When you’re engaged in speaking a language, you don’t have time to think much about grammar. Conversations just move too fast. There are, however, a few rules that are easy to keep in mind. With time, you’ll apply them automatically.
1.Diminutive nouns with the ending -chen or -lein are neuter:
das Mädchen - the girl
das Schwesterlein -the little sister
2. Nouns ending in -heit, -keit, -ung are always feminine
die Freiheit - freedom
die Freundlichkeit - friendliness
die Rechnung - bill/check
3. “die” is the plural article for all nouns (subject forms)
das Kind - die Kinder
die Frau - die Frauen
der Mann - die Männer
4. All seasons are masculine:
der Frühling - spring
der Sommer - summer
der Herbst - fall
der Winter - winter
5. All days are masculine:
der Montag - Monday
der Dienstag - Tuesday
der Mittwoch - Wednesday
der Donnerstag - Thursday
der Freitag - Friday
der Samstag - Saturday
der Sonntag - Sunday
6. A group of prepositions contract with “das."
These all imply a “change of place” or “direction to”:
an + das: ans Meer gehen (to go to the sea)
auf + das: aufs Land fahren (to go to the countryside)
in + das: ins Haus gehen (to go into the house)
hinter + das: hinters Auto gehen (to go over behind the car)
über + das: übers Meer fliegen (to fly across the ocean)
unter + das: unters Buch legen (to place under the book)
vor + das: vors Fenster legen (to place in front of the window)
7. A predicate Adjective takes no ending
A predicate adjective follows a noun and is preceded by a form of “sein” (to be).
Die Straße ist breit. (The street is wide.)
but: Die breite Straße. (The wide street.)
1-12 you have to memorize,
13-19 have the same format as English,
but 21-29, 31-39 etc. are “reversed” in German and are linked with "und" (and):
e.g.: einundzwanzig - twenty-one (21), neununddreißig - thirty-nine (39), etc.
9. The verb forms of formal "you" (Sie) and "they" (sie) are the same.
Gehen Sie heute ins Kino? (Are you going to the movies today?)
Gehen sie heute ins Kino? (Are they going to the movies today?)
Note: Formal "you" (Sie) is always capitalized;
"they" (sie) begins with a lower-case letter (except at the beginning of a sentence).
10. Word Order: In simple sentences, the verb is in second position.
Ich gehe heute ins Kino.
Heute gehe ich ins Kino.
Note (1): In the sentence "Heute Abend gehe ich ins Kino." the verb is the third word, but still in second position, as the (adverb) phrase "Heute abend" is in first position.
Note (2): Whatever word/phrase occurs before the verb is emphasized.
You Want to Practice Your German?
Our games and travel-story based courses are also a great way to practice your German.
With our German 1 and 2 coursesyou'll learn and practice German for FREE - with stories of a young man traveling through Germany and - its sequel - solving a "Blüten"-mystery in Berlin. "The Story" and easy games will let you forget that you are actually learning German!
And you can also listen to both Stories by clicking on German 1 or German 2 on our Podcast page