What is going on in Herr Weiss' class?

Archive for the ‘German Grammar How To’ Category

Today in Class: April 23 – The dative case!

Today we began using the verb schenken to describe giving gifts to people.

it is a regular verb weak verb and follows the normal verb conjugation rules:

  • Ich schenke
  • Du schenkst
  • Er, sie, es schenkt
  • Wir schenken
  • Ihr schenkt
  • Sie, sie schenken

Important Tip Remember in Geman:

das Gift the gift

das gift =

das Geschenk =

Unless you really want to        with something 

But that’s totally up to you!

Now that we have the “false friends” cleared up with a very important word that is NOT a cognate, we have to know that the verb we are focusing on this chapter takes TWO different objects!! Yup that’s right – a direct object and an indirect object.  To find out what they are keep reading!

We started out by making a list of words in a varied KWL Chart like this:

Was kann ich sagen? – das Auto, das Buch, und so weiter

Was möchte ich sagen? – things students would like to have as gifts.

Was muss ich lernen? – what do they need to know – necessarily for the chapter.

A photo of the words we came up with will be attached to this blog post.

Now here are the grammar charts we used today:

“der” words

“ein” words

These charts show the endings on all the “der” words and all the “ein” words (like mein, dein, kein, sein, all the possessive pronouns etc….)

  • The first row is for the nominative case – or the subject of the sentence
  • The second row is for the accusative case – or the direct object of the sentence
  • The third row is for the dative case – or the indirect object of the sentence

Since all of these “things” that we listed above as presents to be given, they will be the direct object of the sentence and will need to be in the accusative case! For more review on the accusative case go here!

Example sentences ->

  • I am giving the apple. -> Ich schenke den Apfel.
  • I am giving an apple. -> Ich schenke einen Apfel.

We look in the accusative case row in the column for the nouns gender and use the letter there as our ending on „der“ or „ein“.

Now that we have WHAT we could give we began to work with to whom we will be giving it to.

To whom or for whom we are giving something is the indirect object and will be in the dative case! For my grammar tutorial and practice of the dative case check out my website!

So far in class we have only worked saying we are giving things to my or your or a specific person.

Here are some examples:

  • I am giving my father the apple. -> Ich schenke meinem Vater den Apfel.
  • I am giving the father the apple. – > Ich schenke dem Vater den Apfel.
  • I am giving Jeff an apple. -> Ich schenke dem Jeff einen Apfel.
  • I am giving your aunt an apple. –> Ich schenke deiner Tante einen Apfel.
  • I am giving Jess the apple. -> Ich schenke der Jess einen Apfel.

Since these names would answer the questions „To whom or for whom?” they are in the dative case.

Here are some websites where you can practice the dative case:

The Dative Case: Indirect Object (Kapitel 11 A)

Komm mit 1, Kap 11-2


The best ways to study vocabulary!

The best ways to study vocabulary!
( Because just “looking at the list” does not usually cut it.). If you have an alternate website, method or a cool idea I would love to hear it! Let me and all my readers know what you do by postings comment below of what works for you!

Study a little bit each day instead of waiting until right before the quiz!
This helps the words enter your long-term memory – and this is where they need to be so you’ll know the words when you need them in real life (or in later levels of this class).

* Make flash cards and quiz yourself a little each day (from English to German), sorting the words each time into piles of those you know perfectly, those you sort of know, and those you don’t know at all. Quiz yourself extra on those you don’t know as well.

* If you want to go the online route for flash cards you can make FREE flash cards online on websites like http://www.quizlet.com – you can even play word games with the vocab you put in – or even with http://www.byki.com – which offers a free version of their online program

* If you hate making flash cards, be sure to copy the words on your list and their definitions at least once on a sheet of notebook paper (in random, not alphabetical, order) so that you’ve had to practice spelling them at least once, and use this list, not mine, to study.

* If you have trouble remembering how to spell words, write each word out several times. (It’s not fun, but many students say it helps.)

* Go online to the website QUIA to to play memory and other games with words from our chapters! KOMM MIT activities for all levels posted here http://www.quia.com/profiles/iobrien11

* Write example sentences using each word, in German or “Denglisch.” If you like, also draw a cartoon to illustrate each word.

* Make a picture dictionary of your vocabulary words. Draw a little box for each picture, and put the word under it. Cover up the words later and see if you can remember them when you look at the pictures.

With a friend/ classmate / relative / study buddy:

* Quiz each other from English to German – you say the English word out loud and your partner has to say the German word, including its gender / plural / irregular forms.
If he/she doesn’t know it, tell him/her and quiz him/her on it again later.

* Have a spelling bee where you each take turns saying a German word to the other person, who has to write it or spell it out loud. First person to spell the given word wrong is “out.”

* Help each other think of mnemonic devices (memory tricks based on natural or goofy associations with the sound of the word or the way it looks). For example: “Blumen” means flowers, which is similar to the word “blooming” in English; or “fahren” means to drive, so think of someone driving “far.”

* Play “Pictionary,” drawing pictures to represent the vocab words and having the other person guess what word each picture is.

* Play “Hangman” using words from the list so the other person has to spell them to win. (Using German spelling, of course.)

German Grammar – Present Perfect Tense – Deutsche Grammatik – Vergangenheit: Partizip II – Perfekt

Present Perfect Tense in German and the past tense – Wie benuzt man Perfekt auf Deutsch für die Vergangenheit

This tense is used in spoken and written German to express something that happened in the past.

Just like in English, it is composed of a helping verb (in German they are haben or sein) and a past participle of the verb you are trying to make into the past.

The helping verb is the only one conjugated!


I have played soccer.

Ich habe Fußball gespielt.

I have driven to school.

Ich bin zur Schule gefahren.

You should already know how to conjugate the helping verbs that we are going to need to make the past tense but here they are:

haben sein
ich habe wir haben ich bin wir sind
du hast Ihr habt du bist ihr seid
er,sie,es hat Sie, sie haben er,sie,es ist Sie,sie sind



Since there are two different helping verb options that can be used in German there are some rules so that you know which is the right choice!

sein is used ONLY in 3 circumstances:

a. with sein

b. movement (that will take you from point A to B)

c. a change in state (ie: birth, death, awake, asleep)

Haben is used in all other circumstances

Now that we have the background on how helping verbs work in conjunction with the Perfekt tense let’s focus on the verbs themselves!

There are 4 categories of verbs that we are going to discuss:

  • weak verbs
  • strong verbs
  • verbs that end in “ieren”
  • verbs with seperable prefixes

The first rule is that we need to isolate the “stem” of the verb, if the last letter of the stem is a “t”, “d” or “consonant +n” – example: arbeiten, wandern, regnen – than you will need to KEEP THE “E”

Weak Verbs:

these verbs are ones that follow the normal conjugation rules

are put into the past tense by adding “ge” in front of the stem and “t” after the stem.

How do you do this?

1) take the infinitive machen (make, do)
2) remove the -en suffix mach
3) replace it with the t suffix macht
4) add ge prefix gemacht


machen = gemacht kaufen = gekauft
spielen = gespielt brauchen = gebraucht
arbeiten = gearbeitet suchen = gesucht

Example sentences:

lernen: Ich habe das ganze Wochenende Deutsch gelernt.

wohnen: Du hast in der Türkei gewohnt.

leben: Er hat lange in Amerika gelebt.

lieben: Sie hat ihre Kinder sehr geliebt.

heiraten: Wir haben 1979 geheiratet.

baden: Ihr habt im See gebadet.

grillen: Sie haben Bratwurstchen gegrillt.

Strong Verbs:

these verbs are ones that break the normal conjugation rules with exceptions such as stem changes

are put into the past tense by adding “ge” in front of the infinitive verb.


lesen = gelesen gehen = gegangen
fahren = gefahren essen = gegessen
sehen = gesehen kommen = gekommen
fressen = gefressen sein = gewesen

“ieren” Verbs

these verbs are the ones that end with “ieren”.

Verbs that have this ending tend to be very similar to English. And they’re all regular verbs, so they don’t require a change to the stem in conjugations.

are put into the past tense by simply changing the ending to “t”.

NO ‘ge’ is added.


imitieren = imitiert diskutieren = diskutiert
spazieren = spaziert reparieren = repariert
fotografieren = fotografiert studieren = studiert

Verbs with a Separable Prefix

The past participal is formed by inserting the “ge” between the separable prefix and the rest of the verb.

The ending is determined by the strength of the verb.

  • Weak Verbs: “t
  • Strong Verbs: “en”


anrufen = angerufen einkaufen = eingekauft
aussehen = ausgesehen ausmachen = ausgemacht

Online Practice from my website!

Present Perfect Tense – WEAK VERBS

Usage - past participles of machen and anfangen-"Oh my goodness! You have made a monster out of me!" "I haven't even started yet"

Explanation Past Tense: Weak Verbs
Songs for the Past Tense
List of Weak Verbs and Past Participles
**Explanation** (Dartmouth College)

Usage - past participle of beissen and lieben - "It hurts a lot more when he really bites me" "YOUR MOTHER NEVER REALLY LOVED YOU!"


Usage - past participle of machen - "I could not have eaten the homework, because the kid who normally sits here didn't do it" "Excuses, nothing but excuses!"

Conjunctions in German – Konjunktionen auf Deutsch! – coordinating and subordinating

Conjunctions - Konjunktionen - Bindewörter - "binding" words

This topic deals with conjunctions, words that combine two words, phrases, clauses and sentences. There are two types coordinating – or ones that can stand alone and subordinating – a phrase using one of these needs the first clause for it to make sense.

Coordinating Conjunctions

I am only going to give the basic four conjunctions that are most often used by beginning German speakers. When you combine two sentences or clauses using them there is no change in word order once you have combined the two.

They are:

und – and

oder – or

aber – but

denn – because

Here is a little rhyme for you: Und, oder, aber, denn – verb does not come at the end!

Here are some examples:

Ich spiele Basketball und ich bin ein guter Basketballspieler!

Ich kann heute segeln oder Schach spielen.

Ich gehe nicht ins Kino denn ich habe Hausaufgaben.

Try seeing if you can find which coordinating conjunction goes in the blank!

Usage of "aber": "Today we have Mr. Mertens as our guest, who for the past 17 years has had to sneeze, but cannot. Mr. Mertens when did this all start? Mr. Mertens? Mr. Mertens?

Here is a video to explain both:

Subordinating Conjunctions

Here is a “rap” video on how they work in English!

Subordinating conjunctions rely on the first clause for the second clause to make any sense! In German the word order CHANGES! The verb in the second clause will now come at the end! Four of the most popular subordinating conjunctions for beginning German learners are:

dass – that/so that

weil – because

ob – if

wenn – if/when

Here is a rhyme for these four: Dass, weil, ob, wenn – verb is at the end!

Example sentences:

Ich weiss dass, ich braune Haare habe!

Ich komme nicht ins Kino weil ich Hausaufgaben machen muss!

Online Practice:

Word order with WEIL: #1
Word order with WEIL: #2
Word order with WEIL: #3
Fill in the correct verb weil practice

Several practice exercises where you have to put the Sentence in the correct order

Weil/denn: Easy pop up practice

Example comics:

Usage of wenn: "I don't like it when you bring your work home"

Usage of dass: "Of course I know that this isn't a costume party" "But, not I know what I wanted to explain: On my way here I was attacked by a snake"

Here is a video about subordinating conjunctions!

Usage of "wenn" and "und": "If you need to sneeze and cannot, look directly into the light at the end of the tunnel"

Usage of weil: "Did you call the lock smith because your door wasn't closing right?" "No?"

Imperative auf Deutsch? Wie sag ich das? How do I say it? Mach es so!

Don’t feel like this guy!

The imperative in German is used when issuing a command to someone or more than one person.  In English we use the you understood rule; Go home! or Shut the door! or Shut up! (I don’t have you in those phrases but you know I’m talking to YOU) This works the same way for the most part in German. At the bottom of this post there are links to online practice, videos and websites with more explanation!

Check out this awesomely made video by some German students!

First the verb is always in the first position of the sentence!

Second are you talking to one person or more than one person or do you need to be formal?

Next the “formula” for creating a command is in the following table under which pronoun you are using.

Things to remember:

  1. Make sure you are aware if the verb is a stem changing verb, ex geben – du gibst or lesen – du liest, if so you need to change it! Stem changing verbs only change when you are using du, er, sie or es FYI 🙂
  2. Remember “-e” is added to the verb stem in present tense after “-t” “-d” ex: arbeiten, kosten, baden
  3. a–>ä stem-changes do not carry over into the imperative – Example: fahren, to drive, du fährst; the a changes to ä -> but the command to say Drive! is just Fahr
informell formell
du ihr Sie
Imperative = Present tense du-form without the -st ending, and without”du” Imperative = Present tense ihr-form, and without “ihr” Imperative =
Infinitive + Sie 
[separable prefix]
lachen – to laugh==> Present tense = du lachst==> Lach! lachen – to laugh==> Present tense = ihr lacht==> Lacht! lachen – to laugh==> Lachen Sie!
geben ==> Present tense = du gibst==> Gib mir das Buch!
[Remember “geben” is a stem-changing verb]
geben ==> Present tense = ihr gebt==> Gebt mir das Buch![Remember stem-changes only happen in the 2nd and 3rd person singular] geben ==> Geben Sie mir das Buch!
arbeiten==> Present tense = du arbeitest==> Arbeite!
arbeiten==> Present tense = ihr arbeitet==> Arbeitet! arbeiten==> Arbeiten Sie!
==> Present tense = du Räumst auf==> Räum auf!
==> Present tense = ihr Räumt auf==> Räumt auf!
aufräumen ==> Räumen Sie auf!

Now here are some website with explanations:

  1. The Imperative (der Imperativ)
  2. Imperativ

Here is some online practice!

  1. Quia game: who wants to be a millionaire
  2. Quia game: who wants to be a millionaire #2
  3. Build the imperative forms of these verbs
  4. Change these phrases into commands

Here are some videos:

Examples in comics!!

Sie form:

"That always happens when they take the antidote first" - "Bite me! Bite me!" - "Say Please"

du form:

"Bah - This is no cake! Shame on you for trying to pull one over on your guests!" - "Come Irene, we're going!

ihr form:

"My four, he has my four, stop him!"

"Stop him! Stop him! He has my nose! Stop him!"

a how to use the ice machine at the hospital - can you figure out what is wrong with the German? - It has to do with the imperative case


%d bloggers like this: