german for advanced

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 😉


German Adjectives


I am proud to present you my new video on Youtube and to start a new chapter of this blog: Grammatik pur!

My purpose is to share with you parts of the german lessons that I had here in Germany and that are extremely preciuous. Over time I got all kind of explanations for all kind of grammar rules. Some were good, some not so good. Slowly I found the ones which best worked for me. And now I’m sharing them with you!

This is the table that I like the most for learning the adjective declination.



die Pistole = gun  (I refer here to the “Pistolen-Regel” which helps you remember the weak ending for the adjectives). As you can notice in the picture, because I was writing very quick, I wrote wrong  “pistole”. It should be written with capital letter (german nouns are witten always with capital letter).

Here you have also a diagram that exaplains the main rule how to understand and remember the table in a logical manner.


And what about analyzing together some phrases that catch my attention every once a while? Grammatik pur is in the air.

Stay tuned!



Wortspiele (wordplays)


Everything bad is good for something!

Even if I had to wait for the bus that was delayed yesterday, I thought that is a good occasion to show you some vocabulary and to tell you a phrase that will make you laugh and cry at the same time.

The entire phrase displayed on the screen was:

Verspätung durch starkes Verkehrsaufkommen. 

Delay because of traffic jam.

I have to mention that usually is difficult to translate exactly from german to english. Let me show you what each word means and you will understand what I mean.

die Verspätung = delay (the ending “ung” is typical for feminine words -> “die“)

durch = by/through (preposition that always asks accusative after it)

stark = strong/heavy (“es” ending because of adjective declination; Verkehrsaufkommen is neutrum -> s is the endig for accusative neutrum)

das Verkehrsaufkommen = traffic volume (der Verkehr = traffic; das Aufkommen = appearance/emergence; between them appears an extra “s” that connects the 2 words and makes it easier to pronounce)

Four years ago, talking about the vocabulary with my tutor in the company where I was working, he gave me the following example:

Es kann vorkommen, dass unsere Nachkommen mit deinem Einkommen nicht auskommen und umkommen.

It can happen that our descendants with your salary will not manage and will die.

The root word here is obviously “kommen” = to come.

By adding different prefixes to a root word you can get a totally new word, with totally different meaning!

das Aufkommen = emergence

vorkommen (verb) = to appear/ to happen

die Nachkommen (pl) = descendants/offspring

das Einkommen = income/salary

auskommen (verb) = to get along/to manage

umkommen (verb) = to perish

volkommen = completely/fully (I often hear it in the following context: “Du hast volkommen Recht” = you are totally right)

and I think the list may continue…

…but I will stop here. I think you got the point.

Conclusion: Quote from my german teacher: “I don’t know why people are scared of grammar when learning german. The grammar has an end, but the vocabulary not!”

This may sound a little scary, but remain optimistic! We have an entire life ahead of us to learn german. :))

P.S.: I found 100 words belonging to the word family of kommen. Check it out yourself here. And let me add something – all those words are used in everyday life, they are not just some exceptions put there to make the list look longer.


The story of the lottery ticket



One day in the cafeteria of the company as I pay my lunch, the lady at the counter tells me:

“Es gibt eine Verlosung heute. Möchten Sie mitmachen? Sie können ein Kochkurs in die Kantine gewinnen!” 

There is a tombola today. Would you like to join? You can win a cooking class in the canteen!

I think yeah great, I am not interested in the prize but a lottery ticket I would never refuse…just for the fun of opening it.

As I open happily my ticket, I check out if my colleagues do the same. Überraschung! (=surprize). They don’t even have a ticket. They didn’t want to take the risk…to win such a prize. :))

But as I take a look on my ticket I discover I had luck. I didn’t win! Pfeew! My ticket says:

Nicht verzagen – nochmal wagen! 

Don’t give up – try again!

When I read the ticket to my colleagues I made the following mistake – I said “Nicht versagen”. Both words exist. Just they have different meaning.

versagen = to fail (at sth.)

verzagen = to give up hope

The word verzagen was new to me, that’s why my brain automatically replaced it with the very close word that I knew (versagen). As my colleagues explained me, the word verzagen is not really used. The more common one is:

aufgeben = to give up

So my recommendation is: don’t try to remember the word verzagen.  But pay attention to the fact that in german there are many synonyms that express the same ideea slightly different. Totally puzzled I asked my colleagues what is the difference then between verzagen and aufgeben. The answer was: verzagen expresses more the state of dissapointment when somebody really gives up hope. Meanwhile aufgeben means simply that you abandon something.

To be sincere I was many times angry about the fact that after so many years learning german new words pop out like this. But this is due to the fact that german is a very accurate language. It can express things very precise due to o huge vocabulary and a complex grammar structure.

A german guy once told me:

“Many times when I try to express a thing in english is difficult because they have too few words. I am searching a word in the dictionary and I can not find exactly the fine meaning that I want. But the people talking english say: Die blöden Deutschen! Die haben 10 Wörter um das gleiche auszudrücken. Dafür brauchen wir ein einziges Wort (the idiot germans! they have 10 words to express the same thing. For that we need only one word.)”



Football Match (Fußballspiel) FC Bayern – Juventus Turin


Today there was a match in the Allianz Arena in München.You can immagine many people were heading to the match and the metro was full but put attention to the (funny) message displayed on the screen.

Here you have the transcript:

“Liebe Fahrgäste, heute ist wieder ein Spiel in der Arena in Fröttmaning. Spielbeginn ist um 20:45 Uhr. Sollten Sie mit der U6 fahren wollen, stellen Sie sich darauf ein, dass die U6 Richtung Fröttmaning ab ca. 17:00 Uhr sehr voll sein wird.”

“Dear passengers, today there is again a match in the Arena in Fröttmaning. The match starts at 20:45. If you want to take the U6 be prepared that the U6 towards Fröttmaning will be very full starting at about 17:00.”

This is a text that shows the german language in all its splendour.

Notice the following:

  1. Spielbeginn -> beginning of the game (typical german – compound words). Here you find a link to the Germany’s longest compound word
  2. in german, nouns are always written with capital letter also when they are in the middle of the phrase!
  3. the german verb ist in the above phrase corresponds to “is” in english. That’s easy! Heute ist = today is. But take care the verb in infinitive is “sein” = to be.
  4. in der Arena = in the Arena. In english we have the definite article “the”.  This article in german is conjugated and can take different forms depending on the grammatical case. This is complicated in german! 😦
  5. sein wird = will be (future)
  6. voll = full (some words are very similar in english). The v in german is pronounced f [foll]
  7. fahren wollen = want to go
  8. stellen Sie sich darauf ein -> sich darauf einstellen = deal with the fact that/prepare yourself/adjust to the fact. Einstellen is a compound verb. You will see in many phrases the prefix of such verbs hanging separate at the end of the phrase . Typical german! Difficult! People learning german forget to tell the prefix and that is a big mistake.
  9. um 20:45 Uhr = at 20:45 hour. You could never say that in english. Is more correct at the hour 20:45 but you would also not say that in english. Get used to it! In german that is the standard way you write it. But you pronounce it differently: 20 Uhr 45. Tricky!
  10. fahren would be translated in this case like “go”. But there is a speciality in german. You always say fahren when you go with a transportation somewhere. (fahren also means “to drive”). There is another word for “to go” in german: gehen. You use always gehen when you go somehwere by foot. You can never use it like this: Ich gehe nach Italien = I go to Italy. Then the germans would ask you: do you go by foot to Italy??? You have to say: Ich fahre nach Italien in case you go by car or Ich fliege nach Italien in case you go by airplane.
  11. Richtung = direction

Great text, isnt’t it?

P.S.: you can also listen to some people talking about Macbook Pro in the video :)) but it’s not intended as surreptitious advertising.