The Student Room Group

German Grammar Help

Hello, I'm a Year 12 German student really struggling with my grammar, specifically cases and genders. Does anyone have any tips on not only memorisation but application, as I was encouraged not to learn cases at GCSE and am now being marked down for serious case errors for basic words I don't know the gender of. I'm in the process of creating a word bank for the basics but if anyone has any tips/resources that would be a great help as I'd love to do German at degree but am finding the A-level grammar disheartening.
Hey! I'm a GCSE student studying German currently, and these pieces of information helped me predict some of the genders of nouns. However, it doesn't work every time - just the majority!
I also struggled with pronouns of subjects, and I find it ridiculous why objects need different genders, but it helps with memory skills!
Here's some research I've done online:

If the word ends in -ung, it's almost certainly feminine (except der Sprung).
If the word ends in -chen or -lein, it is automatically neuter.
If the word ends in -e in the singular, it's likely feminine (but der Junge is a notable exception).

Feel free to look deeper online for more tips.
I hope this helps, and you'll have good luck predicting the correct genders of nouns.
Wünsche dir alles gute!
Reply 2
Hi! I’m a huge fan of linguistics and foreign languages and grammar and stuff like that. I’d love to help! (feel free to pm me anytime). this reply might be quite long so sorry in advance but my main suggestions for cases and gender would be:


when learning nouns try to always learn them with their articles (for example never learn that book = Buch, try to make sure the der/die/das is glued to that word in your mind if that makes sense). if you know that a word is feminine because you remember that it uses ‘die’ it makes it really easy to then change it to eine or to change it for case (that will hopefully make more sense depending on how much you already know about cases)


also as another user also replied, get a feel for the endings of words because there are a lot of endings that tell you the gender of the word. i wouldn’t recommend sitting and memorising them the way you would with vocabulary but doing an exercise every so often where you have a bunch of nouns and you try to group them into masculine feminine and neuter would be a really good way to get an intuitive feel for noun gender (that intuition is the ‘application’ side of things you mentioned, also side note: that’s a really good mindset to have, lots of people get stuck because they’re so busy just memorising). i’ve also found it’s quite fun to try and write a small paragraph about anything no matter how random it is but only using feminine nouns and trying to use as many different cases/prepositions etc as possible (quite advanced so maybe wait until you’ve got a firm grasp on cases but the aim is to just do as much funky grammar stuff as possible and then repeat with masculine and then neuter so the nouns get grouped in your noggin AND you’re basically giving your grammar muscles a big old workout) but any writing where you’re trying to add in as many difficult grammar concepts as possible is great practice even though it’ll be difficult at first


that grouping task i just mentioned, it also works great for prepositions that are always/sometimes used with certain cases. for example some prepositions always take the dative case, others will always take the accusative case, some use both and you’ve got to figure out which (difficult at first but it gets easier i promise) and some that use the genitive case. doing things this way where you’re applying your knowledge rather than just memorising stuff helps so much with fluency even when speaking because you internalise it more and it eventually feels more natural/effortless/subconscious if that makes sense


with cases it helps SO much to make sure your knowledge of linguistic concepts in general (like even in english) is solid. this sounds vague and unrelated but i promise you having a firm grasp of subject/object/verb/indirect object etc is so beneficial and surprisingly underdeveloped in a lot of language students even at A-level! i noticed it even in my english language A-level, not just german. as for how to get that good grasp of the concept, you may already have it but if not i’d be more than happy for any messages about it!


i don’t recommend overly relying on books BUT there are two books and one app i absolutely swear by for getting good with german grammar: the app is lingodeer, originally made for asian languages i believe so it’s very thorough with grammar without being overwhelming- the lessons help you get that application practice you’re looking for without shoving information at you to just memorise. it also has sheets of grammar explanations for you to look at and they are SO helpful, but they aren’t part of the lessons themselves they’re just sort of banked for you to look at whenever. the first book id recommend is ‘german grammar you really need to know’. it looks quite boring and overwhelming but it does explain things really well and it’s basically a bible for pretty much every grammar concept you’ll ever struggle with. the second book is ‘german: how to speak and write it’ by joseph rosenberg. this book is less grammar heavy and is quite old but has a great structure with lots of suggestions for activities and also helps with things like writing letters in german or understanding/talking about german literature in german. it’s great for A-level german because literature is a big part of it. the main thing with any language book is to make sure you’re doing something good with the stuff it’s teaching you, just reading it or blindly memorising words from the book can only get you so far. find some really engaging and creative study methods and try to draw on information you’ve learned from the book. (a bit vague i know but these are general study techniques rather than german-specific ones so they’re quite individual) ooooh and a third one i nearly forgot about- don’t underestimate the power of german for dummies. they’re actually very useful books for learning languages, i used it for japanese when i was learning it and it’s super good because even though it starts off for beginners it takes you through all sorts of complex grammar while starting from square one so i wojld still recommend it to an A-level student because it’s quite accessible and the info is easy to digest

sorry for the super long post i hope it helps though! good luck with your studies! again- this grammar stuff is my absolute bread and butter and i’m more than happy to help you with anything else if you need!

Quick Reply