Using “finden” in Practice – A quick guide

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of The Day.
This one is going to be a little different than usual, though, because I want to try out something new.
Usually, we take a word, talk about the origins, see how the meanings came about and do a tour through the related words.
Which is great for building vocabulary and making mental connections.
Today, I want to focus more on the practical side.
We’ll take one of the most important verbs and practice how to use it in various types of sentences.
And by practice I really mean practice, because we’ll do that…

BY ACTUALLY SPEAKING :). 

No cumbersome typing, no multiple choice. Pure, raw oral word sala… I mean, spoken German.
Because that’s what actually matters.
I’m not quite sure what format to use for these, but I figured it’s best to find that out together with you, so this is like the first draft. It works, but we’ll refine it over time.

So, if you’re ready let’s warm up the tongue and jump right in.

How does it work

If you’re now here…  EF Languages is developing a speech recognition AI for language learning and they allowed me to integrate that here.
The AI takes your input, compares it with the correct answer and gives you feedback how well you did for the individual words and how close you are to a native speaker.
Remember, the main goal is NOT to get 100%!! Try to get all words to a green level (about 70% native-level).
All you need to do to record is click the button once to start, and then again to stop it.
Let’s give it a try with verb we’ll look at today:

“finden”

finden
finden

hint

The button should change color or pulsate, when it’s recording.

If you get an error message or no recording happens, chances are that your browser doesn’t allow me to access your mic.
Next to the address on the left, there is usually an icon (a lock or something). Click there and you should see the website options where you can allow mic access.

Let me know if you need help with that.
But now, I’d say, let’s jump right in.

A Practical Guide to “finden”

Finden means to find and the basic structure is pretty much the same as in English.
So what you find is the direct object.

  • Maria findet eine Wohnung.
  • Maria finds an apartment.

And now it’s your turn.
Say this sentence in German:

Thomas finds a job. (einen Job)
Thomas findet einen Job.

hint

My version:


Good for Thomas. And now let’s do one for ourselves, with a little less work.
Say this in German:

I find gold. (Gold)”
Ich finde Gold.

hint

My version:

 

Now, usually we talk about what we find after the fact. We use it in past tense.
So let’s do that next.

Past tense

Like most verbs, finden goes with the spoken past here, and as it’s not about us changing location, it goes with haben.
So all you need is the proper ge-form and the right structure.

Thomas found a job.
Thomas hat einen Job gefunden.

hint

My version:

If you didn’t get it right, no worries! You’re here to learn, not to know :).
Let’s do another one:

“I(‘ve) found gold.”
Ich habe Gold gefunden.

hint

My version:

Cool!

Now, let’s make the sentence a bit longer and add the information when we found it.
We’ll start with “Ich” again, so you just need to plug in the word in the right place.
Hint: don’t forget about keeping the verb at the end.

I found gold yesterday.” (gestern)
Ich habe gestern Gold gefunden.

hint

My version:

And now, let’s also add where we found it.
There’s more than one option for the word order, but put the park behind gestern. That’s the most idiomatic choice.

“I found gold at the park yesterday.” (im Park)
Ich habe gestern im Park Gold gefunden.

hint

My version:

Perfect!
Now let’s take it one step further and make a side sentence.

side sentences

In side sentences, ALL verbs pile up at in the rear.
It sounds daunting, but in reality, all we have to do here is move the haben from where it is and move it to the very end.
let’s start with the short version:

“I told Maria that I found gold.”
(Ich habe Maria erzählt, dass ….)
Ich habe Maria erzählt, dass ich Gold gefunden habe.

hint

My version:

And now let’s do a long version:

“I told Maria that I found gold at the park yesterday.”
(Ich habe Maria erzählt,  dass ….)
Ich habe Maria erzählt, dass ich gestern im Park Gold gefunden habe.

hint

My version:

 

Awesome.
Again, if you didn’t get it right, don’t worry. Just make sure you understand the mistake you made and do the exercise again tomorrow.
Now, we’ve had present tense, past tense and a side sentence.
But for the full “functional” gamut, there’s one more type of phrasing that we need… questions.
So let’s do a couple of those.

Questions

And we’ll stick with past tense here, because in present they sound just too contrived.
German doesn’t use the helper to do for its questions and instead uses the verb itself.

  • Thomas hat einen Job gefunden.
  • Thomas found/has found a job.
  • Hat Thomas einen Job gefunden?
  • Did Thomas find/has Thomas found a job?

Can you see? It’s just a switcheroo, basically.
Now you try… and we’ll switch up the example a bit :)

“Have you found an apartment?” (eine Wohnung)
Hast du eine Wohnung gefunden?

hint

My version:

And now let’s do the same with a question word.
In German, that then just goes in front of what we just made.

“How did you find an apartment?”
Wie hast du eine Wohnung gefunden?

hint

My version:

If the “did” tripped you up… don’t worry. That’s normal.
It’s a matter of getting used to it… well… used to not using it.
Let’s do another one:

“When did Thomas find a job?” (einen Job)
Wann hat Thomas einen Job gefunden?

hint

My version:

All right.
So those were the most important structures for the “normal” finden.
However, finden has a second meaning, which is also really really common in daily life.

The other meaning of “finden”

German finden is also really commonly used to express your opinion about something. English to find can also do that, but it’s WAY more common in German, and in fact, gut finden or nicht gut finden is a pretty common choice to express liking or disliking.
Here’s a couple of examples:

  • I like the movie.
  • Ich finde den Film gut.
  • I think the movie is great.
  • Ich finde den Film super.

What’s important to know about this finden is that we use WRITTEN PAST for the past tense.
That’s kind of a trend for several of the basic verbs that their “normal” use goes with spoken past and the metaphorical or abstract one uses written past.

So the sentence about the movie would NOT be

  • Ich habe den Film gut gefundenWRONG

It’s understandable, but it is NOT idiomatic. Instead, people say:

  • Ich fand den Film gut.

The rest of the grammar is the same, though, so now, it’s your turn again :).
Say this in German using finden.

“I like the idea.” (die Idee)
Ich finde die Idee gut.

hint

My version:

And another one

“I find the coffee too expensive.” (… den Kaffee … zu teuer)
Ich finde den Kaffee zu teuer.

hint

My version:


And now let’s try one in past tense.

“I liked the idea.”
Ich fand die Idee gut.

hint

My version:


And one as a side sentence:

“Maria said that she liked the idea.” (Maria hat gesagt, dass…)
Maria hat gesagt, dass sie die Idee gut fand.

hint

My version:


And last but not least, let’s do the questions.

“How did you like this exercise?”  (… diese Übung)
Wie fandest du diese Übung?

hint

My version:

 

And that’s actually it for today.
Yeay!

This was our little overview of the most important patterns for finden.
And the idea is actually to do this exercise a few times over a week or so to really get a feel for the patterns.
You don’t have to get 100% on the pronunciation. Just try to get like 80%, all words correct and feel comfy while doing it :).

As I said, this is just the first draft of the format and my plan is to include hints and maybe a typing option.
So let me know in the comments please how you liked it, and what suggestions you have to make it better and more helpful.
i’m really curious for your feedback.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this and learned something.
Have a great day, and I’ll see you next week.

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