Category Archives: Grammar Basics

German Word Order – 3

Hello everyone,

and welcome to the third part of our mini series on

German Word Order

and if you haven’t read part 1 and part 2 yet, you really should do that because today’s post won’t make much sense without it. So here they are:

And no, there will be no recap. Our poles won’t get one either.
Wow, Worst Pun Ever Award, I’m coming.
Anyway, so last time was all about head final and the notion of important stuff coming very late. But it turned out that this couldn’t quite explain everything. Because it’s actually only half of the the truth. Today, we’ll look at the other half. So… are you ready to jump in once more, even if the water looks a little nerdy?
Awesome. Continue reading

German Word Order Explained – 2

Hello everyone,

and welcome to the second part of our look at the mess that seems to be

German Word Order

And before we get to it let’s do a super quick recap what we learned in part one. (find it here) we’ve learned three things.
Number one:
The rules you can usually find are … not very good. And how could they. Because number 2:
There are no rules. And there’s not one correct order. There’s a default order which is  the result of a fascinating interplay of several forces, pulling the elements in different directions. And the speaker has a lot of freedom to rearrange stuff for emphasis. Problem is that these interactions are  uber complex and dynamic. We cannot really “learn” that.  Which leads us directly to number three:
In linguistics there is the concept of a head of a phrase and we learned that German is at it’s soul a head-final language. You know… like its close relatives Korean and Japanese. They’re head final too.
Today, we’ll find out how this head-final-ness of German can help us explain everything. Well, not everything, but a lot. It’s going to be tough and I’m not saying that every sentence you’ll ever say will be correct. But at least things will make sense. Promise! Continue reading

German Word Order – Explained

german-word-order-explanatiHello everyone, and welcome. I and it’s been kind of a tradition here to kick off the new year with a deep look at German sentence structure. And I think the topic that perfectly fits 2015 is Word order in German Now you’re like “Wait, word order is super confusing. I don’t want 2015 to be super confusing. I want it to be awesome and illuminating and freaking epic.” But looking into German word order can be just that. Because once you dig a little deeper there are some really cool surprises. So here’s what we’ll do. First we’ll take a look at the commonly known rules for word order and we’ll explain why they suck…what their shortcomings are. Then, we’ll have a look at what German word order is really about and then, we’ll finally zero in on one core idea. An idea that explains… everything*. (*word dramatized, may not actually mean everything, no refunds) So are you ready to dive in and find out? Great. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “es”

es-germanHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a meaning at one of the most basic words ever:

es

Es can mean fusion crust and unicorn and towel. And even girl. Isn’t that fascinating.
Now you’re all like “Well, duh… it’s because es means it. Boring. Talk about something useful instead. We’d have a few ideas like conditional or written past. ”
And you’re right. Es doesn’t sound like an interesting word to talk about. It means it and that’s it. Except it isn’t. There are some differences between German es and English it  and there’s specifically one use that trips up many learners because the es doesn’t seem to make sense.
So today we’ll take a detailed look at es. We’ll check out what it is used for, how it compares to English and how it is translated. It’ll be a little nerdy today but it’s worth it and at the end we’ll all be … esperts. Hahaha.
Meh… let’s find out of whether the explanation will be better than the jokes. Continue reading

Sneak Peek of the Day

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. And today we’ll take a look at the meaning… nothing. Originally, I wanted to do a review this week, but then not. Then I wanted to do a quick word but then not. And so I’ve decided to give a you  little sneak peek instead. A sneak peek into the upcoming book we are writing at the moment at German is Easy. It’s just a first draft, and it’s probably full of mistakes, so my apologies for that. You know… all those young interns from college… these kids just don’t know how to write and spell anymore. But I hope you like it anyway’s. I’ve absolutely no clu… uhm I don’t want to give away what part this is from or why it is in the book. All I’ll say is that it is something about a new tense. So… enjoy :)

The dawn of the Perfect

If you learn Latin or a Romance language for that matter, you’ll find that they have all kinds of crazy forms of the verbs to express different tenses or aspects. French for instance has 2 different past forms plus a sort of present perfect plus the same set in super past. Like… the past perfetc. The Germanic languages had kept it simple. For a long long time they had made due with just two tenses. Past and not past. Continue reading