Daily Log #109

I decided not to play games today.

But I decided to watch Netflix.

Only for me to be distracted because I decided to learn German with more intentionality. I call it deliberate practice and study.

I even took out a pen and paper to write instead of typing so as to reinforce my understanding.

Here are some sentences in English which I took the time to understand in German like where the verbs, nouns and pronouns go. I will talk about what I understood or figure out. And I did use Google translate to help with words that I didn’t already know.


English German
The apple is red Der Apfel ist rot
It is John’s Apple Es ist Johns Apfel
I give John the Apple Ich gebe John den Apfel
We give him the Apple Wir gebe ihm den Apfel
He gives it to John Er gibt es zu John
She gives it to him Sie gibt es ihm
I must give it to him Ich muss es ihm geben
I want to give it to her Ich will es ihr geben

The first two rows are simple because there isn’t much going on. They are just factual sentences.

The third row is where it got a little interesting.

In German, “the” has three different versions depending on whether it is used in a masculine, feminine or neutral way. The version are der, die, das respectively.

But when something is being done to a “masculine” noun, the article “der” become “den”, just like the table above where the “apple” was given to John.

Good news is that “die” and “das” doesn’t change.

You may be wondering why apple would uses “der” instead of “das” since it is a fruit and has no gender. Well, nobody seem to know why. If anyone found out why, let me know.

And there is no need to worry too much. There are rules as to when to use the different version of article and those rules work for most nouns. For the exceptions like “Der Apfel”, well, just remember the combination and move on.

Moving on to the next few rows…

If an action is directed at a subject like English sentence, the word “to” is necessary to indicate that. In the German equivalent like row five in the table above, it is the same because the action is directed at a subject. “To” in german is “zu”.

The word “zu” can also be used as a temporal preposition and is used to replace “for” or “on” when time is implicit.

One thing to note is that “zu” in German can confuse newbies because of its use as a locative preposition, temporal preposition, casual preposition and adverb. Sometimes, there are better words to use to replace it in a sentence.

For row six to eight in the table above, you can literally translate word for word to German like this, which does sound safe:

English German
She gives it to him Sie gibt es zu ihm
I must give it to him Ich muss gebe es zu ihm
I want to give it to her Ich will gebe es zu ihr

However, verbs in German can be classified as either weak or strong. A direct translation as shown above make the action “gebe” (“give” in German, also a singular verb) weak especially in the context of the second and third row since it is used as a modal verb. The presence of “must” and “want” changes the whole sentence to something with more intention. And it probably sound wrong to native speakers.

Therefore, this is where conjugation comes in. It is to strengthen the word “gebe”.

English German
I must give it to him Ich muss es ihm geben
I want to give it to her Ich will es ihr geben

If any part of my understanding is wrong, I definitely welcome correction.

That’s all for today. I will head for bed soon.