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Basic German: Telling Time

You’re in Interlaken, in der Schweiz(in-têr-lâ-ken in dêr shvayts) (Interlaken, in Switzerland) and you want to know what time it is. You have four choices: Look at your own watch; look at the nearest [more…]

German: Formal or Informal Greetings

German speakers generally place great value on showing respect toward each other and strangers. The language itself allows the speaker to make a clear distinction between formal and informal ways of saying [more…]

Basic Greetings in German

The first part of your greeting in German is a basic hello. How you say hello depends on what time of day it is. The following list includes both the standard, formal expressions for saying hello and the [more…]

Basic German: Describe Your Work

When you talk about yourself to a new acquaintance, you often answer many of the same key questions: What kind of job do you do? Where do you work? Are you self-employed? Are you a student? Where do you [more…]

Basic German: "How Are You?"

Getting your hellos and goodbyes straight in German is a matter of keeping in mind how well you know someone. If you’re on formal terms — in other words, if you’re addressing one or more people with [more…]

Basic German: Introduce Yourself and Your Friends

Meeting and greeting often require introductions. Your friends may want you to meet someone they know, or you may have to introduce your significant other to your colleague at a formal occasion. This section [more…]

Describe Where You Live in Basic German

A far greater number of Germans live in apartments, either rented or owned, than do North Americans, and great value is placed on being able to own a single-family dwelling. Land and construction materials [more…]

Talking about Your Family in German

You should know that talking at great length about your family is a far less popular pastime in Germany than in the United States, perhaps because Germans place a lot of value on privacy. Even so, you [more…]

Discuss Friends, Acquaintances, and Neighbors in German

You may find yourself describing people you know as your friends, even if you aren’t in close contact with them. In the German-speaking world, people have more distinct boundaries between those they consider [more…]

Basic German: Your Daily Routine

Some German verbs that you use to describe your daily actions have an unusual construction. They’re the equivalent of reflexive verbs in English. Verbs in this group use a reflexive pronoun like [more…]

Examples of Borrowed English Words in German

Read the following German conversation with a grain of salt — and a smile. It gives you an idea of how many English words have slid into German. However, you're not likely to overhear this many examples [more…]

German Personal Pronouns

In German, as in English, the personal pronoun family comes in very handy in all kinds of situations when you want to talk (or write) about people, including yourself, without repeating names all the time [more…]

German Regular Verb Forms in the Present Tense

Talking and writing in German is usually a matter of knowing how to construct a verb in the present tense with the help of a noun (subject) and a few other elements. Most German verbs are regular, meaning [more…]

German Modal Verbs in Present Tense

In German, modal verbs modify the main verb in the sentence. Here's how they work: You take a plain old verb or phrase like eat, sleep, walk, plant a garden, play tennis, learn how to play chess, or do [more…]

Intermediate German For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Maybe you're familiar with some basics of German grammar, but you want to become more confident in both writing and speaking in German. This quick overview will reacquaint you with personal pronouns — [more…]


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