how would you say in German 'when we were younger we got along well.' How would you also say 'we used to share a room.' Any extra help with forming past tense like that would also be appreciated thanks!
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help with german translations? watch
- Thread Starter
- 18-10-2015 15:44
- 21-10-2015 21:35
Hiya, I'm studying German at A2 so I should be able to help (hopefully, lol). If some of the stuff in this reply is complicated, don't worry! GCSE feels like an age ago now so I might just be getting ahead of myself If you need me to explain any of these concepts let me know!
"When we were younger we got along well." = Als wir jünger waren, sind wir gut ausgekommen.
'auskommen' means 'to get along'. Usually it's good to put an adjective in there, e.g. gut (good). Also, in most cases you need to say you get along WITH someone, so it's mit auskommen, e.g. Ich komme [gut] mit meinen Bruder aus = I get along [well] with my brother. (Remember it's separable too! I can explain separable verbs if you want me to.)
If you don't get along with someone, throw nicht in there, e.g. Ich komme nicht mit meinen Bruder aus = I don't get along with my brother.
OR Ich komme schlecht mit meinen Bruder aus = I get along terribly with my brother.
"We used to share a room." = Früher haben wir ein Zimmer geteilt.
Saying "used to" in German is a bit trickier, since there's no direct translation. You can use the word 'früher' instead, which means 'earlier' or 'in the past'. So in German, you'd say "in the past we shared a room" rather than "we used to share a room".
There's two past tenses in German, perfect & imperfect. We have them in English too.
Perfect = I have gone to the cinema. I have studied for my exam.
Imperfect = I went to the cinema. I studied for my exam.
In English we tend to use the imperfect a lot more than the perfect. In German there's no particular preference (as far as I know, anyway!) but imperfect is harder to use. At GCSE teachers mostly expect the perfect, if I remember correctly. So I'd stick with the perfect most of the time, with a few imperfect ones thrown in now and then if you can manage it. For now I'll just explain the perfect past tense!
To construct the perfect tense, you need two things, an auxiliary and a past participle.
Your auxiliary will come from 'haben' (to have) for some verbs and 'sein' (to be) for others. This is the "have" in the sentence, like "I have played".
Put them in the present tense, just like in English:
The past participle is basically just how you write the verb so that it is in the past tense. We have them in English too, instead of saying "I have play" we say "I have played".
So, to make the past participle in English, we take the infinitive verb, and add -ed on the end:
To make it in German you need one extra step. Take the 'en' off the end of the infinitive, put a -t on the end, and a ge- on the front:
I have played = Ich habe gespielt
He has played = Er hat gespielt
We have played = Wir haben gespielt
And so on!
Like I said though, sometimes you use 'sein', not 'haben' for the auxiliary (the first bit). Usually this is when you're talking about a movement, so for verbs like 'go', 'fly', etc...
These ones also tend to be irregular! That means they don't follow the adding ge- and -t rule I mentioned earlier. Think about it - we don't say "I have flyed" in English, we say "I have flown." Usually, if a word changes like that in English, it changes in German too.
The word for 'to fly' in German is 'fliegen'. But since it's irregular, its past participle is geflogen, not gefliegt.
Ich bin geflogen = I have flown
Er ist geflogen = He has flown
Wir sind geflogen = We have flown.
And so on...
Unfortunately there's a lot of irregular verbs in German that don't play by the rules, especially in the past tense. A lot of them are really common words which is annoying! For many of them it's just a matter of learning them off by heart... and sometimes you might just have to take a guess (don't worry, in A2 I still do this! )
Here's some other bits that are important to know for these structures (this is complex stuff so ignore it if you're really new to German and don't quite get it):
Saying "when" in German can be tricky!
If you're talking about something that happened in the past, e.g. 'when we lived in London...', you use "als" - als wir in London gewohnt hat... (note the word order change too - your conjugated verb, in this case 'sind', goes to the end, after the past participle 'ausgekommen'.)
If you're asking a question, e.g. 'When is your exam?' you use "wann" - Wann ist deine/Ihre Prüfung? (The word order is the same as when you're asking a question in English, question word and then the verb second.)
In all other circumstances (as far as I know) you use "wenn", which again, sends the conjugated verb to the end. For example, 'when I go to school', 'when I finish my exams', all use "wenn" - wenn ich in der Schule gehe..., wenn ich meine Prüfungen beende...
So als is for past events, wann is for questions, and wenn is for present/future events (and basically everything else).
Wow, sorry if this is too long, but I hope it helps! And feel free to ask me to explain anything.
- 21-10-2015 21:37
Shout louder in English.
- 21-10-2015 21:38
Sorry if I'm mistaken but I still thought you'd use the imperfect tense in these two situations?
- 21-10-2015 21:47
I think either would be fine? My teacher generally encourages me to use perfect tense though.
Come to think of it I don't think I've ever seen auskommen in imperfect tense...