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German help.

Hi. I am a qualified German Teacher and my goal is to help anyone in need. I made this account to help people that are taking GCSE's and just generally answer questions that anyone needs to ask. Thank you for reading this and cant wait to see what questions you ask.

May 14, 2017



alsjeblieft maar hoe gaan je dit doen


is schmuck idiot and jewelry in german?!


In German, Schmuck means Jewellery.


Schmock or schmuck is indeed a german word, but it is i think a dialect or a loanword/ foreign word. Being called a schmuck or schmock may actually be a loanword of jiddish/jewish origin. Schmuck as part of usual german is jewellery, but as a derogative term for a person it means simpleton or idiot.


sweet thanks!


I am struggling with knowing the differences between sind and seid.


Just quickly. Wir/Sie/sie sind - We/You (formal)/they are &

Ihr seid - You (plural) are

So, if you want to say something like "You are beautiful." then you can either say „Sie sind schön.“ if you are talking to someone or a group of people in a formal setting (a bit odd I'll grant you), or you can say „Ihr seid schön.“ If you're talking to a group of your friends or something like that. Similarly, „Wir sind schön.“ means "We are beautiful.", and „Sie sind schön.“ means "They are beautiful".

N.B. This Sie is only written with a capital "s" because it is the first word in a sentence; partway through a sentence it would look like „Ich weiß, sie sind schön.“ or „Ich weiß, dass sie schön sind.“; which mean: "I know they are beautiful." and "I know that they are beautiful" respectively.


Vielen vielen Dank! You'll be happy to hear I got a B in my German GCSE haha (which was the best part of 7 years ago :)


Very well done to getting a B in your GCSE


Haha thank you very much. I wanted to take it at A level, but I was one of only three students who were interested in a German A level, so they cancelled the course. Unfortunately I stopped learning German at that point. Thankfully that was only until my brother showed me duolingo a couple of years ago; and I haven't looked back since :)


How long did you learn (like from scratch) before taking your GCSE exam?


I think I started studying German a little before the end of year 9, then it was one of my subjects in both years 10 and 11; so, a little over two years.


Thanks! This really helped :)


Hello, Thank you so much for this thread. Could you please tell me if its right to say "ich bin nicht ein madchen"? Duolingo corrected it to "ich bin kein madchen"... but i dont understand.. it should be right.. I dont even know what kein means.. it was in the english from german course which i take to be able to get more practice translating to German.


When I was first learning, I was told that „nicht ein-“ is simply an incorrect and ungrammatical construction and that you should always use „kein-“ in its place. I maintain that this is a good rule of thumb and for all intents and purposes is what you should use whenever you want to negate a noun. Nicht for adjectives, kein for nouns.

However, I did later learn that „nicht ein-“ can be used if you want to emphasise the negation (but is still not necessarily the main or best way to do this; often just vocal intonation with kein- will suffice). An example in English could be "Not a single person!" which I would translate as „Nicht ein einziger Mensch!“. I really would stress, however, that you do not use this loophole to excuse not learning to use kein properly; because that will come back to bite you in the future - I promise.


Thank you :)


Adam you are on fire with answering these questions!!


Thanks again Ben. Though I think you might be (very kindly) missing the clear deconstruction of my suggestions below :P


I am a german native speaker. Ich bin nicht ein mädchen sounds plain wrong even if there are sentences in which you could( not should) use the structure of the sentence. But every german would say: kein mädchen. The sentence ("nicht ein mädchen") is in this context wrong, sorry.


Ich stimme dir zu :) Just curious, would an example like this sound somewhat better?

„Ich bin nicht ein Mädchen, sondern eine Frau!“

Or would you still prefer that with kein?


Thank you for your reply. Yes, I definitely tried pushing the nicht ein too far in trying to find exceptions to what is for all intents and purposes a hard and fast rule. Und übrigens habe ich dein Englisch völlig verstanden :)


Das beruhigt mich, danke;) Ich bin mir im Englischen manchmal unsicher, ob ich die richtigen Präpositionen und so verwende.


Bitte :) und das kannst du laut sagen! :P Auf Deutsch finde ich es immer schwer, die richtige Präposition auszuwählen.

Jemand auf duolingo hat irgendwann gesagt, dass Präpositionen (in jeder Sprache) die Letzten sind, die man richtig verwendet, und die Ersten sind, die man vergisst.


I can not figure out what the letters in the German word for sweet are It starts s then umlaut u then two letters stuck together that I do not find on my typewriter It is impossible for me to answer the word for sweet??


Süß. süss. suess.


Hey, You see the insect is du siehst das insekt. So, do you see the insect is going to be siehst du das insekt right... ?


yes. thats right.


But remember to always capitalize your nouns in German. It looks very strange otherwise....


Do you like the house is "Magst du das haus". So I translated Do you NOT like the house as " Magst du nicht das house." Checked it on google translate but it put "nicht" at the end.. We already agreed in the discussion that "Ich bin nicht das madchen" is a correct structure when we use "the".. so the noun's gotta be negated before not after.. We only negate the verbs later.. like ich esse nicht... Its confusing.. please tell me my answer was right too.. Thanks..


A simple rule to help you with that: if you have a direct object in the sentence you wish to negate, "nicht" should come after the direct object. Since the direct object in your sentence was "das Haus", then stick "nicht" directly after it.

The same goes for when you ask someone a question with a direct object. An example:

Kennst du diesen Mann nicht?

If you’re negating the entire idea of the sentence, or the verb itself, then nicht should go as far toward the end as possible.

ps--you mixed a little English into your sentence with "house".


So I should say "ich bin ein madchen nicht"?

PS Oh yea that was silly lol (das house)


Nope. That's not correct. That is already covered up above. You must use "kein" with "Mädchen". Ich bin kein Mädchen.

This link will help you:


It's a little different from English. With German, when you negate nouns where the indefinite article is involved, stick with "kein". If you are negating an adjective, you should use "nicht".

For instance:

Ich bin nicht hübsch. I am not pretty.

But when we add a noun back into the mix, we revert back to the "kein" format.

Ich bin kein hübsches Mädchen. I am not a pretty girl.

A native speaker might want to correct me if I'm wrong, but if you use the definite article I believe you can use "nicht" to negate.

Ich bin nicht das hübsche Mädchen. (updated with correction from a native speaker). I am not that pretty girl.

See how that works? This stuff takes a while, but with a lot of practice you will get a feel for which one to use.


Native speaker to the rescue;) Ich bin nicht das hübsche Mädchen. Ich bin das hübsche Mädchen nicht: okay, might be used in poetry, but sounds off/wrong in normal use. But it is not as wrong as: ich bin nicht ein hübsches Mädchen- dein deutsch ist übrigens sehr gut;)


Ah! Thanks for that. Yep, I still get confused even after 2 years of studying German. Thank god for these discussion forums on duoLingo. Trying my best to explain what I know about the language to others along with getting feedback from native speakers is so helpful. Cheers!

Und danke für das Kompliment. Die deutsche Sprache finde ich sehr schön und raffiniert. Hoffentlich kann ich in naher Zukunft fließendes Deutsch sprechen.


Thank you :) I know I'm still trying to get a handle on this.. But then it's just Day 9..

Edit: Thanks for the link. Its really helpful. Mr. Himmelsfisch, thanks for the correction.


Mrs Himmelsfisch;) But thank you, you're welcome Mr. Falak. @Bastian: because of this I am trolling in the german forum. Because I think the best part of duolingo are the comments after I did something wrong. It is so helpful to read the explanations and getting things explained that way. I can't really speak another language except english, so i cannot really help anyone, but I can speak german because my mom taught me.;) So i help the best way I can, even without knowing all the correct grammar terms. And your german is awesome. I am learning Irish right now with its complicated cases and such. So I can relate trying to get a grip of german grammar. Until you get a feeling for it, it can be a b*tch.


Oh sorry :) But I am not Mr Falak either Mrs Himmelsfisch :)


Himmelfisch thank you very much for the spelling of sweet in German suess I will try this and see if it acce[ts me it as correct answer so I can get unstuck. Vielen danke


Is "deine" and "deiner" the same?


Would it be das ist unser or unsere? Depends on the gender of the thing we are talking about right?


Genau! :D Das ist entweder unsers/unseres (neuter), unsere (feminine) oder unserer (masculine).

EDIT: Changed to make it consistent with the possessive pronouns in the nominative case.


Hold on! Haha, I think I was confusing possessive pronouns with possessive adjectives. I'll edit my original post a bit.

Just to clarify; the difference between the two (possessive pronouns and adjectives) is the difference between:

"That is my book."/„Das ist mein Buch.“ &

"That book is mine."/„Dieses Buch ist meins.“ or simply "That is mine."/„Das ist meins.“

In German, the two decline in slightly different ways. I'll link to a lingolia post here - please note that they call them dependent and independent possessive pronouns (vs. possessive pronouns and possessive adjectives).

The gist is, the dependent possessive pronouns/possessive adjectives decline the same way that the indefinite article does, whilst the (independent) possessive pronouns decline more like the definite article.



Can someone please tell me why we cant use zum/zur with Markt, Schlafzimmer, Stadt, etc? Natives say zum Bahnhof, zum Supermarkt, zum Schloss. You are definitely going to be walking into these places too. So why is zum ok here and not with Park or Markt?? Plus the plural version (zu den) is always ok to use even with Stadten or Markte.. then what happens to the explanation I get that zu doesnt imply you are walking into the city in question or the market??


Hi. I believe you're referring to what German speakers call Wechselpräpositionen. These are prepositions which require either the dative or accusative case, depending on the implication of movement, or lack thereof.

The crux of your problem here, I believe, is that "zu" is not a Wechselpräposition - it requires the dative case in all circumstances; the presence of or lack of movement plays no role whatsoever.

So, as I have seen on another forum-based website, before asking why? ask if? - and, as far as I can tell, there is no problem saying something like:

„Ich gehe zum Markt.“ or „Ich fahre zur Stadt.“

and I think it would be okay to say something like:

„Ich gehe nach oben zu meinem Schlafzimmer.“

Hope I could help.


I did ask if. I got the answer it sounds weird and it suggests you are not entering the place but standing staring at it.. and then a very very hesitant ok.. but thanks for answering. It helped.


I did ask if.

Can someone please tell me why we cant use zum/zur with Markt, Schlafzimmer, Stadt, etc?

I'm sorry, but I'm not sure what you mean when you say:

I got the answer it sounds weird and it suggests you are not entering the place but standing staring at it.. and then a very very hesitant ok

Did I give you the impression that it sounds weird? (Does it refer to using "zu"?) And did I suggest anything about entering vs. standing and staring?

And is the hesitant "ok" you are referring to regarding the sentence I wrote reganding the "Schlafzimmer"? If it is, I am only hesitant because I can't recollect hearing it or reading it so I'm not sure if a native/fluent speaker would word it differently.


It does make sense. Thank you.

(Reply to your comment on the discussion thread I linked.)


I mean I started a discussion thread before asking on this forum. Not talking about my question here.. :)


Oh right, well I'm glad I could help clear up this issue then! Could you link me to the other discussion thread? If people are explaining the issue who don't fully understand it that could cause a large spread of misinformation.




And i checked many other forums too and they all said the same thing.

Edit: Plus at least i got an ok on my thread, however hesitant.. on some others, people wouldnt ease up. So had to confirm.


Thanks for the link.

The feeling I got from that discussion (and to which I concur) is that whilst using "zu" is correct, it is not what you will normally hear native/fluent speakers say.

So, if you had asked the (slightly) broader question of something like:

Should I use "zu" with nouns such as "Markt", "Schlafzimmer" and "Stadt", or other prepositions like "auf", "in" and "nach"?

Then I would have given a less definitive answer, essentially stating that it depends on a number of factors. The preposition "zu" is certainly an easy way out at your stage with the German language and (as I believe you said) I don't see anything wrong with you using it until you get more comfortable with the other prepositions, because it is not wrong in most circumstances.

It is just a fact (unfortunately) that you are unlikely to hear "zu" being used in these situations, because there are prepositions that go better with certain nouns, and you can only really learn them on a case-by-case basis, which is arduous and time-consuming.

So, the truth of the matter is that when you are going to a destination in German, there are a number of possible prepositions to choose from (depending on the destination) to express this "to". Fortunately for learners, "zu" is fine to use in most cases until one gets a hang of which preposition to use where.

I hope that makes sense.


It is a matter of dialect. Here in bavaria, you can say "zu" for pretty much everything. In other, more formal dialects, it may be that it sounds wrong for these people. In germany there are people who leave articles out whilst speaking. This sounds very uneducated to me. So, it may be that using zum/zu sounds uneducated in some areas of germany when you use it with certain places. Zum schlafzimmer würde ich jetzt nicht gehen, zum beispiel. I wouldn't go ZU the bedroom. I would go IN the bedroom, ich gehe ins schlafzimmer. Zum Schlafzimmer means: i am looking at the door. But everyone will understand you, and as a non native speaker no one will even care.


I don't know if you've read MortiBiRD's answer, but there's really nothing I could add to that. As far as I can tell, he's dealt with every issue of your query.


I dont understand what he said. Its not clear.


He probably misunderstood my question. I have edited it. I meant why doesnt gehst go to the end in "wenn du mude bist, warum gehst du nicht schlafen". Is it because its a question, not a statement? I wasnt talking about "ich weiß nicht, warum du nicht schlafen gehst."


Warum gehst du nicht schlafen? This a question and this is the main clause and the verb has to be at this place. Questions either start with the finite verb or with a question word (and after that the finite verb).

I'm sorry, but I can't see how this doesn't answer your question.

EDIT: and please note, it is not "mude", it is "müde". You can get the "ü" character on a computer with either ALT + 129 or ALT + 0252 (it works differently on a mac), and if you have a smartphone you should be able to get it by holding down on "u", which should bring up a number of accented "u"s; including "ü". If for whatever reason none of these methods are viable, then please just use "ue" where you should use "ü". This would turn "müde" into "muede".

Umlauts are not meaningless. In certain cases they can completely change the meaning of the word. Take for example "Mutter" and "Mütter". The former means "mother" and the latter means "mothers" - the difference between singular and plural. The difference can become even greater though; take "schon" and "schön" for example. The first means "already" (amongst a number of other meanings as a modal particle) and the second means "pretty" or "beautiful". So, please pay attention to the umlauts. :)


Ok i understood on my own. But my question was just that if we use warum in a sentence (which is not a question), "gehst" would be moved to the end. But that does not happen in the sentence (which is a question) quoted above. Is that because of the very reason that it is a question and the verb-pronoun swapping takes precedence? Yes.


The sentence i dont know why you dont sleep / Ich weiß nicht, warum du nicht schlafen gehst is a different sentence with different grammar. Again we have a main clause "Ich weiß nicht," and a subordinate clause to be more precise its an interrogative clause. So first clause that starts with warum is a question clause and its the main clause. The second clause that starts with warum is part of a declaration as interrogative clause. These different grammatical structures cause/require the different word order.

I'm sorry if it seems a bit heavy, but he has answered that very question as well. He says:

The sentence i dont know why you dont sleep / Ich weiß nicht, warum du nicht schlafen gehst is a different sentence with different grammar.

So, in short, yes.

If it is a question (that begins with "warum") the finite verb must be the second element; and if it is a relative clause (MortiBiRD calls it an interrogative clause), then the finite verb must be the final element. There are certain exceptions to this rule, but I would recommend you not worry about those; certainly not yet, because as I found out not too long ago, these exceptions aren't even universally known and applied by native German speakers.

And to clarify, all of this was covered in MortiBiRD's very first response to your original query.


The best answers are the easiest and simplest to understand. A simple yes would have sufficed instead of taking me through exactly what i said with grammatical explanations that werent required. "Yes what you figured is correct cux in a question, verb-pronoun switching indeed takes precedence" would have worked just fine. Anyway thank you for your time.

Edit: talking about Mortibirds answer that you found so perfect, not yours


I can appreciate that. MortiBiRD certainly went into detail further down in his response, though I still feel that your original question:

Warum is supposed to move the veb gehst to the end. Why doesnt it do so here (in the question mentioned above!! [Wenn du mude(sic) bist, warum gehst du nicht schlafen?]) ?

was aptly and concisely answered when he said:

Warum gehst du nicht schlafen? This a question and this is the main clause and the verb has to be at this place.


In response to your last comment:

He started his answer with "Google Translate is not good for sentences" getting me to wonder if there was something wrong with my understanding of things and then went into unneccessary details complicating simple stuff. As I mentioned before in my first reply to you, I didnt understand what he was getting at from the get-go; it wasnt "clear". But i think its a futile discussion when i tell someone i dont understand and they tell me you should cux u got the perfect answer instead of rephrasing things or attempting to explain in a different way themselves, as requested.


Okay, I understand now. I'm sorry I didn't rephrase or try to simplify MortiBiRD's answer. When you said:

Thats not what i asked.. I have edited my question to make it clearer.


He probably misunderstood my question.

I got confused and didn't realise that MortiBiRD's answer was simply too detailed or esoteric. That's why I thought that if I essentially gave the same answer, but in a more straight-forward and concise manner, that would leave you as equally unsatisfied as MortiBiRD's answer.

It seems that you do understand the issue now, but just as a quick summary:

„..., warum [...]?“ {Question mark} means the verb comes directly after "warum".

„..., warum [...].“ {Full stop} means the verb comes at the very end of the clause.

Sorry for the misunderstanding, and I hope I could help in some way.


Is this the correct word order? Wir gehen schon nicht. The adverb next to the verb gehen and negation after?


I have to say I'm uncertain about that sentence. That's because if it's an acceptable sentence, then "schon" is acting as a modal particle, not as an adverb.
Quickly, before I start rambling, if that is a valid sentence then I certainly prefer „schon nicht“ over „nicht schon“; because in the former "nicht" is negating the verb "gehen" and in the latter it's negating the adverb/modal particle "schon" which doesn't work here at all (I believe).

Now, for the ramble. The reason why "schon" can't be an adverb here, is because that would translate to English as "We are not going already." - which makes no sense; you can't "not be doing something" already.
A quick aside - in English "already" can act as a sort of modal particle in sentences such as "Will you stop that already!" - where "already" in its traditional meaning makes no sense.

So, it therefore must be acting as a modal particle, and this is an issue because the meaning of a modal particle is hard to nail down. The reason why it is hard to nail down is because they are only found in Umgangssprache (colloquial German) and any one modal particle can have a plethora of meanings depending on the context.

Modal particles are the German epitome of "felt" meaning; where the effect a modal particle has on a sentence is often hard to put into words - for native speakers and learners alike.

The impression I get here is one of two. Either:

  1. "Schon" could be swapped for another modal particle like "doch" and add a sense of shock or indignation; to indicate the speaker's disbelief that they even have to tell the listener that they aren't going.

  2. "Schon" could be swapped for another modal particle like "wohl" and add a sense of uncertainty; to indicate they probably aren't going, but they wouldn't be surprised if they did go in the end.

Ramble Over


Yes, but watch out. "Schon" might be up to something.


Thank you. There is this question in a book I am using that I have to answer.. affirmatively but I wondered what the structure with nicht would be.. "Gehen wir schon?" The meaning in the "vocab box" preceding the exercise is "already/indeed". I think we could use already in certain situations.. to mean yet.. eg to placate a child or something...


How would you say "I can tell" in German. It's not a literal translation I'm guessing.

eg. "he can't backflip", "yes, we could tell"


To my knowledge there's no direct translation for it, so it would depend on the context. With your example I would probably say one of the following:

  • Ja, das war uns klar.
  • Ja, so viel war uns klar.
  • Allerdings.
  • Ja, das kannst du laut sagen.
  • Was du nicht sagst!

I'd be interested if anyone else has a most direct/literal translation (or simply a better translation) for "I can tell" (or in this case "Yes, we could tell."), but I'm not holding my breath that anyone else replies, as this thread is about a year old :P

It would be nice if threads stayed 'alive' here longer, but unfortunately if a thread is still getting new comments after a week, that's a 'good' thread.


Your translation is absolutely correct.There is no "I can tell" as a feststehender Ausdruck, that means a sentence which is used as is for I can tell like english has. You can only describe it, and that means: Ja, habe ich so verstanden, Ja, war uns soweit klar, you just have to come up with your own sentencr. So either of your sentences is ok, as should be one of mine.


Awesome. Vielen Dank, Viviane! :)


Bitte, you're welcome;)


I know you posted this two years ago, but I need help with my German assignment. Can you please check this text for grammar mistakes!

Über den Tweet des 17-jährigen Naina wird viel diskutiert. In welcher sie sagt, dass sie überhaupt keine Ahnung hat, wie sie später auf eigenen Beinen stehen soll. Dies liegt daran, dass sie in der Schule nie etwas über wichtige Dinge gelernt hat, wie zum Beispiel die Zahlung von der Steuer.

Die Schule bereitet Sie auf das zukünftige Leben vor, indem Sie Ihre Grundkenntnisse erlernen. Nach Ihrem Abschluss sollten Sie wissen, wie man eine einfache mathematische Summe löst und wie man aufgeschlossene Entscheidungen trifft.

Die Lehrer bereiten Sie auf das zukünftige Leben vor, indem sie Ihnen Unterricht geben, wie Sie Briefe schreiben, Texte analysieren, eine schwierige Summe lösen und so weiter. Keine Lektion in nicht hilfreich.

Naina hat den Punkt, dass es Ihnen nicht genau erklärt wird, aber Sie sind bereit, es später unabhängig herauszufinden. Ich denke, das Schulsystem sollte so bleiben, wie es ist. Den Rest lernen Sie später selbst!


Über den Tweet ( der )17-jährigen Naina wird viel diskutiert. In welchem sie sagt (In diesem sagt sie, dass), dass sie überhaupt keine Ahnung hat, wie sie später auf eigenen Beinen stehen soll. Dies liegt daran, dass sie in der Schule nie etwas über wichtige Dinge gelernt hat, wie zum Beispiel (über) die Zahlung (von- not necessary, and not elegant german) der Steuer.

Die Schule bereitet Sie(sie) auf das zukünftige Leben vor, indem Sie (sie, besser "man grundkenntnisse erlernt") Ihre (sounds weird, is the Ihre necessary, part of the text? If not, i would write "indem Sie Grundkenntnisse erlernen") Grundkenntnisse erlernen. Nach Ihrem(ihrem) Abschluss sollten Sie(sollte man) wissen, wie man eine einfache mathematische Summe löst und wie man aufgeschlossene (false friend, aufgeschlossen doesn't work. Try entschlossene, entschiedene... aufgeschlossen means with a key;)) Entscheidungen trifft.

Die Lehrer bereiten Sie(Die Lehrer bereiten einen) auf das zukünftige Leben vor, indem sie Ihnen(indem sie Unterricht geben) Unterricht geben, wie Sie Briefe schreiben (better: wie man Briefe schreibt), Texte analysieren, eine schwierige Summe lösen(sounds a bit weird, eine schwierige Rechenaufgabe lösen? Summe is something like the mathemathical sum or outcome of a mathematical problem, not the calculation itself) und so weiter. (Die Lehrer bereiten einen auf das künftige Leben vor, indem sie Unterricht darüber geben, wie man Briefe schreibt, Texte analysiert und schwierige Rechenaufgaben löst) (Keine Lektion in nicht hilfreich- macht keinen sinn;) Doesn't work. I do not understand the meaning. Die Lektionen sind schwer anwendbar (meaning in real life)?).

Naina hat(nein, macht!)den Punkt (even better:Naina vertritt den Standpunkt), dass es Ihnen nicht genau erklärt wird, aber Sie sind bereit (sie sollten bereit sein), es später unabhängig (better:selbstständig) herauszufinden. Ich denke, das Schulsystem sollte so bleiben, wie es ist. Den Rest lernen Sie später selbst! Hope, it's helpful, get a good grade!



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