German grammar

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The grammar of the German language is quite similar to that of the other Germanic languages. Although some features of German grammar, such as the formation of some of the verb forms, resemble those of English, German grammar differs from that of English in that it has, among other things, cases and gender in nouns and a strict verb-second word order in main clauses.

German has retained many of the grammatical distinctions that some Germanic languages have lost in whole or in part. There are three genders and four cases, and verbs are conjugated for person and number. Accordingly, German has more inflections than English, and uses more suffixes. For example, in comparison to the -s added to third-person singular present-tense verbs in English, most German verbs employ four different suffixes for the conjugation of present-tense verbs, namely -e for the first-person singular, -st for the informal second-person singular, -t for the third-person singular and for the informal second-person plural, and -en for the first- and third-person plural, as well as for the formal second-person singular/plural.

Owing to the gender and case distinctions, the articles have more possible forms. In addition, some prepositions combine with some of the articles.

Numerals are similar to other Germanic languages. Unlike modern English, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Faroese, units are placed before tens as in Early Modern English, Danish, Dutch, Yiddish and Frisian.



Students of German are often advised to learn German nouns with their accompanying definite article, as the definite article of a German noun corresponds to the gender of the noun. However, the meaning or form, especially the ending, of a noun can be used to recognize 80% of noun genders.[1] For instance, nouns ending in the suffixes -heit, -keit, -ung, -schaft or -tät are always feminine.[2]

Case [edit]



Declension of adjectives[edit]


Adverbial phrases[edit]


Separable verbs[edit]


Prepositions are designed to give some direction, location, intensity, etc. to a sentence. The way such is indicated in German may be different from the way it would be in English.

The following chart shows the cases associated with several prepositions in common usage.[3][4][5]

Accusative Dative Genitive Accusative or dative
bis aus anstatt* an
durch außer statt* auf
entlang*** bei außerhalb hinter
für dank** innerhalb in
gegen gegenüber jenseits neben
je gemäß** diesseits über
ohne laut** seitens unter
um mit während* vor
wider nach wegen* zwischen
seit mithilfe
von anhand
trotz* **

* With the dative in colloquial style and most often with pronouns.
** May take the genitive.
*** As a preposition takes the genitive or a colloquial dative: entlang des Weges (dem Wege) "along the way", but as a postposition it takes the accusative with the same meaning: den Weg entlang.

"Unusual" prepositions, which exist in vast amounts in bureaucratic style, as a rule take the genitive. The nascent preposition Richtung (lit. "direction", as in ich fahre (in) Richtung München, I'm driving in the direction of Munich) takes the accusative.

Modal particles[edit]


German sentence structure is similar to other Germanic languages in its use of V2 word order.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Durrell & Hammer 2002, pp. 1–10.
  2. ^ Marian, Jakub. "How to recognize gender in German using suffixes". Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  3. ^ Schmitz, Michael; M. A., Turkology Humanities (2020-02-27). "German Prepositions That Take the Accusative Case". Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  4. ^ Bauer, Ingrid; B. A., German and French (2020-02-27). "How to Use German Dative Prepositions". Retrieved 2020-12-29.
  5. ^ Schmitz, Michael; M. A., Turkology Humanities (2020-02-27). "Learn About Prepositions That Take the Genitive Case in German". Retrieved 2020-12-29.


External links[edit]