The beginner’s guide to learning German in Singapore (2022)

 22 December, 2022
 Lingo School of Knowledge
The beginner’s guide to learning German in Singapore (2022)

German and English actually come from the same Germanic language group, which includes 47 living languages. However, while German and English are in the same language group, they differ largely, especially when it comes to grammar.

This is because German is one of the few Germanic languages that still utilise old English grammar, making it similar to Latin or Russian. This means that new learners won’t be able to simply replace the words of a sentence with German words. For example, hilf mir doch mal jemand in German would literally translate to somebody me help in English.

(Literalmente sería: Help me yet once somebody! El ejemplo está mal traducido si se supone, como dice el texto, es literal. De todos modos no sirve de nada porque es una estructura muy compleja que no entenderán hasta el segundo año de enseñanza. Para motivarles a estudiar yo diría que, más bien, echa pa´tras.)

Needless to say, the grammatical side of German is one of the trickiest things to learn at the beginning. However, once you get the hang of old Saxon grammar, you’ll be gut.

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5 beginner German Grammar rules to learn

Grammar’s the nuts and bolts when it comes to any language. When it comes to learning a new tongue, it’s important to not just be able to memorise lists, but to know exactly how to build words together so as to communicate effectively.

You’ll need to get down and dirty with the rules of German grammar if you want to become fluent in the language. Here are five German grammar rules to get you started:


Grammar rule & what it is



Noun genders, sentence cases, and definite and indefinite article.

In German, nouns are either masculine, feminine or neutral.

Depending on the noun’s gender and sentence case, we might need to change the corresponding definite or indefinite articles.

Der Hund ist braun.

(The dog is brown.)

Hund is a masculine noun and the subject of this sentence, so it comes after der (the).

Ich sehe den Hund.

(I see the dog.)

The dog is the object of the sentence and in the accusative case. We have to use den (the).

Ich kaufe dem Hund das Essen.

(I buy the dog the food.)

Here, the dog is now the indefinite object and in dative case. Der (the) becomes dem.

Ich kaufe das Essen des Hundes.

(I buy the food of the dog.)

The genitive case shows possession. As the food belongs to the dog, we use the genitive masculine definite article des. Most nouns after des usually have an added -s or -es at the end (ie. Hunds).


Adjective endings

Not only do gender and case dictate definite articles, but they also dictate the endings of preceding adjectives.

All adjective endings must agree with both noun and case.

Der schwarze Hund hat Hunger.

(The black dog is hungry.)

Dog is both masculine (gender) and nominative (case). We need to add an -e to the end of schwarz (black) as it follows a definite article.

Correcto, pero porque sólo poner el determinado? Ein schwarzer Hund hat Hunger.

El determinado y el indeterminado rigen por dos sistemas diferentes

Ich habe einen beigen Hund gefunden.

(I found a beige dog.)

As the dog is the object of the sentence, it’s now in the accusative case and follows an indefinite article, so it ends with an -en.

Femenino: Ich habe eine junge Frau gesehen

Neutro: Ich habe ein junges Mädchen gesehen

Si pones esto, tienes que poner los demás géneros, digo yo.

Luego van a clase y te explican que ya saben que el accusativo es “en”

Das Essen des jungen Hunds ist hier.

(The young dog’s food is here.)

Genitive masculine nouns require their adjectives (ie. essen) to end in -en.

Ich gebe dem jungen Hund das Essen.

(I am giving the food to the young dog.)

As the dog is the indefinite object of the sentence, it takes the dative case. Alt??? ends in -en.


Verbs come second

German verbs usually come second in a sentence. However, there are exceptions.

Ich sehe den Hund und ich gebe ihm das Spielzeug.

(I see the dog and give him the toy.)

Here we have two clauses joined by und (and). Both verbs come second, after the subject.


Plurals are formed differently

In English, plurals are formed by adding an “s” at the end.

In German, plurals are formed in different ways and are affected by cases.

Examples of cases include: Nominative case, accusative case, dative case, and genitive case.

Der Hund (dog) → Die Hunde (dogs)

All plural nouns take die as their definite article.

Die Banane (the banana) → Die Bananen (bananas)

If a word already ends in -e, then the plural usually involves adding an –n.

Das Auto (the car) → Die Autos (cars)

Nouns that come from foreign words form plurals with a -s at the end.

Der Mann (the man) → Die Männer (men)

Some plurals are formed by adding both an umlaut and a new ending. In this case, Mann becomes männer.

Der Vater (the father) → Die Väter (fathers)

Many plural nouns that end in -el or -er have an umlaut. Here, Vater becomes Väter.

Si le dáis tanta importancia al plural, no podeis poner algunos ejemplos sueltos. Hay normas y reglas y cinco grupos de plural - nueve con sus respectivos subgrupos. Es muy pesado, sí, pero así no sólo asusta sino también despista

PS. in the dative case, Väter becomes Vätern.

También te digo: ¿Quién se anima a estudiar alemán si le dicen que el dativo de Väter es Vätern???


There is a formal and informal “you”

You can either use du (informal) or die (formal).

Ich liebe dich.

(I love you.)

Dich is the informal accusative term for du.

Geben Sie mir bitte den Kuchen.

(Please give me the cake.)

Sie is the formal version of “you.”

Haben Sie schon gegessen?

(Have you already eaten?)

Sie is always capitalised when it means you.

Wie geht es Ihnen?

(How are you?)

Sie becomes Ihnen in formal dative, and needs to be capitalised.

Ich hab’s dir gegeben.

(I gave it to you.)

Dir is the dative informal version of you. (and is not capitalised, only at the beginning of a sentence. Otro despiste)

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Basic German words and phrases to know

In order to have your first basic conversation in German, here are 20 words and phrases that will help you greatly, especially on your travels!

German word


Hallo! Wie geht’s?

Hello, how are you?

Ich heiße [Name].

My name is [Name].

Wie heißen Sie?

What is your name?

Ich komme aus…

I am from…

Guten Morgen!

Good morning!

Guten Tag!

Good afternoon!

Guten Abend!

Good evening!

Gute Nacht!

Good night!

Viel Glück.

Good luck!

Danke sehr.

Thank you very much!

Entschuldigen Sie.

Excuse me.

Es tut mir leid.

I’m sorry.

Tschüss! Bis zum nächsten Mal.

Goodbye! See you next time.

Freut mich.

Nice to meet you.

Wie viel?

How much?

Wie viele?

How many?

Wo ist die Toilette?

Where is the toilet?

Ich spreche kein Deutsch.

I do not speak German.

































What are some of the best ways to learn German?

Today, more than half of the world is bilingual[1]. So while there are endless ways to learn a new language, what exactly is the best option for you?

    • Group lessons are good for communication skills - Group learners often learn as much from one another as they do from their teacher.
    • If you are planning on taking an examination, a group setting is a great way to acquaint yourself with exam formats.
    • Group lessons can cater to specific topics or industries.
    • Group lessons are cheaper compared to individual lessons.

Read: If you struggle with picking up a new language, group lessons could help immensely

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  • Individual german lessons
    • Individual lessons are a great option for those who are looking to build confidence quickly, as there is only one student and teacher.
    • Can allow for better focus on the jargon required for your business needs.
    • Easier to organise, and are a better option for those with tight schedules.
    • Ideal for intermediate and advanced learners who are working on pronunciation issues.

Read: Are individual or group lessons better for you?

Can I learn German on my own?

While learning German on your own may prove to be challenging, immersing yourself in the language will help you learn faster and better.

  • Watch German movies and TV shows
  • Listen to podcasts and YouTube videos
  • Read German books. Start with books for kids to memorise basic vocabulary. To improve pronunciation, read aloud.
  • Speak German with friends. You can learn how to speak German with a friend - one of the best ways to do it is practice in a class setting if you lack the connections.

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Speaking a foreign language is a great skill that benefits our cognitive abilities; bilingual seniors experience less cognitive decline than their monolingual peers[2].

Read: Are your language skills preventing you from progressing in your career? 

Are you ready to start learning some German? At Lingo School, we love making learning easy. Contact us today to start your Hochdeutsch journey. Viel Glück and all the best!

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  1. Grosjean, F. (Ed.). (2021). The Extent of Bilingualism. Cambridge University Press; Cambridge University Press.
  2. Marian, V., & Shook, A. (2012). The cognitive benefits of being bilingual. Cerebrum: The Dana Forum on Brain Science, 2012, 13.

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