Don’t Make these Common Mistakes GERMAN learners make

Don’t Make these Common Mistakes GERMAN learners make

Willkommen bei Spring German. Ich bin Denisa.

We all make mistakes, especially while learning a foreign language. In this video, I will introduce you to 5 common mistakes German learners make every time. This way, you will be prepared and you can avoid them. Now, let’s start with the first one. Los geht’s!

1. Don’t mix up word gender

The most common mistake is mixing up the articles, which is no wonder since there are three.

VANESSA
Drei?
(3?)

DENISA
Yes, der, die and das. Komm. Ich erklär es dir.
(Come. I’ll explain it to you.)

German has three articles : der, die & das. Their usage depends on the gender of the noun. It’s important to memorize the gender of each noun to avoid errors in article usage.

Try the color trick: memorizing the words in different colors, for example all masculine words in blau (blue), all feminine words in rot (red) and all neuter words in gelb (yellow). I did a whole video about that topic, which you can check out here.

Following up that mistake, beginners are mixing up er (he) & sie (she).

There are several languages in the world that do not have a distinction between “he” and “she” pronouns. Some examples of such languages are Turkish or Finnish. They have only one word for “he” and “she”, so only the context determines the gender of the person being referred to.

SELMA
Sie hat eine coole Jacke.
(She has a cool jacket.)

DENISA
Wen meinst du?
(Who do you mean?)

SELMA
Daniel.
(Daniel.)

DENISA
Ach so. Du meinst: Er hat eine coole Jacke.
(Oh I see. You mean: He has a cool jacket.)

SELMA
Ja, genau. Danke für die Verbesserung.
(Yes, exactly. Thanks for the correction.)

Chunk alert!

The chunk for today is “Danke für die Verbesserung” (Thanks for the correction). Making mistakes is completely fine and normal. If you want to learn a language properly, you have to accept that you will be corrected a few times. This will only help you in your learning journey. So when it happens, you can respond: Danke für die Verbesserung (Thanks for the correction).

If you want to learn more about chunks in German, check our free essential German chunking kit.

2. Don’t confuse the word order

VANESSA
Ich heute ins Kino gehe.
(I go to the cinema today.)

DENISA
Du meinst: Ich gehe heute ins Kino.
(You mean: I go to the cinema today.)

VANESSA
Stimmt. Ich komme immer durcheinander. Danke für die Verbesserung.
(Right. I always get confused. Thanks for the correction.)

DENISA
Gerne. Ich versteh das.
(With pleasure. I understand that.)

We all get confused from time to time with the word order when learning a new language. Das Wichtige ist (The important thing is) to keep the subject and verb together and never separate them.

Some examples:

  • Ich gehe ins Kino. (I go to the cinema.)
  • Martin arbeitet als Kellner. (Martin works as a waiter.)
  • Julia lernt Deutsch. (Julia learns German.)

At the end of this video, I will show you one very common mistake that will already show in small talk. Stay tuned.

3. Don’t pronounce “ch” incorrectly

DENISA
Ich singe gerne.
( I like to sing.)

Ich tanze gerne.
(I like to dance.)

Ich spiele gerne Videospiele.
(I like to play video games.)

Which way is it correct? Ich (I) is the right pronunciation here. Other words with this pronunciation of ch are:

  • Licht (light)
  • Küche (kitchen)
  • Milch (Milch)

But when there are closed vowels like “a” or “o” in front of the “ch” it’s pronounced “ch”. Some examples:

  • lachen (to laugh)
  • kochen (to cook)
  • Bach (creek)

To practice the pronunciation, you can repeat this sentence: Ich stehe in der Küche und koche. (I stand in the kitchen and cook.)

4. Don’t get confused with the false friends

DENISA
Was willst du nach deinem Studium werden?
(What do you want to become after studying?)
(Why?)

SELMA
Ich bekomme Ärztin.
(I become a doctor.)

DENISA
Du meinst: Ich werde Ärztin.
(You mean: I become a doctor.)

Using the word “bekommen” (to receive) instead of “werden” (to become) is a typical mistake German beginners do. False friends are words that appear to have the same meaning in two languages, but actually have different meanings.

Here are some examples of false friends for you:

  • aktuell” (currently) in German means “currently”, not “actual”.
  • Chef” (boss) in German means “boss” , not “cook”.
  • giftig” (poisonous) in German means “poisonous”, not “a gift”.

5. One of the most common mistakes German learners make: Don’t say “Ich bin gut”, say this

DENISA
Hi. Wie geht’s dir?
(Hi. How are you?)

VANESSA
Ich bin gut. Dir?
(I’m good. And you?)

DENISA
Du meinst: Mir geht es gut.
(You mean: I’m good.)

VANESSA
Ja. Danke für die Verbesserung. Mir geht es gut.
(Yes. Thanks for the correction. I’m good.)

DENISA
Gerne. Mir geht’s auch gut, danke.
(With pleasure. I’m good, too, thanks.)

If you’re doing small talk with someone, and you want to say that you’re good, don’t say “Ich bin gut” which is literally translated “I’m good”.

However, in German, the correct phrase to express that you’re feeling good is “Mir geht es gut” (I’m good) or “Ich fühle mich gut” (I’m feeling good).

If you are trying to say that you are good at something, for example, “I am good at playing the piano”, you could say “Ich bin gut im Klavierspielen“(I am good at playing the piano) or “Ich spiele gut Klavier“(I am good at playing the piano).

In this context, “gut” (good) is used to describe your ability, rather than how you’re feeling.

If you want to learn more about small talk, we have a whole video about it here. See you there!

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