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Common German Prepositional mistakes

Prepositions are always tricky in any language. One of the best ways to learn prepositions is to learn them in phrases, because the idiomatic collocation often does not directly translate. Here are ten of the most common prepositional mistakes I

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Using the German Dative Case this Christmas

It’s the already the third advent (der dritte Advent) and many of you are probably busy writing Christmas cards (die Weihnachtskarte), to-do-lists (die Aufgabenliste) and letters to Santa (Briefe an den Weihnachtsmann). With all the wishing (wünschen), and giving (schenken)

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When to use the German Future Tense

With the holidays (die Weihnachtszeit) just around the bend many of us are busy making plans of what we’re going to do before the family arrives and what we’ll do once they get here. Talking about the future in English

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German Family Vocabulary & German Adjectival Nouns

With the holiday season quickly approaching, many of you are getting ready to see your family again. Yes, that family, you know the ones your aunt, who likes to complain a lot (meckern), your loud uncle who doesn’t seem to

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Actually, there is a difference — eigentlich vs. tatsächlich

During one of my lessons the other day a student used the word eigentlich, which I was very happy to hear, as many beginners don’t use this word; however, I also had to correct him and tell him that the

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Well that’s just perfect! — Using das Perfekt in German

A few weeks ago one of our Facebook followers asked me to write about using the perfect (das Perfekt)in German. This post is mean to be an answer to that question and a detailed continuation of the posts “Understanding German

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German Halloween Vocabulary and Customs

On Wednesday it’s Halloween again. No doubt many of you have celebrated this weekend, and those of you living in Catholic cantons (Kantone) and federal states (Bundesländer) can expect to have November 1st, All Saints’ Day (Allerheiligen) off. So there

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What are they asking after I buy my groceries? — German shopping vocabulary

Working with the expat community in Zurich there is a question I hear again and again and a short story that gets recounted. It goes something like this: “I was in the Migros the other day and I bought my

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Where you’re from — Using the German prepositions von and aus

During last week’s Stammtisch here in Zurich, many people were speaking about where they were from and where they had recently traveled to. It’s always great to hear about people’s background and see the plurality of different cultures that are

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Talking about the past in German: seit vs. vor

Dealing with the past in German often leads to long and deep conversations. Fortunately, this blog is not meant to be political or historical, so I will keep me post short. I want to look at the prepositions vor and

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Bodies of Water in German and their Prepositions

Today I went stand up paddling for my first time on Lake Zurich. The experience was a perfect balance to the Limmatschwimmen from yesterday, where some 4200 people swam and floated down the Limmat. What does this all have to

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Fernseher oder Fernsehen? Auf dem Internet or Im Internet?

It’s Olympics (Olympiade, die) time again and many of you are watching your country’s best athletes give it there all in London. Unless you’ve been fortunate enough to get a ticket (Ticket, das) to one of the many events in

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