Grammatik - Questions on rules for composing clauses.

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Tense and Aspect

Most linguists recognize two tenses in English, present and past, although other verb forms are often mistakenly described as tenses. I walk is present tense and I walked is past tense. A form such as ...
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256 views

“Absentiv” oder doch was anderes

Konstruktionen wie die folgende werden manchmal als Absentiv bezeichnet. Ich bin einkaufen. Dieser ist beschränkt auf das Verb "sein" und ich frage mich, ob diese Kategorie wirklich sinnvoll ...
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1answer
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Position of “aber” after first element of sentence

The following two sentences are typical. Ich bin krank. Aber ich gehe heute zur Schule. Ich bin krank. Ich gehe aber heute zur Schule. But is the following also fine? Ich bin krank. Ich ...
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Is it wrong not to use Konjunktiv I (K1) in indirect speech?

I increasingly see cases where Konjunktiv I is not used to mark indirect speech and the indicative present is used instead, e.g.: Er sagte, er muss nach Haus gehen. instead of Er sagte, er ...
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1answer
321 views

fahren in (die oder den) Sommerferien

Welcher Satz ist richtig? Ich fahre in die Sommerferien. Ich fahre in den Sommerferien. Ich weiß, wann man nach den Wechselpräpositionen Dativ oder Akkusativ benutzen muss. Aber hier ist ...
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948 views

Use of “ja” in a sentence

In the following sentence: Na gut, dann kann ich ja ab sofort auf Deutsch schreiben. Why is ja used? What's its function?
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Analysis of “mit am besten”

Or more generally: mit + superlative. A friend of mine was reading something to me, when she suddenly said that. The sentence was in the spirit of Diese Variante ist mit am besten. (this variant ...
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1answer
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“an” oder “für” im Satz?

Die Bewerber waren offen und sehr interessiert an neuen Arbeitsmarktperspektiven in Deutschland. Warum nutzt man an und nicht für? Der Satz kann hier gefunden werden.
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Does German “sollen” ever function like English “shall” to indicate a future or possibility (no element of expectation)?

I understand that "sollen" typically expresses what is expected of the subject of the sentence, and found excellent accounts of that usage of "sollen" in this other StackExchange page: Does “sollen” ...
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A German relative clause that begins with “welchem in diesem”

Grammar books have taught me that 'der' words are the usual relative pronouns in German, and that 'welcher' words might work sometimes but would sound stilted and bookish. But I found a sentence in ...
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1answer
124 views

Where to breathe in the middle of a poetic phrase

So, in Wolf’s Mignon I, there is a phrase at the end, … und nur ein Gott vermag sie aufzuschliessen. Because it is an extended musical phrase, a breath must be taken in the middle. I believe ...
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Wer bestimmt, welche Regeln in der deutschen Spache gelten?

Wie der Titel schon sagt: Wer (oder was) hat das letzte Wort, wenn es um Regelfragen in der deutschen Sprache geht? Die angesprochenen Regelfragen können sowohl die Grammatik als auch die ...
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“Wie lange” und “Wie lang”

Worin unterscheiden sich die Ausdrücke "wie lange" und "wie lang"? Wie lange lernst du Deutsch? Wie lang ist die Arbeitzeit pro Tag?
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1answer
252 views

Can a reflexive pronoun be used after a preposition?

I'm working through the Collins easy learning German Grammar & Practice book, and am currently on the reflexive pronouns section. I'm confused, because it says: 'Unlike English, reflexive ...
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2answers
193 views

Welchen Fall benutze ich in einem ob-Satz?

Ist "Artikel" hier Dativ oder Akkusativ? "Könntest Du bitte nachschauen, ob die Artikeln brauchbar sein könnten?"
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1answer
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Last name Fahnel pronunciation

Our last name is Fahnel which is German and I wanted to know the correct way to pronounce it. Some relatives believe it is pronounced Fennel like the spice but I believe it is either Fah-nel or ...
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2answers
699 views

“sagt man” or “man sagt” [duplicate]

I am just starting my journey to German language, so please excuse me for my trivial question. What is the difference between "sagt man" and "man sagt". How would I understand where to use right one? ...
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3answers
615 views

What are examples of grammatical mistakes that native Germans make? [closed]

I'm curious to know what sort of grammatical mistakes are made by native German speakers. Are there errors in speech or writing that give a native away as being poorly educated? Native English ...
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Construction with “sein” + infinitive?

In Harry Potter, the sentence I'll send this with Hedwig when she gets back; she's off hunting at the moment. is translated as Ich schick dir diesen Brief mit Hedwig, sobald sie ...
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2answers
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“zu” phrase with separable verb

What is the rule on using a "zu" phrase with a separable verb? Between Ich fange an zu weinen. and Ich fange zu weinen an. Are both correct? If the "zu" phrase is long, would that mean the ...
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4answers
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Word order in run-on sentence with “zollen”

Vor zwei Jahren hatte sich Bromeis erstmals auf die 1238 Kilometer lange Strecke gewagt, nach knapp 400 Kilometern aber den Belastungen Tribut zollen und abbrechen müssen. Why is the word order ...
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Use of dative after “wegen” [duplicate]

This sentence is from the Frankfurter Allgemeine. Nicht nur wegen Athleten wie Reus oder den Kugelstoß-Assen Christian Schwanitz und David Storl blickt der Deutsche Leichtathletik-Verband ... ...
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1answer
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Word order in a sentence

Last week I had an appointment with a notary public. How can I say it? Ich habe den Termin beim Notar am 28. Juli. I feel this sentence is not correct.
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Use of the word “had” more than once in a statement in the German language

Even though the question contains the word had, I am referring to any forms of the word have. In English it's easy to think of a sentence which has two haves in it. For instance: I have had enough ...
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1answer
564 views

Jemand, der oder die

To what extent is the common usage of "der" with "jemand" considered sexist now, and what ways are most commonly used to solve the sexist problem (if one exists)? An example sentence that I am ...
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2answers
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relative clauses and relative pronouns

I want to combine 2 sentences with a relative pronoun. Example: Ich habe einen Hund. Mein Hund hat den Briefträger gebissen. Result: Ich habe einen Hund, der den Briefträger gebissen hat. ...
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1answer
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Wortart von “w”-Fragewörtern in Kontext

W-Fragewörter können je nach Kontext sowohl als Fragewort als auch als Relativpronomen fungieren. Wo wohnst du? Das ist die Stadt, wo Goethe mal durchgefahren ist. Das erste Beispiel ist ...
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2answers
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What kind of a phrase is “Haus zum Cavazzen”?

Haus zum Cavazzen is the name of a famous building in Lindau. More info here: http://www.kultur-lindau.de/museum/der-cavazzen/ But what does this name mean, and why zum is used together with what ...
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1answer
270 views

Wie sagt man “Out of the corner of my eye” auf Deutsch?

Wie sagt man "Out of the corner of my eye"? In der Ecke meines Auges habe ich gesehen, wie mein Bruder aus dem Haus ging. Am I using the right word for "corner" or would another word serve ...
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2answers
184 views

When to use “gegen etwas werfen” and “auf etw. werfen”?

Ich werfe kleine Steinchen auf das Fenster, eins nach dem anderen. Ich werfe kleine Steinchen gegen das Fenster, eins nach dem anderen. I am throwing small stones at window one after the ...
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When to translate “ein” to describe people

I know that in German the words "ein" or "eine" are often dropped when referring to a person's occupation or role. Is this always the case from a grammatical point of view? Or is it a matter of style? ...
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Nächste Mal vs Nächstes Mal vs Nächsten Mal

Why is it that "Nächstes Mal" can have so many different variations on the "nächste" word? If I'm not mistaken, all of the below are correct: Nächste Mal. - I think there is an article missing. ...
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1answer
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Trying to simplify complex sentences with modals

When I am writing a complex sentence using a modal verb, is it acceptable to move the second verb, so that less advanced readers don't have to wait until the end to find it? Example: (this is my ...
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1answer
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“Unserer” oder “Unser” als eigenständiges Subjekt

Als Beispiel folgender Zusammenhang: "Unser Fernseher funktioniert nicht mehr." "Unser(er) auch nicht." Was ist hier richtig? Ich glaube, ich habe beides schon im Sprachgebrauch gehört. Streng ...
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du vs dir in “How are you?”

As far as I know, du is used to mention a direct object and dir is to mention an indirect object. If that is the case, why do they use "Wie geht's dir?" to ask "How are you?", when "you" is a direct ...
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1answer
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Are there any significant changes in German grammar since 1975? [duplicate]

I've decided to revise my German, after a pause. In home I came across a textbook called "Deutsch Intensiv - Grundkurs für Ausländer", VEB Verlag Enzyklopädie, Leipzig 1975 - with around 700 pages ...
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Why does “neu” become “Neues” after “etwas”?

I found this sentence in a German children's book: Jeden Tag entdeckt Katrin etwas Neues. Neues is a noun here? How can that be? I'd think that 'new' was an adjective. As a noun, I found Neue ...
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Individuell/Individual- and Generell/General- Phenomena

Can a native German speaker kindly explain this horrible inconsequence in his language? An adjective generell but a noun die Generalprobe Another example... An adjective individuell but a noun die ...
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Most terrible-sounding mistakes in German [closed]

I was holding this question back because I suspected that it wouldn't be objective enough, i.e. there wouldn't be a scale to classify the awfulness of grammar mistakes. Well, there is no such a scale, ...
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“ich hätte früher dort gewesen sein müssen” zeit

In dem Beispielsatz oben kommen vier Verben zum Einsatz. Hat diese Form einen eigenen Namen, oder ist das eine Kombination aus verschiedenen Formen (z. B. Perfekt und Konjunktiv II)? ...
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Breaking down “also fangen wir an”

The meaning of also fangen wir an, according to Google Translate is: let's get started. While the individual translation of the words are: so, catch we, to. How did these combine to make that? "So ...
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Difference between using the double infinitive or past participle?

For longer sentences with more verbs, it is often hard for a learner to figure out when to use the double infinitive sentence structure and when to use the past participle. For example in the ...
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1answer
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Usage of halber / halben

It is common to use halber to indicate a cause, a reason or an end for something. Der Einfachheit halber hier ein einfacher Beispielsatz. Now 'Einfachheit' is feminine, so 'halber' is ...
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No article - why “Altes Rathaus”?

This page is about the old city hall of Munich. The title is Altes Rathaus and in the text it says Das Alte Rathaus entwickelte sich ... Now AFAIK the indefinite form is ein altes ...
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Sein Haus und Garten ist/sind schön

Which is correct grammatically? Sein Haus und Garten ist schön. Sein Haus und Garten sind schön. I tend to think the former is correct by taking Sein Haus und Garten as a singular subject. ...
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Konjunktiv II expressing likelihood vs. expressing unreal event

I tried to ask a question about the two meanings of Konjunktive II with a modal verb, but chose a bad example which led the discussion astray. Let me try a better one here. Look at the English ...
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2answers
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Searching for shopping items in German

Question: Does anyone have any advice, or know of websites or other resources that could inform me, on how Germans do web searches in their language? Background: We have a search engine for large ...
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1answer
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When to use which preposition with “gehen”? “in” vs “zu” [duplicate]

I've always been confused about this: Ich gehe zur Haltestelle Einsteinstraße. Ich gehe in die Bank. Is there a rule on when to use zu/in with gehen?
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“In Kontakt, in Zukunft” without article?

I usually hear Wir bleiben in Kontakt. rather than Wir bleiben im Kontakt. and also in Zukunft rather than in der Zukunft Is there a reason why these words are not used with a ...
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Konjunktiv II with passive in perfect and modal verb

The English sentence He must have been killed. can mean two things: (1) He is now dead. It is likely that he has been killed. (2) He is alive. He deserves to be dead, but he isn't. (similar to ...