FREE Cheat Sheets for Learners of German as a Foreign Language

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      Dear learners of German as a foreign language!

      Eurekly’s first-rate German tutors have started this section to help you master this wonderful and difficult language. Grammar rules easily explained and illustrated with typical examples will be posted regularly here. Follow the Eurekly blog to get our new materials on German grammar as soon as they get published! And don’t forget to download your bonus PDF files!

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      Cheat Sheet #1. Partizip I vs. Partizip II

      Partizip I = Infinitive + d

      NB: Participle I (Partizip I) has an active meaning, i.e. the noun defined by Participle I is a person or a thing performing the action.

      laufen + d => laufend

      der laufende Junge

      a running boy

      Partizip II = 3rd form of the verb

      NB: Participle II (Partizip II) has a passive meaning, i.e. the noun defined by Participle II is a person or a thing that receives the action of the verb.

      schreiben => geschrieben

      der geschriebene Brief

      The letter was written (by a person).

      Find more examples with explanations in our free PDF file!

      Cheat Sheet #2. Personal pronouns in Accusative and Dative

      NB: German personal pronouns change their form depending on the case. (See other cheat sheets to get more information on how to choose the right case).

      SINGULAR

      ENGLISHGERMAN
      NOM.
      GERMAN
      ACC.
      GERMAN
      DAT.
      I (me)ichmichmir
      yoududichdir
      he (him)erihnihm
      she (her)siesieihr
      it (it)esesihm

      PLURAL

      ENGLISHGERMAN
      NOM.
      GERMAN
      ACC.
      GERMAN
      DAT.
      we (us)wirunsuns
      youihreucheuch
      they (them)siesieihnen
      you (polite)SieSieIhnen

      EXAMPLES

      Accusative:

      Kannst du mich sehen?
      Can you see me?

      Ohne euch kann ich das nich machen.
      I can’t do this without you.

      Dative:

      Gestern habe ich mit ihm Tennis gespielt.
      Yesterday I played tennis with him.

      Spiel mit uns!
      Play with us!

      Find more examples in our free PDF file!

      Cheat Sheet #3. The Declension of Adjectives

      SINGULAR: Rule #1

      NB: If a singular adjective is used after the definite article (der, die, das) or after the words dieser, jener, welcher, solcher, jeder, mancher, it receives the following endings:

      CASEMASCULINEFEMININENEUTER
      Nominative-e-e-e
      Genitive-en-en-en
      Dative-en-en-en
      Accusative-en-e-e

      SINGULAR: Rule #2

      NB: If a singular adjective is used after the indefinite article (ein, eine), after kein or after the possessive pronouns (mein, dein, sein, ihr, unser, euer, Ihr), it receives the following endings:

      CASEMASCULINEFEMININENEUTER
      Nominative-er-e-es
      Genitive-en-en-en
      Dative-en-en-en
      Accusative-en-e-es

      SINGULAR: Rule #3

      NB: If a singular adjective has no article, it receives the following endings:

      CASEMASCULINEFEMININENEUTER
      Nominative-er-e-es
      Genitive-en-er-en
      Dative-em-er-em
      Accusative-en-e-es
      Remember to download our FREE BONUS with the examples!

      PLURAL: Rule #1

      NB: If a plural adjective has no article or is used after the words viele, wenige, einige or after numerals (zwei, drei, etc.), it receives the plural endings of the definite article:

      CASEENDINGS
      Nominative-e
      Genitive-er
      Dative-en
      Accusative-e

      PLURAL: Rule #2

      NB: In all other contexts (i.e. when used after keine, alle, beide, die, diese, jene, welche, solche, jede, manche, meine, deine, seine, ihre, unsere, eure, Ihre) a plural adjective receives the ending –en in all cases:

      CASEENDINGS
      Nominative-en
      Genitive-en
      Dative-en
      Accusative-en
      And now read the examples in our FREE PDF file!

      Cheat Sheet #4. German VERBS Always Followed by DATIVE

      *All examples have been taken from Cambridge Dictionary Online (https://dictionary.cambridge.org)

      1. folgen — folgte — ist gefolgt (to follow smb)

      Er folgte dem Verdächtigen unauffällig.

      He followed the suspect inconspicuously.

      2. gefallen — gefiel — hat gefallen (to please smb, to be likeable)

      Der Film hat mir überhaupt nicht gefallen.

      I didn’t like the movie at all.

      3. gehören — gehörte — hat gehört (to belong to smb)

      Das Buch gehört mir.

      The book belongs to me.

      4. passen — passte — hat gepasst (to fit smb)

      Die Schuhe passen mir genau.

      These shoes fit me perfectly.

      5. passieren — passierte — ist passiert (to happen to smb)

      Hoffentlich ist ihnen nichts passiert!

      Hopefully nothing has happened to them!

      6. schaden — schadete — hat geschadet (to damage smb/smth)

      Die Affäre hat seinem Ansehen sehr geschadet.

      The affair really damaged his reputation.

      7. vertrauen — vertraute — hat vertraut (to trust smb)

      Ich vertraue ihm blind.

      I trust him completely.

      8. wehtun — tat weh — hat wehgetan (to hurt smb)

      Au, du tust mir weh!

      Ow, you’re hurting me!

      Cheat Sheet #5. Word Order in Subordinate Clauses

      * The examples have been taken from Cambridge Dictionary Online (https://dictionary.cambridge.org)

      A complex sentence is a sentence consisting of one independent (main) clause combined with one or more dependent (subordinate) clauses. In German, subordinate clauses feature a specific word order.

      WORD ORDER IN SUBORDINATE CLAUSES

      • First comes the introductory word (a subordinate conjunction or a relative pronoun).
      • Second comes the subject.
      • Then come all other words.
      • The conjugated verb always comes last. (If the predicate consists of two words, put both to the end of the sentence, whereas the conjugated verb always comes last.)

      Introductory Word + Subject + … + Conjugated Verb.

      Ich weiss, dass mein Freund jetzt in der Schule ist.

      I know that my friend is at school now.

      Introductory Word + Subject + … + Infinitive/Participle II/Adjective + Conjugated Verb.

      Ich weiss, dass mein Freund schon nach Hause gegangen ist.

      I know that my friend has already gone home.

      VERBS WITH SEPARABLE PREFIXES:
      the prefix doesn’t separate from the verb.

      Introductory Word + Subject + … + Conjugated Verb.

      Wenn du das Fenster aufmachst, wird es kalt.

      If you open the window it will get cold.

      Introductory Word + Subject + … + Infinitive/Participle II/Adjective + Conjugated Verb.

      Es wurde kalt, als du das Fenster aufgemacht hast.

      When you opened the window it got cold.

      REFLEXIVE VERBS:
      ‘sich’ comes right after the subject

      Introductory Word + Subject + sich + … + Conjugated Verb.

      Die Mutter ärgert sich, weil ihr Sohn sich schlecht benimmt.

      Mother is angry because her son doesn’t behave himself.

      Introductory Word + Subject + sich + … + Infinitive/Participle II/Adjective + Conjugated Verb.

      Die Mutter hat sich geärgert, weil ihr Sohn sich schlecht benommen hat.

      Mother was angry because her son didn’t behave himself.

      Introductory Words:

      • dass (that)
      • ob (whether, if)
      • wie (how)
      • wo (where)
      • wohin (where … to)
      • wieviel(e) (how many)
      • wer (who)
      • wann (when)
      • warum (why)
      • der (who/which/that masculine)
      • die (who/which/that feminine)
      • das (who/which/that neutrum)
      • deren (whose feminine/plural)
      • dessen (whose masculine/neutrum)
      • denen (whose plural)
      • wenn (if, when)
      • als (when + Past)
      • nachdem (after)
      • obwohl (although, even though)
      • da (as, since)
      • weil (because, as)
      Find more examples in our FREE PDF file!

      Cheat Sheet #6. Word Order in Simple Sentences

      1. Declarative Sentence

      a) Direct Word Order:
      First comes the subject.
      Second comes the predicate.

      SubjectPredicate
      Ichspielemit meinem Hund.

      (I am playing with my dog.)

      b) Inverted Word Order:
      First comes an adverbial modifier or an object.
      Second comes the predicate.
      Third comes the subject.

      Adverbial Modifier / ObjectPredicateSubject
      Jetztspieleichmit meinem Hund.

      (I am playing with my dog now.)

      2. Interrogative Sentence

      a) Starting with a question word:
      First comes the question word.
      Second comes the predicate.
      Third comes the subject.

      Question WordPredicateSubject… ?
      Mit wemspielespielejetzt?

      (Who am I playing with now?)

      b) Without question word:
      First comes the predicate.
      Second comes the subject.

      PredicateSubject… ?
      Spieleichmit meinem Hund?

      (Am I playing with my dog?)

      Download your FREE cheat sheet on German word order!

      Cheat Sheet #7. Verbs with Inseparable Prefixes

      Verbs with inseparable prefixes have prefixes that remain attached to the verb root in all grammar contexts.

      Prefixes that NEVER separate from the verb
      (we highly recommend you to learn this list BY HEART):
      • be-
      • ge-
      • er-
      • ver-
      • zer-
      • ent-
      • emp-
      • miss-

      Inseparable prefixes:

      • are always unstressed (besúchen);
      • are always followed by an object in Accusative (Ich habe ihn (Acc.) besucht);
      • form past participles without ge- (Infinitive: besuchen, Participle II: besucht);
      • stay attached to the verb root in all tenses;
      • stay attached to the verb root in all conjugation forms;
      • stay attached to the verb root in the Infinitive and in infinitive constructions that use ‘zu’.

      Examples

      besuchen — to visit

      Ich habe ihn gestern im Krankenhaus besucht.

      I visited him in the hospital yesterday.

      gestehen — to confess

      Sie gestand ihm ihre Liebe.

      She confessed her love to him.

      For more examples, download our FREE PDF file!

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