Author: catarux

Hi! I am Catalina. I am passionate about learning langauges...and not only. I am excited about finding out new things everyday. I am energetic, positive and I enjoy life. I am living in Germany since about 5 years and I am in a continuous process of learning german. If you ever tried it you know what I's a never ending story!

Komma nach der Grußformel?


The answer is NO!

With great astonishment I found out that in german you should NEVER put a comma after the salutation in your letters and e-mails.

I remember I was in a german course and the topic was writting e-mails (formal or informal). And someone asked “should we put a comma after the salutation?” I thought “what a detail…so unimportant!”

How mistaken I was.

Many of us were so amazed and so sure we saw commas in our correspondance and we promissed to go back home and check it out. I did that the next day with many of the e-mails I received at work. Surprise! I couldn’t find any comma. Not even a single one but in the e-mails that I sent…

Since then, when I end my e-mails I alwas put a comma after the salutation… then I remember and delete it. 🙂


N-Deklination (part 2)

I explained how to use the N-Deklination in this post. Now we all know that practice makes perfect or nicer said in german Übung macht den Meister. That’s why today I’m going to ask you a question:

How you differentiate between N-Deklination and Plural? 

We know that the N-Deklination is formed by adding the “en” particle at the end of some masculine nouns in Accusative, Dative and Genitive. That’s making it confusing because that’s exactly the plural!

der Kunde = client

die Kunden (Pl.) = clients


The example above gives you a very good overview of the problem and in the same time the answer to my question. The article declination tells you if the noun is in plural or in singular. And if it is in singular then we are talking about the N-Deklination!

Ich habe dem Kunden geholfen.

Sometimes you may hear such a phrase and wonder …was there one client or were there more??

If your ear is not trained the first thing that catches your attention is Kunden and your brain gives you the signal …heyy, plural -> we are talking about more persons.

…when acually it is only one.

You may also ask yourself how can you differentiate between the singular Accusative “Ich sehe den Kunden” and the plural Dative “Ich helfe den Kunden“. This ones have even the same article…

Well …”simple”(*cough*…ironicaly obviously)!

“helfen” is a verb used with Dative. “den” is article declination for Dative plural but also for Accusative singular. So the only difference is the verb that asks for Dative!!!

I want to show again the table with the adjective declination because there you have also the article declination.


Speaking of article declination … did you notice that “den” is used only twice in the whole table? This may help you to remember it.

Do you also want to make a business?


The ambition of making our own business is the dream of this century and of my generation. The main question that runs through our brain is:

How can I do something of my own?

Young people are very happiness-oriented nowadays … and they understand happiness as the freedom to work in something that gives them pleasure, that brings them further as an individual and that offers them the oportunity to learn continuously even from their own struggle and mistakes.

Long story short: I am one of them, I live in Germany and I decided to inform myself regarding entrepreneurship possibilities and support from the state.

In my search I came many times across the word Existenzgründung that translates in english to business start-up. Yesterday I attended an exhibition organized by the IHK (Industrie- und Handelskammer) in Münich. Here you can read more about it There are many such exhibitions under different names in many cities around Germany. You just have to search for Gründermesse (Entrepreneur Fair).

Except of the many seminars and workshops held by different institutions of the state, banks, private companies and even universities there were also people which succeded in beeing self-employed and creating a business and wanted to share their experience. Actually all the 7 entreprenours that I met yesterday were women! Some of them realized even with 40 that their work in a company doesn’t offer them enough satisfaction anymore and they want to pursue a dream that was at the beginning only a hobby. It sounds easy but in reality it takes years to find out what we are good at and what is the need on the market that we can fulfill with our talents.

The most important conclusions that I reached yesterday and I want to share with you are:

♠ Information is power  – only like that you can put the puzzle together and understand how things work

♥ Get connected and stay in touch with people that share the same interests with you. They are the means to get information and even voluntary help.

One of the women entrepreneur presented us her “FrühstücksSalon” where people can meet and share ideeas over a cup of coffee. If you live in Wiesbaden is probably a good oportunity.


The german drama film at its best


There are some things in life for which you feel that words are too small.

Can you describe love in words?

Can you describe a song that touches your heart? A book that changes the way you see the world? A movie that makes you cry?

No… you have to feel it, to hear it, to see it. And then you will understand.

If you are in the mood for a german movie:

Das Leben der Anderen

What a great actor Ulrich Mühe.


Wortstellung im Satz


Tekamolo could be:

  • a dog’s name
  • a company’s name
  • a japanish word
  • etc.

Now let me tell you what it should be for you, german learners:


Because most probable, the order in which you would put the words in a phrase, is not the one in which a german would put them, was invented tekamolo. To help you remember how to make a decent sentence when you’re taking an exam or when you want to write an e-mail to Angela Merkel. Because in other cases, when you talk your daily bullshit (quick because you don’t want people to notice how wrong you declinate the adjective), tekamolo will obviosuly be your last thought.

Now, as usual an example:



Where to study german in München


I have some experience with different courses in Germany and I want to share it with you. It may help.

1. Goethe Institut – probably best known, not only in Germany but also international. Located at the moment (till beginning of 2017) in the München downtown, easy to reach by foot from Sendlinger Tor or Karlsplatz (Stachus).

Offers mainly good quality of courses (depends also on your luck what teacher you get) but a little too expensive. For example an evening course (Abendkurs) costs around 700€. Some teachers prefer to work with a book, others more old style with papers made by themselves. I prefer this handouts to books because they concentrate on the essentials and are more easy to read after some time for a recap.

2. DKFA – Deutsch Kurse für Ausländer

are courses offered by LMU (Ludwig Maximilian Universität) and I find them the best deal. They are very good and cheaper than others. There are so many courses to choose from that is difficult to give an average price of a course. Check it out here better. The courses are intended for people who want to study in german and need a certificate. That’s why I found the level of the people attending classes very good. Most of them are preparing an exam and are interested to learn quick and efficient. All teachers work with papers (no books) and the quality of the handouts is very good.

3. Volkshochschule

They offer different courses including Integration courses and even a bairisch course. Prices are decent. Around 300€ pro course.

This is all what I experimented until now and, as I said, from all of them I would recommend the ones in DKFA because of the quality/price ratio.

Whatever you choose you can actually not be wrong. If you want to learn german you are already in the right place.

Good luck!


Mixed tenses in german


There are 6 german tenses:

Futur 1 : Ich werde nach Berlin fahren. (or) Ich fahre in einer Woche nach Berlin.

Futur 2: Die Gletscher werden in 500 Jahre geschmolzen sein.

Präsens: Ich höre Musik.

Perfekt: Ich habe gestern Musik gehört.

Präteritum: Ich studierte Informatik.

Plusquamperfekt: Du warst Gestern nach Paris gekommen.

In this post is not my intention to explain every tense in detail. I just want to explain how to use mixed tenses. It is possible to mix 2 tenses in one phrase using the following rule:


You can always mix tenses that are neighbours in this pyramid. 1+2, 2+3, 3+4.

NEVER jump one or more tenses. For example 1+3, 1+4, etc.

Legitim question from you: WHY?

Answer (from my german teacher): Es ist so. In jede Sprache gibt es Regel, die man ohne Erklärung akzeptieren muss. Es klingt falsch wenn man z.B Perfekt mit Plusquamperfekt mischt. Man macht das nicht. Bei der Prüfung wird besonders darauf geachtet.

Some examples:

Nachdem ich meine Hausaufgabe gemacht hatte, trank ich eine Tasse Kaffee. (Plusquamperfekt + Präteritum)

Als er nach Hause kommt, merkt er,  dass er seine Schlüssel verloren hat. (Präsens + Perfekt)

Difference between beeinträchtigen and beeinflussen

According to Leo:

beeinflussen = to influence so./sth, to affect so./sth

beeinträchtigen = to impair sth, to affect sth.

Beeinträchtigen has a more negative meaning. It means to influence something but not in a good way – to make it more difficult for someone to do something. Synonyms are behindern and erschweren (= to hinder).

The explanation in Wiktionary is very good:ächtigen

There you can find this very good examples:

Seine Verletzung beeinträchtigte ihn beim Gehen. (His injury impaired his walking.)

Jemand ist schnell zu beeinflussen. (Somebody can be quickly influenced.)


Deutsch perfekt


What to read when trying to improve your german? Novels, magazines, newspapers… There is enough choice but the difficulty of the articles may not fit your level.

We all  tried to read a book with the dictionary. Each time you find a new word you search it immediately in the dictionary. After 2 such tries you quit… is too stressful and is not the right way to do it. At least for me was not an option, I don’t have the patience. I always prefered to read something even over my level of understanding and try to guess the meaning of the words from the context.

There is a magazine that was recommended to me long ago and that is specially made for people who want to learn german. Is called Deutsch perfekt and is made intelligent. It presents you articles in 3 categories: leicht (light), mittel (medium) and schwer (difficult). And the most important: it does the boring job for you – searching in the dictionary. All articles have certain words or even entire expressions explained right besides the text. They are even translated in 7 languages: english, spanish, french, italian, turkish, polish and russian! They have crosswords, grammar exercises with solutions and generally interesting articles about the DACH countries ( Germany D Austria A Switzerland CH).  You can check it out for yourselves on their webpage Deutsch perfekt.

Is published once per month and last time I bought one, in 2012 it cost 6.5€ in Germany.

P.S.: for the ones which still prefer the dictionary, the best and mostly used digital one is Leo 😉