German grammar has some tricks up its sleeves! But if you know what those tricks are, German won’t be able to fool you!
Surprisingly, you don’t actually need a whole lot of German grammar knowledge to start understanding the language. However, without a basic understanding, you run the risk of significantly slowing down your German-speaking abilities or being tricked into a false sense of fluency.
If you get used to reading and listening to German without understanding the grammar, you won’t know how to put together even simple sentences when it’s time to speak. If you’re uncomfortable with noun endings or you’re not really sure what the subjunctive does, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not reviewing German grammar.
Don’t get scared, though—there is an abundance of online tools for learning German grammar!
We’ve done the legwork for you and put together what we think are the five most straightforward and effective websites to master the grammar component of learning German. Within this list of five websites, you’re sure to find at least one that fits your German learning fancy.
The 5 Best Places to Learn German Grammar Online
Here you’ll find a fun and whimsical take on grammar, presented in a way that nobody else has been able to match.
The folks over at the University of Texas have written an entire grammar course based around Grimm’s Fairy Tales, which were originally written in German.
One thing that’s particularly good about this resource is that it has a lot of parallel texts (English and German side-by-side) as well as breakdowns of the grammar components within the stories.
Reading a text once in English and then again in German is a great way to expose yourself to the natural way that German flows and really get used to German writing styles while being able to compare it to the English version.
Each story is broken down into a series of parallel sentences complete with audio and a demonstration of how the grammar is used within the context.
All of the sentences slowly and collectively complete the story. You can even listen to the whole story being read by a native German speaker.
At the end, there are exercises to test your comprehension and grasp of the grammar content. Easy, entertaining and educational!
One of the most effective ways to learn German grammar is in context. That’s where FluentU comes in.
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.
FluentU keeps track of the words you’re learning and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.
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.
Dartmouth German Grammar Review
This grammar resource from Dartmouth University might be one of the best-known and most-used German grammar guides online.
If you open it up and scroll through it, you might at first be intimidated by the sheer amount of text and tables presented.
This is a no-frills grammar resource and not something that leads you through a story like Grimm Grammar does. So, what can you expect if you decide to utilize this German grammar resource?
First, each lesson starts with an introduction in English to a specific grammar topic.
Reading the explanation in English gives you the framework for then learning that grammar point in German.
Then, the lesson continues in English but with corresponding examples in German. Each grammar lesson also includes graphics of movie posters, book covers or advertisements that illustrate the particular grammar point in nice bite-size and easy-to-digest pieces.
The online resource is ideal for you if you prefer very black and white and right-to-the-point lessons.
German for English Speakers
Next on the list is a grammar resource written in a light, conversational style. The clean and modern site layout is also attractive because it avoids clutter and keeps you focused on the main content.
You won’t find any newspaper ads or cartoons here.
Instead, you’ll be walked through each grammar point in a very clear and concise manner. The lessons are written in English, and examples are provided in both English and German.
You’ll find lessons starting with the German alphabet, pronunciation, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure. Then, you’ll move into nouns and articles, adjectives, pronouns, verbs, adverbs and conjunctions. This is your one-stop-shop to the complete framework of German grammar.
German for English Speakers is a very informative online German grammar resource. Lessons also might include relevant cultural and historical information and useful charts.
Now, let’s talk about a more interactive German grammar learning tool. Lingolia publishes grammar guides for a variety of languages, and one of their best features is the verb conjugator tool.
There are about as many irregular German verbs as there are irregular English verbs (it’s a lot) and so this tool is very useful for beginners and low-intermediate learners who haven’t fully grasped the verbal system yet.
Another strong point is that they have several in-depth articles about word order, which is often undertaught in foreign language classes.
There are also extensive vocabulary sections right on the main site, which are organized by theme and simple texts and audio to practice.
Lastly, they’ve got a neat trick built into their web design that keeps you thinking more in German and less in English as you browse the site. Each German sentence requires you to mouse over it before you can see the English translation. Many of us read English far more naturally than we read German, so our eyes automatically jump to the English side of a text box and spoil the surprise before we can try decoding the German.
Not here! Your mind will stay in German the whole way through as you navigate this useful website.
If you’re more of a game-player, then you’ll enjoy this last resource as we wrap up this guide.
Instead of reference material and black and white lessons, GamesforLanguage offers language learners grammar-based flashcard games.
Their flashcards are slick and well-designed. They’re a great way to take a break from reading through articles and looking at grammar charts.
If you’ve got five minutes, why not play a lightning round of verb conjugations or a vocabulary review?
One thing you should note, though, is that these games are a little repetitive. They also don’t progress much beyond a very basic tourist level.
However, the basic level is exactly when you need that repetition the most. If you go through all of these games as you’re learning the ins and outs of German grammar, you’ll quickly notice that the extra practice will really make a big difference.
Before too long if you really dedicate some time to learn German grammar online, you’ll be able to speak German more fluidly than you might have ever imagined. Like breathing air, it’ll feel like it’s something you were meant to do!
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.