6 Best German Grammar Books for Effective Offline Learning
German grammar books are the guides you need to gain fluency in the language.
But, making sure you have the right book can be crucial in ensuring you stay motivated with your studies.
I’ve got your essential list of the best German grammar books below, complete with links, so that you have a great place to start when it comes to selecting the perfect book for your learning style.
These books are ready to teach you everything you need to know about German grammar.
- What to Look for in a German Grammar Book
- Top German Grammar Books for Your Home Library
What to Look for in a German Grammar Book
To help you find the best book out there, I’ve put together a list of the traits and components you’ll want to look for:
- Fluency level indicator: Most books will indicate in some way what levels they’re targeting. Do some self-reflection and figure out your current German level, then pick out a book that matches where you are.
- Table of contents: A simple table of contents will allow you to quickly interpret whether the book focuses on those topics you want to cover. Make sure it mentions the areas you’re concerned about improving.
- In-depth explanations and demonstrative examples: Explanations help us to digest the information we’ve been given about a grammar topic. And examples are the application of the grammar topic, so it’s critical that the examples show the student the direct relation between the grammar concept and the practical use of it.
- Practice exercises: Exercises are where we truly demonstrate whether or not we understood the grammar lesson. It’s also a way for our brains to process and apply the knowledge we’ve gained in order to ingrain it into our memory.
- Complete vocabulary lists: The majority of mastering a language comes in building a strong and varied vocabulary. The more words you can learn and apply in your own reading, writing and speaking, the better your German will get.
- Multimedia components: Supplementing traditional book study with multimedia components such as CDs, DVDs and even online counterparts can be a great way to round out your German grammar skills.
- Fun elements: Speaking of enjoyable, games can be a great way to work with the grammar lessons you’ve studied in a way that doesn’t feel like a chore. Look for books with fun cultural lessons and self-guided activities to keep you entertained and motivated.
Top German Grammar Books for Your Home Library
1. “Living Language German, Complete Edition”
Perfect For: Those who want a comprehensive, all-in-one guide to German grammar
Many students of German rave about this book, which is great for students of all levels. If you’re someone who wants to learn German and isn’t necessarily of typical school age, this is the book you’ll want to start with. And even if you’re a traditional student, it can be a great resource for supplemental learning.
Moving from beginner levels to advanced understanding of the German language, this book is actually a series of three books. Included with those books are nine audio CDs, as well as an online component. This wide offering of resources is really what makes this a great book to pick up. Students will learn a grammar foundation peppered with cultural anecdotes, speaking techniques and listening exercises. Lay your German grammar foundation right with “Living Language German.”
2. “English Grammar for Students of German”
Perfect For: Learners who want step-by-step breakdowns of tricky grammar concepts
While the title of this book might seem like it’s misplaced on our list, there are actually quite a lot of great grammar tools within its pages. When learning German, we can use English (as our first language) as a blueprint for building a foundation for German fluency. That’s why this book is geared toward all levels.
This book takes an innovative approach to learning German grammar. In any given chapter, you’ll read about a single grammar point. You’ll have access to explanations in both English and German. This means that beginners can comprehend the grammar lesson without having to wade through German explanations, while intermediate and advanced learners can practice their reading skills. This book offers an online component as well. So beyond simply focusing on German grammar topics, you’ll also get the chance to use multimedia to practice your German reading skills.
3. “Großes Übungsbuch Deutsch — Grammatik”
Perfect For: Learners who never get tired of doing practice exercises
Fundamentals are the basis upon which learning can occur, and that’s certainly the reasoning behind this German grammar book, whose title translates to “Big German Practice Book — Grammar.” Targeted toward beginner and intermediate learners, this book from the publisher Hueber will have you practicing German grammar until you can recite it in your sleep. Talk about some grumpy muttering!
This “Übungsbuch” (or “practice book,” in German) will guide you through over 500 exercises to help you gain a better understanding of the application of German grammar topics. You’ll be conjugating verbs, diagramming sentences, rearranging clauses and everything in between. Many students have increased their knowledge just by completing these 500+ exercises—and you can, too.
4. “German Quickly: A Grammar for Reading German”
Perfect For: Learners who want to practice grammar in order to improve their reading comprehension
Seeing printed German words on a page is as important to your learning as speaking or hearing them. This reading-oriented German grammar book will help anyone looking to improve their reading comprehension in German. While it does require enough knowledge of German to successfully read even a short children’s story, it’s a book that’ll grow with you as you master the German language.
Reading successfully in German, at least in this book, means taking fundamental approaches to the texts before you. You’ll learn applicable strategies and ways to tackle any German text you see. Grammar lessons guide you toward better comprehension as you read, so that you can not only understand what’s happening in the text, but also learn a bit about proper German grammar along the way.
5. “Sprichst Du Deutsch? German Vocabulary”
Perfect For: Learners who strive to polish and perfect their spoken German
“Sprichst Du Deutsch?” (“Do you speak German?”) isn’t just a question you ask strangers to see if they can help you practice. It’s also the name of a book that’s perfect speaking practice for any German language student. Whether you’ve just started speaking a few words of Denglish (that’s a mixture of Deutsch—German—and English) or can carry on a conversation without breaking a sweat, this book will help you become a better German speaker.
This book includes grammar tables and rules to guide you so you can keep an eye on your grammar as you flap your lips. A two-column section aids you in jotting down vocabulary words along with their definitions. This way, you can create individualized lists to tailor learning to your needs. And at the end of it all, it’s useful as a grammar reference tool and organizer for your vocabulary lists.
6. “German: How to Speak and Write It”
Perfect For: Learners who want to write in German with impeccable grammar
Mostly meant for beginners, this book is useful for intermediate students as well. If you’re looking to improve your spoken and written German, this book is the right choice for you.
Included are a variety of learning techniques, from sketches and diagrams to dialogues and exercises. You’ll practice some of the most common German grammar topics and be able to speak and write grammatically correct German. As you improve your written and spoken German, you’ll gain confidence in other areas of language learning as well.
Now you know some of the best German grammar books to help boost your skills!
Complement your grammar study with immersing in native German content, like articles, movies and podcasts, and your German skills will improve faster.
FluentU is one of the best websites and apps for learning German the way native speakers really use it. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Watch authentic media to simultaneously immerse yourself in the German language and build an understanding of the German culture.
By using real-life videos, the content is kept fresh and current. Topics cover a lot of ground as you can see here:
Vocabulary and phrases are learned with the help of interactive subtitles and full transcripts.
Hovering over or tapping on any word in the subtitles will automatically pause the video and instantly display its meaning. Interesting words you don’t know yet can be added to a to-learn list for later.
For every lesson, a list of vocabulary is provided for easy reference and bolstered with plenty of examples of how each word is used in a sentence.
Your existing knowledge is tested with the help of adaptive quizzes in which words are learned in context.
To keep things fresh, FluentU keeps track of the words you’re learning and recommends further lessons and videos based on what you've already studied.
This way, you have a truly personalized learning experience.
Start using FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet or practice anytime, anywhere on the mobile app for iOS and Android.
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