"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 recently added to our Bücherregal:

"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.

"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.

"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.

"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.


"Herrn Arnes Schatz" by Selma Lagerlöf (1903), one of the Swedish authors whose works belong to world literature. In 1909 she was the first woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. It's a short novel where ghosts play a role. This crime novel is about a cruel robbery and murder in Bohuslän in the 16th century and the inevitability with which the crime must be atoned for. Three Scottish lansquenets in the service of the Swedish king had been thrown into prison on suspicion of treason, but they managed to escape and now, disguised as tannerymen, want to flee home. When they arrive in Bohuslän, which was Danish at the time, they raid the Solberga parsonage and kill the priest, Mr Arne, and all the inhabitants of the parsonage. The topic seems to be far away from today's time. But Selma Lagerlöf's art forces the most skeptical rationalists under its spell. No one will be able to escape the compelling mood of this book, which is strangely tense and unsettling and will not let you go until you have read the book and put it down.

Read "Herrn Arnes Schatz" online

"Der Arzt von Stalingrad" by Heinz G. Konsalik (1956) is a war story that sold more than 3.5 million copies in Germany and was made into a movie. After the defeat of the 6th German Army, the German surgeon and medical officer Dr. Fritz Böhler is interned in the POW camp 5110/47 near Stalingrad. Under Russian supervision, he and his colleagues Werner von Sellnow and Jens Schulheiß built an "exemplary military hospital" there. They performed a series of operations that were as unusual as they were daring and belong in the realm of the fantastic. At the beginning of the plot Dr. Böhler performs a successful appendectomy with a penknife and a silk thread taken from a silk scarf. Later, his colleague, Dr. von Sellnow, falls ill with a brain tumor, which Dr. Böhler removes with the help of a chisel and a simple drill. The highlight of his brilliant achievements is a stomach cancer operation that Dr. Böhler performs in front of a hundred Russian students. Dr. Böhler and his colleagues gained so much respect from the Russian authorities that they were able to influence camp life beyond the scope of their authority. As one of the last Stalingrad prisoners of war, Dr. Böhler is repatriated to West Germany in 1953.

"Frau Sorge", the best novel by Hermann Sudermann (1887). In "Heimat" Suderman defined his aims as a writer in a short and concise sentence: "The purpose of the art is to elevate the moral sense of the people." By experience, the author had learned what was right and had so freed himself that like his creation Paul Mayhöfer he could stand up with an erect head before the tribunals of the world and tell the truth regardless of consequences. Sudermann is one of the few who has looked a little deeper into "Seele" of a human being and who has been courageous enough to reveal his feeling, his contemplation. In order to earn Sudermann's respect, a man must, above all things, possess an imperturbable individuality, an ego of his own making. His writings are a real mine for a honest reader. The story is written with much pathos and beauty.
Read "Frau Sorge" online



"Blackout", the first novel by Austrian author Marc Elsberg (2012). On a cold day in February, all power grids in Europe collapse. The total blackout. Terrorist threat or technical failure? As Europe sinks into darkness and gives in to panic, several nuclear power stations threaten the lives of millions of people. A real race against time begins for Manzano, a former Italian hacker, who believes he knows who is responsible and desperately seeks to inform the authorities. The thriller plunges the reader into a reality that could be ours tomorrow. For realism the book is written on the basis of interviews with intelligence and computer security officials. The magazine 'Bild der Wissenschaft' named the book the "most exciting knowledge book of the year" 2012. The novel is well-suited for non-native readers. No lengthy sentences or complicated language guaranteed! Also, you might be interested in taking this Quizz to see how well you are prepared for the real Ernstfall.


"Zone Null" (1972) by Herbert W. Franke, one of the most important science fiction author in the German language. After a devastating nuclear war, the Earth is only partially inhabited. Two cultures collide in this novel, which had been completely isolated for centuries and knew nothing about each other. The people have secured the space in which the radiation exposure makes life possible. Zone Zero is a part of the earth about which it is only known that the exposure to radiation there was far above the maximum tolerable. An exploration team discovers a highly technical civilization that has taken completely different paths since the catastrophe. The inhabitants live - free of all material worries - for their play, for their research, for art. They live in a technical paradise. The protagonist Daniel, a cyberneticist, is the first to dare to make contact. He quickly finds out that the society is determined by the interconnectedness of man and machine. The story is told in two levels: On the one hand, Dan's experiences as he enters Zone Zero, and on the other hand, later on, interrogations that attempt to understand what exactlz happened to Dan and the expedition. The novel is a metaphysical questioning of the true aims of society.


"Wer kennt Doktor Eggebrecht?" (1939) by J.C. Schumann. This is not your typical "psychological crime novel with an incredible twist," although the ending is quite surprising. The author tells a compelling story about a woman's heart that "does not know any intermediate temperatures. It is either at boiling or freezing point. It sacrifices itself to the last, or it kills." No matter how perfect the murder case against nurse Magda is, how meticulously it is gathered by Regional Court Council Karsten, eventually it gets shattered by Dr. Hiller's passionate speech before jury: "It could be misunderstanding, a coincidence, an act of providence, a fate - call it what you will, depending on your world view and religious sensibilities - did this. If it could be punishable, it would be so only to the extent that it unconsciously lent its arm to this fate. Be righteous judges to her all!" For Deutsch learners: Not the easiest one in town, but excellent for those who strive to expand their topical vocabulary.


Picture of motorcyclist riding a wave
Ja, aber Teste holen uns in die Realität zurück! Take this test to see 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.

Wissen sie was Wahrheit ist? Do you know what truth is?

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