Frame description

The words in this frame have to do with people and the personal relationships they are a part of. Some of the words denote people engaged in a particular kind of relationship, others denote the relationship itself, and still others the events bringing about or ending the relationships.
 
German-English differences
This frame is interesting because a number of words that seem easily translatable into English actually have subtly different meanings (e.g. "Freund"/"friend," "Bekannte"/"acquaintance," "Single"/"single," "Junggeselle"/"bachelor").  Please read the entries for individual words carefully, as they provide useful information. Also, a number of words use grammatical patterns that are different from English. For example, English uses various verbs to describe the status of a relationship or changes in its nature (e.g. "fall in love," "get married"), whereas German typically uses reflexive verbs to describe such concepts (e.g. "sich verlieben," "sich heiraten"). See the grammar note "Starting and Ending Relationships" for details. 
The words in this frame have to do with people and the personal relationships they are a part of. Some of the words denote people engaged in a particular kind of relationship, others denote the relationship itself, and still others the events bringing about or ending the relationships.
 
German-English differences
This frame is interesting because a number of words that seem easily translatable into English actually have subtly different meanings (e.g. "Freund"/"friend," "Bekannte"/"acquaintance," "Single"/"single," "Junggeselle"/"bachelor").  Please read the entries for individual words carefully, as they provide useful information. Also, a number of words use grammatical patterns that are different from English. For example, English uses various verbs to describe the status of a relationship or changes in its nature (e.g. "fall in love," "get married"), whereas German typically uses reflexive verbs to describe such concepts (e.g. "sich verlieben," "sich heiraten"). See the grammar note "Starting and Ending Relationships" for details. 
 
Frame Elements: Partners
Many of the words presuppose an understanding of states and events that in a particular order, and that determine when a person can be classified in a certain way (e.g. two people are engaged and have a wedding before they are described as married). In this frame, one Partner can be mentioned alone (as in "Leah ist verlobt," "Leah is engaged"), or both can be mentioned together (e.g. "Das Ehepaar ist net," "The married couple is nice"). To keep track of both Partners when they are mentioned separately, they are designated Partner 1 and Partner 2. You don't have worry about which partner is 1 or 2, as long as you understand who is in the relationship, but we will explain how we determine which is which below so that you can see the logic behind our annotations of example sentences.
 
Partner 1 Example
Subject with the verb "sein" ("to be")Der Mann ist ein Freund von mir.
Noun that denotes a kind of partnerIch habe einen Freund.
Partner 2 (the "other" partner)Example
The one described as having/possessing Partner 1Leon ist mein Freund.
 Ich habe eine Freundin.
 Susanne ist die Geliebte von Uli. 
Partners Example
Both partners are mentioned togetherJan und Berna sind Freunde.
 Wir haben uns befreundet.

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Examples
Grammar Notes
Sentence Templates
Alternate Forms

Frame Elements

Frame Element descriptions (on hover):

The other person in the relationship (can be omitted).

Framey mag den Freund (Partner 1) von Framette (Partner 2) nicht.Framey doesn’t like the boyfriend of Framette.

The person in the relationship.

Framey mag den Freund (Partner 1) von Framette (Partner 2) nicht.Framey doesn’t like the boyfriend of Framette.

The joint construal of both Partners in the Relationship.

Framey und Framette (Partners) sind seit 8 Jahren Freunde. "Framey and (some girl) have been friends for 8 years.

Details
Examples
Grammar Notes
Sentence Templates
Alternate Forms
See All Information
anmachen verb hit on

Details:

to hit on, to make a pass at; lit. to light 

In the context of the Personal Relationship frame, this separable prefix verb is slang. It is used for situations where one person talks to another, thereby showing that they are interested in that person sexually. This situation is often construed as negative or unwanted by the Partner on the receiving end.

But be warned! This verb is highly polysemous (i.e. it has many different meanings in different contexts), so don't assume this is the only possible meaning every time you hear it.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich will doch nicht, dass meine Frau von Arbeitskollegen angemacht wird!
  2. Vor der Attacke im Mai 2010 hatten der Angeklagte und ein Begleiter vor einer Disco zwei Frauen mit obszönen Worten angemacht.
  1. I just don't want, that my wife by coworkers gets hit on!
  2. Before the attack in May 2010 the accused and an associate had hit on two women in front of a nightclub with obscene words.

Grammar:

Verbs with Separable Prefixes

Some verbs have a prefix that moves around in the sentence, depending on what form the verb takes. In the infinitive form, the prefix is attached, like "ausgehen" (to go out). If the verb is conjugated (in present or simple past tense), the prefix appears at the end of the clause, as in "Ich gehe heute Abend aus." For more information about these verbs, see the examples for individual verbs or read these explanations from Grimm Grammar: present tense, conversational past tense (Perfekt).

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER macht PARTNER an.
  1. PARTNER hits on PARTNER.

Details:

to hit on, to make a pass at; lit. to light 

In the context of the Personal Relationship frame, this separable prefix verb is slang. It is used for situations where one person talks to another, thereby showing that they are interested in that person sexually. This situation is often construed as negative or unwanted by the Partner on the receiving end.

But be warned! This verb is highly polysemous (i.e. it has many different meanings in different contexts), so don't assume this is the only possible meaning every time you hear it.

Alternate Forms:

er macht an, machte an, hat angemacht
befreundet sein (mit) construction be friends with

Details:

to be friends (with)
Similar to English, German uses the dative preposition "mit." The term "befreundet" originates from the past tense of the verb "befreunden" ("to befriend"). Although the English equivalent in this case is quite different from the German, there are times when English also uses past tense forms as adjectives (e.g. "getrennt sein," "to be separated"). See the grammar note Making Adjectives from Verbs for more information.

Example Sentences:

  1. Liz und ich sind befreundet.
  2. Ich war mit seiner Freundin befreundet, Penny.
  3. Vor Jahren war ich mit einem ungarischen Arzt befreundet.
  4. Ein Naturwissenschaftler, der mit Graevenitz befreundet ist, hat ausgerechnet, daß erst in 20 000 Jahren sich die Konstellation wiederholt.
  1. Liz and I are friends.
  2.  was friends with his girlfriend, Penny.
  3. Years ago  I  was friends with a Hungarian doctor.
  4. A scientist, who is friends with Graevenitz , has calculated that the constellation will not reappear for 20,000 years.

Grammar:

Making Adjectives from Verbs

In German (just as in English), the past participles of verbs (with the -ed ending in English) can be used as adjectives, known as "participial adjectives." Add an adjective ending when appropriate. Even a verb's present participle can be used as an adjective. This form of the verb is similar in meaning to English ing-forms, and is formed in German by adding a "d" (and an adjective ending, if necessary) to the infinitive form of the verb. Adjectives formed in this way apply to the type of frame element that would fill the subject role of the verb (e.g. überraschend applies to a Stimulus, and  ).

Example: enttäuschen, überraschen (normal use as verbs)

     Jens enttäuscht seine Mutter. (Jens disappoints his mother.)

     Das Ende der Geschichte überrascht Lena. (The end of the story surprises Lena.)

Adjectives from Past Participles: 

Example: enttäuschen (to disappoint) > enttäuscht

     Seine Mutter war enttäuscht, dass er bei der Prüfung durchgefallen ist. (His mother was disappointed that he failed the test.)

     Die enttäuschte Mutter weint. (The disappointed mother cries.)

The way frame elements are realized with the verb determine what the adjective can be used to describe. Details are given in the table below.

Subject of VerbDirect ObjectAdjective applies to:Examples
StimulusExperiencerExperienceraufgeregt (worked up), schockiert (shocked), enttäuscht (disappointed)
Experiencer

Content or Stimulus

Content or Stimulus

gefürchtet (feared), gehasst (hated), geliebt (loved)

*Note that this is not the same as passive voice, which also uses a past participle. See Grimm Grammar for infomation about passive.

Adjectives from Present Participles:

Example: überraschen > überraschend (surprising)

     Das Ende der Geschichte war überraschend. (The end of the story was surprising.)

     Das war ein überraschendes Ende. (That was a surprising ending.)

 

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2 sind befreundet.
  2. PARTNER 1 ist mit PARTNER 2 befreundet.
  3. PARTNERS sind befreundet.
  1. PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2 are friends.
  2. PARTNER 1 is friends with PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS are friends.

Details:

to be friends (with)
Similar to English, German uses the dative preposition "mit." The term "befreundet" originates from the past tense of the verb "befreunden" ("to befriend"). Although the English equivalent in this case is quite different from the German, there are times when English also uses past tense forms as adjectives (e.g. "getrennt sein," "to be separated"). See the grammar note Making Adjectives from Verbs for more information.

Alternate Forms:

er ist befreundet, war befreundet
das Paar noun couple

Details:

pair, couple
Similar to English, "Paar" is often used to refer to a couple of people who are romantically involved. Compound words are used to specify the type of couple, for example, "Ehepaar" ("married couple"), and "Liebespaar" ("pair of lovers").
Note: In German the term "ein paar" (typically without capitalization) can also be used to describe quantity, as in "a few" (e.g. "ein paar Studenten," "a few students" or "a couple of students"). In such cases, the intended meaning should be clear from context.

Example Sentences:

  1. Luisa und Jakob wurden bald ein Paar.
  2. Das glückliche Paar hatte eine einzige Tochter: Sophie.
  3. Eine vierköpfige Familie braucht mehr Geld als ein kinderloses Paar.
  1. Luisa and Jakob soon became a couple.
  2. The happy couple had only one daughter: Sophie.
  3. A four-person family needs more money than a childless couple.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNERS sind ein Paar.
  1. PARTNERS are a couple.

Details:

pair, couple
Similar to English, "Paar" is often used to refer to a couple of people who are romantically involved. Compound words are used to specify the type of couple, for example, "Ehepaar" ("married couple"), and "Liebespaar" ("pair of lovers").
Note: In German the term "ein paar" (typically without capitalization) can also be used to describe quantity, as in "a few" (e.g. "ein paar Studenten," "a few students" or "a couple of students"). In such cases, the intended meaning should be clear from context.

Alternate Forms:

die Paare (pl.)
der Ehemann / die Ehefrau noun spouse

Details:

spouse

These words are not only used like English "spouse", with a possessor like "my" (i.e. "Die Ehefrau des Mannes" or "Ihr Ehemann" ). "Ehemann/Ehefrau" can also be used as "married man/woman," often without knowing who the person is married to (i.e. "ein Ehemann").

Example Sentences:

  1. Die junge Mutter liebte ihren eher plumpen Ehemann.
  2. Diannes Lebensgefährte hatte ein Verhältnis mit der Ehefrau des Ministers.
  3. Die Hochschullehrerin war eine scheue Ehefrau.
  4. Mit ihm im Haus war nicht nur seine Ehefrau, sondern auch seine Geliebte.
  1. The young mother loved her rather plump spouse.
  2. Dianne's significant other had a relationship with the spouse of the Minister.
  3. The secondary school teacher was a shy married woman.
  4. With him in the house was not only his spouse, but also his lover.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist der Ehemann/die Ehefrau von PARTNER 2.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the husband/wife of PARTNER 2.

Details:

spouse

These words are not only used like English "spouse", with a possessor like "my" (i.e. "Die Ehefrau des Mannes" or "Ihr Ehemann" ). "Ehemann/Ehefrau" can also be used as "married man/woman," often without knowing who the person is married to (i.e. "ein Ehemann").

Alternate Forms:

die Ehemänner / die Ehefrauen (pl.)
der Freund noun boyfriend

Details:

boyfriend

In German, "der Freund" can mean either "friend" or "boyfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun ("mein Freund," "ihr Freund"), it refers to a boyfriend. To specify that it is a non-romantic male friend, one uses "ein Freund von mir" (a friend of mine). See the entry for "Freund(in)" under Friendship for details on the "friend" meaning.

Example Sentences:

  1. Tim ist Marines Freund.
  2. Lola will keinen Freund haben.
  3. Letzte Woche hat Zelda mit ihrem Freund Schluss gemacht.
  1. Tim is Marine's boyfriend.
  2. Lola doesn't want to have a boyfriend.
  3. Last week, Zelda broke up with her boyfriend.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist PARTNER 2s Freund.
  2. PARTNER 2 hat einen Freund.
  1. PARTNER 1 is PARTNER 2's boyfriend.
  2. PARTNER 2 has a boyfriend.

Details:

boyfriend

In German, "der Freund" can mean either "friend" or "boyfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun ("mein Freund," "ihr Freund"), it refers to a boyfriend. To specify that it is a non-romantic male friend, one uses "ein Freund von mir" (a friend of mine). See the entry for "Freund(in)" under Friendship for details on the "friend" meaning.

Alternate Forms:

die Freunde (pl.)
der Junggeselle noun bachelor

Details:

bachelor

Although it does mean "an unmarried man," German Junggeselle has different connotations. While bachelor in English can be used to express a negative (boring, inexperienced old man) lifestyle, it can also imply the freedom and excitement of being a young single man. German Junggeselle is more associated with the former (negative) connotations. To express the latter (positive) connotations, the noun der Single can be used.

Example Sentences:

  1. Er ist Mitte fünfzig und Junggeselle.
  2. Jetzt vermeidet der Junggeselle gesellschaftlichen Umgang.
  3. Er war schon immer Junggeselle und hatte keine sexuelle Erfahrungen.
  1. He is in his mid-50s and a bachelor.
  2. Now the bachelor avoids social interaction.
  3. He was always a bachelor and had no sexual experiences.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist ein Junggeselle.
  1. PARTNER 1 is a bachelor.

Details:

bachelor

Although it does mean "an unmarried man," German Junggeselle has different connotations. While bachelor in English can be used to express a negative (boring, inexperienced old man) lifestyle, it can also imply the freedom and excitement of being a young single man. German Junggeselle is more associated with the former (negative) connotations. To express the latter (positive) connotations, the noun der Single can be used.

Alternate Forms:

die Junggesellen (pl.)
der Kumpel noun buddy, pal, chum

Details:

buddy, pal, chum

Like English "buddy," "der Kumpel" is normally used to describe an informal friendship between two male partners. Note that there is no feminine form of this noun.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ron ist Harrys bester Kumpel.
  2. Ich habe immer meine Kumpels gehabt, mit denen ich gespielt habe.
  3. Dass sein Kumpel ein Erasmus-Jahr in Madrid macht, kann er nicht verstehen.
  1. Ron is Harry's best buddy.
  2. I always had my buddies who I played with.
  3. That his buddy is doing an Erasmus-year in Madrid, he cannot understand.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist ein Kumpel von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS sind Kumpel.
  1. PARTNER 1 is PARTNER 2's buddy.
  2. PARTNERS are buddies.

Details:

buddy, pal, chum

Like English "buddy," "der Kumpel" is normally used to describe an informal friendship between two male partners. Note that there is no feminine form of this noun.

Alternate Forms:

die Kumpel (pl.)
der Mann noun husband

Details:

husband

Be careful, "der Mann" means both "man" and "husband." Look at the context to help determine which one is intended. These sentences all have the meaning "husband;" you can tell because "Mann" occurs with a possessive pronoun ("ihr-", "mein-") or possessive phrase (genitive, "von"-phrase). 

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich hoffe wirklich, dass mein Mann nie davon erfährt.
  2. Anders als ihr älterer Mann, Otto, sie wollte abends noch ausgehen.
  3. Mein Mann hat mit ihm gesprochen.
  1. I really hope that my husband never finds out about that.
  2. Unlike her older husbandOtto, she still wanted to go out in the evenings.
  3. My husband spoke with him.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist der Mann von PARTNER 2.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the husband of PARTNER 2.

Details:

husband

Be careful, "der Mann" means both "man" and "husband." Look at the context to help determine which one is intended. These sentences all have the meaning "husband;" you can tell because "Mann" occurs with a possessive pronoun ("ihr-", "mein-") or possessive phrase (genitive, "von"-phrase). 

Alternate Forms:

die Männer (pl.)
der/die Bekannte noun friend, acquaintance

Details:

acquaintance, friend

"Bekannte" is used more frequently than English "acquaintance." The term "Freund" is limited to one's close friends, so a person you enjoy being with but only see occasionally is a "Bekannte."

Example Sentences:

  1. In Frankreich hatte Lena einige Bekannte, aber keine Freunde.
  2. Clara , die Bekannte von Gerda, hat mich eingeladen.
  3. Ein alter Bekannter von mir hat mich heute angerufen.
  1. In France, Lena had some acquaintances, but no friends.
  2. Clara, the acquaintance of Gerda, invited me.
  3. An old acquaintance of mine called me today.

Grammar:

Making Nouns from Adjectives

So-called "adjectival nouns" are derived from adjectives. These nouns behave like adjectives in that their endings change depending on the gender, case, and whether one uses a definite article (or der-word, e.g. der, dieser, welcher) or an indefinite article (or ein-word, e.g. eine, meine, ihre).To create  an adjectival noun, simply use the adjective without the noun (with the appropriate article and ending as if the relevant noun were there).
For example, if you want to refer to a good looking person, take an adjective like "schön" ("beautiful," "handsome"), as in "ein schöner Mann," and drop the noun; now you have "ein Schöner" ("a good looking man"). To refer to a woman, change the gender of the article accordingly: "eine schöne Frau" becomes "eine Schöne" ("a good-looking woman"). The endings you will most commonly need to refer to people using adjectival nouns are listed in the chart below. If you would like to go further and apply this grammatical feature more broadly, see Grimm Grammar's explanations of adjective endings for the appropriate forms (after der-wordsafter ein-words, without articles).
Adjective NominativeAccusativeDativeEnglish Translation
verlobtm.der Verlobteden Verlobtendem Verlobtenfiance
 (engaged) ein Verlobtereinen Verlobteneinem Verlobten 
 f.die Verlobtedie Verlobteder Verlobten 
  eine Verlobteeine Verlobteeiner Verlobten 
geliebtm.der Geliebteden Geliebtendem Geliebtenloved one
 (loved) ein Geliebtereinen Geliebteneinem Geliebten 
 f.die Geliebtedie Geliebteder Geliebten 
  eine Geliebteeine Geliebteeiner Geliebten 
altm.der Alteden Altendem Altenold person
 (old) ein Altereinen Alteneinem Alten 
 f.die Altedie Alteder Alten 
  eine Alteeine Alteeiner Alten 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2 sind Bekannte.
  2. PARTNER 1 ist ein Bekannter von PARTNER 2.
  1. PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2 are friends/acquaintances.
  2. PARTNER 1 is a friend/acquaintance of PARTNER 2.

Details:

acquaintance, friend

"Bekannte" is used more frequently than English "acquaintance." The term "Freund" is limited to one's close friends, so a person you enjoy being with but only see occasionally is a "Bekannte."

Alternate Forms:

die Bekannten (pl.)
der/die Geliebte noun lover

Details:

lover, beloved

"Geliebte" does not have the sexual connotations of English "lover." Literally, it means "beloved," so it is more like "loved one."

Example Sentences:

  1. Sie ist mit ihrem dänischen Geliebten, Kevin, in der Disco verabredet.
  2. Am Ende wird der Held mitschuldig am Tod seiner Geliebten.
  3. Helmut schreibt jeden Tag einen Brief an seine Geliebte.
  1. She has a date in the disco with her Danish lover, Kevin.
  2. In the end, the hero becomes complicit in the death of his lover.
  3. Helmut writes a letter to his beloved every day.

Grammar:

Making Nouns from Adjectives

So-called "adjectival nouns" are derived from adjectives. These nouns behave like adjectives in that their endings change depending on the gender, case, and whether one uses a definite article (or der-word, e.g. der, dieser, welcher) or an indefinite article (or ein-word, e.g. eine, meine, ihre).To create  an adjectival noun, simply use the adjective without the noun (with the appropriate article and ending as if the relevant noun were there).
For example, if you want to refer to a good looking person, take an adjective like "schön" ("beautiful," "handsome"), as in "ein schöner Mann," and drop the noun; now you have "ein Schöner" ("a good looking man"). To refer to a woman, change the gender of the article accordingly: "eine schöne Frau" becomes "eine Schöne" ("a good-looking woman"). The endings you will most commonly need to refer to people using adjectival nouns are listed in the chart below. If you would like to go further and apply this grammatical feature more broadly, see Grimm Grammar's explanations of adjective endings for the appropriate forms (after der-wordsafter ein-words, without articles).
Adjective NominativeAccusativeDativeEnglish Translation
verlobtm.der Verlobteden Verlobtendem Verlobtenfiance
 (engaged) ein Verlobtereinen Verlobteneinem Verlobten 
 f.die Verlobtedie Verlobteder Verlobten 
  eine Verlobteeine Verlobteeiner Verlobten 
geliebtm.der Geliebteden Geliebtendem Geliebtenloved one
 (loved) ein Geliebtereinen Geliebteneinem Geliebten 
 f.die Geliebtedie Geliebteder Geliebten 
  eine Geliebteeine Geliebteeiner Geliebten 
altm.der Alteden Altendem Altenold person
 (old) ein Altereinen Alteneinem Alten 
 f.die Altedie Alteder Alten 
  eine Alteeine Alteeiner Alten 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist die Geliebte von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS sind Geliebte.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the lover of PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are lovers.

Details:

lover, beloved

"Geliebte" does not have the sexual connotations of English "lover." Literally, it means "beloved," so it is more like "loved one."

Alternate Forms:

die Geliebten (pl.)
der/die Single noun single

Details:

single person

Unlike English single, German Single is used only in informal contexts, and is used as a noun (never as an adjective!). Referring to someone as a "Single" conveys informally that they are not in a romantic relationship (see ledig for a contrasting word). 

Additionally, "Single" does not usually occur with "ein(e)." You can simply say "Er ist Single" or "Sie ist Single".

Example Sentences:

  1. Marina hingegen ist Single.
  2. Nicht jeder Single sucht aktiv einen Partner.
  3. Lebenslange Singles haben es leichter als geschiedene oder durch Tod getrennte Paare.
  4. Ein paar Anbieter auf dem deutschen Reisemarkt spezialisieren sich auf die Zielgruppe "Singles."
  1. Marina, on the other hand, is single [lit. a single person].
  2. Not every single is actively seeking a partner.
  3. Life-long singles have it easier than couples that are divorced or separated by death.
  4. A few providers on the German travel market specialize in the target group "Singles."

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist Single.
  1. PARTNER 1 is single.

Details:

single person

Unlike English single, German Single is used only in informal contexts, and is used as a noun (never as an adjective!). Referring to someone as a "Single" conveys informally that they are not in a romantic relationship (see ledig for a contrasting word). 

Additionally, "Single" does not usually occur with "ein(e)." You can simply say "Er ist Single" or "Sie ist Single".

Alternate Forms:

die Singles (pl.)
der/die Verlobte noun fiance.n

Details:

fiancé
This noun is used just like its English equivalent, but be careful - the endings will vary. Even though the masculine form listed here is "der Verlobte," you will most often find the masculine form as "Verlobter."  That's because this term is usually used with a der- word ("ein," "mein," "dein," etc.) which requires an "-r" ending. See the grammar note "Making Nouns from Adjectives" for details.

Example Sentences:

  1. In Mallorca lernte sie ihren Verlobten Sebastian kennen, einen 27-jährigen Fotografen.
  2. Seine junge Verlobte Sophie war vor zwei Jahren an Krebs gestorben.
  3. Mias Verlobter und ihre Eltern waren froh, sie zu sehen.
  1. In Mallorca she met her fiancé Sebastian, a 27 year old Photographer.
  2. His young fiancé Sophie had died of cancer two years earlier.
  3. Mia's fiancé and her parents were happy to see her.

Grammar:

Making Nouns from Adjectives

So-called "adjectival nouns" are derived from adjectives. These nouns behave like adjectives in that their endings change depending on the gender, case, and whether one uses a definite article (or der-word, e.g. der, dieser, welcher) or an indefinite article (or ein-word, e.g. eine, meine, ihre).To create  an adjectival noun, simply use the adjective without the noun (with the appropriate article and ending as if the relevant noun were there).
For example, if you want to refer to a good looking person, take an adjective like "schön" ("beautiful," "handsome"), as in "ein schöner Mann," and drop the noun; now you have "ein Schöner" ("a good looking man"). To refer to a woman, change the gender of the article accordingly: "eine schöne Frau" becomes "eine Schöne" ("a good-looking woman"). The endings you will most commonly need to refer to people using adjectival nouns are listed in the chart below. If you would like to go further and apply this grammatical feature more broadly, see Grimm Grammar's explanations of adjective endings for the appropriate forms (after der-wordsafter ein-words, without articles).
Adjective NominativeAccusativeDativeEnglish Translation
verlobtm.der Verlobteden Verlobtendem Verlobtenfiance
 (engaged) ein Verlobtereinen Verlobteneinem Verlobten 
 f.die Verlobtedie Verlobteder Verlobten 
  eine Verlobteeine Verlobteeiner Verlobten 
geliebtm.der Geliebteden Geliebtendem Geliebtenloved one
 (loved) ein Geliebtereinen Geliebteneinem Geliebten 
 f.die Geliebtedie Geliebteder Geliebten 
  eine Geliebteeine Geliebteeiner Geliebten 
altm.der Alteden Altendem Altenold person
 (old) ein Altereinen Alteneinem Alten 
 f.die Altedie Alteder Alten 
  eine Alteeine Alteeiner Alten 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist der Verlobte von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNER 1 ist die Verlobte von PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS sind Verlobte.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the fiancé of PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNER 2 is the fiancée of PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS are fiancés.

Details:

fiancé
This noun is used just like its English equivalent, but be careful - the endings will vary. Even though the masculine form listed here is "der Verlobte," you will most often find the masculine form as "Verlobter."  That's because this term is usually used with a der- word ("ein," "mein," "dein," etc.) which requires an "-r" ending. See the grammar note "Making Nouns from Adjectives" for details.

Alternate Forms:

die Verlobten (pl.)
die Affäre noun affair

Details:

affair
The German term "Affäre" is used similarly to the English term "affair." In German the term is also commonly used to refer to the person someone is romantically or sexually involved with (this is called metonymy). In such a context, you will likely see a possessive adjective ("mein-," "dein-," etc.) with the term "Affäre". "Seine Affäre ist blond." - "His affair/lover is blond."

Example Sentences:

  1. Dieser Junggeselle hat jede Woche eine neue Affäre.
  2. Bill Clinton sagte, er habe nie eine sexuelle Affäre mit Ms. Lewinsky gehabt.
  1. This bachelor has a new affair every week.
  2. Bill Clinton said he had never had a sexual affair with Ms. Lewinsky.
  3.  

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 hat eine Affäre mit PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS haben eine Affäre.
  1. PARTNER 1 has an affair with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are having an affair.

Details:

affair
The German term "Affäre" is used similarly to the English term "affair." In German the term is also commonly used to refer to the person someone is romantically or sexually involved with (this is called metonymy). In such a context, you will likely see a possessive adjective ("mein-," "dein-," etc.) with the term "Affäre". "Seine Affäre ist blond." - "His affair/lover is blond."

Alternate Forms:

die Affären (pl.)
die Ehe noun marriage

Details:

marriage

Don't confuse "die Ehe," which means "marriage" and lasts a long time, with "die Hochzeit," which means "wedding celebration" and lasts a day (or a few) or with "die Heirat" which means "wedding" or "marriage" in a more literal sense of two people being joined together.

The verb "führen" can be used with this noun to indicate that the Partners are "leading" a marriage - i.e. that they are married.

Example Sentences:

  1. Die Ehe hielt nur ein Jahr.
  2. Amanda und Mason führen eine liebevolle Ehe.
  3. Meine Eltern sagen, Ehe ist nicht leicht, aber sie ist etwas Besonderes.
  1. The marriage lasted only a year.
  2. Amanda and Mason have a loving marriage.
  3. My parents say, marriage is not easy, but it is something special.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. Die Ehe von PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS führen eine Ehe.

     

  1. The marriage of PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are married.

Details:

marriage

Don't confuse "die Ehe," which means "marriage" and lasts a long time, with "die Hochzeit," which means "wedding celebration" and lasts a day (or a few) or with "die Heirat" which means "wedding" or "marriage" in a more literal sense of two people being joined together.

The verb "führen" can be used with this noun to indicate that the Partners are "leading" a marriage - i.e. that they are married.

Alternate Forms:

die Ehen (pl.)
die Fernbeziehung noun long-distance relationship

Details:

long distance relationship

This noun is used like English "long-distance relationship." To say that one has or is in such a relationship, German uses the verb führen or haben. One can also say that they "live in" a long-term relationship, as in Ich lebe in einer Fernbeziehung.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich und mein Freund führen seit einem Jahr eine Fernbeziehung.
  2. Eine Fernbeziehung ist für mich nicht möglich.
  3. Ihre Fernbeziehung hat nicht lange gedauert.
  4. Es ist nicht leicht, in einer Fernbeziehung zu leben.
  1. My boyfriend and I have had a long-distance relationship for one year.
  2. long-distance relationship is not possible for me.
  3. Their long-distance relationship did not last long.
  4. It is not easy to live in a long-distance relationship.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNERS' Fernbeziehung
  2. PARTNER 1's Fernbeziehung
  3. PARTNERS führen/haben eine Fernbeziehung.
  4. PARTNER 1 führen/haben eine Fernbeziehung.
  5. PARTNERS leben in einer Fernbeziehung.
  6. PARTNER 1 lebt in einer Fernbeziehung.
  1. PARTNERS' long-distance relationship.
  2. PARTNER 1's long-distance relationship.
  3. PARTNERS have a long-distance relationship.
  4. PARTNER 1 has a long-distance relationship.
  5. PARTNERS are in a long-distance relationship.
  6. PARTNER 1 is in long-distance relationship.

Details:

long distance relationship

This noun is used like English "long-distance relationship." To say that one has or is in such a relationship, German uses the verb führen or haben. One can also say that they "live in" a long-term relationship, as in Ich lebe in einer Fernbeziehung.

Alternate Forms:

die Fernbeziehungen (pl.)
die Frau noun wife

Details:

wife

"Die Frau" can mean either "wife" or "woman." As these sentences show, when it is intended as "wife" there is some mention of the person to whom the woman is married (i.e. des reichen Mannes, seine).

Example Sentences:

  1. Die Frau des reichen Mannes ist tot.
  2.  Alexander zog mit seiner Frau und seinen Söhnen in sein neu erbautes Haus.
  3. Max schreibt seiner Frau Marianne jeden Tag.
  1. The wife of the rich man is dead.
  2. Alexander moved with his wife and his sons into his newly built house.
  3. Max writes to his wife Marianne every day.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist die Frau von PARTNER 2.

1. PARTNER 1 is the wife of PARTNER 2.

Details:

wife

"Die Frau" can mean either "wife" or "woman." As these sentences show, when it is intended as "wife" there is some mention of the person to whom the woman is married (i.e. des reichen Mannes, seine).

Alternate Forms:

die Frauen (pl.)
die Freundin noun girlfriend

Details:

girlfriend

In German, "Freundin" can mean either "friend" or "girlfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun ("meine Freundin," "seine Freundin"), it refers to a grilfriend. To specify that it is a non-romantic male friend, one uses "ein Freund von mir" (a friend of mine). See the entry for "Freund(in)" under Friendship for details on the friend meaning.

Example Sentences:

  1. Emma ist Julians Freundin.
  2. Meine Freundin ist schöner als andere Frauen.
  3. Noah spielt mittwochs Tennis mit seiner Freundin.
  1. Emma is Julian's girlfriend.
  2. My girlfriend is prettier than other women.
  3. Noah plays Tennis on Wednesdays with his girlfriend.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist PARTNER 2s Freundin.
  2. PARTNER 2 hat eine Freundin.
  1. PARTNER 1 is PARTNER 2's girlfriend.
  2. PARTNER 2 has a girlfriend.

Details:

girlfriend

In German, "Freundin" can mean either "friend" or "girlfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun ("meine Freundin," "seine Freundin"), it refers to a grilfriend. To specify that it is a non-romantic male friend, one uses "ein Freund von mir" (a friend of mine). See the entry for "Freund(in)" under Friendship for details on the friend meaning.

Alternate Forms:

die Freundinnen (pl.)
die Freundschaft noun friendship

Details:

friendship
Germans only use the word "Freund" for their very closest friends. Therefore, the term "Freundschaft" describes the friendship between two or more very close friends. It cannot be used in a romantic sense.

Example Sentences:

  1. Dank ihrer langjährigen Freundschaft weiss Hannah immer, was Emma denkt.
  2. Die Freundschaften, die man als Kind entwickelt, sind am stärksten.
  3. Jakob kauft Max ein Videospiel, um seine Freundschaft zu gewinnen.
  1. Thanks to their long-standing friendship, Hannah always knows what Emma is thinking.
  2. The friendships that one develops as a child are the strongest.
  3. Jakob buys Max a video game to win his friendship.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. Die Freundschaft zwischen PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS haben eine Freundschaft.
  1. The friendship between PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS have a friendship.

Details:

friendship
Germans only use the word "Freund" for their very closest friends. Therefore, the term "Freundschaft" describes the friendship between two or more very close friends. It cannot be used in a romantic sense.

Alternate Forms:

die Freundschaften (pl.)
die Romanze noun romance

Details:

romance

"Die Romanze" is used in the sense of "fling." While it sometimes means something similar to "die Affäre" ("affair"), it implies an episodic and particularly romantic relationship. Additionally, it has no negative connotations like English "affair."

Example Sentences:

  1. Die zwei Studenten hatten eine heimliche Romanze.
  2. So begann eine kleine Romanze zwischen Norma und ihm, aber nach zwei Wochen war es schon vorbei.
  3. Die ungewöhnliche Romanze zwischen dem Geschäftsmann und der Künstlerin dauerte bis sie von seiner Frau erfuhr.
  1. The two students had a secret romance.
  2. So began a little romance between Norma and him, but after two weeks, it was already over.
  3. The unusual romance between the businessman and the artist lasted until she found out about his wife.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 hat eine Romanze.
  2. PARTNER 1 hate eine Romanze mit PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS haben eine Romanze.
  1. PARTNER 1 has a fling.
  2. PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2 have a fling.
  3. PARTNERS are having a fling.

Details:

romance

"Die Romanze" is used in the sense of "fling." While it sometimes means something similar to "die Affäre" ("affair"), it implies an episodic and particularly romantic relationship. Additionally, it has no negative connotations like English "affair."

Alternate Forms:

die Romanzen (pl.)
die Verlobung noun engagement

Details:

engagement
In German "die Verlobung" is used to describe only the actual moment of the engagement. This contrasts with English, which uses the term "engagement" for both the moment he/she popped the question as well as the time leading up to the wedding (e.g. "They had a very long engagement").

Example Sentences:

  1. Meine Mutter erzählt gern von ihrer Verlobung.
  2. Sven wollte eben nächster Tage in die Schweiz reisen, um dort seine Verlobung zu feiern.
  3. Jede Kultur hat Sitten bei Geburt, Verlobung, Hochzeit, und Tod.
  1. My mother likes to talk about her engagement (i.e. when she got engaged).
  2. Sven wanted to travel to Switzerland over the next days, in order to celebrate his engagement there.
  3. Each culture has traditions at birth, engagement, wedding, and death.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. Die Verlobung von PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2.
  1. The engagement of PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2.

Details:

engagement
In German "die Verlobung" is used to describe only the actual moment of the engagement. This contrasts with English, which uses the term "engagement" for both the moment he/she popped the question as well as the time leading up to the wedding (e.g. "They had a very long engagement").

Alternate Forms:

die Verlobungen (pl.)
die Witwe noun widow

Details:

widow

Used just like the English term to refer to a woman whose husband has died. There is also a male version of this word, "der Witwer" ("widower").

Example Sentences:

  1. Durch den Unfall wurde Sasha zur Witwe.
  2. Es gab viele Witwen in den Jahren nach dem Krieg.
  3. Der Witwer hat nach einem jahr wieder geheiratet.
  1. Through the accident, Sasha became a widow.
  2. There were many widows in the years after the war.
  3. The widower married again after a year.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist die Witwe von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNER 1 wurde zur Witwe/zum Witwer.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the widow of PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNER 1 became a widow/widower.

 

Details:

widow

Used just like the English term to refer to a woman whose husband has died. There is also a male version of this word, "der Witwer" ("widower").

Alternate Forms:

die Witwen (f.pl.), der Witwer (m.), die Witwer (m.pl.)
flirten verb to flirt

Details:

to flirt

This verb is borrowed from English and maintains its English pronunciation. It is also used in very similar ways as English "flirt."

Example Sentences:

  1. Sie flirtet sehr gern mit Männern.
  2. Ich flirte nicht sehr oft, weil ich schüchtern bin.
  3. Jan und seine Kollegin haben die ganze Zeit miteinander geflirtet.
  4. Wir haben doch gar nicht geflirtet.
  1. She likes to flirt with men.
  2. I don't flirt very often, because I am shy.
  3. Jan and his colleague flirted with each other the whole time.
  4. But we didn't flirt at all.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 flirtet.
  2. PARTNER 1 flirtet mit PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS flirten.
  4. PARTNERS flirten miteinander.
  1. PARTNER 1 flirts.
  2. PARTNER 1 flirts with PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS flirt.
  4. PARTNERS flirt with each other.

Details:

to flirt

This verb is borrowed from English and maintains its English pronunciation. It is also used in very similar ways as English "flirt."

Alternate Forms:

(er) flirtet, flirtete, hat geflirtet
Freund(in) noun friend

Details:

friend

Germans only use the word "Freund" for their very closest friends. Typically, they would not use it for classmates, coworkers or acquaintances they like being around, but aren't very close to. The casual "friends" English speakers have would be called "Bekannte."

In German, "Freund(in)" can means both "friend" and "boy/girlfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun (e.g. "meine Freundin," "ihr Freund"), that means it is a romantic relationship. To specify that it is a non-romantic friend, one uses "von" instead, as in "Er ist ein Freund von mir" ("He is a friend of mine"). 

The examples in this entry reflect the non-romantic ("friend") use of "Freund" and "Freundin." Note that the Dating section contains separate entries for "Freund" ("boyfriend") and "Freundin" ("girlfriend").

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich fotografierte meine Freunde.
  2. Mutti ist mit einer Freundin einkaufen.
  3. Mein Freund Michael ist nicht mehr dabei.
  4. Meine besten Freunde waren Serben.
  5. Dann mußte sie es als Weihnachtsgeschenk an eine Freundin schicken.
  1. I photographed my friends.
  2. Mom is shopping with a friend.
  3. My friend Michael is no longer here.
  4. My best friends were Serbians.
  5. Then she had to send it as a Christmas present to a friend.

Grammar:

Gendered Nouns

Many nouns that denote people specify the gender of the person with noun endings. If the partner is female, the noun ends in "-in." In English, the gender of the person is not expressed linguistically. Even in cases where English speakers can make such a distinction (e.g. actor/actress), users of the language are shifting away from doing so.
Male FemaleEnglish

der Freund

die Freundinfriend
der Partnerdie Partnerinpartner
der Lebensgefährtedie Lebensgefährtinsignificant other
der Kundedie Kundincustomer
der Verkäuferdie Verkäuferinsalesperson
der Studentdie Studentincollege student
der Professordie Professorinprofessor
der Schauspielerdie Schauspielerinactor
 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist ein Freund von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS sind FREUNDE.
  1. PARTNER 1 is friends with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are friends.

Details:

friend

Germans only use the word "Freund" for their very closest friends. Typically, they would not use it for classmates, coworkers or acquaintances they like being around, but aren't very close to. The casual "friends" English speakers have would be called "Bekannte."

In German, "Freund(in)" can means both "friend" and "boy/girlfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun (e.g. "meine Freundin," "ihr Freund"), that means it is a romantic relationship. To specify that it is a non-romantic friend, one uses "von" instead, as in "Er ist ein Freund von mir" ("He is a friend of mine"). 

The examples in this entry reflect the non-romantic ("friend") use of "Freund" and "Freundin." Note that the Dating section contains separate entries for "Freund" ("boyfriend") and "Freundin" ("girlfriend").

Alternate Forms:

der Freund (m.), die Freundin (f.), die Freunde (pl.), die Freundinnen (f.pl.)
geschieden adjective divorced

Details:

divorced

As in English, this word can be applied to one or both partners, but it differs from English "divorced" in that it can also be applied to a marriage ("die Ehe"), as in example 3 below.

Example Sentences:

  1. Jana und Andre waren sehr jung als sie geheiratet haben; jetzt sind sie geschieden.
  2. Daß ihre Eltern geschieden sind, ist schon schlimm genug für die Kinder.
  3. Die Ehe ist seit sechs Jahren geschieden.
  1. Jana and Andre were very young when they married; now they are divorced.
  2. That their parents are divorced is already bad enough for the children. 
  3. The marriage has been divorced for six years.

Grammar:

Making Adjectives from Verbs

In German (just as in English), the past participles of verbs (with the -ed ending in English) can be used as adjectives, known as "participial adjectives." Add an adjective ending when appropriate. Even a verb's present participle can be used as an adjective. This form of the verb is similar in meaning to English ing-forms, and is formed in German by adding a "d" (and an adjective ending, if necessary) to the infinitive form of the verb. Adjectives formed in this way apply to the type of frame element that would fill the subject role of the verb (e.g. überraschend applies to a Stimulus, and  ).

Example: enttäuschen, überraschen (normal use as verbs)

     Jens enttäuscht seine Mutter. (Jens disappoints his mother.)

     Das Ende der Geschichte überrascht Lena. (The end of the story surprises Lena.)

Adjectives from Past Participles: 

Example: enttäuschen (to disappoint) > enttäuscht

     Seine Mutter war enttäuscht, dass er bei der Prüfung durchgefallen ist. (His mother was disappointed that he failed the test.)

     Die enttäuschte Mutter weint. (The disappointed mother cries.)

The way frame elements are realized with the verb determine what the adjective can be used to describe. Details are given in the table below.

Subject of VerbDirect ObjectAdjective applies to:Examples
StimulusExperiencerExperienceraufgeregt (worked up), schockiert (shocked), enttäuscht (disappointed)
Experiencer

Content or Stimulus

Content or Stimulus

gefürchtet (feared), gehasst (hated), geliebt (loved)

*Note that this is not the same as passive voice, which also uses a past participle. See Grimm Grammar for infomation about passive.

Adjectives from Present Participles:

Example: überraschen > überraschend (surprising)

     Das Ende der Geschichte war überraschend. (The end of the story was surprising.)

     Das war ein überraschendes Ende. (That was a surprising ending.)

 

 

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2 sind geschieden.
  2. PARTNERS sind geschieden.
  1. PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2 are divorced.
  2. PARTNERS are divorced.

Details:

divorced

As in English, this word can be applied to one or both partners, but it differs from English "divorced" in that it can also be applied to a marriage ("die Ehe"), as in example 3 below.

kennenlernen verb meet

Details:

to meet, lit. to learn to know

The verb "kennenlernen" refers to meeting a person for the first time. Literally, the verb means 'to learn to know', so it is similar to English 'get to know somebody'. Be careful to not mix this verb up with treffen, which also corresponds to English meet but refers to encountering somebody that you already know.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich habe meine Freundin in der Schule kennengelernt.
  2. Du musst noch meine Mitbewohnerin kennenlernen.
  3. Meine Eltern haben sich nur ein paar Monate vor der Hochzeit kennengelernt.
  1. I met my girlfriend in (high) school.
  2. You still have to meet my roommate.
  3. My parents met each other just a few months before their wedding.

Grammar:

Verbs with Separable Prefixes

Some verbs have a prefix that moves around in the sentence, depending on what form the verb takes. In the infinitive form, the prefix is attached, like "ausgehen" (to go out). If the verb is conjugated (in present or simple past tense), the prefix appears at the end of the clause, as in "Ich gehe heute Abend aus." For more information about these verbs, see the examples for individual verbs or read these explanations from Grimm Grammar: present tense, conversational past tense (Perfekt).

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 lernt PARTNER 2 kennen.
  2. PARTNERS lernen PARTNERS.reflexive kennen.
  3. PARTNERS lernen einandern kennen.
  1. PARTNER 1 meets PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS meet each other.
  3. PARTNERS meet one another.

Details:

to meet, lit. to learn to know

The verb "kennenlernen" refers to meeting a person for the first time. Literally, the verb means 'to learn to know', so it is similar to English 'get to know somebody'. Be careful to not mix this verb up with treffen, which also corresponds to English meet but refers to encountering somebody that you already know.

Alternate Forms:

(er) lernt kennen, hat kennengelernt, lernte kennen
Lebensgefährte(-in) noun significant other

Details:

significant other, life partner

Lebensgefährte/-in specifies a long-term relationship between two adults, particularly when the couple is not married.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ihren Lebensgefährten Helmut Dietl benutze sie für ihre Karriere,
  2. Obwohl er seine Hände nicht sieht, sind ihre Bewegungen so präzise, daß seineLebensgefährtin Margherita Maisano sie versteht.
  3. Ihr Lebensgefährte Dionys Mascolo hatte nach der Befreiung ein Verhältnis mit der Ehefrau Delvals.
  4. Herr Gustav Thölde [...] ist infolge des Todes seiner langjährigen Lebensgefährtin erkrankt.
  1. She uses her significant other, Helmut Dietl, for her career.
  2. Although he doesn't see his hands, their movements are so precise that his significant other, Margherita Maisano, understands them.
  3. Her significant other, Dionys Mascolo, had an affair with the wife of Delval after liberation.
  4. Herr Gustav Thölde [...] got sick after the death of his long-time life partner.

Grammar:

Gendered Nouns

Many nouns that denote people specify the gender of the person with noun endings. If the partner is female, the noun ends in "-in." In English, the gender of the person is not expressed linguistically. Even in cases where English speakers can make such a distinction (e.g. actor/actress), users of the language are shifting away from doing so.
Male FemaleEnglish

der Freund

die Freundinfriend
der Partnerdie Partnerinpartner
der Lebensgefährtedie Lebensgefährtinsignificant other
der Kundedie Kundincustomer
der Verkäuferdie Verkäuferinsalesperson
der Studentdie Studentincollege student
der Professordie Professorinprofessor
der Schauspielerdie Schauspielerinactor
 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist der Lebensgefährte von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTENRS sind Lebensgefährten.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the significant other of PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are significant others.

Details:

significant other, life partner

Lebensgefährte/-in specifies a long-term relationship between two adults, particularly when the couple is not married.

Alternate Forms:

die Lebensgefährten (pl.)
ledig adjective single

Details:

single

"Ledig" is a rather formal, technical term. It describes not just a "single" person, but a person who has never been married. Divorced or widowed people are not "ledig".

 

Also,in informal situations, it is better to say you are a single (Ich bin Single). "Ledig" is used for more bureaucratic purposes.

Example Sentences:

  1. Auch der neue Sparkassendirektor ist ledig
  2. Ein lediger Oberwachtmeister erhält 623 Mark brutto im Monat und Zuschläge.
  3. Jaggele, der ledig geblieben war, blieb als "Privatier" auf dem Hofe
  4. andere, die es tun, müssen - entweder ledig bleiben oder - reich heiraten.
  1. Even the new bank director is single.
  2. A single chief guard receives 623 Marks per month plus benefits.
  3. Jaggele, who had remained single, stayed at the court as an independent gentleman.
  4. Others who do it must either remain single or marry rich.

Grammar:

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist ledig.
  1. PARTNER 1 is single.

Details:

single

"Ledig" is a rather formal, technical term. It describes not just a "single" person, but a person who has never been married. Divorced or widowed people are not "ledig".

 

Also,in informal situations, it is better to say you are a single (Ich bin Single). "Ledig" is used for more bureaucratic purposes.

mit jdm. schlafen construction sleep (with)

Details:

to sleep with someone

Like English, German uses the expression "to sleep with someone" as a euphemism for having sexual relations with someone. 

Example Sentences:

  1. Benjamin schläft mit der Nachbarin Janey.
  2. Ich erinnere mich an das Geständnis meiner besten Schulfreundin, dass sie in der Nacht zuvor mit ihrem Freund geschlafen habe.
  3.  Franziska, glücklich geschieden, schreibt ein Buch, schläft mit ihrem Lektor , wird berühmt und nennt sich fortan Franka Zis.
  4. Edgar liebt Danny, schläft aber mit Ute, während Danny Patrick liebt, der aber zu Lydia zurückkehrt.
  1. Benjaminsleeps with the neighbor Janey.
  2. I remember when by best schoolfriend's confession that she had sleptwith her boyfriend the nigh before.
  3. Franziska, happily divorced, writes a book, sleeps with her editor, becomes famous, and calls herself Franka Zis from then on.
  4. Edgar loves Danny, but sleeps with Ute, while Danny loves Patrick, who himself returns to Lydia.
  5.  

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 schläft mit PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS schlafen miteinander.
  1. PARTNER 1 sleeps with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are sleeping with each other.

Details:

to sleep with someone

Like English, German uses the expression "to sleep with someone" as a euphemism for having sexual relations with someone. 

Alternate Forms:

(er) schläft mit jdm., schlief mit jdm., hat mit jdm. geschlafen
mit jdm. zusammen sein construction date

Details:

to date someone, lit. to be together with someone

This construction is used when partners are together in the romantic sense. While English can use both "be with" and "be together" ambiguously (either to indicate a relationship or something else), it does not use both expressions at once. In contrast, German uses "mit jemandem zusammen sein" to clearly indicate a romantic relationship.

Example Sentences:

  1. Wer mit jemandem zusammen ist, der gerade seine Bachelor-Arbeit schreibt, ist wirklich nicht zu beneiden.
  2. Claus hat Martina vor einem halben Jahr verlassen. Seitdem ist er mit Franziska zusammen
  1. Whoever is dating someone who is writing their Bachelor's report is really not someone to envy.
  2. Claus left Martina half a year ago. Since then he's been dating Franziska.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 iat mit PARTNER 2 zusammen.
  2. PARTNERS sind zusammen.
  1. PARTNER 1 is dating PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are dating

Details:

to date someone, lit. to be together with someone

This construction is used when partners are together in the romantic sense. While English can use both "be with" and "be together" ambiguously (either to indicate a relationship or something else), it does not use both expressions at once. In contrast, German uses "mit jemandem zusammen sein" to clearly indicate a romantic relationship.

Alternate Forms:

(er) ist mit jdm. zusammen, war mit jdm. zusammen, ist mit jdm. zusammen gewesen
Partner(in) noun partner

Details:

partner

Similar to English, this word is used in impersonal  (i.e. formal) situations where the exact type of relationship is not specified (gender, marital status). It is also frequently used in a professional sense (i.e. business partner).

Example Sentences:

  1. Wenn ich nicht in meine Partnerin verliebt bin, kann ich nicht spielen!
  2. Der Gerling-Konzern hat es gemacht: eine Lebensversicherung für Schwule und ihrePartner, die Rosa Rente.
  3. Hannelore Hoger wünscht sich einen Partner fürs Leben -
  4. Durch das idiotische Naturgesetz, daß man zum Sex einen Partner braucht, ist wirklich schon viel Leid über die Menschheit gekommen!
  5. Des langen Hugos kleine Partnerin ist nicht weniger drollig.
  1. If I'm not in love with my partner, I cannot play.
  2. The Gerling firm has done it: a life insurance for gays and their partners, the Pink Policy.
  3. Hannelore Hoger wishes herself a partner for life.
  4. Because of the idiotic law of nature that one needs a partner for sex, a lot of suffering has come upon mankind.
  5. Long Hugo's little partner is no less humorous.

Grammar:

Gendered Nouns

Many nouns that denote people specify the gender of the person with noun endings. If the partner is female, the noun ends in "-in." In English, the gender of the person is not expressed linguistically. Even in cases where English speakers can make such a distinction (e.g. actor/actress), users of the language are shifting away from doing so.
Male FemaleEnglish

der Freund

die Freundinfriend
der Partnerdie Partnerinpartner
der Lebensgefährtedie Lebensgefährtinsignificant other
der Kundedie Kundincustomer
der Verkäuferdie Verkäuferinsalesperson
der Studentdie Studentincollege student
der Professordie Professorinprofessor
der Schauspielerdie Schauspielerinactor
 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist der Partner von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS sind PARTNER.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the partner of PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are partners.

Details:

partner

Similar to English, this word is used in impersonal  (i.e. formal) situations where the exact type of relationship is not specified (gender, marital status). It is also frequently used in a professional sense (i.e. business partner).

Alternate Forms:

die Partner (pl.)
Schluss machen (mit) construction break up with

Details:

to break up with, lit. to make closure with

Unlike English "break up with," in German you can simply say "er macht Schluss" (he breaks up) without mentioning the person he broke up with.

Example Sentences:

  1. Er hat Schluss gemacht.
  2. Ein paar Wochen ist es her, dass ihr Freund mit ihr Schluss gemacht hat.
  3. Mit dem hat sie Schluss gemacht , obwohl sie » echt verliebt « in ihn war,...
  1. He broke up.
  2. It's been a few weeks since her boyfriend broke up with her.
  3. She broke up with him, even though she was "truly in love" with him,...

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 macht Schluss mit PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS machen Schluss miteinander.
  1. PARTNER 1 breaks up with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are breaking up.

Details:

to break up with, lit. to make closure with

Unlike English "break up with," in German you can simply say "er macht Schluss" (he breaks up) without mentioning the person he broke up with.

Alternate Forms:

(er) macht Schluss, machte Schluss, hat Schluss gemacht
sich (akk.) befreunden (mit) verb befriend

Details:

to befriend

Germans use this verb phrase as English speakers use the phrase "to become friends with." For example, "Ich habe mich mit meinen Arbeitskollegen befreundet" ("I became friends with my colleagues at work"). See also "befreundet sein" ("to be friends").

Note: in certain contexts, "befreunden" can mean "to familiarize (yourself with something)" or "get comfortable with."

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich habe mich mit dem alten Mann befreundet.
  2. Die Klassenkameraden haben sich alle am ersten Tag befreundet.
  3. Frau Mix hatte sich mit dem 30 jährigen Arbeiter befreundet.
  1. I befriended the old man.
  2. The classmates all befriended each other on the first day.
  3. Mrs. Mix had befriended the 30-year-old worker.

Grammar:

Starting and Ending Relationships: Reflexive Pronouns and Prepositions

There are a number of words for starting and ending relationships that involve the use of an (accusative) reflexive pronoun and a preposition. The person who is starting/ending the relationship is realized as both the subject and as the accusative reflexive object (green in the examples below). The person with whom they are starting/ending the relationship is realized in a prepositional phrase (pink) with either dative or accusative, depending on the preposition. These constructions are often significantly different than their English equivalents. 
ReflexiveVerbPrepositionEnglish
sichbefreundenmit(dat.)to befriend, to make friends with
Ich habe mich mit Manni befreundet.I befriended Manni.
Die Studenten befreunden sich.The students befriend one another.
sichscheiden lassenvon (dat.) to divorce
Frieda lässt sich von ihrem Mann scheiden. Frieda is divorcing her husband.
Meine Eltern haben sich scheiden lassen.My parents got a divorce.
sichtrennen von (dat.)to separate from 
Lena trennt sich von ihrer Partnerin.  Lena is separating from her partner.  
Sabine und Jan trennen sich. Sabine and Jan are separating.
 sichverlieben in (akk.)to fall in love with 
Elias verliebt sich in eine schöne junge Frau.  Elias is falling in love with a pretty young woman.
Die zwei schüchternen Teenager verliebten sich sofort ineinander. The two shy teenagers fell in love with each other immediately.
sichverlobenmit (dat.)to get engaged to
Nach einem Jahr hat Mila sich mit ihrem Freund verlobt. After a year, Mila got engaged to her boyfriend.
Das Liebespaar verlobte sich im Juni. The couple got engaged in June.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 befeundet PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS befreunden sich.
  1. PARTNER 1 befriends PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS befreind each other.

Details:

to befriend

Germans use this verb phrase as English speakers use the phrase "to become friends with." For example, "Ich habe mich mit meinen Arbeitskollegen befreundet" ("I became friends with my colleagues at work"). See also "befreundet sein" ("to be friends").

Note: in certain contexts, "befreunden" can mean "to familiarize (yourself with something)" or "get comfortable with."

Alternate Forms:

(er) befreundet sich mit jdm., befreundete sich mit jdm., hat sich mit jdm. befreundet
sich (akk.) trennen (von) verb break up with

Details:

to separate (oneself) from, to break up with

Note that this is not exclusively used for romantic relationships (see example 3).

Example Sentences:

  1. Hat sie sich von ihm getrennt, oder hat er sich von ihr getrennt?
  2. ...das italienische Restaurant an der Columbus Avenue, wo Meg Ryan und ihr Freund sich trennen.
  3. Sieben Jahre lang waren wir miteinander befreundet und haben zusammen viel erlebt. Aber jetzt haben wir uns getrennt,...
  1. Did she break up with him or did he break up with her?
  2. ...the italian restaurant on Columbus Avenue, where Meg Ryan and her boyfriend break up.
  3. For seven years we were friends and experienced a lot together. But now we've broken up,...

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 trennt sich von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS trennen sich voneinander.
  1. PARTNER breaks up with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are breaking up.

Details:

to separate (oneself) from, to break up with

Note that this is not exclusively used for romantic relationships (see example 3).

Alternate Forms:

(er) trennt sich von jdm., trennte sich von jdm., hat sich von jdm. getrennt
sich (akk.) verlieben (in) verb fall in love (with)

Details:

to fall in love (with)

German uses a different expression than English for 'falling in love'. Germans say that "they ver-love themselves in someone else."

Note that the one who falls in love is both subject and repeated in an accusative reflexive pronoun. The partner they fall in love with is in the accusative after "in".

Ich verliebe mich in ihn.

I ver-love myself in him.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich habe michverliebt .
  2. Wir verliebten uns sofort ineinander
  3. Dann verliebte ersichin zwei Schwestern und heiratete die Mutter.
  4. Seit wann fährt man in die Schweiz, um sich zu verlieben ?
  1.  have fallen in love.
  2. We immediately fell in love with each other.
  3. The he fell in love with two sisters and married the mother.
  4. Since when does one travel to Switzerland in order to fall in love?

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 verliebt sich in PARTNER 2 (akk.).
  2. PARTNERS verlieben sich.
  1. PARTNER 1 falls in love with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are falling in love with each other.

Details:

to fall in love (with)

German uses a different expression than English for 'falling in love'. Germans say that "they ver-love themselves in someone else."

Note that the one who falls in love is both subject and repeated in an accusative reflexive pronoun. The partner they fall in love with is in the accusative after "in".

Ich verliebe mich in ihn.

I ver-love myself in him.

Alternate Forms:

(er) verliebt sich in jdn., verliebte sich in jdn., hat sich in jdn. verliebt
sich (akk.) verloben (mit) verb get engaged

Details:

to get engaged (to)

While English uses the helping verb "get" with the word "engaged", German uses a reflexive construction "to engage oneself to someone". Note also that while in English, one gets engaged "to" a person, in German one gets engaged "with" a person.

German:                  Ich verlobe mich mit ihm.  

Literal Translation:  I  engage myself with him 

English:                   I  get engaged to him

Example Sentences:

  1. Als er sich verlobt hatte, ist er zu verschiedenen Damen aus der Gesellschaft gegangen,
  2. Er verlobte sich mit ihr gegen den Willen ihrer Eltern.
  3. Er hatte sich mit ihr verlobt.
  4. Ein bißchen Konflikt und Verwirrung, Entsagung und Trotz. Zuletzt verloben sich beide mit Ida.
  1. When he got engaged, he went to different ladies from the society
  2. He got engaged to her against the will of her parents
  3. He had gotten engaged to her
  4. A bit of conflict and confusion, self-denial and spite. In the end they both get engaged to Ida.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 verlobt sich mit PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS verloben sich.
  1. PARTNER 1 is getting engaged to PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are getting engaged.

Details:

to get engaged (to)

While English uses the helping verb "get" with the word "engaged", German uses a reflexive construction "to engage oneself to someone". Note also that while in English, one gets engaged "to" a person, in German one gets engaged "with" a person.

German:                  Ich verlobe mich mit ihm.  

Literal Translation:  I  engage myself with him 

English:                   I  get engaged to him

Alternate Forms:

(er) verlobt sich, verlobte sich, hat sich verlobt
verheiratet adjective married

Details:

married

Used like English to desribe one or both partners.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ein paar Wochen später waren wir verheiratet und sind es heute noch nach 60 glücklichen Jahren.
  2. Sie war schon längst mit einem Arzt verheiratet
  3. Vor dem ersten Bissen gehen die Mütter und andere verheiratete Frauen in die Küche...
  4. Mein Chef lehnte mit der Begründung ab, ich sei doch nur eingestellt worden, weil ich mit einem Deutschen verheiratet bin.
  1. A few weeks later, we were married and we still are today after 60 happy years.
  2. She had already been married to a doctor for a long time
  3. Before the first bites the mothers and other married women go into the kitchen...
  4. My boss refused with the reason that I only got triggered because I am married to a German.

Grammar:

Making Adjectives from Verbs

In German (just as in English), the past participles of verbs (with the -ed ending in English) can be used as adjectives, known as "participial adjectives." Add an adjective ending when appropriate. Even a verb's present participle can be used as an adjective. This form of the verb is similar in meaning to English ing-forms, and is formed in German by adding a "d" (and an adjective ending, if necessary) to the infinitive form of the verb. Adjectives formed in this way apply to the type of frame element that would fill the subject role of the verb (e.g. überraschend applies to a Stimulus, and  ).

Example: enttäuschen, überraschen (normal use as verbs)

     Jens enttäuscht seine Mutter. (Jens disappoints his mother.)

     Das Ende der Geschichte überrascht Lena. (The end of the story surprises Lena.)

Adjectives from Past Participles: 

Example: enttäuschen (to disappoint) > enttäuscht

     Seine Mutter war enttäuscht, dass er bei der Prüfung durchgefallen ist. (His mother was disappointed that he failed the test.)

     Die enttäuschte Mutter weint. (The disappointed mother cries.)

The way frame elements are realized with the verb determine what the adjective can be used to describe. Details are given in the table below.

Subject of VerbDirect ObjectAdjective applies to:Examples
StimulusExperiencerExperienceraufgeregt (worked up), schockiert (shocked), enttäuscht (disappointed)
Experiencer

Content or Stimulus

Content or Stimulus

gefürchtet (feared), gehasst (hated), geliebt (loved)

*Note that this is not the same as passive voice, which also uses a past participle. See Grimm Grammar for infomation about passive.

Adjectives from Present Participles:

Example: überraschen > überraschend (surprising)

     Das Ende der Geschichte war überraschend. (The end of the story was surprising.)

     Das war ein überraschendes Ende. (That was a surprising ending.)

 

 

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist verheiratet.
  2. PARTNER 1 ist mit PARTNER 2 verheiratet.
  3. PARTNERS sind verheiratet.
  1. PARTNER 1 is married.
  2. PARTNER 1 is married to PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS are married.

Details:

married

Used like English to desribe one or both partners.

verknallt (in) adjective crush (have a crush on)

Details:

infatuated (with)

In English, we say we "have a crush" on someone. But Germans say they are "verknallt in" someone. The person expressed in the "in" prepositional phrase is in the accusative case.

Ich bin in den Mann verknallt.

I  have a crush on the man.

It is possible to say that you are simply "verknallt" without mentioning the person you have a crush on (see examples 3 and 4, and their awkward English translations)

Example Sentences:

  1. In die rothaarige Rieke, die Rocksängerin werden wollte, war ich verknallt.
  2. Natürlich waren wir in viele junge Schauspieler verknallt.

  3. Mal ist Kate völlig verzaubert, Nina heimlich verliebt oder Ben total verknallt .
  4. In den vergangenen vier Jahren war ich zwei Mal verknallt.
  1. I  had a crush on the red-headed Rieke, who wanted to become a rock singer.
  2. Of course we had crushes on many young actors.
  3. At times Kate is fully enchanted, Nina secretly in love, or Ben completely having a crush.
  4. In the past four years I  had crushes two times.

Grammar:

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist in PARTNER 2 verknallt.
  2. PARTNERS sind verknallt.
  1. PARTNER 1 has a crush on PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are having a crush.

Details:

infatuated (with)

In English, we say we "have a crush" on someone. But Germans say they are "verknallt in" someone. The person expressed in the "in" prepositional phrase is in the accusative case.

Ich bin in den Mann verknallt.

I  have a crush on the man.

It is possible to say that you are simply "verknallt" without mentioning the person you have a crush on (see examples 3 and 4, and their awkward English translations)

verliebt (in) adjective in love (with)

Details:

in love (with)

Note that while English uses the preposition "with" to describe the second partner, German uses the preposition "in" with accusative.

Example Sentences:

  1. Mit dem hat sie Schluss gemacht , obwohl sie  »echt verliebt« in ihn war.
  2. Wenn ich nicht in meine Partnerin verliebt bin, kann ich nicht spielen!
  1. She broke up with him, even though she was "truly in love" with him.
  2. If I'm not in love with my partner, I can't play!

Grammar:

Making Adjectives from Verbs

In German (just as in English), the past participles of verbs (with the -ed ending in English) can be used as adjectives, known as "participial adjectives." Add an adjective ending when appropriate. Even a verb's present participle can be used as an adjective. This form of the verb is similar in meaning to English ing-forms, and is formed in German by adding a "d" (and an adjective ending, if necessary) to the infinitive form of the verb. Adjectives formed in this way apply to the type of frame element that would fill the subject role of the verb (e.g. überraschend applies to a Stimulus, and  ).

Example: enttäuschen, überraschen (normal use as verbs)

     Jens enttäuscht seine Mutter. (Jens disappoints his mother.)

     Das Ende der Geschichte überrascht Lena. (The end of the story surprises Lena.)

Adjectives from Past Participles: 

Example: enttäuschen (to disappoint) > enttäuscht

     Seine Mutter war enttäuscht, dass er bei der Prüfung durchgefallen ist. (His mother was disappointed that he failed the test.)

     Die enttäuschte Mutter weint. (The disappointed mother cries.)

The way frame elements are realized with the verb determine what the adjective can be used to describe. Details are given in the table below.

Subject of VerbDirect ObjectAdjective applies to:Examples
StimulusExperiencerExperienceraufgeregt (worked up), schockiert (shocked), enttäuscht (disappointed)
Experiencer

Content or Stimulus

Content or Stimulus

gefürchtet (feared), gehasst (hated), geliebt (loved)

*Note that this is not the same as passive voice, which also uses a past participle. See Grimm Grammar for infomation about passive.

Adjectives from Present Participles:

Example: überraschen > überraschend (surprising)

     Das Ende der Geschichte war überraschend. (The end of the story was surprising.)

     Das war ein überraschendes Ende. (That was a surprising ending.)

 

 

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist verliebt in PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS sind verliebt.
  1. PARTNER 1 is in love with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are in love.

Details:

in love (with)

Note that while English uses the preposition "with" to describe the second partner, German uses the preposition "in" with accusative.

verlobt adjective engaged, affianced

Details:

engaged

This adjective is used as in English to describe one or both partners who are going to be married.

Example Sentences:

  1. Seit September ist Hudson mit dem früheren Reality TV-Star David Otunga verlobt.
  2. Wir sind so gut wie verlobt . -"
  3. "Ich bin erst verlobt ", erwiderte ich hoheitsvoll.
  4. ...man betrachtet sich nicht mehr als verlobt,...
  1. Since September, Hudson has been engaged to the former reality TV star David Otunga.
  2. We are as good as engaged.
  3. "I am just engaged," I responded regally.
  4. ...one doesn't see oneself as engaged anymore,...

Grammar:

Making Adjectives from Verbs

In German (just as in English), the past participles of verbs (with the -ed ending in English) can be used as adjectives, known as "participial adjectives." Add an adjective ending when appropriate. Even a verb's present participle can be used as an adjective. This form of the verb is similar in meaning to English ing-forms, and is formed in German by adding a "d" (and an adjective ending, if necessary) to the infinitive form of the verb. Adjectives formed in this way apply to the type of frame element that would fill the subject role of the verb (e.g. überraschend applies to a Stimulus, and  ).

Example: enttäuschen, überraschen (normal use as verbs)

     Jens enttäuscht seine Mutter. (Jens disappoints his mother.)

     Das Ende der Geschichte überrascht Lena. (The end of the story surprises Lena.)

Adjectives from Past Participles: 

Example: enttäuschen (to disappoint) > enttäuscht

     Seine Mutter war enttäuscht, dass er bei der Prüfung durchgefallen ist. (His mother was disappointed that he failed the test.)

     Die enttäuschte Mutter weint. (The disappointed mother cries.)

The way frame elements are realized with the verb determine what the adjective can be used to describe. Details are given in the table below.

Subject of VerbDirect ObjectAdjective applies to:Examples
StimulusExperiencerExperienceraufgeregt (worked up), schockiert (shocked), enttäuscht (disappointed)
Experiencer

Content or Stimulus

Content or Stimulus

gefürchtet (feared), gehasst (hated), geliebt (loved)

*Note that this is not the same as passive voice, which also uses a past participle. See Grimm Grammar for infomation about passive.

Adjectives from Present Participles:

Example: überraschen > überraschend (surprising)

     Das Ende der Geschichte war überraschend. (The end of the story was surprising.)

     Das war ein überraschendes Ende. (That was a surprising ending.)

 

 

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist verlobt.
  2. PARTNER 1 ist mit PARTNER 2 verlobt.
  3. PARTNERS sind verlobt.
  1. PARTNER 1 is engaged.
  2. PARTNER 1 is engaged to PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS are engaged.

Details:

engaged

This adjective is used as in English to describe one or both partners who are going to be married.

Details
Examples
Grammar Notes
Sentence Templates
Alternate Forms
See All Information
anmachen verb hit on

Details:

to hit on, to make a pass at; lit. to light 

In the context of the Personal Relationship frame, this separable prefix verb is slang. It is used for situations where one person talks to another, thereby showing that they are interested in that person sexually. This situation is often construed as negative or unwanted by the Partner on the receiving end.

But be warned! This verb is highly polysemous (i.e. it has many different meanings in different contexts), so don't assume this is the only possible meaning every time you hear it.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich will doch nicht, dass meine Frau von Arbeitskollegen angemacht wird!
  2. Vor der Attacke im Mai 2010 hatten der Angeklagte und ein Begleiter vor einer Disco zwei Frauen mit obszönen Worten angemacht.
  1. I just don't want, that my wife by coworkers gets hit on!
  2. Before the attack in May 2010 the accused and an associate had hit on two women in front of a nightclub with obscene words.

Grammar:

Verbs with Separable Prefixes

Some verbs have a prefix that moves around in the sentence, depending on what form the verb takes. In the infinitive form, the prefix is attached, like "ausgehen" (to go out). If the verb is conjugated (in present or simple past tense), the prefix appears at the end of the clause, as in "Ich gehe heute Abend aus." For more information about these verbs, see the examples for individual verbs or read these explanations from Grimm Grammar: present tense, conversational past tense (Perfekt).

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER macht PARTNER an.
  1. PARTNER hits on PARTNER.

Details:

to hit on, to make a pass at; lit. to light 

In the context of the Personal Relationship frame, this separable prefix verb is slang. It is used for situations where one person talks to another, thereby showing that they are interested in that person sexually. This situation is often construed as negative or unwanted by the Partner on the receiving end.

But be warned! This verb is highly polysemous (i.e. it has many different meanings in different contexts), so don't assume this is the only possible meaning every time you hear it.

Alternate Forms:

er macht an, machte an, hat angemacht
das Paar noun couple

Details:

pair, couple
Similar to English, "Paar" is often used to refer to a couple of people who are romantically involved. Compound words are used to specify the type of couple, for example, "Ehepaar" ("married couple"), and "Liebespaar" ("pair of lovers").
Note: In German the term "ein paar" (typically without capitalization) can also be used to describe quantity, as in "a few" (e.g. "ein paar Studenten," "a few students" or "a couple of students"). In such cases, the intended meaning should be clear from context.

Example Sentences:

  1. Luisa und Jakob wurden bald ein Paar.
  2. Das glückliche Paar hatte eine einzige Tochter: Sophie.
  3. Eine vierköpfige Familie braucht mehr Geld als ein kinderloses Paar.
  1. Luisa and Jakob soon became a couple.
  2. The happy couple had only one daughter: Sophie.
  3. A four-person family needs more money than a childless couple.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNERS sind ein Paar.
  1. PARTNERS are a couple.

Details:

pair, couple
Similar to English, "Paar" is often used to refer to a couple of people who are romantically involved. Compound words are used to specify the type of couple, for example, "Ehepaar" ("married couple"), and "Liebespaar" ("pair of lovers").
Note: In German the term "ein paar" (typically without capitalization) can also be used to describe quantity, as in "a few" (e.g. "ein paar Studenten," "a few students" or "a couple of students"). In such cases, the intended meaning should be clear from context.

Alternate Forms:

die Paare (pl.)
der Junggeselle noun bachelor

Details:

bachelor

Although it does mean "an unmarried man," German Junggeselle has different connotations. While bachelor in English can be used to express a negative (boring, inexperienced old man) lifestyle, it can also imply the freedom and excitement of being a young single man. German Junggeselle is more associated with the former (negative) connotations. To express the latter (positive) connotations, the noun der Single can be used.

Example Sentences:

  1. Er ist Mitte fünfzig und Junggeselle.
  2. Jetzt vermeidet der Junggeselle gesellschaftlichen Umgang.
  3. Er war schon immer Junggeselle und hatte keine sexuelle Erfahrungen.
  1. He is in his mid-50s and a bachelor.
  2. Now the bachelor avoids social interaction.
  3. He was always a bachelor and had no sexual experiences.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist ein Junggeselle.
  1. PARTNER 1 is a bachelor.

Details:

bachelor

Although it does mean "an unmarried man," German Junggeselle has different connotations. While bachelor in English can be used to express a negative (boring, inexperienced old man) lifestyle, it can also imply the freedom and excitement of being a young single man. German Junggeselle is more associated with the former (negative) connotations. To express the latter (positive) connotations, the noun der Single can be used.

Alternate Forms:

die Junggesellen (pl.)
der/die Single noun single

Details:

single person

Unlike English single, German Single is used only in informal contexts, and is used as a noun (never as an adjective!). Referring to someone as a "Single" conveys informally that they are not in a romantic relationship (see ledig for a contrasting word). 

Additionally, "Single" does not usually occur with "ein(e)." You can simply say "Er ist Single" or "Sie ist Single".

Example Sentences:

  1. Marina hingegen ist Single.
  2. Nicht jeder Single sucht aktiv einen Partner.
  3. Lebenslange Singles haben es leichter als geschiedene oder durch Tod getrennte Paare.
  4. Ein paar Anbieter auf dem deutschen Reisemarkt spezialisieren sich auf die Zielgruppe "Singles."
  1. Marina, on the other hand, is single [lit. a single person].
  2. Not every single is actively seeking a partner.
  3. Life-long singles have it easier than couples that are divorced or separated by death.
  4. A few providers on the German travel market specialize in the target group "Singles."

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist Single.
  1. PARTNER 1 is single.

Details:

single person

Unlike English single, German Single is used only in informal contexts, and is used as a noun (never as an adjective!). Referring to someone as a "Single" conveys informally that they are not in a romantic relationship (see ledig for a contrasting word). 

Additionally, "Single" does not usually occur with "ein(e)." You can simply say "Er ist Single" or "Sie ist Single".

Alternate Forms:

die Singles (pl.)
die Romanze noun romance

Details:

romance

"Die Romanze" is used in the sense of "fling." While it sometimes means something similar to "die Affäre" ("affair"), it implies an episodic and particularly romantic relationship. Additionally, it has no negative connotations like English "affair."

Example Sentences:

  1. Die zwei Studenten hatten eine heimliche Romanze.
  2. So begann eine kleine Romanze zwischen Norma und ihm, aber nach zwei Wochen war es schon vorbei.
  3. Die ungewöhnliche Romanze zwischen dem Geschäftsmann und der Künstlerin dauerte bis sie von seiner Frau erfuhr.
  1. The two students had a secret romance.
  2. So began a little romance between Norma and him, but after two weeks, it was already over.
  3. The unusual romance between the businessman and the artist lasted until she found out about his wife.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 hat eine Romanze.
  2. PARTNER 1 hate eine Romanze mit PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS haben eine Romanze.
  1. PARTNER 1 has a fling.
  2. PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2 have a fling.
  3. PARTNERS are having a fling.

Details:

romance

"Die Romanze" is used in the sense of "fling." While it sometimes means something similar to "die Affäre" ("affair"), it implies an episodic and particularly romantic relationship. Additionally, it has no negative connotations like English "affair."

Alternate Forms:

die Romanzen (pl.)
flirten verb to flirt

Details:

to flirt

This verb is borrowed from English and maintains its English pronunciation. It is also used in very similar ways as English "flirt."

Example Sentences:

  1. Sie flirtet sehr gern mit Männern.
  2. Ich flirte nicht sehr oft, weil ich schüchtern bin.
  3. Jan und seine Kollegin haben die ganze Zeit miteinander geflirtet.
  4. Wir haben doch gar nicht geflirtet.
  1. She likes to flirt with men.
  2. I don't flirt very often, because I am shy.
  3. Jan and his colleague flirted with each other the whole time.
  4. But we didn't flirt at all.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 flirtet.
  2. PARTNER 1 flirtet mit PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS flirten.
  4. PARTNERS flirten miteinander.
  1. PARTNER 1 flirts.
  2. PARTNER 1 flirts with PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS flirt.
  4. PARTNERS flirt with each other.

Details:

to flirt

This verb is borrowed from English and maintains its English pronunciation. It is also used in very similar ways as English "flirt."

Alternate Forms:

(er) flirtet, flirtete, hat geflirtet
kennenlernen verb meet

Details:

to meet, lit. to learn to know

The verb "kennenlernen" refers to meeting a person for the first time. Literally, the verb means 'to learn to know', so it is similar to English 'get to know somebody'. Be careful to not mix this verb up with treffen, which also corresponds to English meet but refers to encountering somebody that you already know.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich habe meine Freundin in der Schule kennengelernt.
  2. Du musst noch meine Mitbewohnerin kennenlernen.
  3. Meine Eltern haben sich nur ein paar Monate vor der Hochzeit kennengelernt.
  1. I met my girlfriend in (high) school.
  2. You still have to meet my roommate.
  3. My parents met each other just a few months before their wedding.

Grammar:

Verbs with Separable Prefixes

Some verbs have a prefix that moves around in the sentence, depending on what form the verb takes. In the infinitive form, the prefix is attached, like "ausgehen" (to go out). If the verb is conjugated (in present or simple past tense), the prefix appears at the end of the clause, as in "Ich gehe heute Abend aus." For more information about these verbs, see the examples for individual verbs or read these explanations from Grimm Grammar: present tense, conversational past tense (Perfekt).

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 lernt PARTNER 2 kennen.
  2. PARTNERS lernen PARTNERS.reflexive kennen.
  3. PARTNERS lernen einandern kennen.
  1. PARTNER 1 meets PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS meet each other.
  3. PARTNERS meet one another.

Details:

to meet, lit. to learn to know

The verb "kennenlernen" refers to meeting a person for the first time. Literally, the verb means 'to learn to know', so it is similar to English 'get to know somebody'. Be careful to not mix this verb up with treffen, which also corresponds to English meet but refers to encountering somebody that you already know.

Alternate Forms:

(er) lernt kennen, hat kennengelernt, lernte kennen
Lebensgefährte(-in) noun significant other

Details:

significant other, life partner

Lebensgefährte/-in specifies a long-term relationship between two adults, particularly when the couple is not married.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ihren Lebensgefährten Helmut Dietl benutze sie für ihre Karriere,
  2. Obwohl er seine Hände nicht sieht, sind ihre Bewegungen so präzise, daß seineLebensgefährtin Margherita Maisano sie versteht.
  3. Ihr Lebensgefährte Dionys Mascolo hatte nach der Befreiung ein Verhältnis mit der Ehefrau Delvals.
  4. Herr Gustav Thölde [...] ist infolge des Todes seiner langjährigen Lebensgefährtin erkrankt.
  1. She uses her significant other, Helmut Dietl, for her career.
  2. Although he doesn't see his hands, their movements are so precise that his significant other, Margherita Maisano, understands them.
  3. Her significant other, Dionys Mascolo, had an affair with the wife of Delval after liberation.
  4. Herr Gustav Thölde [...] got sick after the death of his long-time life partner.

Grammar:

Gendered Nouns

Many nouns that denote people specify the gender of the person with noun endings. If the partner is female, the noun ends in "-in." In English, the gender of the person is not expressed linguistically. Even in cases where English speakers can make such a distinction (e.g. actor/actress), users of the language are shifting away from doing so.
Male FemaleEnglish

der Freund

die Freundinfriend
der Partnerdie Partnerinpartner
der Lebensgefährtedie Lebensgefährtinsignificant other
der Kundedie Kundincustomer
der Verkäuferdie Verkäuferinsalesperson
der Studentdie Studentincollege student
der Professordie Professorinprofessor
der Schauspielerdie Schauspielerinactor
 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist der Lebensgefährte von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTENRS sind Lebensgefährten.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the significant other of PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are significant others.

Details:

significant other, life partner

Lebensgefährte/-in specifies a long-term relationship between two adults, particularly when the couple is not married.

Alternate Forms:

die Lebensgefährten (pl.)
ledig adjective single

Details:

single

"Ledig" is a rather formal, technical term. It describes not just a "single" person, but a person who has never been married. Divorced or widowed people are not "ledig".

 

Also,in informal situations, it is better to say you are a single (Ich bin Single). "Ledig" is used for more bureaucratic purposes.

Example Sentences:

  1. Auch der neue Sparkassendirektor ist ledig
  2. Ein lediger Oberwachtmeister erhält 623 Mark brutto im Monat und Zuschläge.
  3. Jaggele, der ledig geblieben war, blieb als "Privatier" auf dem Hofe
  4. andere, die es tun, müssen - entweder ledig bleiben oder - reich heiraten.
  1. Even the new bank director is single.
  2. A single chief guard receives 623 Marks per month plus benefits.
  3. Jaggele, who had remained single, stayed at the court as an independent gentleman.
  4. Others who do it must either remain single or marry rich.

Grammar:

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist ledig.
  1. PARTNER 1 is single.

Details:

single

"Ledig" is a rather formal, technical term. It describes not just a "single" person, but a person who has never been married. Divorced or widowed people are not "ledig".

 

Also,in informal situations, it is better to say you are a single (Ich bin Single). "Ledig" is used for more bureaucratic purposes.

mit jdm. schlafen construction sleep (with)

Details:

to sleep with someone

Like English, German uses the expression "to sleep with someone" as a euphemism for having sexual relations with someone. 

Example Sentences:

  1. Benjamin schläft mit der Nachbarin Janey.
  2. Ich erinnere mich an das Geständnis meiner besten Schulfreundin, dass sie in der Nacht zuvor mit ihrem Freund geschlafen habe.
  3.  Franziska, glücklich geschieden, schreibt ein Buch, schläft mit ihrem Lektor , wird berühmt und nennt sich fortan Franka Zis.
  4. Edgar liebt Danny, schläft aber mit Ute, während Danny Patrick liebt, der aber zu Lydia zurückkehrt.
  1. Benjaminsleeps with the neighbor Janey.
  2. I remember when by best schoolfriend's confession that she had sleptwith her boyfriend the nigh before.
  3. Franziska, happily divorced, writes a book, sleeps with her editor, becomes famous, and calls herself Franka Zis from then on.
  4. Edgar loves Danny, but sleeps with Ute, while Danny loves Patrick, who himself returns to Lydia.
  5.  

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 schläft mit PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS schlafen miteinander.
  1. PARTNER 1 sleeps with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are sleeping with each other.

Details:

to sleep with someone

Like English, German uses the expression "to sleep with someone" as a euphemism for having sexual relations with someone. 

Alternate Forms:

(er) schläft mit jdm., schlief mit jdm., hat mit jdm. geschlafen
Partner(in) noun partner

Details:

partner

Similar to English, this word is used in impersonal  (i.e. formal) situations where the exact type of relationship is not specified (gender, marital status). It is also frequently used in a professional sense (i.e. business partner).

Example Sentences:

  1. Wenn ich nicht in meine Partnerin verliebt bin, kann ich nicht spielen!
  2. Der Gerling-Konzern hat es gemacht: eine Lebensversicherung für Schwule und ihrePartner, die Rosa Rente.
  3. Hannelore Hoger wünscht sich einen Partner fürs Leben -
  4. Durch das idiotische Naturgesetz, daß man zum Sex einen Partner braucht, ist wirklich schon viel Leid über die Menschheit gekommen!
  5. Des langen Hugos kleine Partnerin ist nicht weniger drollig.
  1. If I'm not in love with my partner, I cannot play.
  2. The Gerling firm has done it: a life insurance for gays and their partners, the Pink Policy.
  3. Hannelore Hoger wishes herself a partner for life.
  4. Because of the idiotic law of nature that one needs a partner for sex, a lot of suffering has come upon mankind.
  5. Long Hugo's little partner is no less humorous.

Grammar:

Gendered Nouns

Many nouns that denote people specify the gender of the person with noun endings. If the partner is female, the noun ends in "-in." In English, the gender of the person is not expressed linguistically. Even in cases where English speakers can make such a distinction (e.g. actor/actress), users of the language are shifting away from doing so.
Male FemaleEnglish

der Freund

die Freundinfriend
der Partnerdie Partnerinpartner
der Lebensgefährtedie Lebensgefährtinsignificant other
der Kundedie Kundincustomer
der Verkäuferdie Verkäuferinsalesperson
der Studentdie Studentincollege student
der Professordie Professorinprofessor
der Schauspielerdie Schauspielerinactor
 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist der Partner von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS sind PARTNER.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the partner of PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are partners.

Details:

partner

Similar to English, this word is used in impersonal  (i.e. formal) situations where the exact type of relationship is not specified (gender, marital status). It is also frequently used in a professional sense (i.e. business partner).

Alternate Forms:

die Partner (pl.)
verknallt (in) adjective crush (have a crush on)

Details:

infatuated (with)

In English, we say we "have a crush" on someone. But Germans say they are "verknallt in" someone. The person expressed in the "in" prepositional phrase is in the accusative case.

Ich bin in den Mann verknallt.

I  have a crush on the man.

It is possible to say that you are simply "verknallt" without mentioning the person you have a crush on (see examples 3 and 4, and their awkward English translations)

Example Sentences:

  1. In die rothaarige Rieke, die Rocksängerin werden wollte, war ich verknallt.
  2. Natürlich waren wir in viele junge Schauspieler verknallt.

  3. Mal ist Kate völlig verzaubert, Nina heimlich verliebt oder Ben total verknallt .
  4. In den vergangenen vier Jahren war ich zwei Mal verknallt.
  1. I  had a crush on the red-headed Rieke, who wanted to become a rock singer.
  2. Of course we had crushes on many young actors.
  3. At times Kate is fully enchanted, Nina secretly in love, or Ben completely having a crush.
  4. In the past four years I  had crushes two times.

Grammar:

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist in PARTNER 2 verknallt.
  2. PARTNERS sind verknallt.
  1. PARTNER 1 has a crush on PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are having a crush.

Details:

infatuated (with)

In English, we say we "have a crush" on someone. But Germans say they are "verknallt in" someone. The person expressed in the "in" prepositional phrase is in the accusative case.

Ich bin in den Mann verknallt.

I  have a crush on the man.

It is possible to say that you are simply "verknallt" without mentioning the person you have a crush on (see examples 3 and 4, and their awkward English translations)

Details
Examples
Grammar Notes
Sentence Templates
Alternate Forms
See All Information
befreundet sein (mit) construction be friends with

Details:

to be friends (with)
Similar to English, German uses the dative preposition "mit." The term "befreundet" originates from the past tense of the verb "befreunden" ("to befriend"). Although the English equivalent in this case is quite different from the German, there are times when English also uses past tense forms as adjectives (e.g. "getrennt sein," "to be separated"). See the grammar note Making Adjectives from Verbs for more information.

Example Sentences:

  1. Liz und ich sind befreundet.
  2. Ich war mit seiner Freundin befreundet, Penny.
  3. Vor Jahren war ich mit einem ungarischen Arzt befreundet.
  4. Ein Naturwissenschaftler, der mit Graevenitz befreundet ist, hat ausgerechnet, daß erst in 20 000 Jahren sich die Konstellation wiederholt.
  1. Liz and I are friends.
  2.  was friends with his girlfriend, Penny.
  3. Years ago  I  was friends with a Hungarian doctor.
  4. A scientist, who is friends with Graevenitz , has calculated that the constellation will not reappear for 20,000 years.

Grammar:

Making Adjectives from Verbs

In German (just as in English), the past participles of verbs (with the -ed ending in English) can be used as adjectives, known as "participial adjectives." Add an adjective ending when appropriate. Even a verb's present participle can be used as an adjective. This form of the verb is similar in meaning to English ing-forms, and is formed in German by adding a "d" (and an adjective ending, if necessary) to the infinitive form of the verb. Adjectives formed in this way apply to the type of frame element that would fill the subject role of the verb (e.g. überraschend applies to a Stimulus, and  ).

Example: enttäuschen, überraschen (normal use as verbs)

     Jens enttäuscht seine Mutter. (Jens disappoints his mother.)

     Das Ende der Geschichte überrascht Lena. (The end of the story surprises Lena.)

Adjectives from Past Participles: 

Example: enttäuschen (to disappoint) > enttäuscht

     Seine Mutter war enttäuscht, dass er bei der Prüfung durchgefallen ist. (His mother was disappointed that he failed the test.)

     Die enttäuschte Mutter weint. (The disappointed mother cries.)

The way frame elements are realized with the verb determine what the adjective can be used to describe. Details are given in the table below.

Subject of VerbDirect ObjectAdjective applies to:Examples
StimulusExperiencerExperienceraufgeregt (worked up), schockiert (shocked), enttäuscht (disappointed)
Experiencer

Content or Stimulus

Content or Stimulus

gefürchtet (feared), gehasst (hated), geliebt (loved)

*Note that this is not the same as passive voice, which also uses a past participle. See Grimm Grammar for infomation about passive.

Adjectives from Present Participles:

Example: überraschen > überraschend (surprising)

     Das Ende der Geschichte war überraschend. (The end of the story was surprising.)

     Das war ein überraschendes Ende. (That was a surprising ending.)

 

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2 sind befreundet.
  2. PARTNER 1 ist mit PARTNER 2 befreundet.
  3. PARTNERS sind befreundet.
  1. PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2 are friends.
  2. PARTNER 1 is friends with PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS are friends.

Details:

to be friends (with)
Similar to English, German uses the dative preposition "mit." The term "befreundet" originates from the past tense of the verb "befreunden" ("to befriend"). Although the English equivalent in this case is quite different from the German, there are times when English also uses past tense forms as adjectives (e.g. "getrennt sein," "to be separated"). See the grammar note Making Adjectives from Verbs for more information.

Alternate Forms:

er ist befreundet, war befreundet
der Kumpel noun buddy, pal, chum

Details:

buddy, pal, chum

Like English "buddy," "der Kumpel" is normally used to describe an informal friendship between two male partners. Note that there is no feminine form of this noun.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ron ist Harrys bester Kumpel.
  2. Ich habe immer meine Kumpels gehabt, mit denen ich gespielt habe.
  3. Dass sein Kumpel ein Erasmus-Jahr in Madrid macht, kann er nicht verstehen.
  1. Ron is Harry's best buddy.
  2. I always had my buddies who I played with.
  3. That his buddy is doing an Erasmus-year in Madrid, he cannot understand.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist ein Kumpel von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS sind Kumpel.
  1. PARTNER 1 is PARTNER 2's buddy.
  2. PARTNERS are buddies.

Details:

buddy, pal, chum

Like English "buddy," "der Kumpel" is normally used to describe an informal friendship between two male partners. Note that there is no feminine form of this noun.

Alternate Forms:

die Kumpel (pl.)
der/die Bekannte noun friend, acquaintance

Details:

acquaintance, friend

"Bekannte" is used more frequently than English "acquaintance." The term "Freund" is limited to one's close friends, so a person you enjoy being with but only see occasionally is a "Bekannte."

Example Sentences:

  1. In Frankreich hatte Lena einige Bekannte, aber keine Freunde.
  2. Clara , die Bekannte von Gerda, hat mich eingeladen.
  3. Ein alter Bekannter von mir hat mich heute angerufen.
  1. In France, Lena had some acquaintances, but no friends.
  2. Clara, the acquaintance of Gerda, invited me.
  3. An old acquaintance of mine called me today.

Grammar:

Making Nouns from Adjectives

So-called "adjectival nouns" are derived from adjectives. These nouns behave like adjectives in that their endings change depending on the gender, case, and whether one uses a definite article (or der-word, e.g. der, dieser, welcher) or an indefinite article (or ein-word, e.g. eine, meine, ihre).To create  an adjectival noun, simply use the adjective without the noun (with the appropriate article and ending as if the relevant noun were there).
For example, if you want to refer to a good looking person, take an adjective like "schön" ("beautiful," "handsome"), as in "ein schöner Mann," and drop the noun; now you have "ein Schöner" ("a good looking man"). To refer to a woman, change the gender of the article accordingly: "eine schöne Frau" becomes "eine Schöne" ("a good-looking woman"). The endings you will most commonly need to refer to people using adjectival nouns are listed in the chart below. If you would like to go further and apply this grammatical feature more broadly, see Grimm Grammar's explanations of adjective endings for the appropriate forms (after der-wordsafter ein-words, without articles).
Adjective NominativeAccusativeDativeEnglish Translation
verlobtm.der Verlobteden Verlobtendem Verlobtenfiance
 (engaged) ein Verlobtereinen Verlobteneinem Verlobten 
 f.die Verlobtedie Verlobteder Verlobten 
  eine Verlobteeine Verlobteeiner Verlobten 
geliebtm.der Geliebteden Geliebtendem Geliebtenloved one
 (loved) ein Geliebtereinen Geliebteneinem Geliebten 
 f.die Geliebtedie Geliebteder Geliebten 
  eine Geliebteeine Geliebteeiner Geliebten 
altm.der Alteden Altendem Altenold person
 (old) ein Altereinen Alteneinem Alten 
 f.die Altedie Alteder Alten 
  eine Alteeine Alteeiner Alten 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2 sind Bekannte.
  2. PARTNER 1 ist ein Bekannter von PARTNER 2.
  1. PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2 are friends/acquaintances.
  2. PARTNER 1 is a friend/acquaintance of PARTNER 2.

Details:

acquaintance, friend

"Bekannte" is used more frequently than English "acquaintance." The term "Freund" is limited to one's close friends, so a person you enjoy being with but only see occasionally is a "Bekannte."

Alternate Forms:

die Bekannten (pl.)
die Freundschaft noun friendship

Details:

friendship
Germans only use the word "Freund" for their very closest friends. Therefore, the term "Freundschaft" describes the friendship between two or more very close friends. It cannot be used in a romantic sense.

Example Sentences:

  1. Dank ihrer langjährigen Freundschaft weiss Hannah immer, was Emma denkt.
  2. Die Freundschaften, die man als Kind entwickelt, sind am stärksten.
  3. Jakob kauft Max ein Videospiel, um seine Freundschaft zu gewinnen.
  1. Thanks to their long-standing friendship, Hannah always knows what Emma is thinking.
  2. The friendships that one develops as a child are the strongest.
  3. Jakob buys Max a video game to win his friendship.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. Die Freundschaft zwischen PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS haben eine Freundschaft.
  1. The friendship between PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS have a friendship.

Details:

friendship
Germans only use the word "Freund" for their very closest friends. Therefore, the term "Freundschaft" describes the friendship between two or more very close friends. It cannot be used in a romantic sense.

Alternate Forms:

die Freundschaften (pl.)
Freund(in) noun friend

Details:

friend

Germans only use the word "Freund" for their very closest friends. Typically, they would not use it for classmates, coworkers or acquaintances they like being around, but aren't very close to. The casual "friends" English speakers have would be called "Bekannte."

In German, "Freund(in)" can means both "friend" and "boy/girlfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun (e.g. "meine Freundin," "ihr Freund"), that means it is a romantic relationship. To specify that it is a non-romantic friend, one uses "von" instead, as in "Er ist ein Freund von mir" ("He is a friend of mine"). 

The examples in this entry reflect the non-romantic ("friend") use of "Freund" and "Freundin." Note that the Dating section contains separate entries for "Freund" ("boyfriend") and "Freundin" ("girlfriend").

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich fotografierte meine Freunde.
  2. Mutti ist mit einer Freundin einkaufen.
  3. Mein Freund Michael ist nicht mehr dabei.
  4. Meine besten Freunde waren Serben.
  5. Dann mußte sie es als Weihnachtsgeschenk an eine Freundin schicken.
  1. I photographed my friends.
  2. Mom is shopping with a friend.
  3. My friend Michael is no longer here.
  4. My best friends were Serbians.
  5. Then she had to send it as a Christmas present to a friend.

Grammar:

Gendered Nouns

Many nouns that denote people specify the gender of the person with noun endings. If the partner is female, the noun ends in "-in." In English, the gender of the person is not expressed linguistically. Even in cases where English speakers can make such a distinction (e.g. actor/actress), users of the language are shifting away from doing so.
Male FemaleEnglish

der Freund

die Freundinfriend
der Partnerdie Partnerinpartner
der Lebensgefährtedie Lebensgefährtinsignificant other
der Kundedie Kundincustomer
der Verkäuferdie Verkäuferinsalesperson
der Studentdie Studentincollege student
der Professordie Professorinprofessor
der Schauspielerdie Schauspielerinactor
 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist ein Freund von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS sind FREUNDE.
  1. PARTNER 1 is friends with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are friends.

Details:

friend

Germans only use the word "Freund" for their very closest friends. Typically, they would not use it for classmates, coworkers or acquaintances they like being around, but aren't very close to. The casual "friends" English speakers have would be called "Bekannte."

In German, "Freund(in)" can means both "friend" and "boy/girlfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun (e.g. "meine Freundin," "ihr Freund"), that means it is a romantic relationship. To specify that it is a non-romantic friend, one uses "von" instead, as in "Er ist ein Freund von mir" ("He is a friend of mine"). 

The examples in this entry reflect the non-romantic ("friend") use of "Freund" and "Freundin." Note that the Dating section contains separate entries for "Freund" ("boyfriend") and "Freundin" ("girlfriend").

Alternate Forms:

der Freund (m.), die Freundin (f.), die Freunde (pl.), die Freundinnen (f.pl.)
sich (akk.) befreunden (mit) verb befriend

Details:

to befriend

Germans use this verb phrase as English speakers use the phrase "to become friends with." For example, "Ich habe mich mit meinen Arbeitskollegen befreundet" ("I became friends with my colleagues at work"). See also "befreundet sein" ("to be friends").

Note: in certain contexts, "befreunden" can mean "to familiarize (yourself with something)" or "get comfortable with."

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich habe mich mit dem alten Mann befreundet.
  2. Die Klassenkameraden haben sich alle am ersten Tag befreundet.
  3. Frau Mix hatte sich mit dem 30 jährigen Arbeiter befreundet.
  1. I befriended the old man.
  2. The classmates all befriended each other on the first day.
  3. Mrs. Mix had befriended the 30-year-old worker.

Grammar:

Starting and Ending Relationships: Reflexive Pronouns and Prepositions

There are a number of words for starting and ending relationships that involve the use of an (accusative) reflexive pronoun and a preposition. The person who is starting/ending the relationship is realized as both the subject and as the accusative reflexive object (green in the examples below). The person with whom they are starting/ending the relationship is realized in a prepositional phrase (pink) with either dative or accusative, depending on the preposition. These constructions are often significantly different than their English equivalents. 
ReflexiveVerbPrepositionEnglish
sichbefreundenmit(dat.)to befriend, to make friends with
Ich habe mich mit Manni befreundet.I befriended Manni.
Die Studenten befreunden sich.The students befriend one another.
sichscheiden lassenvon (dat.) to divorce
Frieda lässt sich von ihrem Mann scheiden. Frieda is divorcing her husband.
Meine Eltern haben sich scheiden lassen.My parents got a divorce.
sichtrennen von (dat.)to separate from 
Lena trennt sich von ihrer Partnerin.  Lena is separating from her partner.  
Sabine und Jan trennen sich. Sabine and Jan are separating.
 sichverlieben in (akk.)to fall in love with 
Elias verliebt sich in eine schöne junge Frau.  Elias is falling in love with a pretty young woman.
Die zwei schüchternen Teenager verliebten sich sofort ineinander. The two shy teenagers fell in love with each other immediately.
sichverlobenmit (dat.)to get engaged to
Nach einem Jahr hat Mila sich mit ihrem Freund verlobt. After a year, Mila got engaged to her boyfriend.
Das Liebespaar verlobte sich im Juni. The couple got engaged in June.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 befeundet PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS befreunden sich.
  1. PARTNER 1 befriends PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS befreind each other.

Details:

to befriend

Germans use this verb phrase as English speakers use the phrase "to become friends with." For example, "Ich habe mich mit meinen Arbeitskollegen befreundet" ("I became friends with my colleagues at work"). See also "befreundet sein" ("to be friends").

Note: in certain contexts, "befreunden" can mean "to familiarize (yourself with something)" or "get comfortable with."

Alternate Forms:

(er) befreundet sich mit jdm., befreundete sich mit jdm., hat sich mit jdm. befreundet
Details
Examples
Grammar Notes
Sentence Templates
Alternate Forms
See All Information
der Freund noun boyfriend

Details:

boyfriend

In German, "der Freund" can mean either "friend" or "boyfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun ("mein Freund," "ihr Freund"), it refers to a boyfriend. To specify that it is a non-romantic male friend, one uses "ein Freund von mir" (a friend of mine). See the entry for "Freund(in)" under Friendship for details on the "friend" meaning.

Example Sentences:

  1. Tim ist Marines Freund.
  2. Lola will keinen Freund haben.
  3. Letzte Woche hat Zelda mit ihrem Freund Schluss gemacht.
  1. Tim is Marine's boyfriend.
  2. Lola doesn't want to have a boyfriend.
  3. Last week, Zelda broke up with her boyfriend.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist PARTNER 2s Freund.
  2. PARTNER 2 hat einen Freund.
  1. PARTNER 1 is PARTNER 2's boyfriend.
  2. PARTNER 2 has a boyfriend.

Details:

boyfriend

In German, "der Freund" can mean either "friend" or "boyfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun ("mein Freund," "ihr Freund"), it refers to a boyfriend. To specify that it is a non-romantic male friend, one uses "ein Freund von mir" (a friend of mine). See the entry for "Freund(in)" under Friendship for details on the "friend" meaning.

Alternate Forms:

die Freunde (pl.)
der/die Geliebte noun lover

Details:

lover, beloved

"Geliebte" does not have the sexual connotations of English "lover." Literally, it means "beloved," so it is more like "loved one."

Example Sentences:

  1. Sie ist mit ihrem dänischen Geliebten, Kevin, in der Disco verabredet.
  2. Am Ende wird der Held mitschuldig am Tod seiner Geliebten.
  3. Helmut schreibt jeden Tag einen Brief an seine Geliebte.
  1. She has a date in the disco with her Danish lover, Kevin.
  2. In the end, the hero becomes complicit in the death of his lover.
  3. Helmut writes a letter to his beloved every day.

Grammar:

Making Nouns from Adjectives

So-called "adjectival nouns" are derived from adjectives. These nouns behave like adjectives in that their endings change depending on the gender, case, and whether one uses a definite article (or der-word, e.g. der, dieser, welcher) or an indefinite article (or ein-word, e.g. eine, meine, ihre).To create  an adjectival noun, simply use the adjective without the noun (with the appropriate article and ending as if the relevant noun were there).
For example, if you want to refer to a good looking person, take an adjective like "schön" ("beautiful," "handsome"), as in "ein schöner Mann," and drop the noun; now you have "ein Schöner" ("a good looking man"). To refer to a woman, change the gender of the article accordingly: "eine schöne Frau" becomes "eine Schöne" ("a good-looking woman"). The endings you will most commonly need to refer to people using adjectival nouns are listed in the chart below. If you would like to go further and apply this grammatical feature more broadly, see Grimm Grammar's explanations of adjective endings for the appropriate forms (after der-wordsafter ein-words, without articles).
Adjective NominativeAccusativeDativeEnglish Translation
verlobtm.der Verlobteden Verlobtendem Verlobtenfiance
 (engaged) ein Verlobtereinen Verlobteneinem Verlobten 
 f.die Verlobtedie Verlobteder Verlobten 
  eine Verlobteeine Verlobteeiner Verlobten 
geliebtm.der Geliebteden Geliebtendem Geliebtenloved one
 (loved) ein Geliebtereinen Geliebteneinem Geliebten 
 f.die Geliebtedie Geliebteder Geliebten 
  eine Geliebteeine Geliebteeiner Geliebten 
altm.der Alteden Altendem Altenold person
 (old) ein Altereinen Alteneinem Alten 
 f.die Altedie Alteder Alten 
  eine Alteeine Alteeiner Alten 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist die Geliebte von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS sind Geliebte.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the lover of PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are lovers.

Details:

lover, beloved

"Geliebte" does not have the sexual connotations of English "lover." Literally, it means "beloved," so it is more like "loved one."

Alternate Forms:

die Geliebten (pl.)
die Fernbeziehung noun long-distance relationship

Details:

long distance relationship

This noun is used like English "long-distance relationship." To say that one has or is in such a relationship, German uses the verb führen or haben. One can also say that they "live in" a long-term relationship, as in Ich lebe in einer Fernbeziehung.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich und mein Freund führen seit einem Jahr eine Fernbeziehung.
  2. Eine Fernbeziehung ist für mich nicht möglich.
  3. Ihre Fernbeziehung hat nicht lange gedauert.
  4. Es ist nicht leicht, in einer Fernbeziehung zu leben.
  1. My boyfriend and I have had a long-distance relationship for one year.
  2. long-distance relationship is not possible for me.
  3. Their long-distance relationship did not last long.
  4. It is not easy to live in a long-distance relationship.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNERS' Fernbeziehung
  2. PARTNER 1's Fernbeziehung
  3. PARTNERS führen/haben eine Fernbeziehung.
  4. PARTNER 1 führen/haben eine Fernbeziehung.
  5. PARTNERS leben in einer Fernbeziehung.
  6. PARTNER 1 lebt in einer Fernbeziehung.
  1. PARTNERS' long-distance relationship.
  2. PARTNER 1's long-distance relationship.
  3. PARTNERS have a long-distance relationship.
  4. PARTNER 1 has a long-distance relationship.
  5. PARTNERS are in a long-distance relationship.
  6. PARTNER 1 is in long-distance relationship.

Details:

long distance relationship

This noun is used like English "long-distance relationship." To say that one has or is in such a relationship, German uses the verb führen or haben. One can also say that they "live in" a long-term relationship, as in Ich lebe in einer Fernbeziehung.

Alternate Forms:

die Fernbeziehungen (pl.)
die Freundin noun girlfriend

Details:

girlfriend

In German, "Freundin" can mean either "friend" or "girlfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun ("meine Freundin," "seine Freundin"), it refers to a grilfriend. To specify that it is a non-romantic male friend, one uses "ein Freund von mir" (a friend of mine). See the entry for "Freund(in)" under Friendship for details on the friend meaning.

Example Sentences:

  1. Emma ist Julians Freundin.
  2. Meine Freundin ist schöner als andere Frauen.
  3. Noah spielt mittwochs Tennis mit seiner Freundin.
  1. Emma is Julian's girlfriend.
  2. My girlfriend is prettier than other women.
  3. Noah plays Tennis on Wednesdays with his girlfriend.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist PARTNER 2s Freundin.
  2. PARTNER 2 hat eine Freundin.
  1. PARTNER 1 is PARTNER 2's girlfriend.
  2. PARTNER 2 has a girlfriend.

Details:

girlfriend

In German, "Freundin" can mean either "friend" or "girlfriend," so it is important to pay attention to the context in which it is used. Typically, if there is a possessive pronoun ("meine Freundin," "seine Freundin"), it refers to a grilfriend. To specify that it is a non-romantic male friend, one uses "ein Freund von mir" (a friend of mine). See the entry for "Freund(in)" under Friendship for details on the friend meaning.

Alternate Forms:

die Freundinnen (pl.)
mit jdm. zusammen sein construction date

Details:

to date someone, lit. to be together with someone

This construction is used when partners are together in the romantic sense. While English can use both "be with" and "be together" ambiguously (either to indicate a relationship or something else), it does not use both expressions at once. In contrast, German uses "mit jemandem zusammen sein" to clearly indicate a romantic relationship.

Example Sentences:

  1. Wer mit jemandem zusammen ist, der gerade seine Bachelor-Arbeit schreibt, ist wirklich nicht zu beneiden.
  2. Claus hat Martina vor einem halben Jahr verlassen. Seitdem ist er mit Franziska zusammen
  1. Whoever is dating someone who is writing their Bachelor's report is really not someone to envy.
  2. Claus left Martina half a year ago. Since then he's been dating Franziska.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 iat mit PARTNER 2 zusammen.
  2. PARTNERS sind zusammen.
  1. PARTNER 1 is dating PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are dating

Details:

to date someone, lit. to be together with someone

This construction is used when partners are together in the romantic sense. While English can use both "be with" and "be together" ambiguously (either to indicate a relationship or something else), it does not use both expressions at once. In contrast, German uses "mit jemandem zusammen sein" to clearly indicate a romantic relationship.

Alternate Forms:

(er) ist mit jdm. zusammen, war mit jdm. zusammen, ist mit jdm. zusammen gewesen
Schluss machen (mit) construction break up with

Details:

to break up with, lit. to make closure with

Unlike English "break up with," in German you can simply say "er macht Schluss" (he breaks up) without mentioning the person he broke up with.

Example Sentences:

  1. Er hat Schluss gemacht.
  2. Ein paar Wochen ist es her, dass ihr Freund mit ihr Schluss gemacht hat.
  3. Mit dem hat sie Schluss gemacht , obwohl sie » echt verliebt « in ihn war,...
  1. He broke up.
  2. It's been a few weeks since her boyfriend broke up with her.
  3. She broke up with him, even though she was "truly in love" with him,...

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 macht Schluss mit PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS machen Schluss miteinander.
  1. PARTNER 1 breaks up with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are breaking up.

Details:

to break up with, lit. to make closure with

Unlike English "break up with," in German you can simply say "er macht Schluss" (he breaks up) without mentioning the person he broke up with.

Alternate Forms:

(er) macht Schluss, machte Schluss, hat Schluss gemacht
sich (akk.) trennen (von) verb break up with

Details:

to separate (oneself) from, to break up with

Note that this is not exclusively used for romantic relationships (see example 3).

Example Sentences:

  1. Hat sie sich von ihm getrennt, oder hat er sich von ihr getrennt?
  2. ...das italienische Restaurant an der Columbus Avenue, wo Meg Ryan und ihr Freund sich trennen.
  3. Sieben Jahre lang waren wir miteinander befreundet und haben zusammen viel erlebt. Aber jetzt haben wir uns getrennt,...
  1. Did she break up with him or did he break up with her?
  2. ...the italian restaurant on Columbus Avenue, where Meg Ryan and her boyfriend break up.
  3. For seven years we were friends and experienced a lot together. But now we've broken up,...

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 trennt sich von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS trennen sich voneinander.
  1. PARTNER breaks up with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are breaking up.

Details:

to separate (oneself) from, to break up with

Note that this is not exclusively used for romantic relationships (see example 3).

Alternate Forms:

(er) trennt sich von jdm., trennte sich von jdm., hat sich von jdm. getrennt
sich (akk.) verlieben (in) verb fall in love (with)

Details:

to fall in love (with)

German uses a different expression than English for 'falling in love'. Germans say that "they ver-love themselves in someone else."

Note that the one who falls in love is both subject and repeated in an accusative reflexive pronoun. The partner they fall in love with is in the accusative after "in".

Ich verliebe mich in ihn.

I ver-love myself in him.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich habe michverliebt .
  2. Wir verliebten uns sofort ineinander
  3. Dann verliebte ersichin zwei Schwestern und heiratete die Mutter.
  4. Seit wann fährt man in die Schweiz, um sich zu verlieben ?
  1.  have fallen in love.
  2. We immediately fell in love with each other.
  3. The he fell in love with two sisters and married the mother.
  4. Since when does one travel to Switzerland in order to fall in love?

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 verliebt sich in PARTNER 2 (akk.).
  2. PARTNERS verlieben sich.
  1. PARTNER 1 falls in love with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are falling in love with each other.

Details:

to fall in love (with)

German uses a different expression than English for 'falling in love'. Germans say that "they ver-love themselves in someone else."

Note that the one who falls in love is both subject and repeated in an accusative reflexive pronoun. The partner they fall in love with is in the accusative after "in".

Ich verliebe mich in ihn.

I ver-love myself in him.

Alternate Forms:

(er) verliebt sich in jdn., verliebte sich in jdn., hat sich in jdn. verliebt
verliebt (in) adjective in love (with)

Details:

in love (with)

Note that while English uses the preposition "with" to describe the second partner, German uses the preposition "in" with accusative.

Example Sentences:

  1. Mit dem hat sie Schluss gemacht , obwohl sie  »echt verliebt« in ihn war.
  2. Wenn ich nicht in meine Partnerin verliebt bin, kann ich nicht spielen!
  1. She broke up with him, even though she was "truly in love" with him.
  2. If I'm not in love with my partner, I can't play!

Grammar:

Making Adjectives from Verbs

In German (just as in English), the past participles of verbs (with the -ed ending in English) can be used as adjectives, known as "participial adjectives." Add an adjective ending when appropriate. Even a verb's present participle can be used as an adjective. This form of the verb is similar in meaning to English ing-forms, and is formed in German by adding a "d" (and an adjective ending, if necessary) to the infinitive form of the verb. Adjectives formed in this way apply to the type of frame element that would fill the subject role of the verb (e.g. überraschend applies to a Stimulus, and  ).

Example: enttäuschen, überraschen (normal use as verbs)

     Jens enttäuscht seine Mutter. (Jens disappoints his mother.)

     Das Ende der Geschichte überrascht Lena. (The end of the story surprises Lena.)

Adjectives from Past Participles: 

Example: enttäuschen (to disappoint) > enttäuscht

     Seine Mutter war enttäuscht, dass er bei der Prüfung durchgefallen ist. (His mother was disappointed that he failed the test.)

     Die enttäuschte Mutter weint. (The disappointed mother cries.)

The way frame elements are realized with the verb determine what the adjective can be used to describe. Details are given in the table below.

Subject of VerbDirect ObjectAdjective applies to:Examples
StimulusExperiencerExperienceraufgeregt (worked up), schockiert (shocked), enttäuscht (disappointed)
Experiencer

Content or Stimulus

Content or Stimulus

gefürchtet (feared), gehasst (hated), geliebt (loved)

*Note that this is not the same as passive voice, which also uses a past participle. See Grimm Grammar for infomation about passive.

Adjectives from Present Participles:

Example: überraschen > überraschend (surprising)

     Das Ende der Geschichte war überraschend. (The end of the story was surprising.)

     Das war ein überraschendes Ende. (That was a surprising ending.)

 

 

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist verliebt in PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS sind verliebt.
  1. PARTNER 1 is in love with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are in love.

Details:

in love (with)

Note that while English uses the preposition "with" to describe the second partner, German uses the preposition "in" with accusative.

Details
Examples
Grammar Notes
Sentence Templates
Alternate Forms
See All Information
der Ehemann / die Ehefrau noun spouse

Details:

spouse

These words are not only used like English "spouse", with a possessor like "my" (i.e. "Die Ehefrau des Mannes" or "Ihr Ehemann" ). "Ehemann/Ehefrau" can also be used as "married man/woman," often without knowing who the person is married to (i.e. "ein Ehemann").

Example Sentences:

  1. Die junge Mutter liebte ihren eher plumpen Ehemann.
  2. Diannes Lebensgefährte hatte ein Verhältnis mit der Ehefrau des Ministers.
  3. Die Hochschullehrerin war eine scheue Ehefrau.
  4. Mit ihm im Haus war nicht nur seine Ehefrau, sondern auch seine Geliebte.
  1. The young mother loved her rather plump spouse.
  2. Dianne's significant other had a relationship with the spouse of the Minister.
  3. The secondary school teacher was a shy married woman.
  4. With him in the house was not only his spouse, but also his lover.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist der Ehemann/die Ehefrau von PARTNER 2.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the husband/wife of PARTNER 2.

Details:

spouse

These words are not only used like English "spouse", with a possessor like "my" (i.e. "Die Ehefrau des Mannes" or "Ihr Ehemann" ). "Ehemann/Ehefrau" can also be used as "married man/woman," often without knowing who the person is married to (i.e. "ein Ehemann").

Alternate Forms:

die Ehemänner / die Ehefrauen (pl.)
der Mann noun husband

Details:

husband

Be careful, "der Mann" means both "man" and "husband." Look at the context to help determine which one is intended. These sentences all have the meaning "husband;" you can tell because "Mann" occurs with a possessive pronoun ("ihr-", "mein-") or possessive phrase (genitive, "von"-phrase). 

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich hoffe wirklich, dass mein Mann nie davon erfährt.
  2. Anders als ihr älterer Mann, Otto, sie wollte abends noch ausgehen.
  3. Mein Mann hat mit ihm gesprochen.
  1. I really hope that my husband never finds out about that.
  2. Unlike her older husbandOtto, she still wanted to go out in the evenings.
  3. My husband spoke with him.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist der Mann von PARTNER 2.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the husband of PARTNER 2.

Details:

husband

Be careful, "der Mann" means both "man" and "husband." Look at the context to help determine which one is intended. These sentences all have the meaning "husband;" you can tell because "Mann" occurs with a possessive pronoun ("ihr-", "mein-") or possessive phrase (genitive, "von"-phrase). 

Alternate Forms:

die Männer (pl.)
der/die Verlobte noun fiance.n

Details:

fiancé
This noun is used just like its English equivalent, but be careful - the endings will vary. Even though the masculine form listed here is "der Verlobte," you will most often find the masculine form as "Verlobter."  That's because this term is usually used with a der- word ("ein," "mein," "dein," etc.) which requires an "-r" ending. See the grammar note "Making Nouns from Adjectives" for details.

Example Sentences:

  1. In Mallorca lernte sie ihren Verlobten Sebastian kennen, einen 27-jährigen Fotografen.
  2. Seine junge Verlobte Sophie war vor zwei Jahren an Krebs gestorben.
  3. Mias Verlobter und ihre Eltern waren froh, sie zu sehen.
  1. In Mallorca she met her fiancé Sebastian, a 27 year old Photographer.
  2. His young fiancé Sophie had died of cancer two years earlier.
  3. Mia's fiancé and her parents were happy to see her.

Grammar:

Making Nouns from Adjectives

So-called "adjectival nouns" are derived from adjectives. These nouns behave like adjectives in that their endings change depending on the gender, case, and whether one uses a definite article (or der-word, e.g. der, dieser, welcher) or an indefinite article (or ein-word, e.g. eine, meine, ihre).To create  an adjectival noun, simply use the adjective without the noun (with the appropriate article and ending as if the relevant noun were there).
For example, if you want to refer to a good looking person, take an adjective like "schön" ("beautiful," "handsome"), as in "ein schöner Mann," and drop the noun; now you have "ein Schöner" ("a good looking man"). To refer to a woman, change the gender of the article accordingly: "eine schöne Frau" becomes "eine Schöne" ("a good-looking woman"). The endings you will most commonly need to refer to people using adjectival nouns are listed in the chart below. If you would like to go further and apply this grammatical feature more broadly, see Grimm Grammar's explanations of adjective endings for the appropriate forms (after der-wordsafter ein-words, without articles).
Adjective NominativeAccusativeDativeEnglish Translation
verlobtm.der Verlobteden Verlobtendem Verlobtenfiance
 (engaged) ein Verlobtereinen Verlobteneinem Verlobten 
 f.die Verlobtedie Verlobteder Verlobten 
  eine Verlobteeine Verlobteeiner Verlobten 
geliebtm.der Geliebteden Geliebtendem Geliebtenloved one
 (loved) ein Geliebtereinen Geliebteneinem Geliebten 
 f.die Geliebtedie Geliebteder Geliebten 
  eine Geliebteeine Geliebteeiner Geliebten 
altm.der Alteden Altendem Altenold person
 (old) ein Altereinen Alteneinem Alten 
 f.die Altedie Alteder Alten 
  eine Alteeine Alteeiner Alten 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist der Verlobte von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNER 1 ist die Verlobte von PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS sind Verlobte.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the fiancé of PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNER 2 is the fiancée of PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS are fiancés.

Details:

fiancé
This noun is used just like its English equivalent, but be careful - the endings will vary. Even though the masculine form listed here is "der Verlobte," you will most often find the masculine form as "Verlobter."  That's because this term is usually used with a der- word ("ein," "mein," "dein," etc.) which requires an "-r" ending. See the grammar note "Making Nouns from Adjectives" for details.

Alternate Forms:

die Verlobten (pl.)
die Affäre noun affair

Details:

affair
The German term "Affäre" is used similarly to the English term "affair." In German the term is also commonly used to refer to the person someone is romantically or sexually involved with (this is called metonymy). In such a context, you will likely see a possessive adjective ("mein-," "dein-," etc.) with the term "Affäre". "Seine Affäre ist blond." - "His affair/lover is blond."

Example Sentences:

  1. Dieser Junggeselle hat jede Woche eine neue Affäre.
  2. Bill Clinton sagte, er habe nie eine sexuelle Affäre mit Ms. Lewinsky gehabt.
  1. This bachelor has a new affair every week.
  2. Bill Clinton said he had never had a sexual affair with Ms. Lewinsky.
  3.  

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 hat eine Affäre mit PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS haben eine Affäre.
  1. PARTNER 1 has an affair with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are having an affair.

Details:

affair
The German term "Affäre" is used similarly to the English term "affair." In German the term is also commonly used to refer to the person someone is romantically or sexually involved with (this is called metonymy). In such a context, you will likely see a possessive adjective ("mein-," "dein-," etc.) with the term "Affäre". "Seine Affäre ist blond." - "His affair/lover is blond."

Alternate Forms:

die Affären (pl.)
die Ehe noun marriage

Details:

marriage

Don't confuse "die Ehe," which means "marriage" and lasts a long time, with "die Hochzeit," which means "wedding celebration" and lasts a day (or a few) or with "die Heirat" which means "wedding" or "marriage" in a more literal sense of two people being joined together.

The verb "führen" can be used with this noun to indicate that the Partners are "leading" a marriage - i.e. that they are married.

Example Sentences:

  1. Die Ehe hielt nur ein Jahr.
  2. Amanda und Mason führen eine liebevolle Ehe.
  3. Meine Eltern sagen, Ehe ist nicht leicht, aber sie ist etwas Besonderes.
  1. The marriage lasted only a year.
  2. Amanda and Mason have a loving marriage.
  3. My parents say, marriage is not easy, but it is something special.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. Die Ehe von PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS führen eine Ehe.

     

  1. The marriage of PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are married.

Details:

marriage

Don't confuse "die Ehe," which means "marriage" and lasts a long time, with "die Hochzeit," which means "wedding celebration" and lasts a day (or a few) or with "die Heirat" which means "wedding" or "marriage" in a more literal sense of two people being joined together.

The verb "führen" can be used with this noun to indicate that the Partners are "leading" a marriage - i.e. that they are married.

Alternate Forms:

die Ehen (pl.)
die Frau noun wife

Details:

wife

"Die Frau" can mean either "wife" or "woman." As these sentences show, when it is intended as "wife" there is some mention of the person to whom the woman is married (i.e. des reichen Mannes, seine).

Example Sentences:

  1. Die Frau des reichen Mannes ist tot.
  2.  Alexander zog mit seiner Frau und seinen Söhnen in sein neu erbautes Haus.
  3. Max schreibt seiner Frau Marianne jeden Tag.
  1. The wife of the rich man is dead.
  2. Alexander moved with his wife and his sons into his newly built house.
  3. Max writes to his wife Marianne every day.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist die Frau von PARTNER 2.

1. PARTNER 1 is the wife of PARTNER 2.

Details:

wife

"Die Frau" can mean either "wife" or "woman." As these sentences show, when it is intended as "wife" there is some mention of the person to whom the woman is married (i.e. des reichen Mannes, seine).

Alternate Forms:

die Frauen (pl.)
die Verlobung noun engagement

Details:

engagement
In German "die Verlobung" is used to describe only the actual moment of the engagement. This contrasts with English, which uses the term "engagement" for both the moment he/she popped the question as well as the time leading up to the wedding (e.g. "They had a very long engagement").

Example Sentences:

  1. Meine Mutter erzählt gern von ihrer Verlobung.
  2. Sven wollte eben nächster Tage in die Schweiz reisen, um dort seine Verlobung zu feiern.
  3. Jede Kultur hat Sitten bei Geburt, Verlobung, Hochzeit, und Tod.
  1. My mother likes to talk about her engagement (i.e. when she got engaged).
  2. Sven wanted to travel to Switzerland over the next days, in order to celebrate his engagement there.
  3. Each culture has traditions at birth, engagement, wedding, and death.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. Die Verlobung von PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2.
  1. The engagement of PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2.

Details:

engagement
In German "die Verlobung" is used to describe only the actual moment of the engagement. This contrasts with English, which uses the term "engagement" for both the moment he/she popped the question as well as the time leading up to the wedding (e.g. "They had a very long engagement").

Alternate Forms:

die Verlobungen (pl.)
die Witwe noun widow

Details:

widow

Used just like the English term to refer to a woman whose husband has died. There is also a male version of this word, "der Witwer" ("widower").

Example Sentences:

  1. Durch den Unfall wurde Sasha zur Witwe.
  2. Es gab viele Witwen in den Jahren nach dem Krieg.
  3. Der Witwer hat nach einem jahr wieder geheiratet.
  1. Through the accident, Sasha became a widow.
  2. There were many widows in the years after the war.
  3. The widower married again after a year.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist die Witwe von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNER 1 wurde zur Witwe/zum Witwer.
  1. PARTNER 1 is the widow of PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNER 1 became a widow/widower.

 

Details:

widow

Used just like the English term to refer to a woman whose husband has died. There is also a male version of this word, "der Witwer" ("widower").

Alternate Forms:

die Witwen (f.pl.), der Witwer (m.), die Witwer (m.pl.)
geschieden adjective divorced

Details:

divorced

As in English, this word can be applied to one or both partners, but it differs from English "divorced" in that it can also be applied to a marriage ("die Ehe"), as in example 3 below.

Example Sentences:

  1. Jana und Andre waren sehr jung als sie geheiratet haben; jetzt sind sie geschieden.
  2. Daß ihre Eltern geschieden sind, ist schon schlimm genug für die Kinder.
  3. Die Ehe ist seit sechs Jahren geschieden.
  1. Jana and Andre were very young when they married; now they are divorced.
  2. That their parents are divorced is already bad enough for the children. 
  3. The marriage has been divorced for six years.

Grammar:

Making Adjectives from Verbs

In German (just as in English), the past participles of verbs (with the -ed ending in English) can be used as adjectives, known as "participial adjectives." Add an adjective ending when appropriate. Even a verb's present participle can be used as an adjective. This form of the verb is similar in meaning to English ing-forms, and is formed in German by adding a "d" (and an adjective ending, if necessary) to the infinitive form of the verb. Adjectives formed in this way apply to the type of frame element that would fill the subject role of the verb (e.g. überraschend applies to a Stimulus, and  ).

Example: enttäuschen, überraschen (normal use as verbs)

     Jens enttäuscht seine Mutter. (Jens disappoints his mother.)

     Das Ende der Geschichte überrascht Lena. (The end of the story surprises Lena.)

Adjectives from Past Participles: 

Example: enttäuschen (to disappoint) > enttäuscht

     Seine Mutter war enttäuscht, dass er bei der Prüfung durchgefallen ist. (His mother was disappointed that he failed the test.)

     Die enttäuschte Mutter weint. (The disappointed mother cries.)

The way frame elements are realized with the verb determine what the adjective can be used to describe. Details are given in the table below.

Subject of VerbDirect ObjectAdjective applies to:Examples
StimulusExperiencerExperienceraufgeregt (worked up), schockiert (shocked), enttäuscht (disappointed)
Experiencer

Content or Stimulus

Content or Stimulus

gefürchtet (feared), gehasst (hated), geliebt (loved)

*Note that this is not the same as passive voice, which also uses a past participle. See Grimm Grammar for infomation about passive.

Adjectives from Present Participles:

Example: überraschen > überraschend (surprising)

     Das Ende der Geschichte war überraschend. (The end of the story was surprising.)

     Das war ein überraschendes Ende. (That was a surprising ending.)

 

 

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 und PARTNER 2 sind geschieden.
  2. PARTNERS sind geschieden.
  1. PARTNER 1 and PARTNER 2 are divorced.
  2. PARTNERS are divorced.

Details:

divorced

As in English, this word can be applied to one or both partners, but it differs from English "divorced" in that it can also be applied to a marriage ("die Ehe"), as in example 3 below.

sich (akk.) trennen (von) verb break up with

Details:

to separate (oneself) from, to break up with

Note that this is not exclusively used for romantic relationships (see example 3).

Example Sentences:

  1. Hat sie sich von ihm getrennt, oder hat er sich von ihr getrennt?
  2. ...das italienische Restaurant an der Columbus Avenue, wo Meg Ryan und ihr Freund sich trennen.
  3. Sieben Jahre lang waren wir miteinander befreundet und haben zusammen viel erlebt. Aber jetzt haben wir uns getrennt,...
  1. Did she break up with him or did he break up with her?
  2. ...the italian restaurant on Columbus Avenue, where Meg Ryan and her boyfriend break up.
  3. For seven years we were friends and experienced a lot together. But now we've broken up,...

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 trennt sich von PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS trennen sich voneinander.
  1. PARTNER breaks up with PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are breaking up.

Details:

to separate (oneself) from, to break up with

Note that this is not exclusively used for romantic relationships (see example 3).

Alternate Forms:

(er) trennt sich von jdm., trennte sich von jdm., hat sich von jdm. getrennt
sich (akk.) verloben (mit) verb get engaged

Details:

to get engaged (to)

While English uses the helping verb "get" with the word "engaged", German uses a reflexive construction "to engage oneself to someone". Note also that while in English, one gets engaged "to" a person, in German one gets engaged "with" a person.

German:                  Ich verlobe mich mit ihm.  

Literal Translation:  I  engage myself with him 

English:                   I  get engaged to him

Example Sentences:

  1. Als er sich verlobt hatte, ist er zu verschiedenen Damen aus der Gesellschaft gegangen,
  2. Er verlobte sich mit ihr gegen den Willen ihrer Eltern.
  3. Er hatte sich mit ihr verlobt.
  4. Ein bißchen Konflikt und Verwirrung, Entsagung und Trotz. Zuletzt verloben sich beide mit Ida.
  1. When he got engaged, he went to different ladies from the society
  2. He got engaged to her against the will of her parents
  3. He had gotten engaged to her
  4. A bit of conflict and confusion, self-denial and spite. In the end they both get engaged to Ida.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 verlobt sich mit PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS verloben sich.
  1. PARTNER 1 is getting engaged to PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are getting engaged.

Details:

to get engaged (to)

While English uses the helping verb "get" with the word "engaged", German uses a reflexive construction "to engage oneself to someone". Note also that while in English, one gets engaged "to" a person, in German one gets engaged "with" a person.

German:                  Ich verlobe mich mit ihm.  

Literal Translation:  I  engage myself with him 

English:                   I  get engaged to him

Alternate Forms:

(er) verlobt sich, verlobte sich, hat sich verlobt
sich (akk.) von jdm. scheiden lassen verb divorce

Details:

"Sich scheiden lassen" is used with the dative - sich (von jdm.) scheiden lassen; literally: to get divorced from someone

Example Sentences:

  1. Peter läßt sich von Susanne scheiden.
  2. Sie lassen sich scheiden.
  3. Er ließ sich nach 5 Jahren Ehe von seiner Frau scheiden.
  1. Peter is divorcing Susanne.
  2. They are getting divorced.
  3. After 5 years of marriage he divorced his wife.

Grammar:

Cases, Cases, Cases

For transitive and ditransitive verbs, it can be difficult to remember how to express who is doing what to whom. This is due to a major difference between German and English: German uses its case system to keep track of who is doing what, while English uses syntax. Here is what you need to know about the nominative, accusative and dative cases to use these verbs properly.

Case and Grammatical RoleWhat it expressesGerman ExampleEnglish Translation
Nominative   
subjectWho is doing the action.Der Lehrer spricht.The teacher talks.
Accusative   
direct objectWhom or what is being acted upon.Der Lehrer erzählt eine Geschichte.The teacher tells a story.
Dative   
indirect objectTo whom or for whom something is being done.Der Lehrer liest seinen Schülern ein Gedicht.The teacher reads his students a story.

It's important to note that there are other situations that call for particular cases also. 

  • Accusative after these prepositions: durch, für, gegen, ohne, um, bis and entlang.
  • Accusative is used for most time expressions: jeden Tag, letzten Winterer, diesen Sommer, etc.
  • Dative after these prepositions: aus, außer, bei, mit, nach, seit, von, zu.
  • Dative verbs have a dative object (subject is still in nominative): helfen, danken, gefallen, gehören, schmecken, passen.
  • Two-way prepositions, "Wechselpräpositionen," appear with either accusative or dative, depending on the meaning. See Grimm Grammar for details.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 läßt sich von PARTNER 2 scheiden.
  2. PARTNERS lassen sich scheiden.
  1. PARTNER 1 is divorcing PARTNER 2.
  2. PARTNERS are getting divorced.

Details:

"Sich scheiden lassen" is used with the dative - sich (von jdm.) scheiden lassen; literally: to get divorced from someone

Alternate Forms:

er läßt sich scheiden, hat sich scheiden lassen, ließ sich scheiden
verheiratet adjective married

Details:

married

Used like English to desribe one or both partners.

Example Sentences:

  1. Ein paar Wochen später waren wir verheiratet und sind es heute noch nach 60 glücklichen Jahren.
  2. Sie war schon längst mit einem Arzt verheiratet
  3. Vor dem ersten Bissen gehen die Mütter und andere verheiratete Frauen in die Küche...
  4. Mein Chef lehnte mit der Begründung ab, ich sei doch nur eingestellt worden, weil ich mit einem Deutschen verheiratet bin.
  1. A few weeks later, we were married and we still are today after 60 happy years.
  2. She had already been married to a doctor for a long time
  3. Before the first bites the mothers and other married women go into the kitchen...
  4. My boss refused with the reason that I only got triggered because I am married to a German.

Grammar:

Making Adjectives from Verbs

In German (just as in English), the past participles of verbs (with the -ed ending in English) can be used as adjectives, known as "participial adjectives." Add an adjective ending when appropriate. Even a verb's present participle can be used as an adjective. This form of the verb is similar in meaning to English ing-forms, and is formed in German by adding a "d" (and an adjective ending, if necessary) to the infinitive form of the verb. Adjectives formed in this way apply to the type of frame element that would fill the subject role of the verb (e.g. überraschend applies to a Stimulus, and  ).

Example: enttäuschen, überraschen (normal use as verbs)

     Jens enttäuscht seine Mutter. (Jens disappoints his mother.)

     Das Ende der Geschichte überrascht Lena. (The end of the story surprises Lena.)

Adjectives from Past Participles: 

Example: enttäuschen (to disappoint) > enttäuscht

     Seine Mutter war enttäuscht, dass er bei der Prüfung durchgefallen ist. (His mother was disappointed that he failed the test.)

     Die enttäuschte Mutter weint. (The disappointed mother cries.)

The way frame elements are realized with the verb determine what the adjective can be used to describe. Details are given in the table below.

Subject of VerbDirect ObjectAdjective applies to:Examples
StimulusExperiencerExperienceraufgeregt (worked up), schockiert (shocked), enttäuscht (disappointed)
Experiencer

Content or Stimulus

Content or Stimulus

gefürchtet (feared), gehasst (hated), geliebt (loved)

*Note that this is not the same as passive voice, which also uses a past participle. See Grimm Grammar for infomation about passive.

Adjectives from Present Participles:

Example: überraschen > überraschend (surprising)

     Das Ende der Geschichte war überraschend. (The end of the story was surprising.)

     Das war ein überraschendes Ende. (That was a surprising ending.)

 

 

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist verheiratet.
  2. PARTNER 1 ist mit PARTNER 2 verheiratet.
  3. PARTNERS sind verheiratet.
  1. PARTNER 1 is married.
  2. PARTNER 1 is married to PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS are married.

Details:

married

Used like English to desribe one or both partners.

verlobt adjective engaged, affianced

Details:

engaged

This adjective is used as in English to describe one or both partners who are going to be married.

Example Sentences:

  1. Seit September ist Hudson mit dem früheren Reality TV-Star David Otunga verlobt.
  2. Wir sind so gut wie verlobt . -"
  3. "Ich bin erst verlobt ", erwiderte ich hoheitsvoll.
  4. ...man betrachtet sich nicht mehr als verlobt,...
  1. Since September, Hudson has been engaged to the former reality TV star David Otunga.
  2. We are as good as engaged.
  3. "I am just engaged," I responded regally.
  4. ...one doesn't see oneself as engaged anymore,...

Grammar:

Making Adjectives from Verbs

In German (just as in English), the past participles of verbs (with the -ed ending in English) can be used as adjectives, known as "participial adjectives." Add an adjective ending when appropriate. Even a verb's present participle can be used as an adjective. This form of the verb is similar in meaning to English ing-forms, and is formed in German by adding a "d" (and an adjective ending, if necessary) to the infinitive form of the verb. Adjectives formed in this way apply to the type of frame element that would fill the subject role of the verb (e.g. überraschend applies to a Stimulus, and  ).

Example: enttäuschen, überraschen (normal use as verbs)

     Jens enttäuscht seine Mutter. (Jens disappoints his mother.)

     Das Ende der Geschichte überrascht Lena. (The end of the story surprises Lena.)

Adjectives from Past Participles: 

Example: enttäuschen (to disappoint) > enttäuscht

     Seine Mutter war enttäuscht, dass er bei der Prüfung durchgefallen ist. (His mother was disappointed that he failed the test.)

     Die enttäuschte Mutter weint. (The disappointed mother cries.)

The way frame elements are realized with the verb determine what the adjective can be used to describe. Details are given in the table below.

Subject of VerbDirect ObjectAdjective applies to:Examples
StimulusExperiencerExperienceraufgeregt (worked up), schockiert (shocked), enttäuscht (disappointed)
Experiencer

Content or Stimulus

Content or Stimulus

gefürchtet (feared), gehasst (hated), geliebt (loved)

*Note that this is not the same as passive voice, which also uses a past participle. See Grimm Grammar for infomation about passive.

Adjectives from Present Participles:

Example: überraschen > überraschend (surprising)

     Das Ende der Geschichte war überraschend. (The end of the story was surprising.)

     Das war ein überraschendes Ende. (That was a surprising ending.)

 

 

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. PARTNER 1 ist verlobt.
  2. PARTNER 1 ist mit PARTNER 2 verlobt.
  3. PARTNERS sind verlobt.
  1. PARTNER 1 is engaged.
  2. PARTNER 1 is engaged to PARTNER 2.
  3. PARTNERS are engaged.

Details:

engaged

This adjective is used as in English to describe one or both partners who are going to be married.