Nothing is well known until it is well understood; and the best way to understand a thing is to put it in practice." (C. Marcel)

This German tutorial will give you a bird's eye view of basic language patterns. Start with reading the grammar notes for a particular pattern. Then study the example sentences. Next, listen to the audio using the synchronized transcript. Listen one more time without looking at the transcript, pausing the audio when necessary. Finally, work on Scrambly puzzles to make sure the pattern and vocabulary are thoroughly understood.


Here are some of the German novels I have read lately and liked a lot.

"Atlantis" (1925) is a sience-fiction novel by Hans Dominik (1872-1945), a German science-fiction and non-fiction writer, science journalist and engineer. The plot: World events are determined by three power blocs: the European confederation with headquarters in Bern, the African empire under Emperor Augustus Salvator, and the American power bloc. Two people from Hamburg, Uhlenkort, a mining magnate, and Tredrup, an engineer and adventurer, meet by chance at a circus performance in Timbuktu, the African emperor's seat. Emperor Augustus has big plans; he drives a deep shaft into the earth at Lake Chad to mine carbide and boost the African economy. Rouse, an unscrupulous profiteer is to get American submarines for a possible conflict. Europe publishes a resolution against the simultaneous detonation of all explosives. According to a report signed only with "J.H." This action should lead to a diversion of the Gulf Stream and thus to an icing of Northern Europe up to Berlin.

Read/download "Atlantis" in PDF format here

"Auf zwei Planeten" by Kurd Laßwitz (1897) was a real blockbuster of its day. Upon its publication in 1897 Moritz Kronenberg observed that the novel represented a clear departure both from a traditional utopia and from fiction about actual science. He suggested that it deserved to be recognized as an impressive example of a new genre with the emphasis on the profound philosophical and ideological questions which the novel posed about its own time, as well as social-political observation into an unavoidably malign nature of a supposedly benign imperialism. A number of luminaries including Arthur C. Clarke expressed their admiration for this book. The novel's exciting plot will surprise the modern reader with the taste for fast action. The book begins when a team of scientists discover a Martian base at the North Pole, which is serviced by a Martian space station above the Earth. A small faction of Martians are determined to take over the Earth to use its more abundant solar energy, while another group wants to share its advanced science with humans. A misunderstanding leads to an outbreak of hostilities between the worlds.

Read/download "Auf zwei Planeten" in PDF format here

"Der Tunnel" by Bernhard Kellermann (1913) concerns an endeavor far more grandiose than anything else in human history: a tunnel under the Atlantic, extending from New York to Europe. "Der Tunnel" celebrates man the doer and his power to reshape nature to his own ends. An enormously popular international best seller, the book was translated into 23 languages. Mac Allan, the hero of "Der Tunnel", is an American engineer who has created a drill that can penetrate the hardest rock. Mac, a former coal miner, is a self-made man to whom work is a religion. Mac calls a meeting of potential investors to discuss his new project. His credentials and expertise are beyond question, and when he states firmly that such a tunnel can be finished within 15 years, there is no trouble issuing and selling bonds. The work progresses rapidly and efficiently. But in the fifth year, when miners drive the tunnel into a cavern filled with combustible gases, a great explosion and fire wreck a great section of the tunnel. Almost three thousand men are killed. This catastrophe has enormous repercussions. All work on the tunnel stops. The workers refuse to continue and go on strike. Investors sue Allan, claiming they were misled about the schedule, and a mob kills his wife and child. The tunnel is now shut down, except for the maintenance. A new problem arises with the activities of Wolf, a Hungarian who is the treasurer of the company. Wolf, a brilliant crook, has plotted to seize control of the tunnel for himself. He embezzled the company's assets and lost a fortune. About five years are lost as the direct and indirect results after the explosion.

Read/download "Der Tunnel" in PDF format here

"Die Macht der Drei" by Hans Dominik (1922), a writer of Zukunftsromanen, or "technological futuristic novels." The "science fiction" of Hans Dominik was not too far off the mark. Viewed from today - indeed, as early as 1950 - his technological visions of that time already seem like pretty realistic scenarios. And even his ideas of political and social change no longer prove to be far-fetched. The novel starts with a spectacular escape from a death-row cell in Sing-Sing and the remainder of the plot features one exciting episode after another. The whole novel revolves around the invention of "teleenergetic concentrator" (Strahler), a device that makes it possible to watch things from afar and release the vast energies present in the ether, according to the author's hypothesis. The political conflict here is between the British Empire and the United States.

Read/download "Die Macht der Drei" in PDF format here

Ja, aber Teste holen uns in die Realität zurück! Test how good you are at the German present tense or check out these Vocabulary Tests.

Instead of using rules to put separate words together, native speakers use collocations, or meaningful chunks. For example, English speakers say "strong tea" and "powerful computer" instead of "powerful tea" and "strong computer." Using collocations correctly will make your German sound more natural. Here are some useful collocations, word partners and idioms with Beruf.

In Germany there always seems to be a strong appreciation for the culinary roots. Given many regional differences, it is hard to give even a hint of the variety of traditional German cuisine (deutsche Küche). It takes a lot of ingenuity to create over 1,500 types of sausages, over 600 types of bread and more than 1,200 different types of pastries! How well are you familiar with deutsche Küche? Take this Deutsche Gerichte Quiz to learn about favorites all over Germany.

Although some German idioms can be directly translated into English, many other take time to understand or simply cannot be translated which makes them difficult to learn and understand. Learning an idiom in a relevant and practical sentence will help to remember its meaning easily. But as the old saying goes, "Steter Tropfen höhlt den Stein!" Viel Glück!

Ob eine schwarze Katze Unglück bringt oder nicht, hängt davon ab, ob man ein Mensch ist oder eine Maus. (Unbekannt)

Gefährlich wird es, wenn die Dummen fleißig werden.

Hoffnung ist die Wiese, auf der die Narren grasen.

Je mehr Gesetz, je weniger Recht.

Nur wer gegen den Strom schwimmt, kommt an die Quelle.

Wenn einer sagt, es gehe ihm nicht ums Geld, sondern ums Prinzip, dann geht's ihm ums Geld.

German proverbs - The wit of one, the wisdom of many

Mysteriöse Geheimnisse der Geschichte - Abraham Lincoln (44 min)

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Das britische Empire in Farbe - Zerfall der Kolonialmacht (14 min)

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Piraten - Die größten Freibeuter der Geschichte (41 min)

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Uses of Infinitive | Subordinate Clause of Purpose Subordinate Clause with Damit | Konjunktiv 2 Imperfekt | Konjunktiv 2 Plusquamperfekt | Reported Speech (Present) | Reported Speech (Past) | Conjugation of Common Verbs | Complete List of Irregular Verbs | Practice Grammar Patterns | Listening Comprehension | Idioms & Phrases | Past Perfect Tense | Future Perfect Tense | Overview of German Tenses | Passive Voice


How to Tame the German Grammar Dragon -