I'm currently learning German A2.1 and I find the concept of the modal particles (doch, ja, nun einmal, eben, etc.) very interesting.

Is there a standard level at which these will be 'actively' taught? I can see that by learning German one gains a passive understanding of what they mean, but I mean taught in the same way that my most recent class focused on learning the grammatical rules of (some of) the subordinating conjugations (weil, dass and wenn)

My teacher often will say something like 'that's a B1 sentence', or 'that's B2 work', which leads me to believe that there is some kind of common standard between courses. However, I can imagine that different syllabuses may introduce concepts in a different order, or in a different manner.

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    I would like to move for keeping this question open. This question might be opinion-based to some degree, but this is not making it an invalid or unanswerable question. There is probably didactical evidence, when it makes sense to teach what features of german language, how they are depending on each other in understanding and learnung and it will be interesting and helpful to know these.
    – Jonathan Herrera
    Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 22:39

3 Answers 3


There's definitely a difference between passive understanding and active usage. You should learn (at least to ignore and not get stuck with them) modal particles pretty early (I'd say B1) to be able to at least get a gist of a sentence without even understanding what particles do, I'd say getting the meaning of particles is somewhere like B2 and you shouldn't be expected to actively use them before C level.

Compare German particles to adverbial phrases in English - Active and passive usage expectations differ here as well.


I have seen modal particles introduced at the B2 level.

Phenomena are introduced at a certain language level partly because of convention and partly because of the way that one phenomenon can be seen as depending on another.

For instance, passive voice is introduced after both accusative objects and perfect tense have been introduced. An awareness of accusative objects helps the learner observe that passive voice involves promotion of accusative objects to subjects, and having mastered perfect tense means that they already know about past participles.

  • Oh dear! My apologies for calling them participles - I think I saw the name 'modal particles' and associated it with another known grammatical word! I've edited the question now. Commented Nov 26, 2018 at 22:17

Just one practical example:

Ihr sprecht aber gut Deutsch!

Linie 1 (Klett) coursebook A1, Kapitel 2 of 16, page 18 of 256. That means: Modalpartikeln are 'along for the ride' from the very beginning.

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