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"wann" vs. "wenn"

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This is a source of frustration for so many German learners. "Wann" and "wenn" are too similar and as a result, lots of people mix them up.

They both mean when, however when you use them is completely different.

Are you ready to learn which word to use when?

Los geht’s!

Which “when” is “when”?

First you need to clearly differentiate the two words “wann” and “wenn.”

wann wenn
  • benutzt man in Fragen (used in questions)
  • Steht nur am Anfang (exists at the beginning of a questio…

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3 Ways to Say You're in Love in German ♥

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"Alte Liebe rostet nicht" say the Germans.

Old love doesn't rust.

Neither does new love!

So how do you say you're in love in German?

There's the classic, direct way:

Ich liebe dich.

Yeah, that's a good one.

And it's a big one.

If you don't want to jump in at the deep end of the pool, here are a few suggestions for you to talk about it.

There are a few standard ways of saying you're in love with someone as well as a couple of slang ways to say it.

If you're on the look-out for "like" ra…

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How I Prepared for My Swiss Citizenship Interview

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This is an email that I received from a client this summer after she had her Swiss Citizenship Interview. In addition to practicing speaking in German, we spent several lessons discussing the Swiss governmental system and how to prepare mentally for such an exam. Our final lesson before her interview was a practice interview. Here’s what she had to say.

N.B. This email has been edited for privacy, clarity and formatting.



Hello Nicole!

I did make it through my German language test in Switz…

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4 Reasons Minimalists Should Learn German (And Why German is Easier than English!)

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If you are already living with less or a minimum amount of possessions, or would like to, this philosophy works in your favor when learning German. Experience a language which is significantly more predictable than English; German is a great language to explore!

You'll also discover here how, in many ways, German is actually easier than English. I say this as a native English speaker, a near-native German speaker, and an instructor for both languages.

Of course both languages have their own un…

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How Learning German Can Change Your Life: Part 2

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Assertiveness, old German ladies, and "gut."

Do you hail from the middle of the country? Nothing kicks the Midwest out of you like German, as Laura F. wrote in response to last week's post:

Growing up in the Midwest, one of the principles I absorbed was that it is terrible to hurt other people's feelings. In my early adulthood, I was really too agreeable for my own good. In Germany, living in their culture and using their language, I learned to be more assertive. It was in German that I firs…

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How Learning German Can Change Your Life: Part 1

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For some people, German truly changes their lives. I know it did for me--I had never actually learned to speak a foreign language before and it opened up a whole new world of experiences, literature, travel, media, music, and more. Learning to put that verb alllll the way at the end of the sentence helped me think in larger, more encompassing thoughts, which changed how I planned what I wanted to say.

A lot of my clients have had life-altering changes by learning German and I want to share a fe…

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Sorry, There is no Oxford Comma in German.

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Discussions begin, lawyers are called, and lawsuits are filed. All of it is about a comma. (See what I did there?)

The Oxford comma is so important to people that spouses actually have discussions about it. They've talked about everything like where to live, how to manage their finances, and how many kids to have, but years later they find out only one of them uses the Oxford comma. [Cut dramatic music.] It's like now the real stuff of marriage has come to the forefront:

to use the Oxford comm…

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How to Live Like a German

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and make German a part of your everyday life.

Sometimes it amazes me how quickly people can pick up German words and sentence structure, even though they've never been to Germany and haven't learned German before.

Clients come to a lesson and they have no idea what German bread tastes like, but they can talk about German breakfast: das Brot, die Marmelade, der Kaffee.

It can be a source of frustration, however, to learn German, but only to have all these North American elements around us:  sp…

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How to Pronounce the Ach-Laut in German

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The long-awaited Ach-Laut video is here! Hurra!

The "Ach-Laut" means the "ach sound" and it is the airy, throaty sound you hear in the words "ach" and "machen."

Phonetically, this sound is written as /X/ and to that we say "ach." In this video I've broken down for you:

1. What the sound /X/ is and what it isn't.

2. How to feel where it takes place and

3. How to practice the sound, first slowly and then speeding it up step-by-step.

The words we concentrate on in this video are Ach, Bach, Sa…

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5 Ways to Make Time to Learn a Language like German

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“How do I make time to learn German?” you ask? The answer is to choose to work at learning German instead of other things. You can only spend your time once, so adjust a few things in your life to make serious progress for German.

Some of these tips listed here are things I’ve seen clients do to make themselves some more time for G…

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