A Second Unit for German Beginners

Published by Roslyn Green in January 2023

Über mich 🖤❤️💛 ⇢ About me 🧒🏽

This unit guides learners towards introducing themselves and describing their origins in German. It covers regular verb conjugation in a simple way and provides practice with verbs such as wohnen (to live) and kommen (to come). There are also exercises related to the irregular verb haben (to have).

In addition to a downloadable booklet (embedded below), there are speaking flashcards, quizzes and a simple audio recording.

For a more challenging version of this unit, intended for fast learners, an alternative booklet as well as additional but related activities are available on this page.


Bildlexikon – Picture Dictionary: haben and sein

haben – to have: Ich habe heute Geburtstag. → Today is my birthday.

sein – to be: Ich bin zwölf Jahre alt. → I am 12 years old.


haben – to have: Wir haben eine Katze. We have a cat.

sein – to be: Sie ist süß. She is sweet.


haben – to have: Wir haben beide Laptops. → We both have laptops.

sein – to be: Wir sind Freunde. → We are friends.


haben – to have: Mein Bruder hat ein neues Handy. → My brother has a new mobile phone.

sein – to be: Es ist fantastisch. → It is fantastic.


Useful Links


Online Activities

Flashcards

These are question and answer flashcards. The first side has a greeting or question and the second side has an appropriate answer. The flashcards will “speak” if you click on the tiny microphone above the cards. A printout of this conversation is also provided below.



A Fill the Gap Quiz: Using Three Verbs – kommen, wohnen and sprechen

Revise your knowledge of these three key verbs.


A Jumble Kahoot: Place the words in the right order to answer the questions

Play with your class or with a small group of friends.


Audio text from page 7 of the unit booklet

Hallo! Mein Name ist Phoebe.

This audio was kindly recorded by Linda Manteuffel.

Read the text while you listen:

Hallo! Mein Name ist Phoebe und ich komme aus Neuseeland. Meine Eltern kommen aus England. Natürlich spreche ich Englisch, genau wie die Kinder in Australien. Meine beste Freundin heißt Sophie. Sie kommt aus China. Woher kommst du?

Ich wohne auf dem Land. Das finde ich super, denn ich liebe Tiere. Ich habe mein eigenes Pferd!

English Translation: Hello! My name is Phoebe and I come from New Zealand. My parents come from England. Of course I speak English, just like the children in Australia. My best friend is called Sophie. She comes from China. Where do you come from?

I live in the country. I think that’s wonderful, because I love animals. I have my own horse!


A Fill the Gap Quiz: Conjugating haben – the verb to have

Learn the conjugation of this crucial verb and practise using it correctly in sentences.



The Accusative Prepositions

Published by Roslyn Green in January 2023

Seven German Prepositions that Trigger the Accusative Case ➡️ ⏸️ ⬅️

Mnemonic*: DOGFUBE

Below are seven essential prepositions that are followed by the accusative case. The example sentences clarify their meaning and illustrate their usage.

* The everyday word for mnemonic in German is Eselsbrücke, literally donkey’s bridge.

Präpositionen und Beispielssätze

KEY: Masculine Nouns Feminine NounsNeuter Nouns Plural Nouns PrepositionsAccusative Pronouns

D

durch

O

ohne

G

gegen

F

für

U

um

B

bis

E

entlang

durch ➡️ through; because of

Examples

Der Radfahrer fährt durch den Tunnel. – The cyclist is riding through the tunnel.

Ich kann deine Musik durch die Wand hören. Kannst du sie bitte leiser stellen? – I can hear your music through the wall. Can you please turn it down?

Durch deine Hilfe habe ich mich in Mathe wirklich verbessert. – I have really improved in maths because of / through your help.

ohne ➡️ without

Examples

Ich gehe nirgendwohin ohne mein Handy. I don’t go anywhere without my mobile.

Ohne dich hätte ich die Deutschprüfung nie bestanden. – Without you, I never would have passed the German exam.

Die Kinder stammen aus armen Familien, deshalb kommen sie ohne Schuhe zur Schule. – The children originate from poor families; that’s why they come to school without shoes.

gegen ➡️ against, towards

Examples

Junge Chinesen protestieren gegen die Corona-Politik ihrer Regierung, auch wenn sie dafür im Gefängnis landen könnten. – Young Chinese people are protesting against the Corona policy of their government, even though they could land in prison as a result.

In einer Apotheke: Haben Sie etwas gegen Kopfschmerzen? – In a pharmacy: Do you have something for headache? In German, you say “against headache”.

Der Schreiner lehnte die Leiter gegen die Mauer. – The carpenter leaned the ladder against the wall.

für ➡️ for

Examples

Die Schokolade ist für dich. – The chocolate is for you.

Wir fahren für zwei Wochen in den Urlaub. – We are going on holiday for a fortnight.

Der Computerkurs ist für ältere Menschen. – The computer course is (intended) for older people.

Ich schäme mich für mein Verhalten. – I am ashamed of my behaviour. In German: “ashamed for my behaviour”.

um ➡️ about, around, at

Examples

Letztes Jahr haben meine Eltern eine Reise um die Welt gemacht. – Last year, my parents took a trip around the world.

Die Kleinen gehen um acht (Uhr) ins Bett. – The little ones go to bed at 8 (o’clock).

Der Roman geht um eine irische Familie während der Kartoffelkrankheit im 19. Jahrhundert. – The novel is about an Irish family during the potato blight in the 19th century.

Mein Freund kommt gerade um die Ecke. – My friend is just coming round the corner.

bis ➡️ until

Examples

Bis nächste Woche! – See you next week. (Literally: Until next week.)

Die Bibliothek ist von neun Uhr morgens bis acht Uhr abends geöffnet. – The library is open from nine in the morning till eight in the evening.

Bis dahin müssen wir versuchen, allein zurechtzukommen. – Until then we must try to cope on our own.

Wir sind bis spät in die Nacht aufgeblieben. – We stayed up till late in the night.

Note: When bis is used before another preposition, such as in (above) or zu, the second preposition determines the case that follows: for example, in bis zum nächsten Wochenende, the preposition zu triggers the dative case.

entlang ➡️ along

Examples

Wir gehen die Straße entlang und gucken in die Schaufenster. – We are walking down / along the street and looking in the display windows.

Auf dem Elbe-Radweg kann man den Fluss entlang fahren. Dort sieht man kleine Dörfer, große Felder, Kühe und Schafe mit schwarzen Gesichtern. – You can cycle along the river on the Elbe bike path. You’ll see small villages, large fields, cows, and sheep with black faces.


Quiz

Quiz: The Accusative Prepositions

In this quiz, learners can practise choosing the correct preposition and accusative article or pronoun in example sentences.

Corresponding Worksheet: A version of the online quiz as a downloadable PDF

School Quizzes 🏫

Posted by Roslyn Green, September 2022

Multiple Choice Quiz: Talking about School Subjects

This quiz provides sentences for describing your timetable and your attitudes to school subjects.


Colour-Coded Flippity Flashcards with a Matching Game

Learn school vocabulary by working through these gender-coded cards. Then click on “Matching” to test your memory.


Crossword: German Words for the Classroom

The clues are in German, but there are pictures to help as well. Click on the light bulb to revise the vocabulary.


Multiple Choice Quiz: My School Day

Select the right sentence to match pictures about your school day, from waking in the morning to sinking into an exhausted sleep at night.


Crossword: Classroom People and Objects

The crossword has a key word, along with pictures to help you decipher the German clues.


A Vocabulary Quiz: In der Schule → At School

Use essential nouns, verbs and adjectives for talking about school in sentences.


A Picture Quiz: What is in my schoolbag?

Learn the names for all the objects in your school bag, along with their genders.


A Pin and Label Quiz with Speaking Clues: Schulsachen School Stuff

The pins are colour coded, so that you learn the genders as well as the names of objects.


A Fill the Gap Quiz: Mein Schultag

This quiz contains vocabulary questions about attitudes to school subjects, events in a typical school day, and some revision of German word order.


A Pin and Label Quiz with Speaking Clues: What is in my schoolbag?

This quiz is embedded below. Just click on the pins to begin labelling. Click on the buttons on each label to hear a description in German.


 

Regular Verb Conjugation 🗝️

One Rule Above All Others: The Pattern of Regular Verbs

Posted by Roslyn Green, August 2022

The fundamental grammatical rule for speaking and writing correct German is the conjugation of regular verbs in the present tense.

Once you have learned this conjugation pattern, you will be able to apply it to hundreds of previously unknown verbs and be right every time. This will enable you to create hundreds of new sentences, even when using verbs that you have never before encountered.

A Tree of Regular German Verb Endings

Step by Step: Conjugating gehen (to go) as an Example

First, identify the verb stem.
Take off the -en at the end of the infinitive form of the verb. For example, the verb stem of wohnen is wohn. The verb stem of machen is mach.

Next, add the appropriate ending to the verb stem, depending on who is completing the action in the sentence. Here are the regular endings, shown for the verb gehen – to go:

  • ich gehe – I go
  • du gehst – you go (singular)
  • er/sie/es geht – he/she/it goes
  • wir gehen – we go
  • ihr geht – you go (plural)
  • sie gehen – they go

Note 1: The only difference between she goes and they go in German is the verb ending. That means that getting the verb endings correct with these pronouns is especially important to being understood.

Note 2: The formal address (Sie = you) requires the infinitive form of the verb: e.g. Sie machen, Sie gehen, etc. There is only one exception to this rule in the whole German language: sein – to be. To say “you are” to a stranger or acquaintance in a formal situation, you use Sie sind. Of course, sein is far too important to be a regular verb.

Quizzes


If you know how to handle the verbs, you know how to handle the language. Everything else is just vocabulary. – Michel Thomas, language teacher

Five Reasons to Learn German 🤔

Picture from Pixabay

I could just as easily have titled this post: “Five reasons to torture yourself”, “Five reasons to put yourself through the mill” or “Five reasons to subject yourself to untold suffering”.

In reality, of course, I love the German language. All the same, I must admit that this passion involves long periods of struggle and frustration as well as brief moments of pleasure.

Here are my first five reasons for learning German.

Ein Deutschlerner muss tapfer sein.

1 Learning German shows courage.
German is a grammatical minefield. Through learning it and refusing to give up, you prove your courage, your stamina and, above all, your readiness to make a fool of yourself. You really have to be tough to see it through.

Deutsch macht dich bescheiden.  

German makes you modest.
Anyone who tends to be conceited or over-confident will become more modest through learning German.

Deutsch kann dich glücklich machen. Gelegentlich.

Every correct sentence brings unexpected pleasure.
The grammatical rules of German are so complex that every error-free sentence you produce is a genuine achievement. Your self-esteem grows every time you say something without making a mistake. This will occur so rarely, however, that your modesty will remain intact.

Das Wort “Fingerhut”, zum Beispiel, bedeutet “thimble” auf Englisch.  Das heißt, “finger hat”. Schön, oder?

4 The words are guessable.
Once you have learned your first thousand words of German, you’ll be able to guess many of the others. The reason is that the German way of putting words together allows you to deconstruct new words with relative ease.

Deutsche Muttersprachler sind kreativ.

5 The compound words of German are unforgettable.
The many-barrelled words of the German language show how inventive and imaginative its speakers are. These words make for creativity and fantasy.

Question: And what about you? Can you give at least one reason for learning German? What do you like about the German language? Please write a comment to express your personal opinion or to explain your love for German.

Frage: Und du? Kannst du mindestens einen Grund nennen, Deutsch zu lernen? Was gefällt dir an der deutschen Sprache? Schreib bitte einen Kommentar, um deine persönliche Meinung zu äußern und deine Liebe für Deutsch zu erklären.

Some Extra Links for Learners: