Grammatik pur

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.

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:



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)

einen Artikel


Children learn a language by hearing it at home. The parents talk it (supposedly) correct because is their mother-tongue. They never learn grammar rules.

So do we also, but when we start learning a language later in life we need grammar. It is said when you start learning a language later than 13 you will never be able to speak it like a native speaker… well I think there are also exceptions!  So parallel to learning grammar rules (that are boring) we hear native speakers and we “copy” what they say. Just like children. We hear it that way, we reproduce it that way!

And so it happened that I heard things like this:

Ich esse ein Apfel.

Ich habe ein Hund.

Ich mache ein Fehler.

der Apfel, der Hund, der Fehler = all are masculine nouns.

In all this sentences is used the accusative case.

Then, grammatical correct is:

Ich esse einen Apfel.

Ich habe einen Hund.

Ich mache einen Fehler. 

But when I pronounce it correctly it sounds even strange. So, I asked a german teacher how come the germans speak wrong??!! It came out that many times, the native speakers pronounce it quick and we don’t hear the “en”. They kind of say “einn” swallowing the “e” and pronouncing a kind of double “n”.

Well, this being said, I was happy I clearified this issue for me. Now I know accusative, masculin singular, indefinite article is einen.


…also when it sounds like ein.

Und jetzt wünsche ich euch einen schönen Tag!  🙂


The German Prepositions



Some prepositions force the use of a certain case.

The ones shown above are common prepositions used with dative and/or accusative.

In order to remember them easier there are some short forms.


d – durch

o – ohne

g – gegen

f – für

u – um


g – gegenüber

a – aus

m – mit

b – bei

a – außer

s – seit

Example of prepositions used with accusative and dative:

Ich bin auf der Straße.                Wo bin ich? –> Dative

Ich gehe auf die Straße.              Wohin gehe ich? –> Accusative


Der Käse ist im Kühlschrank.    Wo ist der Käse? –> Dative

Ich stelle der Käse in den Kühlschrank. Wohin stelle ich der Käse? –> Accusative


Example of preposition with dative:

Ich spiele mit dem Ball.    –> mit asks ALWAYS for dative!  NO accusative possible.




– Hallo! Ich möchte mit Herr Müller sprechen.


But why? What can you do so wrong with this simple phrase?

Ok, take a look at the correct one:

-Hallo! Ich möchte mit Herrn Müller sprechen. 

Yes, I know…only that small “n”…

Yes, the germans will notice that you didn’t say it.

And yes, it is a big mistake.

N Deklination 3

You use the n-Deklination only for masculine nouns. Mainly for persons but sometimes also for animals.

You see in the picture above the endings of the masculine nouns for which you have to apply the n-Deklination and some examples of this nouns.

They are frequently used nouns so is important to know the n-Deklination because you will use it often.

How to use the n-Deklination:

In Nominativ the noun doesn’t change.

In all other cases (Akkusativ, Dativ,Genitiv) the noun gets the ending “en“. Exception: Herr –> gets the ending “n” in singular.

N Deklination 4.jpg


After so much theory I usualy need some examples. And here they are.

Ich habe meinen neuen Nachbarn gestern kennengelernt. 

(Yesterday I met my new neighbour.)

Herr Müller hat zwei Kinder, einen Jungen und ein Mädchen. 

(Mr. Müller has two children, a boy and a girl.)

Die Kinder sprechen oft mit dem Franzosen

(The children talk often to the frenchman)

Einmal wollte ich einen Polizisten nach dem Weg fragen.

(Once I wanted to ask a policeman the way.)

Bald lernt er im Deutschkurs andere Ausländer kennen: einen Polen, einen Italiener, einen Grichen, einen Amerikaner und einen Schweden

(Soon he meets other foreigners in the german course: a polish, an italian, a greek, an american and a sweedish. )

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!