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Basic German: A Grammar and Workbook - PRS for Music Foundation - Home
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A GRAMMAR AND WORKBOOK
Basic German: A Grammar and Workbook comprises an accessible
reference grammar and related exercises in a single volume.
It introduces German people and culture through the medium of the
language used today, covering the core material which students would
expect to encounter in their ﬁrst years of learning German.
Each of the 28 units presents one or more related grammar topics,
illustrated by examples which serve as models for the exercises that
follow. These wide-ranging and varied exercises enable the student to
master each grammar point thoroughly.
Basic German is suitable for independent study and for class use.
• Clear grammatical explanations with examples in both English and
• Authentic language samples from a range of media
• Checklists at the end of each Unit to reinforce key points
• Cross-referencing to other grammar chapters
• Full exercise answer key
• Glossary of grammatical terms
Basic German is the ideal reference and practice book for beginners but
also for students with some knowledge of the language.
Heiner Schenke is Senior Lecturer in German at the University of
Westminster and Karen Seago is Course Leader for Applied Translation
at the London Metropolitan University.
Other titles available in the Grammar Workbooks series are:
Titles of related interest published by Routledge:
by Dietlinde Hatherall and Glyn Hatherall
Modern German Grammar: A Practical Guide, Second Edition
by Bill Dodd, Christine Eckhard-Black, John Klapper, Ruth Whittle
Modern German Grammar Workbook, Second Edition
by Heidi Zojer, Bill Dodd, Christine Eckhard-Black, John Klapper,
A GRAMMAR AND
Heiner Schenke and Karen Seago
First published 2004
11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE
Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada
29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group
© 2004 Heiner Schenke and Karen Seago
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted
or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical,
or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including
photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or
retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers.
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book has been requested
ISBN 0–415–28404–X (hbk)
This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2005.
“To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s
collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.”
ISBN 0-203-64270-8 Master e-book ISBN
ISBN 0-203-67466-9 (Adobe eReader Format)
1 What’s diﬀerent in German? Basic tips and patterns 1
2 Verbs in the present tense 6
3 Verb variations and irregular verbs 12
4 Irregular verbs: haben and sein 19
5 Separable verbs in the present tense 24
6 Imperatives 30
7 Questions 36
8 Nouns and gender 42
9 Plural of nouns 50
10 The four cases 56
11 The nominative case 62
12 The accusative case 65
13 The dative case 70
14 The genitive case 75
15 Personal pronouns 79
16 Possessive adjectives 87
17 Reﬂexive verbs 92
18 Negatives 97
19 Comparison of adjectives and adverbs 102
20 Modal verbs 109
21 The present perfect tense 116
22 The simple past tense 124
23 The future tense 130
24 Prepositions 135
25 Adjective endings 143
26 Numbers and dates 151
27 Conjunctions and clauses 158
28 Word order 167
Key to exercises and checklists 175
Glossary of grammatical terms 200
Common irregular verbs 203
Basic German is aimed at absolute beginners and those learners who have
some knowledge of German but who need to refresh and consolidate basic
structures. It can be used on its own or in connection with any major German
coursebook and it is suitable for self-study, class-based learning or reference
Presentation of grammar
The book explains the essentials of German grammar in clear and simple
language. The format is easily accessible and grammar topics follow a pro-
gression, which moves from simple aspects to more complex features. For
more in-depth study, there are cross-references to related grammar items.
Explanations are simple and avoid specialised terminology while introducing
key terms. The vocabulary is practical and functional. It is introduced on a
cumulative basis and builds on vocabulary associated with topics featured in
major course books.
Structure of units
There are 28 units. Each unit covers one key grammar topic, which is con-
trasted with English structures where appropriate. Each topic starts out with
an overview. This is followed by detailed explanation in an easy-to-follow
step-by-step layout, breaking down complex aspects into simple segments.
Examples in English and German illustrate each point and introduce relevant
Checklists and exercises
Integrated exercises allow immediate practice to consolidate each grammar
point. Exercises are varied and progress from simple recognition to more
complex application of grammar points.
A checklist at the end of each unit reinforces main points and provides an
opportunity to self-assess understanding of the material covered.
Answers to all exercises and checklists are at the end of the book.
Using the book as a grammar reference
Unit headings indicate which grammar point is covered, and the glossary
provides clear deﬁnitions and simple explanations of key grammatical terms.
When appropriate, cross-references are provided within units.
Unit 1 highlights some basic principles where the structures of German are
fundamentally diﬀerent from English. It explains their characteristics in
simple terms and draws attention to underlying patterns. Extra tips on how
to learn a language and learning speciﬁc grammar points are provided in this
unit and throughout the book.
The book is suitable for
• independent learners
• GCSE preparation
• AS/A-level revision
• beginners’ courses at university and in further education
• adult education courses.
What’s different in German? Basic tips
Learning German is often perceived as diﬃcult. In 1880, Mark Twain
famously dubbed it ‘the awful German language’, protesting ‘Surely there is
not another language that is so slipshod and systemless, and so slippery and
elusive to the grasp’ (Mark Twain, ‘The awful German language’, The Tramp
Abroad, 1880 (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1997), pp. 390–402).
But is this really the case? One thing that is very helpful in learning German
is that it is a systematic language, which follows rules. There are many ways to
make these rules easier to learn, and there are quite a few tips which will help
you in learning the language.
If you approach the language step by step you will ﬁnd that it is much
easier than you may think at the beginning. Here are pointers to some basic
principles where German is diﬀerent from English, and which may be useful
before you start out with the grammar proper.
Spelling – capital letters and different characters
There are a few ways in which German spelling is diﬀerent from English.
Capital letters for nouns
German is one of the few languages which uses
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