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"zu" vs. "nach"

zu vs nach which one to use when

"Zu..." no. "Nach..."

Wait! Which one do I use? GAH!

Have you said that before? I bet you have, as I’ve heard it from every beginning German learner I’ve worked with. And a lot of intermediate level speakers, too.

The difference is: with “zu” and “nach,” size makes a difference. But not how you might think.

 When do I use “zu”?

“Zu” is used for places like

  • die Bäckerei
  • die Post
  • your friend Michael’s house
  • die Arbeit
  • die Bushaltestelle

These are, in fact, all smaller places. A …

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"wann" vs. "wenn"

wann oder wenn which one to use when

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? And do you want to remember how to use it in the future?

Ja, super!

Fertig? 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 (u…

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

4 Reasons Minimalists Should Learn German

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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5 Easy Books for A1 (Beginning) German Learners

5 Easy Books for Beginning German Learners

And how to get the most out of each book!

If you are an A1 German learner, then that means you are at the beginning level of German. You're a beginner. It stays that way for a while.

The A1 level is key for you because it gives you the basics of German grammar. A1 is the foundational level for all other levels. I frequently tell people

Think of the A1 level like the foundation of your house. You can't build a house on sand. So if you don't have a good foundation, you're going to have a lot …

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Sorry, There is no Oxford Comma in German.

Sorry There is no Oxford Comma in German

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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5 Reasons Why You Still Can't Speak German

5 Reasons Why You Still Can't Speak German
Frustration can run pretty high when you take a German class but you just can’t seem to speak it correctly. The baker in Germany doesn’t understand you so you have to point and the person you ask for directions switches to English. Maybe you realize in a press conference that you can't speak German. Yikes!
 
So why is it that you have taken class after class or lesson after lesson, but you still can’t speak German? There might be more than one reason, and here are five that are common themes a…

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How to Pronounce the Ach-Laut in German

How to Pronounce the Ach-Laut in German

 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 Top Tips to Help You Speak German More Easily

5 Top Tips to Help You Speak German More Easily

Erfolg hat drei Buchstaben: t u n ![1]

~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


[1] lit. Success has three letters: do!

To be successful at speaking German, you need to speak, and trying to speak without any form or specific goal makes it more difficult. It’s important to give yourself a specific task or framework for speaking, otherwise you might flounder.

After all, can you imagine trying to cook a new meal without knowing what the ingredients are? Surely not!

Would you ever set out on a road trip witho…

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How I Learned German in 6 Months

How I Learned German in 6 Months

There isn't much of a secret to language learning because it's all about working with the language as much as possible over a length of time. However I can give you tips on how I learned to speak German fluently (and I mean--I could say anything I wanted or needed to say) within about 6 months. Konjunktiv II? Kein Thema. Polite discourse? Absolut! Telling someone off? That, too.

Don't get me wrong--learning German in 6 months was really tough. I started at an A2 level (the second-lowest level) …

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Quick Guide to the »W-Fragen«

W-Fragen Printable

The W-Fragen are questions that begin with the question words--in English:  who, what, when, where, why, and how. To contrast, yes/no questions in German begin with the verb ("Arbeiten Sie heute?" "Kommen Sie aus Bayern?").

In most books you usually see a list like this, it's just the German and English translations. But is that really enough? Take a close look.

German   English
was  what
wann  when
wo  where
wie  how
warum  why
wer  who

 

If…

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