Akkusativ; one of the four cases used for the declension of articles, nouns, pronouns and adjectives

typical question: Who/What is the direct recipient of the action?

den großen Jungen

Action verb

Handlungsverb; describes an active/consciously performed action

(compare: Processual verb, Stative verb)

arbeiten, lesen, rennen


Aktiv; a sentence in which the subject itself is "actively" doing something

(compare: Passive)

Der Mann baut ein Haus.


Adjektiv; an adjective describes the characteristic of a noun, verb or another adjective.

typical question: How is something/someone?

(see also: Adverbial adjective, Attributive adjective, Predicative adjective)

gut, böse, schnell


Adverb; expresses information about place, time, reason or manner, does not get declined or conjugated

typical question: Where/When/Why/How?

hier, gestern, sehr, leider


Adverbiale Bestimmung; can consist of an adverb or a group of words, gives details about a place, time, reason or manner

typical question: Where/Where to/Where from/How far/(Since/By) when/How (much/often/long)/From what/With what/By what/What for/About what/Why?

Ich warte hier.

Ich lerne jeden Tag.

Wir freuen uns auf deinen Besuch.

Er zitterte vor Kälte.

Adverbial adjective

Adverbiales Adjektiv; defines a verb more closely (except seinto be, werdento become or bleibento stay); in English this is simply called adverb

typical question: How (walks, laughs, ...) someone/something?

schnell laufen

laut lachen

Adverbial clause

Adverbialsatz; subordinate clause instead of an adverbial, is usually introduced by a subjunction

Weil ich verschlafen hatte, verpasste ich den Bus.

Adversative clause

Adversativsatz; adverbial clause which expresses a contrast

typical subjunction: whereas

Er trinkt gern Milch, wohingegen ich darauf allergisch bin.


Artikel; is placed before the noun, there are definite articles (der, die, das); indefinite articles (ein, eine) and possessive articles (mein, dein, unser)

der Tisch

eine Blume

mein Handy


Attribut; gives more details about a noun, can be an adjective, another noun, a possessive article, a location, a time or a whole subordinate clause

typical question: Which?

die schwarze Katze
das Fell der Katze
die Katze im Bett
Die Katze, die im Bett liegt, ist schwarz.

Attributive adjective

Attributives Adjektiv; defines a noun more closely, gets an ending added onto it and gets declined

typical question: What kind of ...?

ein schneller Junge

eine laute Stimme

Attributive clause

Attributsatz; a subordinate clause that gives more details about a subject or an object (usually in form of a relative clause)

typical question: Which?

Hier ist das Buch, das du unbedingt lesen musst.

Auxiliary verb

Hilfsverb; auxiliary verbs are the verbs habento have, seinto be and werdento become and are used when forming compound tenses and the passive

(compare: Full verb)

er hat gelacht, er ist gerannt, wir werden gehen



Kausal; stating a reason

typical question: Why/How come/For what reason?

folglich, nämlich

Causal clause

Kausalsatz; adverbial clause that states a reason

typical subjunction: since, as, because

Ich fahre mit dem Auto, weil ich Angst vorm Fliegen habe.

Clause conjunction

Satzteilkonjunktion; is used to incorporate an adjective into a sentence which serves to express a comparison

so groß wie du
schneller als ich
desto/umso besser


Komparativ; is used in comparisons with als, the ending er is added onto the original form of the adjective

see also: Superlative

klein – kleiner – am kleinsten
Er ist kleiner als du.
Er ist ein kleinerer Junge als du.

Compound verbs

Verbalkomplex; a predicate which consists of multiple verbs, for example in multi-part verbs like einkaufen gehento go shopping, in compound tenses, the passive voice and modal verbs

Wir gehen einkaufen.
Er hat geschlafen.
Wir wollen uns einen Film ansehen.

Concessive clause

Konzessivsatz; adverbial clause which expresses an unsuccessful counter-argument for the action expressed in the main clause

typical subjunction: obwohlalthough

Obwohl sie keine Lust hatte, ging sie mit ihren Eltern spazieren.

Conditional clause

Konditionalsatz, if clause; adverbial clause that expresses a condition

typical subjunction: falls, wennif

Wenn es regnet, bleiben wir zu Hause.


Konjugation; the finite form of verbs when used with a pronoun

ich gehe, du gehst, …


Konjunktion; is used to string together main clauses

Syntax: conjunction + subject + finite verb + ...

(compare: Subjunction, Infinitive conjunction, Conjunctional adverb, Clause conjunction)

aber, und, oder, sondern

Conjunctional adverb

Konjunktionaladverb; adverb which connects two clauses by expressing a relation between two situations

Syntax: conjunction + finite verb + subject + ...

also, darum, trotzdem

Conjunctional clause

Konjunktionalsatz; a subordinate clause which is introduced by a subjunction (subordinate conjunction)

Er kann nicht kommen, weil er krank ist.

Consecutive clause

Konsekutivsatz; adverbial clause which expresses a consequence

typical subjunction: dassthat, sodassso that

Der Hund bellte so laut, dass alle Nachbarn wach wurden.


Konsonant; a letter or sound that is not a vowel

(compare: Vowel)

b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, q, r, s, t, v, w, x, y, z



Dativ; one of the four cases used for the declension of articles, nouns, pronouns and adjectives

dem großen Jungen


Deklination; use of the cases, inflection of nouns, articles and adjectives

der große Junge,
dem großen Jungen

Definite article

Bestimmter Artikel; an article that refers to a specific noun

der, die, das

der Tisch, die Katze

Demonstrative pronoun

Demonstrativpronomen; emphasises something that was (usually) mentioned before

dieser, jener, das, der

Das weiß ich nicht.

Direct object

Akkusativobjekt, direktes Objekt; is used in conjunction with certain verbs, in sentences with multiple objects the direct object is usually the thing with which an action is carried out

typical question: Who/What is the direct recipient of the action?

Ich kenne ihn.

Ich gebe dem Bruder einen Apfel.

Direct speech

Direkte Rede; rendition of a statement in the original wording, is always used in German with a colon and quotation marks

(compare: Indirect speech)

Er sagte: „Ich gehe jeden Tag joggen.“



Feminin; grammatical gender of articles, nouns and pronouns

die Butter, sie

Final clause

Finalsatz; adverbial clause which expresses an objective/a purpose

typical subjunction: damitso that

Ich sage das, damit du es dir merkst.

Finite verb

Finites Verb; inflected verb, conjugated verb

ich gehe, du bist,
er hatte, wir lachten

Interrogative adverb
Full verb

Vollverb; a verb which expresses an action, a process or a state of being

(compare: Auxiliary verb)

Wir haben gearbeitet.
Es hat geschneit.
Sie hat hier gewohnt.

Future (Futur I)

Futur I; tense to express the future, it expresses an intention for the future or an assumption about the present or future

ich werde gehen

Future Perfect (Future II)

Futur II; completed future, it expresses the assumption that an action will have been completed by the time of speaking or by a particular point in the future

ich werde gegangen sein


Present tense

Genus; shows if a noun or pronoun is masculine, feminine, or neuter

der Mann, die Frau, das Kind, er, sie, es


Genitiv; one of the four cases used for the declension of articles, nouns, pronouns and adjectives

typical question: Whose?

but: der Hund des Mannes (the man's dog; genitive); sein Hund (his dog; no genitive but a possessive article)

des großen Jungen

Genitive object

Genitivobjekt; is used in conjunction with certain verbs

typical question: What of/from/…?

Der Kandidat enthielt sich der Stimme.

Grammatical number

Numerus; hypernym for singular/plural

der Hund – die Hunde
ich gehe – wir gehen



Hinweisendes Fürwort
Polite form


If clause
Conditional clause

Imperativ; expresses commands and requests, can be used with du, ihr, Sie, wir

Warte!, Lauft!, Bleiben Sie!, Gehen wir!

Simple past
Indefinite article

Unbestimmter Artikel; an article which refers to an unspecified noun

ein, eine

ein Tisch, eine Katze

Independent clause

Hauptsatz; a clause that can stand by itself

Der Junge lacht.


Indikativ; standard verb form in the various tenses; is used to declare facts

(compare: Subjunctive)

er geht, er ging,
er ist gegangen

Indirect object

Indirektes Objekt, Dativobjekt; is used in conjunction with specific verbs

In sentences with multiple objects, the indirect object is usually a person for whom the action is intended.

typical question: To whom?

Ich vertraue ihm.

Ich gebe dem Bruder einen Apfel.

Indirect question

Indirekte Frage; a question which is embedded in a declarative sentence as a subordinate clause, is introduced by ob or an interrogative

Er fragt, ob du tanzen willst./Sie möchte wissen, wie du heißt.

Indirect speech

Reported speech, indirekte Rede; correct rendition of a statement (not in its original wording), usually the verb is in the subjunctive mood, sometimes time and place specifications have to be altered

(compare: Direct speech)

Er sagte, er gehe jeden Tag joggen.


Infinitiv; uninflected/non-finite verb, basic form of the verb

gehen, sein, haben

Infinitive clause

Infinitivsatz; subordinate clause that uses an infinitive with zu

Es freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen.

Infinitive conjunction

Infinitivkonjunktion; connects parts of sentences with an infinitive construction

ohne zu, statt zu, um zu


Flexion; conjugation of verbs, declension of articles, nouns, pronouns, adjectives

(compare: Declension, Conjugation)

ich gehe, du bist

dem großen Jungen

meine neue Tasche

Interrogative adverb

Interrogativadverb; is used to ask for other types of adverbs

(compare: Adverb)

wo, wohin, wann, warum, weshalb, wie

Wo wohnst du?

Interrogative pronoun

Interrogativpronomen; is used to ask for the subject or object, replaces the noun that is asked for in the question

wer, was, wem,
wen, wessen

Wer hat das gesagt?

Intransitive verb

Intransitives Verb; a verb which is used in a sentence without a direct object

Er lacht.


Conditional clause



lokal; statement of a place

typical question: Where/Where to/Where from?

Locative adverb

Lokaladverb; adverb of a place

typical question: Where/Where to/Where from?

da, hierher, links, oben, weg

Locative clause

Lokalsatz; adverbial clause instead of a statement of place

typical subjunction: Where/Where to/Where from?

Wo er wohnt, ist es sehr schön.



Maskulin, männlich; grammatical gender for articles, nouns and pronouns

der Baum, er

Mixed verb

Gemischtes Verb; a verb which keeps its regular conjugated ending but changes its stem, the past participle is formed with ge...t

(compare: Weak verb, Strong verb)


statement of manner

typical question: How?

Modaladverb; adverb for stating manner

typical question: How?

anders, äußerst, folgendermaßen

Modalsatz; adverbial clause which expresses manner

typical subjunction: as, by

In Deutschland begrüßt man sich, indem man sich die Hand reicht.

Modalverb; a verb which influences the content of another verb and expresses ability, wishes or constraint

Modal verbs are: dürfen (to be allowed to), können (to be able), möchten (would like to), mögen (to like), müssen (to have to), sollen (to be supposed to), wollen (to want)

ich kann lesen

er will schlafen

wir müssen lernen



Neutral, sächlich; grammatical gender of articles, nouns and pronouns

das Geld, es

Nicht trennbares Verb
Non-separable verb

Nominativ, one of the four cases used for the declension of articles, nouns, pronouns and adjectives

typical question: Who/What is performing the action?

der große Junge

Non-separable verb

Nicht trennbares Verb; a verb which is extended by a prefix and cannot be separated from this prefix in the finite verb form

(compare: Separable verb)

ich bestehe

ich habe bestanden


Nomen, Substantiv; a declinable word usually used with an article to indicate a person, animal, thing, place or idea

Haus, Mond, Luft, Leute

Grammatical number



Objekt; a noun (often including article and adjective) or pronoun which is not the subject of a sentence but stands, in conjunction with certain verbs, in the accusative, dative or genitive

Ich gebe dem Jungen einen großen Apfel.

Der Kandidat enthielt sich der Stimme.

Object clause

Objektsatz; subordinate clause instead of an object

Ich verstehe, was er meint.


Participle clause

Partizipialsatz; subordinate clause using the present or the past participle

Vor Vergnügen quietschend, sprang das Kind in den Pool.

Partly reflexive verb

Teilreflexives Verb; a verb which can occur as a normal and as a reflexive verb, whereby the meaning is different

sich/jemanden ärgern


Passiv; the subject itself is not active, who or what caused the action is unimportant, unknown, or assumed to be generally known

(compare: Processual passive, Statal passive)

Das Haus wird gebaut.

Past participle

Partizip II; verb form which is used to construct the compound tenses for the past and the passive

ich habe gelernt
ihr seid gefahren

Das Haus wird gebaut.

Past perfect

Plusquamperfekt; tense to express actions that took place before a certain point in the past

ich hatte gelernt
er war gefahren

Past tense
Simple past
Present perfect
Personal pronouns

Personalpronomen; the pronouns ich, du, er, sie, es, wir, ihr, sie and the declined forms mich, mir, dich, dir etc.

ich, du, uns, euch


expresses multiple things, nouns, articles, adjectives, verbs and pronouns can be used in the plural

(compare: Singular)

die Leute

Die großen Geschenke sind für uns.

Past perfect
Polar question

Entscheidungsfrage, yes-no question; a question without an interrogative word, can be answered with yes/no

Kommst du mit ins Kino?

Polite form

Höflichkeitsform, honorific; is used when addressing a person in the polite Sie-form

Wie heißen Sie?
Wie geht es Ihnen?

Positive form

Positive Form, basic form of an adjective; expresses a characteristic, is also used for comparisons like genauso ... wie (as ... as), the adjective stays in the basic form

ein kleiner Junge

Der Junge ist klein.

Er ist nicht so klein wie du.

Possessive article

Possessivartikel; stands in front of a noun and indicates possession/belonging

mein Tisch, eure Katze

Possessive pronoun

Possessivpronomen; pronoun indicating possession

is usually used instead of a noun but sometimes also as a possessive article

Mein Handy ist kaputt. Kann ich mit deinem telefonieren?

(mein Tisch)


Prädikat; verb form in a sentence, can be one or multiple verbs, for example in compound tenses, passive, modal verbs or compound verbs

Er lernt Deutsch.
Er wird Auto fahren.
Das Haus wird gebaut.
Ich gehe einkaufen.

Predicative adjective

Prädikatives Adjektiv; defines the verbs sein (to be), werden (to become) and bleiben (to remain) more closely

typical question: How is/becomes/remains someone/something?

Das Wetter ist/wird/bleibt gut/schlecht.


Präfix; a syllable which is added onto the beginning of a word in order to form a new word

erfahren, Überfall, untreu


Präposition; indicates the relationship between two situations, defines the case of the corresponding noun

Ich wohne seit einem Jahr in einem Haus außerhalb der Stadt.

Present participle

Partizip I; verb form where the letter "d" is added onto the infinitive

The present participle is primarily used for the formation of adjectives and instead of clauses

schlafend, lesend

das fahrende Auto
Pfeifend ging er davon.

Present perfect

Perfekt; a tense for completed actions in the past, it is usually used when focusing on the result of the action, is constructed with the auxiliary verbs haben/sein

ich habe gelernt
er ist gefahren

Present tense

Präsens; a tense which is used to express actions in the present (but sometimes also for the future)

ich lerne, er fährt

Simple past
Probe question

Ergänzungsfrage; a question with an interrogative word

Wann ist sie gegangen?

Processual passive

Vorgangspassiv; a passive form which expresses an action

(compare: Statal passive)

Das Haus wurde gebaut.

Processual verb

Vorgangsverb; describes a procedure which is not consciously carried out by someone

(compare: Action verb, Stative verb)

schlafen, schneien, wachsen


Pronomen; replaces an already known or previously mentioned noun and thus helps to avoid repetition

Pronouns are declined and match their ending according to the gender of the noun

Er sagt, dass sie uns hilft.

Mein Handy ist defekt. Kann ich deins haben?

Present tense
Simple past


Reciprocal verb

Reziprokes Verb; uses the reflexive pronoun with the meaning "einander" (each other)

Wir sehen uns am Kino.

Reflexive pronoun

Reflexivpronomen (sich); is used in conjunction with reflexive and reciprocal verbs

ich freue mich

Reflexive verb

Reflexives Verb; a verb which is used with a reflexive pronoun sich (self) in the sense of "oneself" or "itself"

(compare: Partly reflexive verb, Unreal reflexive verb, Reciprocal verb)

sich freuen

Relative clause

Relativsatz; a clause introduced by a relative pronoun in which the last noun from the previous clause is specified more closely

Das ist der Mann, den ich gesehen habe.

Relative pronoun

Relativpronomen; a pronoun which introduces a relative clause

der Mann, der dort steht

Reported speech
Indirect speech


Separable verb

Trennbares Verb; a verb which can be extended by a prefix but where the prefix can be separated in the finite verb form

(compare: Non-separable verb)

ich stehe an
ich habe angestanden

Simple past

Präteritum, Imperfekt, past tense, preterite; a tense which is used to express actions that took place in the past, usually used when writing

ich lernte, er fuhr


expresses one single thing, nouns, articles, adjectives, verbs and pronouns can be used in the singular

(compare: Plural)

der Tisch

Das große Geschenk ist für mich.

Statal passive

Zustandspassiv; a passive form which describes a state after a completed action

(compare: Processual passive)

Das Haus ist gebaut.

Stative verb

Zustandsverb, a verb which describes a state

(compare: Action verb, Processual verb)

besitzen, wohnen

Strong verb

Starkes Verb; a verb with an irregular past tense form, the past participle is constructed with ge...en, often also with a vowel change in the present tense

(compare: Mixed verb, Weak verb)


ich fahre, du fährst


Subjekt; a noun (usually including article and adjective) or a pronoun used in the nominative, performs an action in active sentences

Der alte Mann steht an der Ecke.

Ich fahre Rad.

Subject clause

Subjektsatz; subordinate clause instead of a subject

Es ist schade, dass du schon gehen musst.


Subjunktion; connects sentences, whereby the clause which is introduced by a subjunction is a subordinate clause

Syntax: Conjunction + Subject + ... + finite verb

als, da, nachdem, seit


Konjunktiv; special verb form, is used to express wishes or requests, for conditional clauses and for the indirect speech

er gehe, er ginge,
er sei gegangen

Subjunctive I

Konjunktiv I; one of the two subjunctive forms, is used for idiomatic expressions and the indirect speech

Dein Wille geschehe.

Man sagt, er sei reich.

Subjunctive II

Konjunktiv II; one of the two subjunctive forms, is used to express wishes, unreal conditional clauses and particularly polite questions or statements

Is used for indirect speech when the subjunctive I can't be used because it is the same as the indicative

Er wünschte, er hätte Zeit.

Das wäre toll.

Subordinate clause

Nebensatz; a clause which, in its own form, is not an independent sentence but has to be used in conjunction with a main clause

Der Junge lacht, weil er fröhlich ist.


a syllable added to the end of a word to form a new word

herzlich, Freundschaft, telefonieren


Superlativ; is used for comparisons to express what has the highest level of a certain characteristic

compare: Comparative

klein – kleiner – am kleinsten
Er ist am kleinsten.
Er ist der kleinste Junge.


Silbe; component of a word which is voiced with one sound and where a word can be split up





the stating of time

typical question: When/How long/How often/Until when/Since when?

dienstags, einst, gestern, jetzt, oft, sofort

Temporal clause

Temporalsatz; adverbial clause instead of stating a time

typical subjunction: before, after, since

Seit ich einen Hund habe, gehe ich viel spazieren.

Transitive verb

Transitives Verb; a verb which is used with an accusative in a sentence and which can form the passive

Er beantwortet die Frage. – Die Frage wird beantwortet.

Trennbares Verb
Separable verb



Umlaut; the letters ä, ö, and ü

ä, ö, ü

Unreal reflexive verb

Unechtes reflexives Verb; a verb which can be used as a normal and as a reflexive verb whilst having the same meaning

Ich kaufe (mir) ein Eis.



a word which expresses an action, a process or a state of being

verbs get conjugated and used in different tenses

lernen, fahren

Simple past

Vokal; a letter which, when spoken aloud, is pronounced without an additional sound

(compare: Consonant)

a, e, i, o, u, ä, ö, ü


Weak verb

Schwaches Verb; regularly conjugated verb, the past participle is constructed with ge...t

(compare: Mixed verb, Strong verb)


Word stem

Wortstamm; main component of a word after all endings and prefixes have been removed

By adding different syllables onto the word stem, verbs are conjugated, nouns declined, adjectives compared etc.

laufen, gesagt
des Flusses
am lautesten


Würde-Form; the use of würde (would) and a full verb instead of a subjunctive

ich würde gehen