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
|The time and sometimes the duration of an action or state expressed by a given verb. German verbs indicate tense by their endings (-te = -ed in English) or conjugated form ("hat gesagt" = pres. perfect tense). > German Verbs|
|The three main tenses or times for German verbs. In contrast to English, German has no present progressive tense ("he is going"), but it has two basic past tenses (Imperfekt + Perfekt) that make a distinction between an action or state that began and ended in the past ("He died in 1995.") versus one that is continuing from the past ("I have been living in Berlin for five years.")|
|TRANSITIVE||transitiv||A transitive verb carries its action over to a direct object ("hit the ball," "buy a car"). In German a direct object is in the accusative case. An intransitive verb does not take a direct object (to be, to die).|
|UMLAUT||r Umlaut||Literally the "transformed sound" and also the two-dot diacritical mark (¨, also known as a diaeresis) placed over a vowel to indicate the changed pronunciation. In German the Umlaut is an abbreviated form of the letter "e" that used to be placed over the vowels a, o, and u to form a diphthong. The umlauted letters ä, ö and ü are considered separate letters in the German alphabet and they are pronounced differently than un-umlauted a, o, or u. The umlauted letters also have their own keys on a German keyboard. > Das Abc|
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