User:German Lessons/Level I/Freizeit

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Lesson I.4: Freizeit


Literally, Freizeit means free time, i.e., spare time. In this dialogue, Franz and Greta are familiarizing each other with their sports activities.

Dialogue: English language.svg Sports and time — Flag of Germany and Austria.svg Sport und Zeit
Franz Hallo, Greta! Wie spät ist es?
Greta Es ist Viertel vor drei.
Franz Wirklich? Ich spiele um drei Fußball. Machst du Sport, Greta?
Greta Nein, ich bin faul. Ich gehe jetzt nach Hause.
Franz Fußball macht aber Spaß!
Greta Bis dann.
Franz Wiedersehen!
Vocabulary: English language.svg Sports and Time — Flag of Germany and Austria.svg Sport und Zeit
English German
late spät
the quarter das Viertel
to (+ hour) vor (+ hour)
three drei
(to) play spielen
I play ich spiele
at (+ time) um (+ time)
the soccer der* Fußball
(to) make; (to) do machen
you make; you do du machst
the sport(s) der Sport
lazy faul
(to) go gehen
I go ich gehe
now jetzt
to (+ place) nach (+ place)
the house das Haus
home (direction) nach Hause
at home (place) zu Hause
but aber
the fun der Spaß

*The audio recording says "das", but it should be "der".

Sports and ActivitiesEdit

Vocabulary: English language.svg Sports and activities — Flag of Germany and Austria.svg Sport und Aktivitäten
English German
the sport(s) der Sport
the interests, hobbies, activities die Hobbys (singular: das Hobby)
the football/soccer der Fußball
the American football der Football (pronounced as in English)
the volleyball der Volleyball
the basketball der Basketball
the tennis das Tennis
the baseball der Baseball (pronounced as in English)
the 9-pin bowling das Kegeln
the chess das Schach
the board game das Brettspiel
the game das Spiel
the homework die Hausaufgaben (usually plural; singular: die Hausaufgabe)
the TV watching das Fernsehen (the TV: der Fernseher)
the movie der Film

Section Problems>>

Spielen, Machen and Other VerbsEdit

All three verbs that you were introduced to in Lesson 2 are irregular in some way; however, most verbs are regular verbs. In English, the regular conjugation is very easy: only for the third person singular an "-s" is added to the infinitive ("to see" becomes "he/she/it sees"). Unfortunately, there are more endings in German. The following two tables show the endings for the two regular verbs spielen (to play) and machen (to do; to make):

Verb: English language.svg to play — Flag of Germany and Austria.svg spielen
English German
singular 1st person I play ich spiele
2nd person you play du spielst
3rd person he/she/it plays er/sie/es spielt
plural 1st person we play wir spielen
2nd person you play ihr spielt
3rd person they play sie spielen
Verb: English language.svg to do_make — Flag of Germany and Austria.svg machen
English German
singular 1st person I do/make ich mache
2nd person you do/make du machst
3rd person he/she/it does/makes er/sie/es macht
plural 1st person we do/make wir machen
2nd person you do/make ihr macht
3rd person they do/make sie machen

As you see, the endings are the same for corresponding forms of spielen and machen. In fact, they are the same for all regular verbs. Thus, you can always just remove the -en from the infinitive of a regular German verb to form the stem (e.g., spielen becomes spiel- and machen becomes mach-) and then add the ending for the particular person. Here is a table with these endings:

Verb: English language.svg conjugation — Flag of Germany and Austria.svg Konjugation
English German
singular 1st person I - ich -e
2nd person you - du -st
3rd person he/she/it -s er/sie/es -t
plural 1st person we - wir -en
2nd person you - ihr -t
3rd person they - sie -en*

*The form for you (polite)Sie is exactly the same as for the plural, 3rd person pronoun theysie.


  • Was machst du?
What are you doing?
  • Ich spiele Basketball.
I play basketball.
  • Spielst du Fußball?
Do you play soccer?
  • Ich mache Hausaufgaben.
I do homework.
  • Er macht Hausaufgaben.
He does homework.
  • Machst du Sport?
Do you play sports?

Note that in English one plays sport, while in German one does sport. You can also use the question words from Lesson 3 to form more combinations:

  • Warum spielst du Baseball?
Why do you play baseball?
  • Wann machst du die Hausaufgaben?
When do you do the homework?

To say "not", use "nicht". "Nicht" goes after the verb but before the sport.

  • Wer spielt nicht Fußball?
Who doesn't play soccer?
  • Wir spielen nicht Tennis.
We don't play tennis.

Compound SentencesEdit

Vocabulary: English language.svg Conjunctions — Flag of Germany and Austria.svg Verbindungen
English German
and und
but aber
or oder

Both German and English have compound sentences; the applications of these are enormous. They can be used in lists and also in compound sentences. For example,

  • Ich spiele Basketball und er spielt auch Basketball.
I play basketball, and he also plays basketball.

The new word, also — auch is very important. The one grammar rule about auch is that it always comes after the verb.

Section Problems>>

Other Verbs and Their ConjugationsEdit

Grammar: English language.svg Verbs — Flag of Germany and Austria.svg Verben
English German
(to) read lesen
(to) watch schauen
(to) see sehen
(to) work arbeiten
(to) write schreiben
(to) swim schwimmen

Schauen, schreiben and schwimmen are all regular verbs; i.e., they follow regular conjugations. To conjugate them, you first remove the -en from the infinitive to form the stem (i.e., schau-, schreib-, and schwimm-), and then add the correct ending. Here is an example:

verb (infinitive) first step (stem) conjugated form
schauen schau- ich schaue

Arbeiten is an irregular verb; however, it has a simple change. Whenever the ending starts with a consonant, an -e- is added before it. For example, du arbeitest (not du arbeitst). As well as er/sie/es/ihr arbeitet (not er/sie/es/ihr arbeitt).

Lesen is also an irregular verb. For the second and third person singular the form is liest, i.e., du/er/sie/es liest (not du lesst).

Sehen is the last irregular verb. The second person singular is du siehst and the third person singular is er/sie/es sieht.

Section Problems>>

Two More Verb FormsEdit

There are two common verb forms in English that just don't exist in German: the ing-form (or: present progressive); e.g., "I am playing" or "he is making"; and forms with "to do"; e.g., "I do play" or "he does not play".

The simple rule is: these constructions don't exist in German. Thus, you should translate I am playing to ich spiele. Similarly, I do play is also translated to ich spiele. Anything else (ich mache spielen or ich bin spielen) is either not possible in German or has a different meaning.

The phrase I do not play should be translated to ich spiele nicht (literally: I play not) since nicht (not) comes usually after the verb. This may sound like Early Modern English in a play by Shakespeare, and this is no coincidence since German and English are both West Germanic languages.

Section Problems>>

Expressing likes and dislikesEdit

Vocabulary: English language.svg Expressing likes and dislikes — Flag of Germany and Austria.svg Vorlieben und Abneigungen ausdrücken
English German
What do you like to do? Was machst du gern*?
I like to play. Ich spiele gerne*.
What do you like to play? Was spielst du gerne*?
I like to play soccer. Ich spiele gerne* Fußball.

* gern and gerne can be used interchangeably.

In German, there are several ways to express likes and dislikes; this is just one of them. You can also add other verbs for other activities, e.g., I like to read.Ich lese gern. or I like to work.Ich arbeite gern. or I like to watch TV.Ich schaue gern Fernsehen.

To express preference, you can use lieber instead of gern. For example, I prefer to play basketball.Ich spiele lieber Basketball. or I prefer to read.Ich lese lieber.

To express favorite activities, you can use am liebsten (meaning most of all) instead of lieber or gern. For example, Most of all, I like to play chess.Ich spiele am liebsten Schach.

To express dislikes, you can use nicht gern instead of gern, for example I don't like to swim.Ich schwimme nicht gern. or I don't like to work.Ich arbeite nicht gern. or I don't like to play soccer.Ich spiele nicht gern Fußball.

Section Problems>>


Numbers are among the most important and most useful words: we need them to talk about time, amounts, money, etc. Even if you are "just" a tourist, you often cannot avoid numbers. Learning numbers can be a bit of a pain; thus, here is an advice: whenever you have time, count something in German; e.g., steps, cars, people, seconds, whatever: just count.

Vocabulary: English language.svg Numbers — Flag of Germany and Austria.svg Zahlen
English German
zero null*
one eins
two zwei**
three drei
four vier
five fünf
six sechs
seven sieben
eight acht
nine neun
ten zehn
eleven elf
twelve zwölf
thirteen dreizehn
fourteen vierzehn
fifteen fünfzehn
sixteen sechzehn
seventeen siebzehn
eighteen achtzehn
nineteen neunzehn
twenty zwanzig
twenty-one einundzwanzig*
twenty-two zweiundzwanzig*
twenty-three dreiundzwanzig*
24 - 29 analogous to 22 and 23
thirty dreißig
31 - 39, etc. analogous to 21 - 29
forty vierzig
fifty fünfzig
sixty sechzig
seventy siebzig
eighty achtzig*
ninety neunzig*
hundred hundert (or: einhundert)
hundred and one hunderteins*
two hundred zweihundert*
thousand tausend (or: eintausend)
two thousand zweitausend*

*Some numbers are missing in the audio recording.

**Some people sometimes say zwo instead of zwei in order to distinguishing it more clearly from drei (three).

Notice the pattern: -teen translates to -zehn, and -ty to -zig.

There is one big problem with the numbers: in German the unit position comes before the tens and is connected by und (and). For example: twenty-threedreiundzwanzig (literally: three-and-twenty), twenty-fourvierundzwanzig, thirty-fivefünfunddreißig, fourty-sixsechsundvierzig, etc.

One exception is eins which becomes ein- in 21, 31, 41, etc.: twenty-oneeinundzwanzig (literally: one-and-twenty), thirty-oneeinunddreißig, fourty-oneeinundvierzig, etc.

Actually, German is not the only language with this funny order of numbers, Danish (another Germanic language) does it the same way.

Section Problems>>

What's On the TestEdit

To go straight to the lesson test, go here.

The test will have four parts to it: Grammar (79 points), Translating (95 points), Reading Comprehension (20 points), Vocabulary (20 points), and Previous Topics (10 points) in that order. The Grammar section will test your ability to know the verbs from this lesson and it's various visions, to know articles - the genders of them and the correct usage of them, and correct word order.

The Translating section is worth the most points, and it too has three sections. You must know the translations for sentences and phrases going from English to German, and be able to take a German dialogue and translate it back into English. Also you must know the translation from Numbers to German.

The third section, Reading Comprehension, is Comprehension Questions you must know how to read the conversion and after reading you will be asked question on the previous conversion.

The fourth section is a vocabulary section. You get 20 English words on the left and 20 German words on the right, and be asked to match them. To study for that, check out the 401 flashcards related to this lesson at Part I and Part II.

The last section, Previous Topics, is a quick review on Lesson 1 to get ready for this section, just look at some past notes or go to Lesson 1 and study. That is the whole test. Take it!

(edit template)   Level I Lessons (discussion)

  I.0 Introduction

Section I.A:   I.1 Wie heißt du? (1. Teil)  I.2 Wie heißt du? (2. Teil)  I.3 Bitte buchstabieren Sie  Review Section I.A

Section I.B:   I.4 Freizeit  I.5 Geburtstag  I.6 Essen  Review Section I.B

Section I.C:   I.7 Kleidung  I.8 Familie und Nationalität  I.9 Schule  Review Section I.C

Section I.D:   I.10 Das Fest  I.11 Privileg und Verantwortung  I.12 Wetter  Review Section I.D

Section I.E:   I.13 Zu Hause essen  I.14 Filme  I.15 Das Haus  Review Section I.E