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 speakers often confuse to/too/two, their/they're/there, or use incorrect (but correct-sounding) constructions like ”for she and I”. I’m assuming that the mechanics of the German language make these sorts of mistakes less common. Do less-educated Germans get noun genders wrong? Or confuse accusative and dative prepositions?

My question is explicitly about recognizable errors, not colloquialisms, dialects, or informal speech patterns.

  • Vote to close, becaucse opinion based, two broad and unclear what is asked for. – user unknown Aug 17 '14 at 22:42
  • A little on the nose, don't you think? – hbeam Aug 18 '14 at 3:23
  • On the nose? I'm sorry ... – user unknown Aug 18 '14 at 4:12
  • This question is close to another question recently asked. It just approaches the thing from the opposite direction. Even answers are the same (weil ich bin; die Person, wo). I don't really consider both as mistakes. There's a difference between standard German and what people talk (keywords colloquial, dialect). Its[sic] wrong in your dissertation, but not in casual conversation. – Em1 Aug 18 '14 at 7:13
  • @Em1, no, my question isn't about mistakes that German learners make ("Gesucht sind Tipps, die dem fortgeschrittenen Deutschlernenden dabei helfen, kompetent und seriös zu werden") but about mistakes that native Germans make. Not at all the same thing. Consider the mistakes that less-educated English speakers make, compared to the mistakes made by foreign speakers. – hbeam Aug 18 '14 at 14:50

Falsche Verbstellung im Kausalsatz ist auch beliebt: "..., weil ich bin krank" statt "..., weil ich krank bin".

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Confusing the genitive case and the dative case is so common that there is a joke about it:

"Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod!"

Other very common mistakes are the incorrect use of the words "das" and "dass", incorrect use of the dative case vs. accusative case and misplaced commas.

In spoken german, incorrect use of "was" instead of "das" is also pretty common (e.g. "das Geschaeft, was im Erdgeschoss ist" (incorrect) vs. "das Geschaeft, das im Erdgeschoss ist" (correct)).

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"wo" statt "der" / "die" / "das" (+ flektierte Formen) oder "als" / "da":

Es ist die Person, wo ich sehen kann.


Es ist die Person, die ich sehen kann.


Ich hab hingeschaut, wo du es sagtest.


Ich hab hingeschaut, als du es sagtest.


Jetzt, wo du es sagst.


Jetzt, da du es sagst.

Über das Letztere lässt sich streiten, meiner Meinung nach ist "wo" dort aber falsch, denn es spielt auf die Position von etwas an.

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  • 1
    Und als Variante "Relativpronomonem + wo" statt einem Relativpronomen: "Die Kiste, die wo auf dem Schrank ist". – dirkt Aug 18 '14 at 6:25

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