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50 Useful German Essay Words and Phrases

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by  fredo21  

January 9, 2019


Essay-writing is in itself already a difficult endeavor. Now writing an essay in a foreign language like German ---that’s on a different plane of difficulty.  

To make it easier for you, here in this article, we’ve compiled the most useful German essay phrases. Feel free to use these to add a dash of pizzazz into your essays. It will add just the right amount of flourish into your writing---enough to impress whoever comes across your work!

German Essay Phrases

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Essential German Essay Phrases to Elevate Your Writing

Essential German Essay Phrases to Elevate Your Writing

Writing an essay in German can be a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the language’s unique expressions and structures. To help you navigate the intricacies of German essay writing and add sophistication to your compositions, we have compiled a list of 24 essential phrases. These phrases will not only enhance the clarity and coherence of your writing but also showcase your command over the German language .

Einleitende Sätze (Introductory Phrases):

a. Zunächst einmal… – Firstly…

b. Es ist allgemein bekannt, dass… – It is generally known that…

c. In der heutigen Gesellschaft… – In today’s society…

d. Es lässt sich nicht leugnen, dass… – It cannot be denied that…

Beispielgebende Phrasen (Exemplifying Phrases):

a. Ein gutes Beispiel hierfür ist… – A good example of this is…

b. Zum Beispiel… – For example…

c. Dies wird deutlich, wenn man… – This becomes clear when one…

d. Als Veranschaulichung kann man… – As an illustration, one can…

Verbindende Wörter (Connecting Words):

a. Darüber hinaus… – Furthermore…

b. In Bezug auf… – With regard to…

c. Im Vergleich zu… – In comparison to…

d. Einerseits… andererseits… – On the one hand… on the other hand…

Zusammenfassende Phrasen (Summarizing Phrases):

a. Abschließend lässt sich sagen… – In conclusion, it can be said…

b. Alles in allem… – All in all…

c. Zusammenfassend kann man feststellen… – In summary, one can determine…

d. Im Großen und Ganzen… – By and large…

Hervorhebende Phrasen (Emphasizing Phrases):

a. Es ist besonders wichtig zu betonen… – It is particularly important to emphasize…

b. Es steht außer Frage, dass… – There is no question that…

c. Es lässt sich nicht bestreiten… – It cannot be denied…

d. Es ist unerlässlich, dass… – It is essential that…

Kontrastierende Phrasen (Contrasting Phrases):

a. Im Gegensatz dazu… – In contrast to that…

b. Trotzdem… – Nevertheless…

c. Während… – While…

d. Allerdings… – However…

Abschließende Sätze (Concluding Sentences):

a. Zusammenfassend lässt sich festhalten… – To summarize, it can be stated…

b. Abschließend kann man sagen… – In conclusion, one can say…

c. Letztendlich… – Ultimately…

d. Abschließend bleibt zu sagen… – In conclusion, it remains to be said…

Conclusion : By incorporating these 24 essential phrases into your German essays, you will elevate your writing and demonstrate a strong command of the language. Remember to practice using these phrases in context to ensure a natural flow in your compositions. With time and practice, your German essay writing skills will flourish, allowing you to express your ideas with clarity, coherence, and sophistication. Viel Erfolg! (Good luck!)

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German Writing: 5 Tips and 12 Resources To Help You Express Yourself in German

How much time do you actively spend writing in German?

It’s all too common—you might have reading , listening and speaking in German covered, but writing slips through the cracks.

German is the language of some of the most prolific authors and well-known literary works in the world, and it remains an important academic language even in today’s world.

Here are some strategies and tools for incorporating writing practice into your German study routine. 

Strategies for How to Write in German

1. read first, write second, 2. set a schedule, 3. start simple, 4. slowly move up to advanced topics, 5. work on weak spots, online tools for german writing practice, dictionaries, thesauruses, language learning apps, language exchange apps, social media, why you need to invest time in german writing, you can learn at your own tempo, it’s excellent practice ground for more complex grammar, you can practice by yourself, and one more thing....

Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Before you can be a producer of prize-winning German prose, you first need to become a consumer. Pretty much all prolific writers out there are also voracious readers.

So, go out and read, read, read. Material for beginners includes:

  • Children’s books
  • Comic books / Cartoons
  • Tabloid papers
  • Young fiction novels
  • Fairy tales

When attempting to learn a new skill, consistency beats effort every time. You’ve probably heard about the hare and the turtle (which, by the way, are Der Hase und Der Igel —the hare and the hedgehog— in German). Slow and steady wins the race and all that.

Therefore, when trying to learn to write German, make sure you practice every day. Aim for process instead of achievement. It’s better to do less regularly than more occasionally. Five sentences are enough for starters. The topic is up to you. Just make sure you get it done.

In the same vein, don’t be overly ambitious with your material. While ambition is generally a good thing, too much of it can lead to frustration. Develop a tolerance and an acuity for the level you’re at.

If you’ve just learned to string together subject, verb and object, don’t try to jump right into subjunctive II and the pluperfect. Moderation, young Padawan! Get comfortable at your current level first before moving on.

Consistently take it up a notch. Once you’re confident that you’ve mastered a certain grammatical topic, move on to more complex areas.

For example:

1. Learn simple sentence structure :

Ich mache einen Salat. Du kaufst Bier. Er trinkt Kaffee.   (I make a salad. You buy beer. He drinks coffee.) 

2. Then include additional elements such as location, manner and time designation:

Heute mache ich einen Salat. Du kaufst Bier im Supermarkt. Er trinkt gerne Kaffee.   (Today, I’m making a salad. You buy beer at the supermarket. He likes to drink coffee.) 

3. Maybe switch to the past tense : 

Ich habe einen Salat gemacht. Du hast Bier gekauft. Er hat Kaffee getrunken. (I made a salad. You bought bier. He drank coffee.) 

4. And do the same in that tense:

Gestern habe ich einen Salat gemacht. Du hast Bier im Supermarkt gekauft. Er hat gerne Kaffee getrunken.   (Yesterday, I made a salad. You bought beer at the supermarket. He liked to drink coffee.) 

Or instead of learning syntax, you could concentrate on practicing German cases , adjective endings or compound nouns .

By progressing slowly like that, soon you’ll arrive at writing gems like this:

Letztes Wochenende wäre ich mit meinem Mann zu unseren Freunden in Süddeutschland gefahren, wenn es keinen Streik bei der Bahn gegeben hätte. 


“Last weekend I would have travelled with my husband to our friends in Southern Germany if there hadn’t been a train strike.”

Take copious notes on what you’d like to say but can’t. Note down where you’re still blocked. Share what you write with a tutor or language partner and go over their corrections to figure out where your strengths and weaknesses lie.

You’ll screw up some stuff over and over while other things will roll from your fingertips like you’re a native.

Make note of the former and compile a “worst of” list detailing the German phrase structures, tenses and other grammatical phenomena that you’re struggling with. This will enable you to address these weak spots in a targeted manner.

Put aside some time only to work on what you find most difficult. You’ll see that it’s possible to turn weakness into strength.

Check out these handy resources:  

There are a lot of free, online German dictionaries, but two of my favorites are Leo and Linguee .

how to write in german

Leo is perfect for looking up words and common phrases, but it also has the added benefit of discussion forums. If you’ve looked up a word but are still slightly confused by its exact translation then you can post a new discussion and other members will happily help you out.

Linguee is useful for intermediate to advanced German learners. When you search for a word, the websites will show you a number of paragraphs in which the word is used. This shows you the various contexts in which the word or phrase may be used.

Beginners may find that they repeat the same words over and over again. This is usually due to a limited vocabulary. Once you learn more words, you’ll have more to use.

It takes time to build up your German vocabulary but while you’re trying to, you’ll probably find online thesauruses really helpful.

how to write in german

One of the best online German thesauruses is Open Thesaurus . If you’re ever sick of repeatedly using schön to describe something or someone as beautiful, pop it in the thesaurus search engine and you’ll be amazed at what comes up. You’ll see in-context usage examples, so you’ll learn the different nuances and meanings of each alternative word.

After a quick search using the word  schön , you’ll know exactly how to use the likes of hübsch (cute), umwerfend (gorgeous) and prächtig (magnificent)!

Many important German documents and letters differ stylistically from those in America. Rather than rushing into it and writing an important letter exactly how you would here, you need to think carefully to ensure that bad form doesn’t give the reader the wrong impression. To ensure you don’t mess up, it’s a good idea to use an online template.

There are loads of letter and email templates online. Depending on what you need one for, you’ll find a lot by simply googling. So if you need a cover letter for a job, just google “German cover letter” or the German equivalent, ein   Anschreiben  or  Bewerbungsschreiben. 

how to write in german

You can connect your Duolingo account to other social media accounts and compete against friends—there’s nothing like some friendly competition to motivate your German learning!

If you don’t fully understand a question or translation, you can check in with other Duolingo members. After each question, you’ll be invited to comment on the answer.

german essay writing

FluentU also offers you the chance to read and write in German with its transcripts and exercises.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

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As mentioned earlier, finding a native speaker to correct your writing is an excellent idea. I therefore recommend that you get a tutor or language partner . Places to find the latter are:

  • My Language Exchange

To make your relationship a success, find someone who’s just as eager to improve as you are. When correcting their writing, provide detailed feedback and annotations and have them return the favor. That way you can both grow in your proficiency and ramp up your knowledge in the shortest amount of time.

You can also try the Reddit forum r/WriteStreakGerman , where you can post your German writing and native speakers will give corrections.  

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If you want to put your German out there and practice with some native speakers, log into Twitter and follow all the excellent German-language accounts . Tweeting with Germans will show you the German they use in everyday life, and you may even pick up some quirky idioms and slang!

You can always flood your existing friends’ Facebook feeds with German language posts as well, or hop over to some German Facebook pages and groups to make new friends and join in some lively discussions.

Even if your primary objective is to speak German fluently, writing is an important step toward that goal. The act of putting words down on paper (or onto a screen) is a whole different deal than talking. Writing is a more deliberate way of processing language and therefore offers you some unique help in acquiring new language.

Here are the benefits:

Talking in a foreign language requires to you interact in real time. That can be stressful and you might miss out on a lot of nuances.

Paper, on the other hand, is patient. You can think about your sentences while writing, go back to revise, correct your errors, get a better feel for grammatical structures and become familiar with overall linguistic rules.

Since we’re talking about grammar: when speaking, it’s easy to go the path of least resistance by using the few phrases you already know over and over. Unless you’re deliberately pushing yourself, you’re probably sticking with your guns and using short and simple sentences.

That’s not a crime, mind you (not even in Germany). However, it might keep you confined in your language skills. Writing, with its slower tempo, allows you to dip your feet into more complex rules and give them a whirl before integrating new grammar structures into your everyday speech.

Speaking inherently requires more than one person. Since you cannot always have a language partner at hand and not everyone gets to live with a German host family , having some form of solo practice is important.

Writing is a solo form. While it’s quite a good idea to have someone available who can look over your literary outpourings and correct them, the act of writing in itself is a one-person job. All you German-studying introverts out there, take advantage of this fact!

Writing in German is a skill like everything else. All it takes is consistent practice, qualified feedback and continuously cranking up the challenge level.

Don’t be afraid to start small. Going through a “caveman phase,” where everything in your new language sounds like coming from a Neanderthal is normal (and fun).

You might not become the next Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, but practicing German writing might get you to the point where you can read him in the original. And that’s worth a lot.

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german essay writing

Helpful German Expressions to Organize Your Writing

Using expressions to organize ideas

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  • History & Culture
  • Pronunciation & Conversation
  • M.A., German Studies, McGill University
  • B.A., German and French

If you feel that your German writing assignments sound choppy or stilted, try incorporating some of the following expressions to make your writing flow better. These are all variations of common phrases that we often include in our native language — often without even thinking about it.

Listing and Ordering Facts and Ideas

  • First of all, first — zunächst, erstens.
  • Secondly, thirdly... — zweitens, drittens...
  • besides — außerdem.
  • then — dann.
  • incidentally — übrigens.
  • further — darüber hinaus.
  • above all — vor allem.
  • lastly, finally — letztendlich, schließlich.

Introducing and Stating Examples

  • For example — zum Beispiel (abbreviated as z.B.)
  • An example, as in "I would like to give an example" — ich möchte ein Beispiel anführen.
  • Referring to point/example… — dabei sei auf Punkt/Beispiel… hingewiesen
  • namely — und zwar.

To Clarify a Point

  • In other words — Mit anderen Worten, anders ausgedrückt.
  • This signifies particularly... — Dies gilt besonders für...
  • This means — Dies bedeutet.

Writing a Summary or Conclusion

  • In a nutshell — Im Großen und Ganzen.
  • In a word — Kurz und gut.
  • In conclusion — zum Schluss.
  • To conclude, one can say that… — Zusammenfassend lässt sich sagen, dass...
  • Expressing an Opinion in German
  • How to Use German Dative Prepositions
  • How to Write a Letter in German: Format and Language
  • German Phrasebook: In the Classroom
  • Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten - German Reading Lesson
  • German Reading Lesson - Im Kaufhaus - Department Store
  • How to Express Congratulations in German
  • The Many Meanings of the German Verb 'Lassen'
  • A Guide to German Toasts
  • German Expressions
  • How to Use the Subjunctive Past in German
  • Doch ...and Other Tricky German Words
  • How To Express 'To Prefer' in German
  • Building Proper German Sentences
  • Saying 'to' in German - 'Nach' vs. 'Zu'
  • Using German Participles as Adjectives and Adverbs

Useful German Essay Words and Phrases

Useful German Essay Words and Phrases

Essay writing in German is in itself already a difficult endeavor. Now writing an essay in a foreign language like German —that’s on a different plane of difficulty.

To make it easier for you, here in this article, we’ve compiled the most useful German essay phrases. Feel free to use these to add a dash of pizzazz into your essays. It will add just the right amount of flourish into your writing—enough to impress whoever comes across your work!

German essay words

These words are very useful to start writing essays in German in academic way.

Tips for writing an essay in German

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Phrases of congratulation by engagement in German

Phrases of congratulation by engagement in German

Telling the Time in German

Telling the Time in German

German phrases about Diet

German phrases about Diet

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German phrases at the hospital

The Different Ways of Saying “to go” in German

The Different Ways of Saying “to go” in German

Sentence Structure in German

Sentence Structure in German

Ich lass für dich das Licht an in German

Ich lass für dich das Licht an in German

German phrases at elderly home

German phrases at elderly home

Letter writting in German

Letter writting in German

The Different Ways of Saying “to like” in German II

The Different Ways of Saying “to like” in German II

Periods of time in german and time-related words.

What’s with All The English Words in German?

What’s with All The English Words in German?

Subjunctive in German

Subjunctive in German

Regular Verb (present) in German

Regular Verb (present) in German

present perfect in German

present perfect in German

Nouns in German

Nouns in German

Meanings and Uses of dabei in German

Meanings and Uses of dabei in German

Past Perfect/Pluperfect Tense in German Grammar

Past Perfect/Pluperfect Tense in German Grammar

Romantic phrases in German

Romantic phrases in German

Present Perfect Continuous Tense in German

Present Perfect Continuous Tense in German

Beverages in German

Beverages in German

Time in German

Time in German

Countries, Demonyms and Adjectives in German

Countries, Demonyms and Adjectives in German

Simplifying the German Declension (Part I)

Simplifying the German Declension (Part I)

Food in German

Food in German

Possessive Pronoun in German

Possessive Pronoun in German

Phrases in social media in German

Phrases in social media in German

Intermediate German Words to Level Up Your Vocab

Intermediate German Words to Level Up Your Vocab

Speaking over the phone in German

Speaking over the phone in German

Imperative in German

Imperative in German

  • Useful Links
  • Learning Strategies
  • German on the Web
  • Essay Grading Rubrics for German 100, 101, 102
  • Essay Grading Rubrics for German 221, 230, 231, 232
  • Forming Sentences Quickly This is primarily intended to help you learn vocabulary, but may help you generate ideas in other contexts also.
  • Essay Writing Checklist
  • Advice on Using a Dictionary  Includes some practice exercises!
  • German 101: Advice for Aufsatz 1 ; Advice for Aufsatz 2 ; Advice for Aufsatz 3
  • Einen Aufsatz auf Deutsch schreiben Some guidelines and useful phrases for writing essays at the 232-level and above [von Kathryn Sederberg]

Umlaute, ß and Fraktur

  • Umlaute und ß auf amerikanischen Computern
  • Creating documents in Fraktur (an old German font – click here to see what it is)

Looking for an essay topic?

Check out the German on the Web link list, or this list of  famous German-speaking people .

Wondering how to begin/end an email or letter?

This page (auf Deutsch!) or this summary of it (auch auf Deutsch!) may be helpful!

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How to Write a Good Composition in German

  • Post date November 7, 2017
  • Post categories In Exercises , Learning Strategies

How to Write a Good Composition in German

As all language learners know, writing is one of the four basic skills every student has to practise. This applies especially to German because the syntax and the declension are quite complex.

In this post I give you the hints I consider fundamental if you want to write a good composition in German.

1. Before starting

Time : It is very important to reserve some time for the writing because you must concentrate in order to produce a good text. I recommend 20 to 30 minutes.

Topic : Make sure you understand what topic exactly you have to write about. Think also how many points you want to write about. Maybe your teacher has given you also a word number (30/50/80).

Materials : I always recommend using a computer because it’s more practical, faster and you don’t waste paper. Try to use any program that has a German spelling control (maybe Word, or GoogleMail, also DUDEN offers a spelling control up to 800 characters).

You will also need a dictionary, my favorite is PONS . You should also take out your class notes for any consultation on vocabulary and grammar you have learned in your German course.

2. Getting started

Being a teacher, I recommend you to write always your name and the date (in German: 04.11.17) in the header of the page.

The first line of your composition should be the title . After the title leave a free line.

Start your text with an introduction ( Einleitung ). In this first part you should write in a whole sentence what this text is about and why you are going to write about this topic.

If you are going to draft an opinion, comment or analysis, you should include in the introduction a short summary of the text you are going to write your opinion/comment/analysis about.

3. Main part

The main part ( Hauptteil ) is the biggest part of your composition and contains the most important information in form of a narrative, an opinion, a comment, a reproduction (retelling) or an analysis.

Make sure you answer the “ w-questions ” at the beginning of your main part (if you haven’t done so in the introduction): Wer macht was/was passiert, wo, wann, wie und warum?

You should write simple and short sentences  (with the conjugated verb in 2nd position and the infinitive/past participle/prefix at the end). Use subordinate clauses only if you control them (with the conjugated verb in final position). Never use two subordinate conjunctions in one sentence!

Try always to use vocabulary you already know or that you have learned in your course/book. As to the dictionary, try to look up as few new words as possible.

Don’t use grammatical structures you haven’t learned yet because they will complicate your text and the “simple” writing of a text is already difficult enough (if you want to do it well).

And of course, don’t use Google Translate because you never know if it really translates what you want to say. Apart from this, the writing is precisely for your writing practice, i.e. your application of grammar, spelling and vocabulary.

4. When finished

After you finish your composition, I recommend you read your text again slowly two times.

The first time, make sure if you have written everything you wanted the way you wanted to express it. Check if you are following the basic rules of the German language you have learned (word order, articles, declension especially after prepositions and so on).

For your second reading I have developed a special checklist with all the aspects you have to pay attention to. You can download it for free and send me your composition, so I can correct it for you. 🙂

Download “Checklist: A Good Composition in German”

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German Essay Topics for Everyone Interested in the Language

Octoberfest, shiny cars…There are dozens of stuff we love about Germany! Here are some literary topics for German Essay writing that you may find interesting:

  • Poetics and Polemics of Heine’s Bader von Lucca: The Heine Platen Conflict
  • The Term and Concept of Symbolism in Literary History of German
  • Rilke’s “Blaue Hortensie”: Cycling into the Eternal
  • “They Wonder to Which Sex I Belong”: The Historical Roots of the Modern Lesbian Identity
  • Realism in Language and Music: Kurt Weill’s Street Scene
  • Brahms’ German Requiem: Conceptions of the Mass
  • Causes and Consequences of Hitler Becoming Fuhrer
  • Controversy, Complaint, and Criticism: Thomas Mann and the Proponents of Inner Emigration
  • Conference Proposal: a Summer’s Tale, a Winter’s Dream
  • Caspar David Friedrich and the Subject of Landscape by Joseph Leo Koerner
  • Imagery and Allegory in Dante’s Inferno: A Virgilian Perspective
  • Classification of Modern Germanic Languages and their Distribution
  • The Development of the German Verb Classes
  • Dramatic Irony and Meta-Drama as a Vehicle for Social Criticism in Aristophanes, Plautus, and Goethe
  • Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact
  • Why Was Adolf Hitler So Popular among the Germans?
  • German Culture in the Past and Present: Are They Similar?
  • Metafiction and the Modern German Novel
  • Expression and Character in the Movements of Cesare from Wiene’s Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

If you were assigned a German essay, don’t fall into panic. Our editors know everything about thesis statement, opening paragraph, conclusion, and proving your point. Thus, it will be much easier for you to compose a well-written German essay if you ask us for editing assistance. And even though essays in a number of foreign languages are built differently than English essay, our experts know that German writing actually resembles English equivalents. Now you can breathe out freely.

Good news is that a German essay is not necessarily supposed to be written in German. If you’re assigned to write an essay about Germany and its culture, our editors know that it is structured similarly to the essays you have accomplished before. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to organize paragraphs properly and state your point of view, our specialists will check your essay and ensure your German essay contains all those features. While writing a German essay drives you crazy, they’ll ensure you included an opening paragraph with an argument, three following paragraphs with the supportive statements and relevant examples, and a conclusion that furthers and supports your argument.

AcademicHelp.net to Help You Craft an Essay to the Point

Even though the essays about Germany and typical English essays are similar in structure, German writing – just like German people – is prone to be more specific and blunt. That’s why students are not sure if their pieces are up to the existing standards. Our editors are there to find out if you say things to the point in your essay. They will help you get the things together.

Have you completed your assignment already? Our experts are available twenty-four hours a day, which means you can place your order anytime you need and get a prompt reply. We will listen to your requirements, understand what your tutor is expecting to receive from you, and find the most suitable solutions to your issue. We will check the piece from A to Z and make it up to the academic standards.

Check out the examples of the titles in German literature, politics, and art that may come handy to you. If you need help with choosing the title or writing a German essay, address our online service that works seven days a week without breaks. If you are a school graduate, college student or doing MBA, refer all your academic writing assignments to us. We will do solid research for you, provide you with a plan to follow so that you could craft a top-notch piece on your own. It is easy to be a happy student and succeed in education with our good services. Our skilled UK and US writers will share their knowledge and do it with a high level of proficiency. If you need a term paper or creative writing piece to be edited, feel free to check out a sample of work from the chosen writer or ask him/her to proofread your paper. We are sure you will be satisfied with our performance.

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“How I Spent My Summer” in German

  • by Deutsch mit Leo
  • 5 minute read

How to write an essay “How I spent the summer” in German or just talk about a vacation, what words you may need and what basic rules you should keep in mind – in our today’s article, which will be useful not only for schoolchildren and students, but also for those who return for German courses after the summer break .

So the three summer months have come to an end, many of us are returning to school / university / courses (underline as necessary). In the meantime, we have prepared for you an article designed to simplify life at first.

Today we will talk about how you could spend the summer and repeat the vocabulary on this topic.

Top 5 things to keep in mind!

1.  First of all, the Germans call this period  der Sommer  (summer) or   die Sommerferien  (summer holidays). 

2.  Since we are writing about what has already happened, we will use the past tense or the perfect past (   Präteritum or Perfekt – when to use what  ).  Präteritum , and this is the second form of the verb, is correct in writing and emphasizes the descriptive character.  Perfect , on the other hand , is used more in colloquial speech, and in writing it conveys the shade of a story or conversation.

3.  There is also an important grammatical feature worth remembering:  wenn and als temporary conjunctions  – “ when “.  Wenn  tells us about “when” that happens regularly, several times, every time.  Als  tells about a one-time event in the past.

4.  The essay format involves writing a related text, expressing opinions and wishes, as well as a touch of sincerity, so when you start writing, stock up on a set of cliché expressions and introductory words, a la “  Ich hoffe, dass…  “, “  Ich denke, …  “,”  Hoffentlich “, etc.

5.  It is also necessary to remember the grammatical difference between the questions “  where?  ” and “  Where?  “. “Where?” – WO?  – requires after itself strictly Dativ, and  “Where?” – WOHIN?  – supplemented in  Akkusativ .

Having discussed the main points of writing an essay, let’s move on to the necessary vocabulary.

The most basic:

der Sommer  – summer die Sommerferien  (Pl.) – summer holidays der Urlaub  – holiday die Reise  – trip im Sommer  – summer

When can I go on vacation / holiday:

im Sommer / Herbst / Winter / Frühling  – summer, autumn, winter, spring in den Ferien  – holidays am Wochenende  – weekends letzten Sommer / Monat  – last summer / last month letzte Woche  – last week

letztes Jahr  – last year im letzten Urlaub  – last vacation in den letzten Ferien  – last vacation vor einem Monat  – a month ago vor einer Woche  – a week ago 

How long can you be on vacation / on a trip / on a holiday:

einen Tag  – one day drei Tage  – three days einen Monat  – one month zwei Monate  – two months eine Woche  – a week drei Wochen  – within three weeks  

IMPORTANT!  Intervals require Akkusativ.

Where to spend your holidays / stay ( Wo = Dativ ):

Ich machte Urlaub…  – I was on holiday… Ich war… in Urlaub.  – I was … on holiday in der Stadt  – in the city auf dem Land  – in the village in den Bergen  – in the mountains

am See  – on the lake am Meer    – on the sea im Ausland  – abroad im Ferienlager / Trainingslager  – in the summer / sports camp auf dem Campingplatz  – at the campsite

in der Jugendherberge  – at the student hostel im Hotel  – at the hotel

Where can you go on vacation ( Wohin = Akkusativ ):

Ich bin nach / in … gefahren  – I went to … Ich fuhr / flog / reiste nach … / in …  – I went, flew, traveled to … in die Stadt  – to the city aufs Land  – to the village in die Berge  – to the mountains

zum See  – at the lake an das Meer  – at the sea ins Ausland  – abroad in das Ferienlager / Trainingslager  – at the summer / sports camp auf den Campingplatz  – at the campsite

in die Jugendherberge  – at the student hostel ins Hotel  – at the hotel

What can you ride with :

mit dem Auto  – by car mit dem Zug  – by train mit dem Flugzeug  – by plane mit dem Schiff  – by ship zu Fuß  – on foot 

IMPORTANT  : With transport (to ride something), the construction  mit + Dativ is always used

Common verbs of motion and their three forms:

fahren – fuhr – (ist) gefahren  – ride fliegen  –  flog – (ist)   geflogen    –  fly gehen – ging – (ist)  gegangen  – walk / go 

The full list of irregular verbs can be found here

An example essay:

Die Schüler gehen im Sommer nicht zur Schule. Sie haben 3 Monate lang Sommerferien. Die Kinder müssen nicht früh aufstehen, keine Hausaufgaben machen und nichts für die Schule vorbereiten. Deshalb liebt jeder den Sommerurlaub.

Students don’t go to school in the summer. They have a summer vacation that lasts for 3 months. Children don’t have to get up early, do homework, or prepare anything for school. That’s why everyone loves summer vacation.

Ich mag die Sommerferien sehr, weil ich dann viel freie Zeit habe. An hellen Sommermorgen liege ich nie lange im Bett. Nach dem Aufstehen frühstücke ich schön. Dann spiele ich draußen mit meinen Freunden. Und wenn es draußen regnet, spiele ich am Computer oder gehe ins Fitnessstudio. Manchmal gehe ich nachmittags mit meinen Freunden ins Kino oder spiele Basketball im Garten.

I really like summer vacations because of the amount of free time. On bright summer mornings I never lie in bed for a long time. After I get up, I have a delicious breakfast. Then I play outside with my friends. And if it’s raining outside, I play on the computer or go to the gym. Sometimes in the afternoon I go to the movies with my friends or play basketball in the yard.

Jeden Sommer fahre ich aufs Land, um meine Verwandten zu besuchen. Ich helfe im Garten oder kümmere mich um die Hühner und Enten. Im Dorf gehen mein Vater und ich oft fischen. Ich gehe morgens gerne an den Strand, wenn es nicht zu heiß ist. Ich schwimme, sonne mich und spiele mit meinen Freunden am Flussufer.

Every summer I go to the countryside to visit my relatives. I help in the garden or look after the chickens and ducks. In the village, my dad and I often go fishing. I really like going to the beach in the mornings, when it’s not so hot yet. I swim, sunbathe and play with my friends on the riverbank.

Wenn mein Großvater nicht zu beschäftigt ist, gehen wir in den Wald, um Pilze zu sammeln. Abends genieße ich es, am Feuer zu sitzen und Spieße zu kochen, und ich schlafe auch sehr gerne im Zelt.

When my grandfather is not very busy, we go to the woods to pick mushrooms. In the evenings I really like to sit by the fire and cook kebabs, also I very willingly sleep in a tent.

Für mich dauern die Sommerferien nie zu lange. Aber ich freue mich immer, wenn die Schule wieder anfängt und ich alle meine Freunde sehen kann.

For me the summer vacations never last too long. Despite this, I am always happy when school starts again and I can see all my friends.

german essay writing

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German Writing Examples

The following shows writing examples at various proficiency levels. These were produced by real language learners and may contain errors. See Writing Section Tips at the bottom of this page.

German Proficiency Tests and Resources

Writing Examples

At this level, I am able to create individual words that have no extended meaning.

I can share some simple vocabulary, which deals with the prompt/task/situation, but I tend to struggle to connect those words to create meaning.

Ich kalt nicht gern.

At this level, I am beginning to develop the ability to create meaning by grammatically connecting words.

Specifically, I can connect some basic subjects and verbs or verbs and objects, but I may be inconsistent at doing this.

I am often limited in my vocabulary to Novice level topics that I experience in my every-day life or that I have recently learned.

Im Winter ist es sehr kalt. Tag windig.

At this level, I can create simple sentences with very basic grammatical control and accuracy.

There are often errors in my responses, while at the same time I might have good control with some very simple structures and functions of the language that I have just learned or studied.

At the Novice levels, errors are expected as I try to create simple sentences. Generally, the sentences that I am able to create are very basic and simple with few, if any, added details.

In Mine Familie ich habe fünf Personen. Mine Vater ist groß und hat braune Augen und harre. Mine Mutter ist groß und hat drei Kinder shanda, Maria, und ich.

At this level, I can create simple sentences with some added detail; such sentences help create VARIETY.

At the Intermediate Low level, simple sentences are enhanced by use of prepositional phrases, helping verb usage, as well as some adverbs and a variety of adjectives.

I generally create independent sentences (ideas) that can be moved around without affecting the overall meaning of the response. There are still a number of errors in my response, but I have fairly good control of more basic sentences. I am feeling more confident in using different structures and expanding vocabulary and taking more risks with my responses.

Im sommer, ich gehe zu das schwimmbad. Ich habe eis mit Schokolade und essen. Im winter, ich gehe Schneeboarden. Schneeboarden ist spitze und machts spaß.

At this level, I can now create enough language to show groupings of ideas.

My thoughts are loosely connected and cannot be moved around without affecting meaning.

I can also create a few sentences with complexity and am able to use some transition words.  I am also able to use more than just simple present tense, but often make mistakes when I try to use other tenses.

My vocabulary use is expanding and I am able to use more than the usual, high frequency or most common vocabulary. I feel that I am able to create new language on my own and communicate my everyday needs without too much difficulty.

Meine Familie ist super aber klein. Ich habe eine Mutti, Vatter, und einen Bruder. Wir wohnen in Ohio und haben ein netter Haus. Wir speilen sports. Ich gehe mit meine Mutti zu der Gymnasium und machen Yoga. Mein Vatter und ich laufen im Wochende, wenn das wetter nicht kalt ist. Meine Brudder ist nett. Wir lieben Basketball. Wir speilen an Montag, Dienstag, Donnerstag, und Freitag in der Park, wenn wir keine Hausaufgaben haben. Ich mag sports, weil die sports ist die beste.

At this level, I have good control of the language and feel quite confident about an increasing range of topics.

There are still some occasional errors in my language production, but that does not hinder my ability to communicate what I need to share.

I can use circumlocution to explain or describe things for which I do not know specific vocabulary or structures. I can understand and use different time frames and am just beginning to develop the ability to switch most time frames with accuracy. I can use transition words and concepts with some ease. My language has a more natural flow, but I still may have some unnatural pauses or hesitations.

Kindern im grundschule sollen nicht handis haben. Handis sind ein groß distraktion zu kindern, und sie sind im grundschule, so sie wurden es nicht für schule haben. Sie werden Handis für internet gern haben, und das ist nicht gut für ein kind. Ich denke, dass kindern im grundschule sind im nur eine klasszimmer pro Tage, so sie hat kein Gebrauch für ein handi, mit oder nicht mit internet. Wenn sie ein issue haben, sie kann mit die lehrerin oder lehrer sprechen. Wenn ein student im hoch oder mittelschule sind, sie sind im sechs oder sieben klasszimmer pro tag, und wenn sie ein issue haben, die lehrerin kann nicht holfen wenn sie nur 45 oder 55 minuten fur ein klass haben. So wenn ein kind im mittelschule sind, sie sollen ein handi haben, damit wie ein grundschule student, sie sollen nicht.

At this level my response contains a number of complexities with higher degree of accuracy.

Such language allows me to address each aspect of the prompt more completely and with more depth of meaning.

I am able to use Advanced vocabulary or Advanced terms, conjugations etc. with confidence. I feel that I can create natural flow using as much detail and descriptive language as possible to create a clear picture. Errors with more complex structures may still occur. My ability to switch time frames begins to increase in accuracy.

In der moderne Zeit, gibt es viele neue Geräte wie das Handy und der Schlepptop. Diese Geräte werden mehr wichtig heute, aber ich denke, dass die Schulkinder Handys nicht haben sollten. Alle Handys sind nicht gut für die Kinder, weil sie zu jung sind. Sie könnten Online Angriffe erfahren. Zuletzt, sind Handys nicht gut in der Schule, und die Kinder verbringen die meisten Zeit des Tages in der Schule. Ein Kind braucht ein Handy nicht. Es ist nicht wichtig, dass die Kinder es für jeden Tag haben, weil sie können es nicht benutzen. Ein Handy hat ein Telefon, ein Texting Programm, und wahrscheinlich ein E-mail Programm und eine Kamera. Die Schulkinder sollten nichts fotografiert, weil es gefährlich sein könnte. Ein Foto von ein Person ist ein Modetrend in der moderne Zeit, aber Fotos von Kinder kann sehr schädlich sein, wenn sie im Internet gepostet wird. Ein Kind braucht diese Programme nicht, weil sie sind zu jung. Ein Kind sollte immer mit seinen Eltern sein, und es gibt keine Grunde ein Telefon oder Texting zu haben. Die meisten Kinder verbringen ihrer Zeit in der Schule. Junge Kinder sollten Handys nicht haben, weil die Handys das Lernen stören. Während des Unterrichts, müssen Kinder aufpassen, aber wenn es ein Handy gibt, können die Kinder nicht gut konzentrieren. Ein Mädchen würde auf Nachrichten von ihre Freunde warten, und ein Junge würde Spiele spielen, während des Unterrichts. Die Schulkinder brauchen Handys nicht.

At this level my response demonstrates my ease with the language.

I am able to create a response which not only addresses each aspect of the prompt, but delves into each point with clarity and concise language.

I am able to incorporate a number of more complex structures as well as Advanced vocabulary and Advanced phrases with a higher degree of accuracy throughout the majority of the response.

The language I create has a natural flow due to the way I incorporate a variety of patterns and complexities into my response. My response shows my ability to create language that has sophistication of language skills and syntactical density. My ability to switch time frames accurately is evident, if called for in the prompt.

Meiner Meinung nach brauchen Volksschulkinder keine Mobiltelefone, wenigstens nicht in diesem Alter. Ich denke, dass es sehr wichtig ist, draußen zu spielen und einfach Kind sein zu dürfen, und die Welt des Handys und des Internets ist nur eine Ablenkung. Es ist in dem Sinne eine richtige Einschränkung der Kindheit, denn wenn Kinder schon von klein auf daran gewöhnt sind, Handys zu benutzen, wird sich dieses Verhalten in späteren Jahren nur verschlimmern. Ich verstehe, warum Eltern ihren Kindern gerne Handys kaufen, da es in unserer Zeit heutzutage auch eine Sicherheitsfrage ist. Da viele Eltern berufstätig sind und nicht ständig bei ihren Kindern bleiben können, sie von der Schule abholen können oder überall mit ihnen kommen können besteht ein gewisses Risiko. Natürlich kann jedem Kind grundsätzlich etwas passieren, und da ist es gut, wenn die Eltern erreichbar sind. Auf der anderen Seite glaube ich jedoch, dass die Lehrer oder Aufsichtsperson eine große Verantwortung tragen, diese Kinder zu beschützen, und sie dadurch keine eigenen Handys benötigen sollten. Stattdessen sollten Eltern ihren Kindern lernen, wie man sich in verschiedenen Situation verhält, zum Beispiel, nie mit fremden Menschen mitzugehen, oder nach dem Weg zu fragen wenn man sich nicht auskennt.

Writing Section Tips

Additional resources can be found in the Power-Up Guide and on our Video Tutorials page.

  • Be a ‘show-off’ – this is the time to show what you can do!
  • Be organized in your writing.
  • Challenge yourself to go above and beyond what you normally write.
  • Be creative and don’t stress out over possible errors. Perfection is not the goal!

Simply do your best and enjoy creating and communicating in the language that you are learning.

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Learn German Home Vocabulary: Essay Writing on Mein Haus

Learn German Home Vocabulary - Essay Writing on Mein Haus

Learning a new language is always an exciting and rewarding experience. When it comes to German, having a strong vocabulary is essential for effective communication. In this article, we will explore some common German vocabulary words that are used to describe a house. We will also provide you with tips on how to write an essay on “ Mein Haus ” (My House) at different proficiency levels, from beginner to advanced. Whether you are just starting out with German or looking to expand your vocabulary and writing skills, this article will be a valuable resource for you.

In this article, we have provided a list of 50 German vocabulary words related to a house, including their English translations and pronunciation using the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA). These words cover a range of features, from basic room types and furniture to outdoor structures and utilities. By learning these words, you will be able to describe your home or ask questions about someone else’s.

We have also included five essay titles that cater to different proficiency levels, from beginner to advanced. Whether you are just starting out with German or looking to challenge yourself with more complex sentences and vocabulary, there is an essay title for you. Each essay title comes with a minimum word count requirement, which will help you structure your writing and stay focused.

Table of Contents

50 german vocabulary words related to a house (mein haus), including their english translations and pronunciation using the international phonetic alphabet (ipa).

  • Haus (house) [haʊs]
  • Zimmer (room) [ˈtsɪmɐ]
  • Wohnzimmer (living room) [ˈvoːnzɪmɐ]
  • Schlafzimmer (bedroom) [ˈʃlaːfˌtsɪmɐ]
  • Küche (kitchen) [ˈkʏçə]
  • Badezimmer (bathroom) [ˈbaːdəˌtsɪmɐ]
  • Garten (garden) [ˈɡaʁtn̩]
  • Balkon (balcony) [ˈbalkɔn]
  • Terrasse (terrace) [tɛˈrasə]
  • Fenster (window) [ˈfɛnstɐ]
  • Tür (door) [tyːɐ̯]
  • Boden (floor) [ˈboːdn̩]
  • Wand (wall) [vand]
  • Dach (roof) [dax]
  • Treppenhaus (staircase) [ˈtʁɛpənˌhaʊs]
  • Treppe (stairs) [ˈtʁɛpə]
  • Teppich (carpet) [ˈtɛpɪç]
  • Sofa (sofa) [ˈzoːfa]
  • Sessel (armchair) [ˈzɛsl̩]
  • Bett (bed) [bɛt]
  • Schrank (wardrobe) [ʃʁaŋk]
  • Regal (bookshelf) [ʁeˈɡaːl]
  • Tisch (table) [tɪʃ]
  • Stuhl (chair) [ʃtuːl]
  • Lampe (lamp) [ˈlampə]
  • Steckdose (power outlet) [ˈʃtɛkdozə]
  • Spiegel (mirror) [ˈʃpiːɡl̩]
  • Waschmaschine (washing machine) [ˈvaʃmasçiːnə]
  • Kühlschrank (refrigerator) [ˈkyːlʃraŋk]
  • Herd (stove) [hɛrt]
  • Ofen (oven) [ˈoːfən]
  • Geschirrspüler (dishwasher) [ɡəˈʃɪʁʁʃplyːɐ̯]
  • Heizung (heating) [ˈhaɪtsʊŋ]
  • Kamin (fireplace) [kaˈmiːn]
  • Dusche (shower) [ˈdʊʃə]
  • Badewanne (bathtub) [ˈbaːdəˌvanə]
  • Handtuch (towel) [ˈhantʊx]
  • Decke (blanket) [ˈdɛkə]
  • Kissen (pillow) [ˈkɪsn̩]
  • Vorhang (curtain) [ˈfoːʁhaŋ]
  • Gardine (curtain) [ɡaʁˈdiːnə]
  • Rollladen (roller shutter) [ˈʁɔlaːdən]
  • Jalousie (blind) [ʒaluˈziː]
  • Sonnenschirm (sun umbrella) [ˈzɔnənʃiʁm]
  • Rasen (lawn) [ˈʁaːzn̩]
  • Zaun (fence) [zaʊn]
  • Türklingel (doorbell) [ˈtyːɐ̯klɪŋl̩]
  • Briefkasten (mailbox) [ˈbʁiːfkastn̩]
  • Hausnummer (house number) [ˈhaʊsˌnʊmɐ]
  • Garagen (garage) [ɡaˈʁaːʒən]

5 German Essays on My House: Meine Haus

Beginner level: mein haus.

Ich lebe in einem kleinen Haus in der Stadt. Es ist zweistöckig und hat einen kleinen Garten. Im Erdgeschoss gibt es ein Wohnzimmer, eine Küche und ein Badezimmer. Im ersten Stock gibt es zwei Schlafzimmer und ein weiteres Badezimmer. Mein Zimmer befindet sich im ersten Stock und ich mag es sehr. Es hat eine schöne Aussicht auf den Garten. Ich fühle mich hier sehr wohl.

I live in a small house in the city. It is two-story and has a small garden. On the ground floor, there is a living room, a kitchen, and a bathroom. On the first floor, there are two bedrooms and another bathroom. My room is on the first floor, and I like it very much. It has a beautiful view of the garden. I feel very comfortable here.

Elementary Level: Mein Haus

Essay Two: 

Mein Traumhaus

Mein Traumhaus ist sehr groß und modern. Es hat drei Stockwerke und einen großen Garten mit einem Pool. Im Erdgeschoss gibt es eine geräumige Küche, ein großes Wohnzimmer und ein Esszimmer. Es gibt auch ein Arbeitszimmer und ein Badezimmer. Im ersten Stock gibt es vier Schlafzimmer und drei Badezimmer. Das Hauptschlafzimmer hat ein eigenes Badezimmer und einen begehbaren Kleiderschrank. Im zweiten Stock gibt es einen Fitnessraum und ein Spielzimmer. Es gibt auch eine Dachterrasse mit einem Whirlpool. Das ist mein Traumhaus.

My Dream House

My dream house is very big and modern. It has three floors and a large garden with a pool. On the ground floor, there is a spacious kitchen, a large living room, and a dining room. There is also a study and a bathroom. On the first floor, there are four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The master bedroom has its own bathroom and a walk-in closet. On the second floor, there is a gym and a game room. There is also a roof terrace with a hot tub. That is my dream house.

Intermediate Level: Mein Haus

Essay Three: 

Mein Haus und meine Familie

Ich wohne mit meiner Familie in einem Haus am Stadtrand. Es hat vier Schlafzimmer, drei Badezimmer und ein großes Wohnzimmer. Wir haben auch einen Garten mit vielen Blumen und Bäumen. Im Sommer essen wir oft draußen auf der Terrasse. Meine Eltern haben ihr Schlafzimmer im ersten Stock und meine Geschwister und ich haben unsere Zimmer im zweiten Stock. Mein Zimmer ist groß und hat einen Balkon mit Blick auf den Garten. Ich verbringe viel Zeit in meinem Zimmer und lerne auch dort. Ich liebe mein Haus und meine Familie sehr.

My House and My Family

I live with my family in a house on the outskirts of the city. It has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a large living room. We also have a garden with many flowers and trees. In the summer, we often eat outside on the terrace. My parents have their bedroom on the first floor, and my siblings and I have our rooms on the second floor. My room is spacious and has a balcony with a view of the garden. I spend a lot of time in my room and also study there. I love my house and my family very much.

Advanced Level: Mein Haus

Essay Four: 

Mein Haus und die Umgebung

Mein Haus befindet sich in einer ruhigen Gegend am Rande der Stadt. Es ist ein freistehendes Haus mit einem großen Garten. Wir haben eine Garage und einen Abstellraum für unsere Fahrräder und Werkzeuge. In der Umgebung gibt es viele Grünflächen und Spielplätze für Kinder. Es gibt auch eine Bushaltestelle in der Nähe, von der aus wir bequem in die Stadt fahren können. In der Umgebung gibt es auch viele Einkaufsmöglichkeiten und Restaurants. Wir haben Glück, dass wir in einer so schönen und praktischen Gegend wohnen.

My House and the Surroundings

My house is located in a quiet area on the outskirts of the city. It is a detached house with a large garden. We have a garage and a storage room for our bicycles and tools. In the surroundings, there are many green spaces and playgrounds for children. There is also a bus stop nearby from which we can easily travel to the city. In the area, there are also many shopping and dining options. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful and convenient area.

Essay Five:

Mein Traumhaus ist ein modernes Einfamilienhaus am See. Es hat große Fenster und eine Terrasse, die einen atemberaubenden Blick auf den See bietet. Das Haus ist in einem minimalistischen Stil gestaltet, mit klaren Linien und neutralen Farben.

Im Inneren gibt es eine offene Wohnküche mit einem großen Esstisch und modernen Geräten. Die Möbel sind bequem und stilvoll zugleich. Das Wohnzimmer verfügt über einen Kamin und eine gemütliche Couch, auf der ich mich entspannen und ein Buch lesen kann.

Das Haus hat auch ein Arbeitszimmer mit einem Schreibtisch und einem bequemen Stuhl, wo ich in Ruhe arbeiten kann. Das Schlafzimmer ist geräumig und hat ein großes Fenster, durch das ich den Sonnenaufgang über dem See sehen kann. Das Badezimmer ist modern und luxuriös, mit einer großen Badewanne und einer begehbaren Dusche.

Außerhalb des Hauses gibt es einen Garten mit einem Pool und einem Grillbereich, wo ich Freunde und Familie zu einem Barbecue einladen kann. Der See bietet viele Freizeitmöglichkeiten wie Angeln, Schwimmen und Bootfahren.

Mein Traumhaus ist der perfekte Ort, um zur Ruhe zu kommen und die Schönheit der Natur zu genießen.

My dream house is a modern single-family house by the lake. It has large windows and a terrace that offers a breathtaking view of the lake. The house is designed in a minimalist style, with clean lines and neutral colors.

Inside, there is an open-plan living kitchen with a large dining table and modern appliances. The furniture is comfortable and stylish at the same time. The living room has a fireplace and a cozy couch where I can relax and read a book.

The house also has a study with a desk and a comfortable chair where I can work in peace. The bedroom is spacious and has a large window through which I can see the sunrise over the lake. The bathroom is modern and luxurious, with a large bathtub and a walk-in shower.

Outside the house, there is a garden with a pool and a barbecue area where I can invite friends and family for a barbecue. The lake offers many recreational activities such as fishing, swimming, and boating.

My dream house is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the beauty of nature.

In conclusion, learning German home vocabulary and writing an essay on “ Mein Haus ” is an effective way to improve your language skills. By expanding your vocabulary and practicing your writing, you will gain confidence in expressing yourself in German. We hope that this article has been a valuable resource for you and has inspired you to continue learning and exploring the German language.

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Difference between ein, eine, einen, and einem in the German Language

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2023 annual essay contest winners.

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Thank you to the hundreds of students (and their teachers!) who entered the 2023 Annual Essay Contest and congratulations to the winners!

It's time to announce the winners of the 2023 Annual Essay Contest. It was a tough year with so many great essays across all of the topics. In the end, Noah Lennon-Heiden, Micah Hertz and Mia Rothschild were the winners chosen by the jury. We wish to thank everyone who took part, both in the national contest as well as the classroom contests. Congratulations once again to the winners of the 2023 Annual Essay Contest!

Winner: Grades 3-5

Can sugar heal the wounds of war? Of course, this is too simplistic; but perhaps we can say that transnational friendship and the happiness of children—wrapped in shiny tin foil—can give hope to people suffering from war’s destruction. A meaningful part of the Berlin Airlift story is “Operation Little Vittles” and the joy it gave to children.

“Operation Little Vittles” was an unexpected part of the Berlin Airlift which provided supplies to people cut off by the U.S.S.R.’s blockades. From 1948-1949, the US Air Force flew cargo planes full of milk, medicine, flour, coal, potatoes and meat to West Berlin airfields (“Operation Vittles”). Hundreds of pilots dropped off goods each day. Lt. Gail S. Halvorsen, an American pilot, met a group of children excitedly watching the planes land at Tempelhof. In a conversation that began with “GutenTag. Wie geht’s?” Lt. Halverson was saddened by how much the children had suffered during the war. He gave the children the only thing he had in his pocket: two sticks of gum which he split in half. As Halverson later remembered, it was “the expression of surprise, joy, and sheer pleasure” and their willingness to share that inspired him to find a way to deliver more candy. Thus, “Operation Little Vittles” was born!

“Operation Little Vittles” dropped over 20 tons of chocolate and gum with small parachutes that floated to the ground to the waiting children of West Berlin. Children wrote letters to their “shokoladenonkel” and each day they looked to the heavens, hoping to catch a parachute. To a fifth grader like me, candy is a sweet treat but to the children of West Berlin, it meant, as one child explained years later, “someone in America cared” (67). Candy connected the children to a larger world and gave them hope.

Author: Noah Lennon-Heiden (Custer Baker Intermediate School, Franklin, IN)

Teacher: Sarah Records (Custer Baker Intermediate School, Franklin, IN)

Winner: Grades 6-8

Imagine you are waking up on an ordinary Sunday morning. Maybe you enjoy a cup of coffee before looking out your window. Then, you would be greeted by a fence of barbed wire spanning many miles. It did not matter if you had family or jobs on the other side, you could not go past this wall. Now, you may understand the terror and tragedy the citizens of West Berlin experienced when East Germany constructed the Berlin Wall. However disheartened the citizens of West Berlin may have been, JFK was able to give a ray of hope in the form of his concise speech. “Ich bin ein Berliner” was so impactful to the entire world, as it was able to give hope to the West German people and hold all supporters of democracy accountable for supporting West Berlin.

This renowned speech was crucial in boosting the morale of the West Berlin people. The city was inside East German territory and was an obvious target for East German invasion, leading the West Berlin community constantly terrified. “Ich bin ein Berliner” gives the West Berliners comfort by pointing out the obvious and fatal flaws of the opposing East Berlin. One example of this is when Kennedy states,“Freedom has many difficulties and democracy is not perfect, but we have never had to put a wall up to keep our people in, to prevent them from leaving us.” This identifies the impending doom of East Germany, and communism as a whole. If the citizens of a country do not want to reside there, the country will eventually fall, which is later proved by the collapse of the Soviet Union. This helps give hope to the West Berliners that they will get their freedom and be reunited with their loved ones.

“Ich bin ein Berliner” was able to allow the West Germans to feel included in the greater democratic and free world, utilizing empowering phrases such as,“ Freedom is indivisible, and when one man is enslaved, all are not free.” This phrase helps to express the solidarity of both JFK himself, and all who believe in justice and liberty. To the West Berliners, Kennedy’s speech was a glorious show of support which helped give them the motivation to continue battling for their freedom. To the West Germans, it was crucial in showing that they will not be alone in fighting for the freedom of their brothers and sisters, and for the eventual unification of greater Germany. However, this speech reaches far beyond just Germans. The address was a call to the whole world. It is saying that we must fight for every single individual who is being oppressed. It is saying that the fight for West Berlin is worth much more than just the freedom of many, but it is a show of strength and unity, proving that freedom for all will always be fought for and will always prevail.

Author: Micah Hertz (Chamblee Middle School, Chamblee, GA)

Teacher: Sarah Lewis (Chamblee Middle School, Chamblee, GA)

Winner: Grades 9-12

The division of Germany after World War II represented Europe’s ideological divide: communism vs. capitalism, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization vs. the Warsaw Pact. The city, which had stood for centuries, was divided into West Berlin, part of the democratic and capitalist West Germany, and East Berlin, part of the communist police state East Germany. West Berlin, however, was not abandoned by the rest of the world, or strictly controlled by the former Allied nations. Instead, these countries took pride in the freedom of West Berlin, as one can hear in President John F. Kennedy's famous speech, in which he proclaimed, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” Kennedy’s speech resonated around the world because it emphasized support for the people of West Berlin, while simultaneously pitting the United States and the rest of the “free world” against communism and the Soviet Union. Today, 60 years later, this speech reminds the world that no one is free until everyone is.

In his speech, Kennedy declared that the entire free world were proud citizens of West Berlin. He praised the bravery of the citizens of Berlin, acknowledging that they lived on the front lines of the Cold War and not only needed to be fought for, but were worth fighting for. To the German people, Kennedy’s speech meant that the world was behind them and that Germany had been reintegrated into the community of nations. To the Soviet Union, this speech was a pronouncement of opposition to communism and a defiant statement that communism meant a lack of liberty. While this speech might have been a show of support for the Germans, it was undoubtedly hostile to the Soviet Union, and was a step in solidifying the strain between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

As the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, fifteen countries emerged from the Soviet Union, and West and East Germany reunified to become one country. Although over three decades have passed since these changes, Europe and the rest of the world continue to feel the tremors, and Kennedy’s speech still rings true. When Kennedy asserted that “when one man is enslaved, all are not free,” he was referring to the division of Germany and Berlin, and the need to remove this wrongdoing before all could be free. While this part of the speech no longer applies to Germany, it still has meaning for Europe. In February of 2022, Ukraine, a country which was once part of the Soviet Union, was invaded by Russia. Since then, millions of Ukrainians have fled the country, and the war has wreaked destruction and death. It also brought about the realization that the tensions behind the Cold War and the sentiments behind Kennedy’s speech still affect people around the globe. Today, Kennedy’s speech still resonates, but Ukraine now represents Europe’s struggle for democracy rather than Berlin. To those who believe that the fight to preserve the free world has ended, let them come to Ukraine.

Author: Mia Rothschild (Fiorella H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts, New York City, NY)

Teacher: Brian Schmidt (Fiorella H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts, New York City, NY)

Honorable Mention

Benjamin Cairns, Nicholai Galusha, Ameila Gharbi, Heidi Kaszubowksi, Julia Kries, Landon Marcus, Satchel Rozsa, Abby Smetana, Isaiah Springstead, Celeste Wendling

Additional content

About the Essay Contest

The German Information Center USA fulfills the public diplomacy mission of the German Embassy in Washington, D.C. To encourage American students to get to know modern Germany, the German Embassy…

Detailed Rules and Guidelines

Students must write about the following topics: Topic A 60th Anniversary of “Ich bin ein Berliner” President John F. Kennedy gave his famous speech in front of Schöneberg Town Hall in Berlin 60…

Criteria for Judging

Winners will be determined by a panel of judges from the German Embassy Washington. Entries will be judged based on their content, style and grammar. Successful entries will: Follow the…

Amazon.com gift e-certificates will be awarded to the national 1st place winners in each age group. 1st place – grades 3 – 5: $100 gift certificate 1st place – grades 6 – 8: $150 gift…

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