You know the feeling…
You’ve just sent off an email in German. Or submitted a paper to your German professor. Or sent your translated resume to a hiring manager.
You’re communicating in another language, and you’re on top of the world!
Until you start reading over your work, and…
There it is, staring you in the face. That one little grammatical mistake: a misspelled verb, a misused article, an improperly constructed clause.
“Ugh, not again! How could I have missed that?!”
First of all, don’t be so hard on yourself. Learning German is no walk in the park.
And second, there is absolutely no reason to let German grammar ruin your day.
The internet is full of amazing tools designed for both German learners and native speakers to achieve a high level of German grammatical accuracy. As a learner, you can use them to check yourself on tricky grammar subjects, or to provide an extra level of security when you have to submit something important in German for school or work.
Online grammar checkers—when used correctly—can help you bridge the gap between “nearly fluent” and “fluent.”
Best of all, there’s something available for every budget.
Read on to find our top six best solutions for checking your German grammar online.
How to Use German Grammar Checkers to Learn the Language
If you’re a proud language learner, using an electronic grammar check program may feel like, well, cheating.
We’re here to tell you that you shouldn’t feel bad about using grammar checkers. However, you’ll need to exercise some caution while using them. Here are our top two tips for using German grammar checkers correctly.
First, don’t take automatic grammar checkers at face value. These tools definitely aren’t perfect. If you run any novels or YouTube transcripts through these grammar checkers, they’ll flag foreign words and slang words left and right, for one thing. Make sure to review all changes suggested by whatever software you use to maximize the quality of your German writing.
Second, once you get the corrections, you need to actually study them. Funnily enough, the things that German grammar checkers are best at are the exact problems that non-native speakers tend to have. If you use the wrong article, or incorrectly conjugate an irregular verb, the algorithm will pick that right up. So, using a German grammar checker can actually be an incredible and unconventional learning opportunity: it shows you where you have room for improvement.
Don’t just copy and paste the corrected text—actually write it out again, by hand if you have the time. Really focusing on what you need to improve means that the next time you write something similar, you’ll recall the correct phrasing easily.
Of course, you’ll get more out of the feedback from online grammar checkers as you build your own mastery of German grammar.
For an entertaining and effective way to absorb good German grammar, try FluentU.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
You can tap or click on any unfamiliar word in a video to see an instant definition—along with an audio clip to guide your pronunciation and additional usage examples.
With many words and phrases, you’ll get grammar tips. And you can quickly put them to use with the adaptive quizzes that track your learning and help you review difficult concepts.
Among the wide variety of topics—like business, culture, humor, tech and food—some videos even address specific aspects of German grammar, like grammatical cases or verbs with prepositions.
Check out FluentU today with a free trial and see how its natural approach to language learning gives you a better grasp of German grammar and vocabulary.
German Grammar Checkers: 6 Online Tools to Build Your Writing Confidence in 2020
Duden is the number one name in German dictionaries, so much so that people say in dem Duden (“in the dictionary”) as if that were the word for the concept itself. This tool, made by the folks behind the dictionary, is probably one of the most well-trusted and effective out of the whole list.
How to Use
When you open the site, you’ll see a yellow box right in the middle. Paste your text on the left side, and you’ll see suggested corrections appear on the right. Any mistakes are highlighted in yellow, which is a little bit disappointing because you have to click on each one to see what the mistake really is.
Free up to 800 characters. Free registration bumps that up to 1500 and also unlocks a short personal dictionary and options for Swiss and Austrian German corrections. For 15 euros a month, you get a 40,000 character limit, no ads and tips for your writing style.
LanguageTool is one of the world’s most popular free, open-source grammar checking websites. It’s available in a ton of different European and Asian languages, and it has a slick and uncluttered user interface. There’s also a Chrome extension that works by checking your mistakes in text fields—perfect for checking your mistakes in YouTube comments or tweets!
How to Use
Select “German” from the menu at the bottom if you haven’t already, and fire away! Errors of different types are highlighted in different colors, making it easy to focus your attention on one or another weak spot.
Free users can check 20,000 characters, and if you pay five dollars per month that turns into 40,000. The paid tier also purportedly has significantly more checks to perform that might catch trickier errors, such as gender pronouns with proper nouns.
Upwork is an interesting spin on dedicated grammar checking websites. It’s actually a freelance work marketplace, the biggest out of all of them. You can find people to edit videos, build websites—and proofread your German. If you’re writing something like a funding application or medical procedure documentation, and you don’t want to leave the quality control to the machines, Upwork may be the right choice.
How to Use
Setting up an account on Upwork requires that you write your job posting and dress it up with tags to make it easily findable. Then freelancers will apply and you can sift through them to find the right one. The more money you spend on Upwork and the higher your ratings, the faster you’ll find people to work for you.
Since you’re hiring individuals, the price can vary significantly! Usually, you get what you pay for, meaning that professional German proofreaders will expect more for their time than someone just starting out. You can look at other German proofreading jobs and see what kind of budget you need to come up with.
“rsp” stands for Rechtschreibprüfung, or “spelling and grammar test.” In addition to its effective grammar check tool, rsp24 offers several unique features for both its free and premium users. Features such as extracting your corrected text into a PDF, DOC or DOCX format, add-ons for Chrome and Firefox browsers and the possibility of creating a personalized dictionary make it an ideal tool for German self-learners.
How to Use
Follow the Hier bitte den Text eingeben! (Put your text in here!) arrow and simply paste. The buttons on the bottom offer some interesting analysis tools not found in other free solutions: You can run a check on your ease of writing, and also see how many “filler words” you’ve used.
rsp24 is actually affiliated with LanguageTool, and they share the same premium price point at five euros a month. That gives you access to a Microsoft Word plugin—but with a free account you can upload your previously-written Word documents directly. This is a great way to catch mistakes you might’ve missed in long documents, such as a thesis at a German university.
GermanCorrector.com is especially suited to beginners who are looking for a simple, straightforward grammar check tool to correct basic writing and grammar mistakes. There are minimal ads and the corrections are unobtrusive without seeming too gentle.
How to Use
Like the others, just paste in your text and press “Submit.” Here you also have the option to auto-apply the corrections, but we recommend not doing that because then you won’t be able to learn for yourself!
GermanCorrector.com is another user of the LanguageTool IPA, but this time it’s all free all the time! There’s no way to export out to Word or upgrade to 40,000 characters, but for quick texts you can be quite happy with GermanCorrector.com.
6. Google Search
If you only want to check if a short sentence or expression is grammatically correct and usable, you can Google it between quotation marks and you’ll get results for texts existing online that match your search. If you see several boldfaced results where your expression is used, it means you’re good to go.
How to Use
Interestingly enough, human languages are so complex that if you search for any phrase longer than six or seven words it’s unlikely that you’ll get lots of results. Obviously for quick phrases like das Fenster (the window), you’ll get millions of results. But don’t be surprised if only a handful of results appear for longer phrases.
The key thing is to check where those results come from. Are they only from dictionaries or student assignments? Pass. But if they appear on German blogs or in German articles, you know they’re legit.
Totally free! Just exercise standard web-browsing caution if you end up following the links to other websites.
German grammar checkers are a fantastic resource for German learners. They can see you through important German writing assignments—and, if used correctly, they can also be a powerful tool for reinforcing your German grammatical know-how.
The most important thing is to not be afraid of German grammar. Just write. And with a little help here and there, you’ll be dashing off German essays in no time.