Laura’s German Grammar Guides:
Learning German Grammar
Perhaps you have already made the disappointing discovery that you can’t learn just German vocabulary and then expect to speak the language.
Vocabulary is just one side of the coin, and grammar is the other! We must understand the structures of German, or how German works, in order to correctly understand and be understood.
Unfortunately, German grammar has a bad rap as being really, really hard. German learners frequently feel overwhelmed, intimidated, and rather hopelessly lost when it comes to many knotty topics such as — gulp — declensions.
But there’s good news! There are better, smarter ways of making sense of German grammar than those you’re likely hearing in class or reading in grammar workbooks.
It is possible to understand noun gender, noun plurals, declensions, and all the many other little changes you come across in various vocabulary-builder apps and software (that don’t even try to explain what’s happening!).
My grammar guides are all about providing you with simple explanations of seemingly complex grammar subjects so that you can master German grammar structures in less time, with less frustration.
I opt for accessible, everyday wording (even a little levity because we all need that!) vs. bombarding you with all the official terminology gobbledygook that doesn’t actually improve your learning experience.
I also give you tips, tricks, and shortcuts that take the pain out of learning the mechanisms of German! I’ve created charts and graphics that you won’t find anywhere else that majorly demystify subject areas that historically cause many tears and much gnashing of teeth.
It’s important to carefully select which grammar topics you cover first and which ones next. Not all sequences are created equal! So, keep reading below for more information on the in order in which I recommend you approach my grammar guides.
Are you ready to actually learn German? Let’s do this!
The first German grammar topic you should delve into is nouns.
Nouns are the most important words in any sentence because they do the heavy lifting when it comes to expressing meaning.
As my toddler likes to say (yes, he speaks German!) Mama, Baby, Auto, Eis [mommy, baby, car, ice cream]. In these 4 nouns — and nothing else — he still pretty effectively communicates the essence of ‘hey Mom, you & I should hop in the car and go buy ice cream.’
Here is the order I recommend you read my most important noun guides in:
- Der Die Das
- Noun Gender
- Noun Plurals
- Cases Overview
If you need more information on cases, you can check out the individual nominative, accusative, and dative cases guides (I would save working on the genitive case for way down the road).
If you want to expand your understanding of ‘articles’ (der die das are just the ‘starter’ articles, if you will), then read my Articles Overview and Definite & Indefinite guides.
Finally, note that, in general, it might be advisable to read just the top sections of most guides first (and save a lot of the ‘digging deeper’ or any special exceptions info for later).
For instance, when you read my Declensions Guide, you should absolutely stop before reading up on the ‘Special Situations’ until you’re much more advanced.
If you want to expand your understanding of the scope of declensions (^^ the guide you should have just finished reading from above!), you could next check out my Adjective Endings Guide and/or Possessive Adjectives Guide.
If that doesn’t seem necessary, go ahead and skip down to Prepositions. 🙂
NOTE: the Comparative & Superlative Guide is not overly complex, so you could throw that in anytime. However, I also wouldn’t consider it quite essential at this point, so I’d suggest saving it for one of the last guides you get to.
These handy little words are combined with nouns into phrases such as over the mountain, at 4 o’clock, around the house, under the pillow, and more.
We use these phrases to add a lot of additional, frequently crucial detail to our sentences, so you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck in learning German prepositions!
At whatever point you’re working on the accusative case (from the nouns section), you can then learn accusative prepositions.
So likewise, whenever you tackle the dative case (also from the nouns section), you are ready for dative prepositions.
After you’ve read about accusative & dative prepositions, then look at the Two-Way Prepositions Guide.
Just as I recommend saving the Genitive Case Guide (from the nouns section) until you basically have nothing better to do, so I would also suggest reserving the Genitive Prepositions for waaaay later.
The nouns section is definitely your first stop, but after that, it’s a bit of a toss-up between adjectives, prepositions, and pronouns.
Whenever you decide to add pronouns to your German repertoire, if you’re an overview sort of person, you can check out the Personal Pronouns Guide first (and you should at least read about the nominative pronouns).
Then, you can read up on accusative pronouns anytime after you’ve covered the accusative case (nouns section) and, similarly, the dative pronouns anytime after you’ve studied the dative case (nouns section).
The Possessive Pronouns Guide plays together nicely with the Possessive Adjectives Guide.
Then, I’d broach Reflexive Pronouns and then Relative Pronouns later in the game (same time as you’d get to Comparative & Superlative from the Adjectives section), which is right before you’d cover the genitive case & genitive prepositions simply because that’s all that’d be left at that point. 😉