Learning cases (Fälle) on Duolingo

Duolingo almost never asks for questions to be translated from English to German. This means that there is no practice of using cases on Duolingo, and barely any of understanding them. For example, if I see "die Lehrerin sieht den Apfel" I will translate that as "the teacher sees the apple" but if I was to see "die Lehrerin sieht die Apfel" I would think the same thing. Without translation into German there is no chance for me to get it wrong a few times and realise what it should be and (with some help from the sentence discussion and consulting the tips and notes) why.

Could Duolingo please have at least 50% of questions from English into German? If that looses 50% of your active users, it has turned another 50% of active users into people who have any chance of learning German with your website.

Duolingo is a fun way to start learning German and the only one I know of that can be used easily at "anytime, anywhere" including an otherwise useless 45 minutes spent waiting for your train to leave the station (boo Southern rail, boo). However it is a great shame that it is not as useful as could be.

Tl;dr Duolingo is not good for learning cases. Could anybody recommend any good resources or specific exercises for learning cases?

October 1, 2016


You can start the "English from German" course to translate from English into German more often.

October 1, 2016

That's a good idea. Surely it's a designed for Germans learning English though? That wont be perfect.

October 1, 2016

You can short cut the easy stuff and still have to translate into german, just turn off all listening and speaking exercises.

October 1, 2016

Be sure you understand the meaning behind the case. Learn the function of prepositions. Relate it all to meaning as much as possible because memorize lists are all too soon forgotten.

Gift giving

Wer gibt wem was zu welchem Anlass?

Zum Geburtstag schenkt er seiner Freundin einen neuen BMW. Zum Valentinstag gibt seine Freundin dem jungen Mann einen großen Kuss!

Many occasions represented by nouns in the singular are zum (zu + dem), Plural zu. Verbs are geben, schenken, kaufen. The male giver is der, female die. The benefactor male dem, female der The gift die, das or die plural. Only masculine changes to den or einen.

Based on the very repetitive pattern, practice until the following is clear.

Zu dem hat er ihr einen gegeben.

Ihm kauft sie es zu Weihnachten.

October 3, 2016
October 3, 2016

It is too easy to overlook the cases when on Duolingo which can make you forget how important they are... Try working your way through these videos for what at least seems to be some good grammar lessons. I have a few books but none I'd excitedly recommend sadly.

October 3, 2016

Calm down, actually with the practice and repetition, you will memorize it. For this part I completely recommend you to take the table, memorize the declinations and, every time you see a new word, learn its article by heart. Also, immersion is fantastic if you use it properly and in your favor. Watch some movies, read some news, what else you find interesting. Within time, you'll be thinking in German and sometimes finding out new words articles.

I highly suggest you DW (Deutsche Welle) platforms, the app and also the site for german courses.

Also, out there, there are countless websites with rules for the articles in German's substantives:

I used this one app that lists on the site (Der Die Das) but I prefer now to use LEO Wörterbücher because its a great dictionary also (my German teacher from Berlin uses it to help her in Portuguese).

I hope I have helped you.

October 2, 2016

I think he is more concerned about learning the cases rather than genders themselves. It should still be easy with only a little outside help (reading, immersion, etc.).

Es ist der Apfel (It is the apple)

Es sind die Äpfel (It is the apples)

Es sieht den Apfel (It sees the apple)

Es sieht die Äpfel (It sees the apples)

Es lebt im (in dem) Apfel (lt lives in the apple)

Es lebt in den Äpfeln (lt lives in the apples)

Das Innere des Apfels (The insides of the apple; The apple's insides)

Das Innere der Äpfel (The insides of the apples; The apples' insides)

These will all seem confusing at first, but you will, eventually understand them. Im sure german speakers get frustrated with our (mostly) lack of cases sometimes.

EDIT: fixes

October 2, 2016

I totally agree with you, but would like to correct you slightly if you don't mind:

Es sind die Äpfel.

Es lebt in den Äpfeln.

October 2, 2016

Thanks, I knew I'd stuff something up when I was trying so hard not to :P. Fixed (I also forgot the genitive s!).

October 2, 2016

Syntax is the key to info in English, which to me is much harder to describe with concrete rules. I have argued with Germans may be grammatically correct, but it sounds funny. We tend to repeat first and put new information at the end of a sentence, for example.

October 3, 2016

I do occasionally find the genders difficult to remember and I'll take note of your advice but I was asking specifically about cases.

October 3, 2016
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