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German Grammar Glossary
English and German Grammar Terms
Explained in Plain English


HOW TO USE THIS GLOSSARY: Each grammar term is listed alphabetically in English, along with its German equivalent (often Latin-based) and in some cases the Germanic term. Words in ALL CAPS refer to terms that are also defined in this glossary. Noun gender is indicated by r (der), e (die), or s (das). Most entries have a link to a related lesson or grammar guide.

German Grammar Glossary
Deutsches Grammatik-Lexikon
  English   Deutsch   Explanation
MAIN CLAUSE r Hauptsatz   The INDEPENDENT CLAUSE in a COMPOUND sentence. A clause that can stand alone as a sentence. Also see DEPENDENT CLAUSE.
MASCULINE s Maskulinum
  One of the three German noun GENDERS. The masculine articles are der (DEFINITE) and ein (INDEFINITE). > Gender Hints
s Modalverb
s Imperfekt
  German modal verbs modify and are used with other verbs, although they can also stand alone. The modals include dürfen (may, be permitted), können (can, be able), and müssen (must, have to). More > German Modal Verbs
MOOD r Modus
e Aussageweise
  German has three moods: INDICATIVE, IMPERATIVE and SUBJUNCTIVE (I & II). > Subjunctive II
r Präteritum
einfache Vergangenheit
  German has two past tense forms, the SIMPLE PAST (preterite, narrative past) and the COMPOUND PAST (perfect). There are regional variations in their use, but there is virtually no difference in meaning between the two forms. In general, the narrative past is used more in writing and in books, magazines and newspapers. > German Verbs
NEGATION e Negation
e Verneinung
  The use of certain words to deny or negate a statement or question. Common words of negation include nicht (not) and kein(e) (none, not a).
NEUTER s Neutrum
  One of the three German noun GENDERS. The neuter articles are das (DEFINITE) and ein (INDEFINITE). > Gender Hints
NOMINATIVE r Nominativ
r Werfall
  The CASE of the SUBJECT or PREDICATE COMPLEMENT in a German sentence. > German Cases
NOUN s Substantiv
s Hauptwort
s Nomen
  A word representing a person, place or thing. In German, all nouns are CAPITALIZED and have one of three possible GENDERS. > Gender Hints
NUMBER r Numerus
e Zahl
  The SINGULAR or PLURAL form of a noun, pronoun, or a verb form used with a noun or pronoun. > Plural & Singular

N E X T > O-P

Index | G-H | I-L | M-N | O-P | More Terms

Related Pages

German Lessons by Topic
Find lessons in our free German for Beginners course.

German Grammar Topics
All of the German grammar lessons and guides at this site.

Another grammar glossary - for French. From About's French Language Guide, Laura Lawless.

All of the specialized, annotated English-German glossaries on this site.

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