Grammar terminology (part 4)

Grammatical gender of nouns is indicated by the definite articles. Der – masculine noun, die – feminine noun, das – neutral noun. Grammatical and biological gender ought not to be mixed up. However, with people, grammatical gender coincides with biological gender.

Tenses are forms of verbs indicating when something is taking place, has taken place or will be taking place. For example, the present tense (das Präsens) is used to describe something that is in the process of happening, to describe facts or the eternal truth. The perfect tense (das Perfekt) describes events that are completed or happened in the past.

A relative pronoun is used to introduce a relative clause to explain the antecedent of the previous clause in more detail. In German, the finite verb is moved to the end in a relative clause.

A modal verb is used to modify a main verb to indicate that something may, can, must, or is allowed to happen. Modal verbs are conjugated and used together with an infinite that is placed at the end of a sentence.

The subjunctive is used to describe something that is not real, wishful thinking or attached to conditions. Sometimes in laymen terms it is referred to as the conditional.

That brings us to the end of our 4 weekly instalments, which explain German grammar in more details. Please get in touch if you are interested in learning or improving your German.

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