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Dictionary > grammar-terms

    Here's a quick overview with translations. For family, examples and more check the details.
  • Accusative
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    der Akkusativ
    (The accusative (considered the 4th case in German grammar) largely corresponds to what other languages call the direct object. It is the entity directly affected by the verb. After a preposition, it can mark a destination.)
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  • Adjective
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Adjektiv
    ("adjectives" are words that give a quality to an entity. Common examples are "warm", "tasty" or "happy". In German, adjectives get endings depending on case and gender, which makes them pretty annoying. )
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  • Adverbs
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Adverb
    (Adverbs are words that give information about activities, answering questions like how, when, where or why. They're the counterpart to adjectives which give information about entities. )
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  • Article
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    der Artikel
    (An article is a "companion" of the noun. German articles are a bit annoying because the right one depends on gender, case and the weather. )
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  • Box-Model
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    the box model
    (An unofficial grammar term. The Box Model is a model I find very helpful to analyze sentence structure and word order. It works for any language and the core idea is to think of elements as fixed boxes that each contain the answer to one question.)
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  • Case
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    der Fall
    (Cases are a grammatical tool to express relations of entities to the actions of the sentence. They can be marked by endings, prefixes or through modifications of the word itself.)
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  • Comperative
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    der Komparative
    (The comparative is a form of the adjective used for than-comparisons. English uses a mixed approach, so some adjectives use a form (bigger, wider) and other use a structure (more tired). German is super consistent and always adds "-er".)
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  • Conditional
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Konditional
    ("conditional" is a statement that revolves around a condition in the sense of "if... then". There are several types of "conditional" in English and other languages have other types. )
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  • Conjugation
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    Konjugation
    (Conjugating means modifying a verb based on who does it (I, you, he, she...).The modifications can be an ending, but also some changes in the middle. Check out the article for more details.)
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  • Conjunction
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    die Konjunktion
    (Conjunctions are words that connect sentences. So they're the counterpart to prepositions which basically connect entities. The main examples are "and" and "or". Most conjunctions belong to the sub-set of "subordinating conjunctions. )
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  • da-word
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    Präpositionalobjekt
    ("da-word" is the term we use to refer to words like darum, daran, darauf and so on. The official term is "prepositional object" because they have the role of an object and they have a preposition. But da-word is more intuitive. )
    Opposite (closest): wo-word
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  • Dative
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    der Dativ
    (The Dative loosely corresponds what in English is an indirect object with "to". It expresses the role of a "receiver" in some sort of (sometimes rather abstract) transfer. After prepositions, it can mark a fixed location.)
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  • Demonstrative Pronoun
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Demonstrativpronomen
    (Demonstrative pronouns are pronouns that have a strong "pointing" component. So instead of just standing in for an entity, they point a virtual index finger at it. The most common English examples are "this" and "that".)
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  • Entity
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    entity
    (I use the word entity as a short way to refer to things and living beings. They're kind of the "mass" of language, while the verbs are "energy".)
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  • False Friends
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    A series that looks at false friends between German and English, how to actually translate things and who screwed up.
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  • ge-form
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    past participle (eng), Partizip 2 (Ger), Partizip II
    (ge-form is not an official grammar term, but I use it because it is more intuitive than the official names. It is one of the most useful forms of a verb, because we need to build the past, the passive and we can use it as an adjective. )
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  • Gender
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das (grammatische) Geschlecht, Gender
    ("gender" is a grammatical property of nouns that divides them into groups that each have slightly different grammar rules. Gender usually includes "feminine" and "masculine" words but those terms have nothing to do with the object the refer to. )
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  • Genitive
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    der Genitiv
    (The Genitiv (the second case in German grammar) expresses ownership. It's not too common because German also uses a "von"-structure but you'll see loads of Genitive in written German. )
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  • Question Words
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Fragewort
    (Plural "die Fragewörter")
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  • Word Order
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    Wortstellung
    (One of the most confusing topics for German learners. Most sources will talk about Te Ka Mo Lo, but if you want to know what's REALLY going on, the deep and dirty truth, about German sentence structure... check out my posts and get your mind blown. )
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  • Imperative
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    der Imperativ, die Befehlsform
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  • Imperfect
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Imperfekt
    (What matters most is that German doesn't have it.)
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  • Indefinite Pronoun
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das unbestimmte Pronomen, das Indefinitpronomen
    (A pronoun that refers to a non-specific element of a group. )
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  • Infinitive
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    der Infinitiv
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  • intransitive
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    Intransitiv
    (Describes verbs that can't have a direct object. The definition of the term varies between languages and therefor using it as a category is misleading, imo.)
    Opposite (closest): transitive
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  • Inversion
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    die Inversion
    (Common trope in German textbooks. It talks about the verb and the subject switching places. It doesn't have much to do with what's really going on, though, and it's a dumb concept in my opinion.)
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  • Konjunktiv
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    (subjunctive)
    (Konjuktiv is a special form of the verb in German. There are two versions, the present and the past and the past looks like what many people think is the English "subjunctive" (but it's not). It's a mess of definitions, honestly. )
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  • Main Sentence
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    der Hauptsatz
    (Main sentences are usually defined as sentences that are independent and can stand on their own - a shaky definition once you look too closely. In German, it's much easier to define them because each sentence type has its own sentence structure. Yeay! )
    Opposite (closest): Subordinate Clause
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  • Modal Verb
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Modalverb
    (Modal verbs are a special kind of verbs that express how you "relate" to another verb. Specifically, they express capacity, possibility, obligation an desire. The definition of modal verb as well as the verbs themselves vary from language to language.)
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  • Modalpartikel
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    modal particle
    (Words like "doch", "mal" or "halt" that don't have a meaning in the narrow sense but that do express an idea or feeling.)
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  • n-declension
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    n-Deklination
    (One of the most useless features of German grammar. Some nouns, get an -(e)n if they're not in Nominative. Even native speakers forget it sometimes, and it's not worth spending time with unless you need this sh*t for a test.)
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  • Newsletter
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    Free and about once per week
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  • Nominative
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    der Nominative
    (Nominative (the first case in German grammar) is kind of the default case. So things in a dictionary are already in nominative and you don't have to do anything. In a sentence, it marks the role of the subject. It rarely comes after prepositions.)
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  • Noun
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Substantiv, das Nomen
    (Nouns are basically pseudo group names for objects and beings. They're the MAIN way to represent entities in speech, the other two being actual names and pronouns. )
    Opposite (closest): Verb
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  • Participle Construction
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    die Partizipialkonstruktion
    (Participle constructions add information about an entity by using a fixed form of the verb. You can think of them as an elaborate hashtag. They exist in present and past. They're less common in German, overall. )
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  • Passive Voice
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    Passiv
    (Passive is a phrasing that looks at an action from the perspective of the object, not the subject. German has two versions of it, but the difference is not as sharp as textbooks would have you believe. )
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  • Past Tense
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    die Vergangenheit
    (Past tense is used to "locate" events that you're talking about in the past. Most languages have multiple options and grades of past. German is among the easier ones because it's not very precise, and rather easy to build. )
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  • Personal Pronoun
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Personalpronomen
    (Personal Pronouns are pronouns that are "just" stand-ins for entities in a sentence without any other function (like expressing possession or extreme pointing). It's also what you need to refer to yourself. )
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  • Possessive Article
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    Possessivartikel
    (Articles that indicate possession. English examples are "my", "your" or "her". )
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  • Predicate
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Prädikat
    (It's something related to the verb, but the definitions in German and English are QUITE different, so the term is pretty useless without clarification.)
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  • Preposition
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    die Präposition
    (Prepositions are words that express the relations between and entity and an activity or another entity. That can be in the spatial domain, but also in all kinds of abstract ways. )
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  • Present Participle
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Partizip 1
    (The present participle is an impersonal form of the verb that expresses that something is "ongoing". In English it is marked by "-ing", but not every word with "-ing" is a present participle. In German, it is made by adding a "-d".)
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  • Present Tense
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    die Gegenwart
    (The present tense is used to talk about stuff that's going on at the moment of speaking. German also uses the present tense for the future, if there is any hint in context that clears it up.)
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  • Preterit
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Präteritum
    (Preterit is a form of the verb that expresses past tense. It's usually marked by making changes to the verb stem and the endings. In English, it is called "simple past". On this site, I call it "written past".)
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  • Pronoun
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Pronomen
    (Pronouns are stand-ins for entities that are already an established part of the conversation. Without them, we'd have to repeat nouns and names all the time. )
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  • r-version
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    r-Version
    (Not an official grammar term. I use it as a name for the r-version of prefix verbs like rausmachen, ranmachen, runterfallen and so on. )
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  • Reflexive
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    Reflexiv
    (The term reflexive in language means that the subject of an action is also the object. Think of looking at yourself in the mirror - you look and you're what's looked at.)
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  • Relative Clause
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    der Relativsatz
    (A relative clause is a side sentence that is kind of "hooked" onto an entity in a container sentence, giving information about that entity. A good example is "The guy, who blah blah, ...")
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  • Relative Pronoun
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    das Relativpronomen
    (Relative pronouns are a special type of pronoun that directly anchor a side sentence to an entity within a main sentence. Some of them can also take the role of the entity itself.)
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  • Side Sentence
    (grammar-term)
    1.
    Nebensatz
    ("Side sentence" is not an official grammar term. The proper Name is "subordinate clause". However, that's not intuitive at all and "side sentence" matches well with what German grammar calls them. In German, they have all the verbs at the end.)
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