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German Grammar Question

Hi. I've been studying German now for almost 2 years. Currently at this stage, I know pretty much no grammar whatsoever, so that means within these nearly two years of learning I have only managed to learn Vocabulary. My question is rather simple in theory but I haven't managed to find an answer throughout the web. So I'll ask it here.

Chronologically speaking, in what order do I learn the grammar in German?

I have attempted to go to various websites ( And I have an extensive index of sites I can use for grammar) and just pick out a topic to learn but in the end that just gets me nowhere. My latest attempt is studying Nominative Case --- To some extent, I sort of understood it but I feel I'm not getting anywhere. When I studied English grammar I was presented with a chronological way of how I was supposed to learn it, and with German, I can't seem to find an answer to this problem. Hoping someone here on Duo's forums can help me. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

October 4, 2016


  • 1811

Hi, that's an interesting situation you are in. Even duolingo offers grammar explanation. Since you are level 21, it looks like you went through the tree and probably didn't pay much attention to it? But anyway. There is no magical order. This webpage offers clear explanations and the order is kinda logical so you could follow it: http://germanforenglishspeakers.com/ .I also thing that maybe a real book could be more useful for you than online resources. Try to go to the library or amazon and get something like German for dummies or Everything essential german book (I got that one) and after reading/studying it, everything should make much more sense. Good luck.


I did pay attention to everything within the tree but didn't understand any of it. I have tried going to the library and they don't carry anything German related, not even cassette tapes. Money is a bit of an issue for myself. I'll check out that website right now though.

EDIT: According to the website, (I've actually got this one bookmarked already); but learning stuff in that order, would that help me in terms of writing & reading? I'm just worried that in another 2 years of attempting to learn this language I'll have completely wasted my time and I don't want that.

  • 1811

well. it's a grammar.. wherever you learn it from it is still the same grammar so it is not the waste of time.. I'm not sure I understand your question... if you want to understand the language you will have to learn most or all of the grammar, so in the end the order is not so very imporstand... but this page I sent you gives a "normal" order people usually learn in


What I mean is, when I do study Grammar which is quite often. I'm not entirely sure on what "topic" I need to study in order to progress to a point of understanding of another topic. For instance I worked on word order once and I got hit with cases, not a clue what any of it meant. so I ventured into Nominative Case, and got hit with Direct and Indirect Objects.. Still not a clue, and that's the fear I have with English grammar. I'm sure that exists, but haven't came across it yet.

  • 1811

I'm sorry, to me it looks like someone who is learning how to ride a bike and is complaining that it's toooo hard.. well, they have to do it themselves, we all learned it somehow, right? It goes the same for your german learning.


I don't feel like I'm complaining, I'm just not quite understanding what I'm supposed to be learning. I guess I'll go find another website to ask my question then.


(I can't answer to the latest post so I'm writing another answer to this one)

I found a good example: http://www.k12reader.com/term/indirect-object/

There are several sites like these with all the info you need, probably easier to understand than books from the 60s since teaching was very different back then.


Appreciate it. I'll read through some of the other topics on that website as well, they seem to have quite a bit of others.


I would literally start at the beginning, in the order the subjects are listed on that website. They're listed in that order so your knowledge builds up, and you shouldn't find yourself in the situation you mentioned. You might feel that the basics really are too basic, but it's probably worth going through anyway in case there are those odd little things you may have missed that make you go "ahah ha! So that's why ..." It really is a question of practice making perfect ... and gradually as you read the newspapers you'll recognise grammatical structures.


Okay thanks. I'll be working on that site that ally.x gave me today.


if you have no clue what a direct or indirect object is, you should study grammar in general first, in your case that's probably English grammar.

You have to understand the grammar of your own language before you can learn another in the formal way.


My grammar books don't talk about direct or indirect objects. First time I seen them was with german grammar. :S

EDIT: Unless they're called something else? My books are fairly old, and from the 60s.

EDIT2: I'll check online to see what they're called or the definition.

  • 1811

well if I don't understand something, the only way to understand it, is work harder, study it again and again and eventually it will sink.

Another thing I could suggest is reading. Since you studied vocabulary, you could try reading in german and just by doing that (read slowly and preferably out loud), you will get used to how the words are sorted in the sentence (their order) and also the use of german cases and many other things.


I've been attempting to read newspapers in German through the web for about 8 months, but the whole concept of grammar has basically made it tiresome since I have a hard time understanding what is being said since sentences don't translate literally into English. But I'll use the website you provided as a guideline of topics to work on in chronological order. I do have a hard time understanding cases since I have never came across 'cases' in English, even though they exist. I have a fear that not knowing English grammar 100% is going to hurt me with this somehow. I sort of left off on Adverbs in terms of English grammar several months ago.

  • 1811

Fear is your biggest enemy. Forget your fears and you will learn much more :-)


Some of the German papers have magazines which are great for ads (clothes, furniture, dating, special offers, etc), recipes...all sorts of short text which you may find useful & less taxing. I hate grammar too.


Try some videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClBrbJXNh2sFxOuvH4o5H9g


You probably already know a lot of grammar such as the genders, how to put a simple sentence together etc. Just do not think of grammar as grammar just more German. You will get it, it takes time.


I try not to do Youtube videos as It's easier for me to read something than listen to someone explain it. - I actually posted this same question on Reddit. ( I had to make an account first and read their rules, wheeww, took a while.) Someone mentioned a book called "English Grammar for students of German." The book itself was slightly too expensive for myself. Though I found a PDF version online for free. (I'll probably have to finish learning English grammar before I attempt this [not looking forward to English grammar at all.]) I'll still look at the videos though, thanks

EDIT: Of course I say that there's pdf files, but in reality it's actually quite a struggle lol.


Take an online test and find out where are your strengths and weaknesses.


Since I know no grammar I'd imagine my weakness is everything and my only strength is that I know vocabulary -- to some extent when it's not being changed with grammar rules. Someone on reddit recommended me a book, unfortunately money is an issue. But, I did find the exact copy of the book in a PDF file format and I'll be working on it from now on. I hope it's good though. Took some time to actually find it.


I would start with simple English grammar to learn the vocabulary of grammar, as subject, object, and indirect object are exactly the same. The sad difference is that we just use "the" or "a" in front of these, while German attaches them to different "cases."


I've been learning English grammar for like 16 months now since I never learned it in school, and I left off at Adverbs, It's just really really hard to grasp. :|

EDIT: The book I found called English grammar for students of German online so far has been helping somewhat.


Hello Jonathan. So I will recommend you a website from a german radio station. It is called Deutsche Welle. There you will find a wide range of learning aids for the german language. They also offer German courses with explanation in english, up-to-date news in simple and slow German which is also important. So you can also hear how the language sounds. Perhaps that solves your problems. Here the link: http://www.dw.com/en/learn-german/s-2469 PS: I have a few native english speaking friends they has improved her german language skills a lot with that site.


Appreciate the response. I'll check it out right now.


I don't know if you are still checking this topic but here is my answer. Not only to you but to everybody constantly asking questions about the grammar.

You must have a book for the grammar. There is no other way. And it must be written in your own language. English is by far the worst language to learn from, so if you are Spanish, Russian or whatever, DO NOT get a grammar book written in English, because your own language will have a way better base to explain what's going on in the German language.

Terminology: you have to learn what an adverb, pronoun, article whatever means. Without understanding these, you can't talk or read about grammar. It's like trying to be a car mechanic while you refuse to learn words like "wheel", "piston". You won't get any further than level 1.

In my book the chapter dealing with building sentences (word order etc) is about 130 pages. You can't seriously expect duolingo to give you this information. Neither you can hope that you "pick it up" by observing a mixture of native Germans and foreigners trying to speak German. But if you understand basic concepts and expressions (that you surely had to learn in high school) then you can easily read 20 pages and learn something for the rest of your life, that would take 100 years to observe in practice.

There are two good ways to read a grammar book:

1 - cover to cover. Then again and again. There will be parts that you just know, and you just turn the pages quickly, and parts that you will only understand because you have already read the whole thing 9 times.

2 - Start it anywhere, try to learn one particular thing, and make sure you understand everything 100%. You open it at the adjectives and start reading. "blah blah, if the article this and that". What the hell is an article? Table of contents, and read about the article. "blah blah, the noun this and that". What is a noun? And so on. When it's all done, you will know, that the attributive inclined adjective in front of a masculine noun might look the same as a predicative in comparative form (größer Hund vs. der Hund ist größer). This is not hocus-pocus, it means something that's very important, and there is no other way of sayng it.

It's similar than saying that in English you always use the 3rd form after "have". You will never ever learn this through observation, because often there's no sign of something being in 3rd form. (And for many other reasons). And after 10 years you will keep making the same mistakes.

So. It's not that you need to use something besides duolingo. You use duolingo besides other things. Read both ❤❤❤❤❤❤❤❤ newspapers and literature. Have a grammar book (or two or three). Have a dictionary from your primary language and preferably a German-German one as well. And you need people to talk to. Preferably someone well educated. These are your tools. And after you have all these, it will take years. :)

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