“Classroom courses and textbooks are fine but self study is really where it’s at these days.. and the German is Easy course really nails it.”

Elly, the magical unicorn on language learning, 3-2016

No matter if you want to learn German by yourself, or just freshen up what you learned a while ago or you’re looking for some reading along the course… you’re at the perfect spot.
We’ll go over all the grammar and step by step and we’ll discover how this weird yet fascinating language works, one “Wow, now I get it”-moment at a time :)

And I promise you… you’ll find a lot of stuff here that is NOT part of any textbook.

What order should I read this in?

Complete beginner? Then you ABSOLUTELY have to start with The Essentials. Without those, none of the rest will make much sense. But if you know the essentials, you’ll actually be already ready to go out and talk to people.

If you’re not a beginner anymore…  well, you learn best when you learn something you’re interested in.
So the course is divided into subjects and you can just pick whatever you want. If you’re used to textbooks this might be weird at first, but I think it makes the most sense this way. Just trust yourself :)

Here are the modules:

Learn the basis German personal pronouns like I, you, we and so on…

German conjugation is not as simple as in English, but much much easier than in French or Spanish or Russian. In this part we’ll learn how to conjugate about 98% of all verbs in present and learn important verbs along the way.

Here, we’ll learn how to use the other few verbs… verbs like to be, to have, can, must and more.

Now that we’ve mastered the present, we’ll move on right to using the past tense. First of, because without that you can’t effectively converse, but also because with past tense we’ll really get used to the whole “put stuff last” thing.
In the first part, we’ll do a general overview of how past tense is used in German and how that compares to English.

We’ll learn everything about the spoken past. How to build a ge-form, where to put it and of course which helper to use – haben or sein. And we’ll also take a look at rhythm, because that’s a big deal with language.

Now, we’ll learn how to form the written past (also known as preterit) and we’ll see how surprisingly similar German and English are.

Here, we’ll learn for which verbs we need the written past also for idiomatic spoken German. And just so you know… it’s more than just the modals :)

In this work out you can train when to use Written Past correctly for all those common verbs where it really matters. It’s epic and it’s got audio.

Of course, we also need to know how to ask  questions. In this part, we’ll learn all the question words and how to use them in a sentence.

Not all questions have question words. In this part we’ll learn how to ask the so called “open question” or yes-no-questions.

Part 3 will be on indirect questions… coming (sort of) soon

Not super important but we’ll have to learn it at some point :)
First, we’ll take a look at the two kinds of comparisons there are (yes, in any language) and then we’ll see how it’s done in German.

e’ll take a look at what cases are, why they exist, how they are in other languages and what cases and prepositions have in common (except that they suck).

Time to clear up cases. And we’ll start with the bland nominative and the shunned Genitive and we’ll find out if they’re really that boring.

And now for the two cases that people actually care about.
Mich, mir… Accusative, Dative… let’s find out what they mean once and for all.

Adjective endings – nobody likes them but everyone has to learn them at some point, if only for a test. But getting them right is actually easier than you might think – once you completely forget about all the tables and the textbook approach.  
In part 1 we’ll learn a simple way to get about 40% correct … WITHOUT even having to bother about gender or case.

The second step to mastery of the German adjective declension will get you another 40% of the way. And with not so much of an effort. Still 100% table free :)

This part now will fix the few uncertainties that are still there… in theory. Because this is a bit nerdy. If you’re a beginner, maybe you should just go with the 80% we have an come back later.
But if you don’t shy away from somewhat more complicated stuff, then this is an interesting read.


A broad  look at what a sentence consists of leads us to the Box Model (©me). And the Box Model is awesome. Seriously, it is REALLY HELPFUL at understanding and breaking down even the most difficult German sentences. It will be theory and a lot of English but it is definitely worth the read.

In this part, we’ll look at the structure of main sentences, particularly at how the stuff with the verb works. And we’ll tackle some textboook myths that cloud the view on how German REALLY works along the way.

In the first part, we take a look at the commonly taught rules like TeKaMoLo and find out why they suck- And then we’ll learn a fundamental principle about German that REALLY cracks word order wide open.

We use what we learned in part 1 and see how word order really works. What goes where, why and what happens if you change the order. All that with loads and loads of examples.

With lots more of examples we fill in all the gaps that are still there and wrap up the whole word order thing with a surprising parallel.

Most explanations make it seem like a complicated topic with side rules but it’s actually really really really simple… if you’re ready to accept something really crazy :).

Part two is way overdue… I started working on it but I got stuck and had to leave it alone for a while. It’ll come though :)

IN this article we’ll find out a couple of ways to tell when to use which and look at plenty of examples.

damit, davor, davon, daran… what are they, what do they do, how do we use then and… whyyyyyyy. All this we’ll talk about in this article. And we’ll find out why the da-words are actually kind of awesome.

The wo-words are the brothers of the da-words and there are some common principles. But the wo-words are a bit more difficult to handle. In this post we’ll find out what they do and when to use them… and it’s gonna get nerdy :)

 Scary sounding, not the most useful in daily conversation and yet all over in German. You can be fluent without knowing about this. But it gives you a great inside into the Lego-like character of German and helps you understand German sentence structure a bit better… because actually, you don’t have to move that much :)

Conditional /Subjunctive


We learn what Conditional is at its core and why I don’t call it by its official name subjunctive. Then, we’ll learn how it works in the present tense AND we’ll learn how to build the würde-conditional :). Sounds more than it is… but it’s the foundation.

We’ll learn how to build and when and for which verbs to actually use the Real Conditional. Nothing more, nothing less.

Here, we’ll learn how to use the other few verbs… verbs like to be, to have, can, must and more.

Now things get real :). We’ll learn how to say “would have done” and stuff like this. Almost every learning is making mistakes there, but I have a very simple 2 step system to get it right… ALL THE TIME.

And now it gets super real. We’ll learn how to say stuff like “would have been able to” or “would have wanted to”. We can use the system we already learned BUT… we need to let go of what we thought was the most basic German grammar.

Conjugation is one of the things you are confronted with in almost any language class… for languages that conjugate, that is.
The idea of conjugation is pretty simple and the term might sound familiar to you but maybe you can’t quite put your finger on what exactly it means. So if you need an update on that… here it is.

The term is thrown around a lot in language courses and you need them everyday in German and English… and they cause a lot of trouble for language learners. Misuse of prepositions is one of the biggest sources of error in German and it is by far more confusing than getting a case wrong.
This article won’t solve any of these problems … uh… yeay. It will explain, what prepositions do, how to recognize them, compare German and English ones and answers the question whether prepositions are necessary at all :).

This opinionated post… well.. rant takes a look at the terms transitive and intransitive. We’ll see what it means and if it is really necessary to use these terms.

 Textbooks, teachers, politicians… everyone uses the term without even asking whether people actually understand what it is. Here’s a thorough analysis of adverbs in general as well as a look at what’s special about them in German.

This intense post tries to figure out just what are conjunctions. And we’ll go much deeper than the usual book definition. Because conjunctions have a lot in common with another bunch of words. And we’ll see what’s up with these things in German, which is kind of really interesting because it touches the secret why the verb moves.
(Spoiler: they stink)

An insightful (or so I hope) introduction about what ways there are to give time information

Learn how to say the time of day. It’s boring but it’s a must have :).

Learn all those “names” for time like today, tomorrow, last week and how to use them.

Learn all those vague words like soon, later, at some point and so on… part one looks into the future.

And more time adverbs. This time for the past. We’ll learn words like just now, recently, a while ago, earlier and so on.

Learn all the useful time preposition and how to use them: since, for, after, before and so on.

Time 5.2 – the rest of the prepositions… shame on me, but this is still pending

Learn how to coordinate actions in time… we’ll look at words like before, after, while and others… it is long but I swear it is worth it

Last but not least ones I haven’t categorized yet:

  • Reflections on reflexive
    This post takes a look at what “reflexive” actually means. Then we’ll take a look at English and compare that to how it works on German and do away with some myths they teach in language class sometimes. After reading this, you see German reflexive verbs in a different light… they aren’t that hard actually.

151 responses to “Online-Course

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  1. Im looking forward to The Box Model :-)

  2. I can not wait for the Box Model, I know you can solve the mysterious “sentence structure” problem many of us have.

    • Oh damn the box model :)…. yeah to me this is really a big big big thing about German. I don’t know why I keep procrastinating it but it just needs to “ripen” :)… by the way, thanks for your other comments :). I actually did start this blog because I had this dream of having my own textbook… still a looooong way to go but it is great to see that people like the approach.

  3. When will the box model be released? Your lessons are fantastic and if this is a general application for word order it would be fantastic. :)

    • The box model will probably be the next article to come… it will lay a foundation to talk about sentence structure and it will contain some notes about word order but there will be more detailed discussion of that later on… :)

  4. Can’t wait for the box model either! :)

  5. Don’t forget about German Adjective Endings part 2 though……part 1 was really useful ! :)

  6. You should probably add the new addition “The Box Model” to this index. I’ve just started it, it looks v.good. Thanks for all your work.

  7. I think your blog is brilliant — probably the best thing I’ve read to help me learn; combining many examples + making the boring stuff interesting. A cheeky request would be an additional forum part of this website, where people can ask questions about correct grammar usage, through their example(s), and other forum people reply with an answer?

    Anyway, good luck if you ever do write a book. It’ll definitely be a success if you do!

  8. This blog is great :) I’m a 6th Form Student, doing my A levels, and it’s really helping with the grammar stuff I didn’t understand because we hadn’t been taught it yet. I originally came here for the ‘darum, damit… daholyshitwhat’ article, and it’s nice to finally be able to understand what’s going on.

    I hope you continue doing this because it really helps.

  9. This is an awesome resource. Very happy you’ve created it. I finally have something productive to do during the workday. :)

  10. Hello, I have a doubt and I think you can answer it. For example die katze can be written der cat?. This can sound strange, but in spanish is prefectly logical (“el gato” is the cat masculine, and “la gata” is the cat femenine). I hope you can help me because I can’t found it anywhere. Regards, Juan Macias

    • Hi Juan,

      so the general word for the animal in German is die Katze (feminine). So when you see one and you do not know or care whether it is male or female… say die Katze.
      A male cat is called “der Kater”. What doesn’t work is der Katze (except if it is in Dative case :)… so either die Katze or der Kater. Hope that helps :)

  11. Please tell me german present and future tense . Its so hard and I think that your website can make me learn this please help me in this………………. :( :'(

  12. Hi Emmanuel!

    Found you from a link on Yabla (in their piece on “doch”)! Glad I clicked it :) Everything here has been extremely helpful – thanks to you! Your two pieces on Adjectives, especially, are klasse. How about some help now with Possessive Adjectives – seiner, seinem, ihrer, ihrem,… (the works)? All my gratitude in advance :)

  13. Super! Vielen Dank! I’m so a fan now :) :) :)

  14. Good day, sir. My name is Paul. I’m from the Philippines where we have two official languages, Filipino (which is based on the regional dialect, the “Tagalog”) and English, which we use mostly for academic and official purposes. I never had any inclination to learn another language but my interest in German was piqued when I played Duolingo 3 weeks ago. Duolingo is cool, but to really get a good grasp of German, I realized I needed to learn its grammar. I came across your excellent website while exploring the net and found your explanations really understandable.

    The difficulty that I’ve so far encountered is the use of articles and their variations depending on a noun’s case. In Filipino, the equivalent of Der, Das and Die is “Ang” and if we would want to refer to a plural noun, we only add “mga” (pronounced ma-nga) to “Ang” to have “Ang mga”. The bird is “Ang ibon” and the birds, “Ang mga ibon”. In German, the use of articles depend upon the gender and the case, and they’re driving me nuts. I also find German sentence structure complex; the usual subject-verb-object order in English that I’ve been accustomed to doesn’t always apply, especially in clauses following a conjunction.

    Bookstores here don’t offer that much material on German. Germany (and for that matter, much of the non-English speaking countries in Europe) doesn’t figure much in our universe. So material on the German language here is hard to come by, the bookstores here being limited only to dictionaries and books promising good German in five days.

    I am grateful that there are people like you who share their expertise to put this kind of website out there for learners like me to enjoy and study.

    • Thanks for that nice comment and thanks for taking the time to talk a bit about your own language. It is always fascinating to see how other languages do things. There are just soooo many different way to communicate an idea :). I have deep respect for all the people who come from a completely different language background like from Asia, Afrika or from the Middle East. Because for them the European languages must look like Chinese does look to Germans or Brits or Sweds… different and scary :D… Tell someone you’re learning Chinese or Japanese or Arabic here and you’ll get all kinds of “Wow… so hard, I could never do that”. I have given Japanese a try a year ago but I basically stopped when I had the feeling that I in fact “could” learn it…. but with super effort. So… I have learned French and Italian and English but in the end they are all kind of similar. But I would love to be able to speak a completely different language… it just makes you more aware of how relative everything in language is. Viel Erfolg beim Lernen auf jeden Fall und wenn du mal wieder einen Kommentar schreibst, dann versuch’ ruhig auf Deutsch :)

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  16. Hi! Thank you so so much for all the effort you put into your posts. I LOVE your site. I can’t believe you have me giggling whilst learning about separable verb prefixs! Thank-you for making learning german so interesting, fun and informative at the same time. I now visit your site daily. :)

  17. Alexandru Bejenaru

    Heißen vs bedeuten?
    Thank you.

    • So in a nutshell… “heißen” is ” to be called” and in an ancient way also “to call”

      – Ich heiße Emanuel.
      – I am called Emanuel.

      – Ich heiße Thomas einen Lügner. (old)
      – I call Thomas a liar.

      “Bedeuten” means “to signify” and the noun is way more common “die Bedeutung”
      Both words, “heißen” and “bedeuten” have little to do with one another except for this one super common phrasing

      – Das heißt…
      – Das bedeutet…
      – That means…

      The difference here is small and in a lot of occasions both versions are interchangeable but “heißen” is more broad. “Bedeuten” is often used when you talk about the consequences of something.

      – DIe Oper ist zu? Das bedeutet ja, dass wir nicht gehen können?!
      – The opera is closed? Oh that means that we can’t go?!

      “Heißen” can do that too but “heißen” can also just talk about simple names… like…

      – Was heißt “Tisch” auf Englisch?
      – What does Tisch mean in English? (don’t know if this is correct)

      You can’t ask

      – Was bedeutet “Tisch”…

      and you can’t ask

      – Was bedeutet das?

      if all you want is to understand the fact… like… a scientist tells you some things in science jargon.

      – Was heißt das?

      is you want it translated into normal language.

      – Was bedeutet das?

      is asking for what the consequences are of what he just said.
      So… not so “nutshelly” after all but I hope it helps :)

  18. I like this website! I’ll bookmark it and come back to practice my German. Viel dank!

  19. can you explain about genitive?
    your blog is awesome, btw ;D

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  21. A teeny tiny flaw in this awesome site: The color icons aren’t helping much, as I am a colorblind.

  22. I’m not.sure what i need to do. i mean i know what to say what i want to in German but dont really know how to say it. i am half German and hakf Irish so i know more Galen than German could use a little help

    • Well, if there is one thing you MUST know then it’s verbs… learn verbs. Along the way learn how to conjugate them and then how the structure of sentences is. And then you can start refining with cases and all that… but I’d start with learning verbs…. think of the ones you use every day and try to find translations for them.

  23. I love to learn German language by hook ur crook,help me to learn it pls.

  24. a Chinese studying in Germany loves your webpage soooooooooooooooooooooooooo much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thousands of thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! €€€

  25. I am 4 weeks into a German class and I just discovered your site! It looks like so much fun and should really help. Danke, danke, Danke

  26. I hope this message isn’t a duplicate. I just left a comment but Word Press didn’t recognize me. Just wanted to say I found your site after Google-ing “German word ‘los’ ” and read your excellent and witty explanation of why I keep hearing it in so may contexts. I came back today to see what else you’d posted on “German” and I’ll be back. It’s excellent and yes, please write a textbook. You know your stuff, but more importantly, you know how to convey it with humor and in an accessible way! Many thanks.

  27. Just one friendly suggestion, if I may…. I read your comment about people being “lazy” and not making a small donation to the site. Most people are happy to do so, but you should make it clear that it can be easy to do… I am the same way, but when I saw “Maestro” and other credit cards, I thought “what a pain”… “PayPal would be so much easier…” So, after feeling guilty, I got out my credit card and clicked on “donate” — and then I saw that PayPal is in fact an option… So, as you know, most Americans use PayPal for online transactions — so, we are happy to pay a bit for the wonderful service you provide, but you should add the PayPal Badge to show that it is in fact an option — that makes it so much easier than getting a credit card out of the wallet. Just my 2 cents, buddy! I think many more of us “gringos” would donate if we saw up front that you accepted PayPal… Again, thanks for the fantastic information you’re providing us. I’ve learned a ton! Vielen Dank… dK.

    • Man… you are totally right!!! I totally feel the same way. When I see credit card anywhere I’m like “Mehhhh… don’t wanne”. I just didn’t realize that it actually doesn’t even say Paypal although the button is supplied by Paypal. Such a good advice. ‘ll definitely change that. TAUSEND DANK :D!!!

  28. This is the first time I´m really understanding German. I´m Brazilian, so teaching me German in English is really a great acomplishment. Thanks for the blog!

  29. Hello Emmanuel,

    I discovered German is Easy a few days ago and have been stuffing my head full of the many enjoyable facts available on it about the German language. I also sent a donation to the site, which I hope was received. Und jetzt..habe Ich eine Frage. Or would it be “Jetzt hätte Ich eine Frage,” In any case, I’m wondering if you talk about the subjunctive on your site. I googled German is Easy and Subjunctive, but came up empty.

    Could you direct me to the appropriate page on you site, if you do indeed talk about the subjunctive? Vielen Dank!



    • Hey man, glad you like my site.
      The “Subjunctive” has been on my long term to do list and people keep asking so… I think I’ll do it to sort of kick of the new semester in September. Boooh sooo long :)
      Good news is that I have written about it in a nutshell in my “forum” (which I sort of shutdown) so here’s the link:

      It doesn’t get into usage too much but maybe it helps :)
      Oh… I did get a couple of donations recently but I’m not sure if yours made it through as there’s no Taylor in the list and I didn’t check the mail-addresses. In either case, auf jeden Fall vielen Dank!

  30. Hi!
    Thanks so much for your blog, it is so great. Do you have anywhere a lesson on all of the prepositions… auf, in, fur, etc?! V confused about these little words!

  31. Would you consider doing a post on how to make compound words and adjectives? When to put an S, when not to, etc.

  32. Just wanted to say I’m having a wonderfull time at your blog and lerning a lot as well. Keep it up (seriously)!

  33. Hi,
    I am already fluent in 4 languages (but being bilingual two were for free :D), and since my profession brought me to Germany I am willing to learn this challenging language even though it is not my working language.
    Your witty explanations make it fun to study German, and I am understanding and retaining much more Information since I started reading your blog!
    Thank you

    • Ha… damn bilinguals and their skill :)… people say that the more languages you know, the easier it gets to learn a new one, so I’m pretty sure you’ll be up to the challenge. Danke für das liebe Feedback und viel Erfolg

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  35. This is great and really helpful. Thank you very much.

  36. Is there any rough outline on how to proceed with the lessons? I don’t like that ‘freedom’ , preferring a structure. I’ve the Collins grammar book, but that’s as dense as teak, whilst learning vocabulary isn’t as fulfilling when you can’t put them into sentences.

    • Definitely all the essential in the order… and then maybe the cases, but not “adjective endings 3” (that’s a bit academical) . Then the time-series and then the structure stuff… the thing is that there’s a lot missing still so apart from “the essentials” it’s hard to put an order to things. Hope that helps.

  37. Grey PaperArkadi

    Thank you, I’ll follow that outline!

  38. Shanise Burgess

    I want to learn german language

  39. love your blog sooo much <3
    updates about future tense please :D

  40. Hi :)
    I just wanted to thank you for this blog and for how much it made my journey easier , you have a very unique and interesting way in teaching something as boring as grammar, I hope to one day be able to thank you in person, but for now…
    Du bist wunderschön , danke viel mals :)

    • Danke für die lieben Worte !! Eine kleine Korrektur… “wunderschön” ist fast komplett über das Aussehen. So wie “gorgeous” . Und du hast mich ja nicht gesehen :)

      • Ach so! Danke für die Korrektur , ich bin noch ein Anfänger bei deutsch ,ich lerne nur seit 6 monte :) aber dein blog hilft mir so viel .
        Yep….hope that wasn’t too bad :)
        Happy new year to you sir ^^

        • Dir auch ein schönes neues Jahr :). Und noch mal zwei (kleine) Korrekturen:

          – Ich lerne erst seit 6 Monaten.
          – Dein Blog hilft mir sehr.

          Man kann “helfen” auch mit “viel” benutzen, aber eher, wenn man oft bei jemandem vorbei geht und mit den Händen hilft.

          • Oh Mann, du bust sehr hilfreich und toll, ich hoffe dich eines tages zu treffen (something tells me Im gonna get corrected for that lol)
            Du hast eine tolle methode, wenn du ein Buch schreiben, werde ich das fröhlich kaufen.
            Also viel Glück dabei :)

            Danke für alles , du bist wirklich großartig :)

          • Actually no need for correction. Der Satz mit “treffen” war perfekt richtig (ausser das “Tages” groß geschrieben wird). Aber eine andere Korrektur:

            – Wenn du ein Buch schreibst… (nicht: schreiben)

  41. Hiya! I think this would be random but I would like to compliment what I read on your blog with some sort of workbooks. I’ve been looking around but I really don’t know which one I should buy. I currently live in Germany and I’d really like to learn the language but I have no money. I can learn a lot from this blog if I get more practise! Thank you for the blog!

    • Tough question. I’d really love to give you some suggestions but I’m actually completely at a loss because I don’t use any German study material.
      From my own language learning experience though I’d say just get a book and start reading. Look up EVERY word and be conscious about the structures you see. And read aloud to yourself. That’ll train your muscles and it will fixate correct patterns in your brain.
      And if you really want to produce text then write some sort of diary in German.
      And I’m sure you can always find some exercise online… that’s what I did when I was learning French pronouns. Just search for the topic and add “exercise”.
      Hope that helps a little :)

  42. This site is the single most valuable grammar resource I have ever found ! Your way of explaining things appeals exactly to the way I learn languages (I tend to get super-interested in the grammar, and enjoy really understanding the mechanics of it. Then I realise that if I want to use any of that I’d better go and learn some actual words ! )

    If only an equivalent blog existed when I was learning French, it would have taken me a lot less time and effort !

    Keep up the excellent work,

  43. Hi There!!! Your blog is Fantabulous ( Fantastic and Fabulous!!!)
    I am new to german language,, and german is very new to me,,, i wish to learn it more,,,i have learnt a little bit(May be a very very very little)!!
    But looking forward to learn more from your blog!!
    Please let me know as to where do i start (in your blog) ….

    • Hey Swetha, willkommen hier :)
      Glad you like the blog. There’s no particular order for the course but I’d say read everything that is listed under “essentials” . And the first post on adjective endings (only the first one). You can find that under “cases and such”.
      That should give you a good start. Next up would be “The box model” if you want to take a peek into sentence structure or the posts on cases if you’re more interested in that. Or just read up on some words. Basically read what interests you. That’s the best way to learn. And if you stop half way because it’sboring or too difficult.. that’s fine. You’re the boss of your learning :)
      Viel Spaß

  44. Thanks for your post and for everything you are doing, I have been studying 2 months german and your page is clearing a lot of my doubts. I wish you the best for doing this for free. [thumbs up]

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