

11.
I have to go to the supermarket. I hope it is still open.
Ich muss in ____ Supermarkt. Ich hoffe ____ ist noch offen.
Ich muss in den Supermarkt. Ich hoffe er ist noch offen.

12.
I had an argument with my flatmate. He doesn’t clean and never brings out the trash.
Ich habe mit ____ Mitbewohner gestritten. ____ putzt nicht und bringt nie ____ Müll raus.
Ich habe mit meinem Mitbewohner gestritten. Er putzt nicht und bringt nie den Müll raus.

13.
“Have you talked to your professor yet?”
“No, I’ll meet with him this afternoon.”
“Hast du schon mit ____ Professor gesprochen?”
“Nein, ich treffe mich mit ____ heute Nachmittag.”
“Hast du schon mit deinem Professor gesprochen?”
“Nein, ich treffe mich mit ihm heute Nachmittag.”

14.
My grandpa will turn 60 tomorrow and I’ll give him a whisky as present.
____ Opa wird morgen 60 und ich schenke ____ ____ Whisky.
Mein Opa wird morgen 60 und ich schenke ihm einen Whisky.

15.
Maria has lost her passport. That’s why she doesn’t have one at the moment.
Maria hat ____ Pass verloren. Deshalb hat sie im Moment ____.
Maria hat ihren Pass verloren. Deshalb hat sie im Moment keinen.

16.
“Damn, I don’t have a bottle opener. Do you have one?”
“No, I don’t have one either.”
“Mist, ich habe ____ Flaschenöffner. Hast du _____?
“Nein, ich habe auch ____.”
“Mist, ich habe keinen Flaschenöffner. Hast du einen?
“Nein, ich habe auch keinen.”

17.
“Oh wow, your dog is soooo cuuuute.”
“It’s not mine.”
“Oh wow, ____ Hund ist soooo süüüüß.”
“Das ist nicht ____ .
“Oh wow, dein Hund ist soooo süüüüß.”
“Das ist nicht meiner.

18.
My dog ist smarter than yours.”
“No, it‘s not.”
____ Hund ist klüger als ____.”
“Nein, ist ____ nicht.”
Mein Hund ist klüger als deiner.”
“Nein, ist er nicht.”

19.
Maria gives her bra to her boyfriend but it‘s too wide for him.
Maria gibt ____ Freund ____ BH, aber ____ ist ____ zu breit.
Maria gibt ihrem Freund ihren BH, aber er ist ihm zu breit.

20.
Have I told you about the wine, from which you don’t get drunk?
Habe ich dir schon von ____ Wein erzählt, von ____ man nicht betrunken wird?
Habe ich dir schon von dem Wein erzählt, von dem man nicht betrunken wird?

***

Yeay, you made it.
I’m super mega curious… how did you do? Was it difficult? Was it too difficult? Do you hate me now?
Seriously, do you like this kind of exercise and do you think it is helpful for getting a feeling for cases? Let me know all your feedback (good and bad) in the comments.
As I said, it’s an experiment :).
Either way, I hope you enjoyed it and learned something. Have a great week and till next time.

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Rebeca Vega Martínez
Rebeca Vega Martínez
1 month ago

I don’t have idea if it is my computer or the cookies but I can’t stay logged in my session, Does anyone have the same problem? :(

gallia_a
gallia_a
10 months ago

Für Frage n. 20, deine Übersetzung ist “Habe ich dir schon von dem Wein erzählt, von dem man nicht betrunken wird?”. Ich habe “Habe ich dir schon vom Wein erzählt, von dem man nicht betrunken wird?” geschrieben. Die einzige Unterschied ist “von dem” vs. “vom”. Gibt es Unterschiede in Bedeutung (ich denke keine) oder Betonung (vielleicht), oder sind die zwei genau gleich?

gallia_a
gallia_a
10 months ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

Thank you for the explanation.
That was also my impression, that “von dem Wein” is a little bit more “that wine we were talking about” compared to “vom Wein”, but I wasn’t sure about it. Glad to hear my Sprachgefühl was spot on on this ;)

Bing Chow
Bing Chow
1 year ago

Regarding #11: Why is it “Ich muss in den Supermarkt?” to say to go to the supermarket? I know this lesson is about cases but prepositions are frustrating! My understanding is that to go to the train station, it’s “zum Bahnhof.” Why use “zu” for one and “in” for another?

Noah
Noah
1 year ago

Im really confused about the dependent possessive pronouns and the independent possessive pronouns. Idea for a future article :)

Noah
Noah
1 year ago

There is a mistake in 19 and I do hate you for it!! You promised all the changes would be bolded and “its” is in italics, so defo tripped me up! I enjoyed the excercise very much, thank you for the experiment.

cmilkman
cmilkman
1 year ago

Ich war ungefähr 90% genau bezüglich der Fälle, aber die Wortstellung meiner Übersetzungen habe ich nicht so gut gemacht. Ich muß alle Artikel die diesen Begriff erklären sofort lesen.

kwahlers
kwahlers
2 years ago

Why is “grade” used in 8 and “gerade” used in 9? Thank you for the great lesson. I’m not very advanced but got at least 75% right, so it was a good way to start off a Saturday.

EllaP
EllaP
2 years ago

That was quite difficult! German is my second language (I learnt it from my mother growing up), but the cases are one thing I never fully got the hang of. As I’m in the UK, I get lazy with my German, so my case accuracy can sometimes be rather lousy, although I am fluent. Do you have any tips to improve this?

Sergey
Sergey
2 years ago

I honestly didn’t have any trouble at all doing the exercise. The only one I did wrong was the latest since for some reason I assumed that von took accusative and not dative, don’t know how I could mess it up. I think it was very easy for me because of Russian being my native language. After talking in a language with 6 cases every day for my entire life 2 cases seem like a piece of cake, especially with no need to worry about gender. What was really difficult and what would have been the reason why I would have failed the exercise if it had all the genders was the translation. I guess mein Wortschwatz(and knowledge of the genders these words have) is zu klein. Although I think I’m an exception to the rule having no problem with the cases but knowing almost no words at all. I should practice my vocab more for sure!

Thanks you!

haton
haton
2 years ago

Hi. For #17 can we also say:
Er ist nicht meine ?

haton
haton
2 years ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

Sorry, my mistake, I meant: could we say “Er ist nicht mein” ?

Ted
Ted
2 months ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

Could you explain why the correct answer is ‘meiner’ please? Thanks a lot!

Anonymous
Anonymous
2 years ago

I find the exercise very clever. I did well, and I am a brazilian student (that knows English). Now I´m studying German and I´m using your articles and exercises to increase my studies. Thank you.

skypod
skypod
2 years ago

I found this really helpful.

Jennifer
Jennifer
2 years ago

VERY USEFUL! First I tried to just tranlate it from the German sentence and then I listened to you say it correctly and then I tried to translate it correctly from what you said and then I looked at the correct answer and corrected my mistakes. But I got close!

Aformanek
Aformanek
2 years ago

Super. Fantastisch! Nicht nur fuer dem Grammatik (richtig?) , sondern auch um mehr idiomatisch zu schreiben/denken lernen.

dugdaled
dugdaled
2 years ago

Die Uebung war sehr gut. Danke! Can you provide an explanation for the answers–especially er vs. es?

RogerH
2 years ago

Can anyone help me to understand :-
1. Which of the following are good German, and which are bad German
2. Why do the sentences switch between “über der Stadt” (dative) and “über die Stadt (accusative) ?
456/5000
Flugzeuge fliegen über die Stadt
Die Flugzeuge fliegen über die Stadt
Über der Stadt fliegen Flugzeuge
Über der Stadt fliegen die Flugzeuge
Flugzeuge flogen über die Stadt
Die Flugzeuge flogen über die Stadt
Flugzeuge sind über die Stadt geflogen
Die Flugzeuge sind über die Stadt geflogen
Über die Stadt sind Flugzeuge geflogen
Über die Stadt sind die Flugzeuge geflogen
Flugzeuge werden über die Stadt fliegen
Die Flugzeuge werden über die Stadt fliegen
Über der Stadt werden Flugzeuge fliegen
Über der Stadt werden die Flugzeuge fliegen

RogerH
2 years ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

I came up with the English alternatives entirely on my own, after observing one of the sentences in both English and German in a text-book … I then used my own knowledge and checked it with a machine translator, which produced “conflicting” definite article cases !! Knowing that I should never trust machines I decided to trust Emanuel !!! I remain a little confused and my brain is now flying round in circles ;(

So I will try to produce some clearer questions about location and why some of the planes are flying round in circles but not others !! Hoping that I am not flying into thick fog here !! As an experienced pilot I think you should take over the controls while I have a sleep as I am still a bit confused :-)

Ich möchte keine Bruchlandung haben, wenn ich an Dativ und Akkusativ denke.

RogerH
2 years ago

Can anyone please help me to understand the different definite articles for the city please :-
Die Flugzeuge fliegen über die Stadt
Über der Stadt fliegen Flugzeuge

MikeC
MikeC
2 years ago

Ich muss in den Supermarkt. Ich hoffe er ist noch offen.
Why is it “er ist noch” and Not “ihn ist noch?
would it be wrong to put “gehen” after Supermarkt?

randall.glover
randall.glover
2 years ago

I liked this exercise very much and found it to be very useful, reinforcing and helping me with my efforts in this regard. I would love to see more like this. Got about 85% correct. One question: could “I must to go to the Supermarket” also be “Ich muss zum Supermarkt.” Thanks very much!

PT
PT
2 years ago

I did good (but I wouldn’t like to brag =)). But mainly, I like the idea. I think it`s really enlightening not having to think about other genders. Thanks!