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Basics 1 is the first skill in the German language tree. It contains five lessons teaching the most basic elements of one's first sentences.

Tips and Notes[]

Capitalizing Nouns[]

In German, all nouns are capitalized. This is actually a handy way of identifying nouns in sentences.

Three Grammatical Genders=Three Types of Nouns[]

German contains something called grammatical gender. Everything in German is one of four things: masculine, feminine, neuter, or plural. For example, der Mann is masculine, die Frau is feminine, and das Kind is neuter (plurals are going to be done in a later skill). This is easily shown by the fact that the word for "the" changes for each gender. It is strongly recommended that you learn the genders of nouns as you learn them. If you need to guess, the most common gender is masculine.

Verb Conjugation[]

Verb conjugation in German is different from English. In German, regular verbs are conjugated by finding the invariant stem (usually this is the verb infinitive minus the -en or -n) and adding the ending depending on the pronoun being used:

English Personal Pronoun Ending German Example
I -e ich spiele
You (singular, informal) -st du spielst
He/She/It -t er/sie/es spielt
We -en wir spielen
You (plural, informal) -t ihr spielt
You (formal) -en Sie spielen
They -en sie spielen

Notice that "we," "they" and "you (formal)" all have the same ending.

Conjugation for sein[]

However, not all verbs are regular. One learned in this skill is sein ("to be"). Let's look at the conjugation:

English "to be" German sein
I am ich bin
You are (singular, informal) du bist
He/She/It is er/sie/es ist
We are wir sind
You (plural, informal) ihr seid
You (formal) Sie sind
They sie sind

As you can see, it does not match any of the regular verb conjugation endings above. It will need to be committed to memory.


These objects are the two dots often seen on German vowels. They literally mean "around the sound;" the sound can be described as the vowel, followed by an e. In fact, if you do not have access to these letters outside of Duolingo, writing ae, ue or oe is considered sufficient (German uses ä, ü, and ö).

Continuous Aspect[]

Mostly, that there is none. In English, we can differentiate between something that is currently happening and something that is usually done.

For example:

  • "He is eating."
  • "He eats."

In German, the same is used for each (ich esse in this case). There is no generally accepted way of showing the difference in German.


Lesson 1[]

  • der Mann = man
  • die Frau = woman
  • der Junge = boy
  • ich = I
  • bin = am
  • ein = a/an
  • eine = a/an

Lesson 2[]

  • das Mädchen = girl
  • das Kind = child
  • du = you (singular informal)
  • bist = are (2nd person singular informal)
  • und = and

Lesson 3[]

  • das Wasser = water
  • das Brot = bread
  • er = he
  • sie = she
  • es = it
  • ist = is
  • trinkt = drinks (3rd person singular)


Duolingo Lesson: www.duolingo.com/skill/de/Basics-1