Category Archives: Grammar Basics

Grammar Jargon – What the heck are adverbs

adverbsHello everyone,

and welcome to another episode of Grammar Jargon, where we explain one of these cryptic nerdy terms that teachers and textbooks use, because for some strange reason they think it’s … helpful.
Well… IT’S NOT! Stop it!! Stop feeding us stupid, yawn-inducing Latin vocabulary that half the class has no idea what it means, and that no one can remember because it so complicated, and that sucks out all the fun. You hear me? IT SUCKS IT OUT! THE FUN. ALL OF I.. oh… I uh… I think I’m getting a little worked up …. must … breathe.. phaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa…
all right. I’m sorry. I hate jargon.  I really do.
But it’s there, we have to cope. And there are some terms like verb or noun or subject that are so basic, well established and hard to replace that everyone should know them. Today we’ll look at one of those terms. Today, we’ll try to find out, once and for all, just what are

adverbs  

To do that let’s… take a detour and first look at adjectives.
The term adjective comes from old Latin. At the core is the Latin verb iacere which meant to throw or to cast. This is where the word jet comes from by the way. The ad means… well… pretty much the same as at… or add.  So,  adjective literally means something like “thing that is thrown or slapped at stuff” and that is pretty much what they’re used for. Adjectives are like little tags that are added to nouns to give us more information about them.

  • Princess Lyra gazed at the flower.

Sounds interesting…but a bit bland. We need to be a little more descriptive. How is the flower? Beautiful …  and fair. That sounds nice. Continue reading

German is Easy – QAS 2

qas-2Hello everyone,

and welcome to the second episode of our little Q and A and S section, where we look at some nice questions you guys have asked and whatever else matters.
And first of all I need to say:

danke, danke, danke, danke, danke, danke, danke,
danke, danke, danke, danke, danke, danke, danke,
danke, danke, danke, danke, danke, danke, danke,
danke… und nochmals danke

to the people who have made a donation. And I did not just copy and paste the “dankes”… I typed them  and I mean them. Seriously… it is sooooo motivating and definitely made my days. You’re the best!!!
And yes, I do like Jay-Z (I don’t like Kanye though :), alles gute with your studies. And yes, whenever the book is finished, it’ll be in available in Canada too, and I’ll make sure you get a free copy. All of you.
Oh and while we’re at it…. all the others, you guys who read and comment and ask questions… you’re definitely the second best… uhm, which uhm…. which is still very very  good.
Damn. That doesn’t sound nice at all  ;)… but seriously, if it wasn’t for you, I would have probably stopped this already… you’re all awesome!
And so were some of the questions you have asked over the last couple of weeks. So without any further ado, let’s get right to it, shall we?
Cool.

“Neither do I” or … how to agree to stuff

This question comes from Grateful Reader who is one of the most active people and who speaks … or at least writes German amazingly well. So … the question is about how to agree to a negative statement about oneself… or as the title already says:

  • How to say “Neither do I.”?

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “ansehen”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will have a look at the meaning of the word:

ansehen

Sehen means to see and an means at or on or to or in and we’ll go with… uhm… at this time. But ansehen is actually not so much the sum of its parts. The glamour is in the grammar. And that is not just a stupid rhyme by the way… those two were the same word once (don’t believe me? Check it here) . But then the Scots extracted the glamour, and ever since “grammar” has the appeal of eating sand. I don’t like grammar…it’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.
But just like Tatooine is nothing without sand, ansehen is nothing without grammar.
So let’s take a look at the different meanings and how to build them.  Sounds good? Cool. Continue reading

Comparisons in German

comparisons-in-german-imageHello everyone,

and welcome to another part of our German is Easy Learn German online course… the coursiest course under the sun.
We do it in the gym, we do it at school, we do it when we’re visiting a friend for the first time, we do it when we have a new partner… or an old partner, we do it when we meet new people, we do it when we read a magazine, we do it all the time …and it makes us really really happy. Always. It can be incredibly hellthy… ops… haha… I mean healthy, it is healthy for us. Today we’ll learn about

comparisons in German

Like… this is bigger than that and so on. Usually the rules for making comparisons in a language are rather simple. But in German it is… well… nah kidding. Admit it you were worried a bit :). It’s pretty simple actually. Sure, there are some speed bumps like weird forms and sentence structure but nothing too bad. Today we’ll learn all about regular comparisons and we’ll see what the more-form is and how to build it. In part 2, we’ll look at the most-form and we’ll find out what the difference is between am besten and das Beste. And of course we’ll start…  with a little background.
I looove background. Maybe I should ask it out some day. Then I could introduce it to my friends and be like “Steve, this is my background. Background, this is Steve, my produc….” What? Nooo, I’m not high… never am. I’m just a dork, that’s all… anyway… where were we… uhm… yeah background on comparisons.
So… we want to compare two items, A and B. There are two approaches to doing that or better, two points of view. Now, of course we can compare A to B and B to A but that is not what I mean. I mean, that we can talk about equality or about difference. Continue reading

German Adjective Endings 3

Hello everyone,

and welcome to the last part of the mini series on

German adjective endings

So far, things were simple. Part 1 (find it here), the most important one, was about adding an -e to the adjective as soon as it precedes a noun, no matter what.  Seriously. If you haven’t read it, then do it. In part 2 (find it here) we learned to add an extra -n to that whenever the article looks weird. If you just do that, you should get about 70 % correct. Today, we’ll take care of the extra 15 %. Oh… I mean 25% . Sorry… haha… a bit shaky with the math right there.
Now, so far it was all easy peasy but this is gonna end today. “German grammar ist kein ponyhof” as a common proverb says. Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s like…  you can drink 80% of an XXL Latte with hazelnut with joy and little effort but you need to really want to finish it to drink the remaining… uhm… the remaining percent. It’s no different for adjective endings. Today will be theoretical and tedious. You will be super exhausted and so frustrated that you will never want to speak German aga..
 (wait a second… that’s not how they explained it at this “Explain things seminar”. What did the guy say? … uhm… pretend that it’s easy… yeah, that’s it…  quick… must act or I’ll lose them)
and that’s why today it’ll be surprisingly easy. We’ll breeze through a few rules and a few concepts and shabams… we’re done. We’re basically done already, we just need to wrap up the whole thing. It’ll be a walk in the park…
(By the time they realize it’s the Rocky Mountain national park, it’s too late… ) guahahhahahahaha… oh… did I just do the evil laughter aloud? Damn… anyway… without any further ado, here we go…. with a little bit of background.

The Awful German marking system

German. It has three way too many genders, four way too many cases and  2715 WAAAAAY to many ways to build the plural. Continue reading