Do You Have the “Drang” to Learn German?

In German, “Drang” expresses an “urge,” like an itch you have to scratch. Are you itching to learn German? If indeed you have a “Deutschdrang,” our website can help you learn German by providing you with lots of free resources like beginner, intermediate, and advanced worksheets; self-grading online exercises; powerpoints; audio, video, and vocab activities, webquests, and grammar handouts. While the focus of this website is on practicing concepts or vocabulary, our resource page does provide additional  resources to help you understand German grammar. For fun, we offer a smattering of brief articles on German customs and Swiss oddities. Our deutschdrang blog has short bilingual entries on all kinds of things related to the German-speaking sphere, usually with a corresponding grammar or vocabulary exercise. Finally, for those interested in traveling to Germany, we suggest our pages on travel info and conversion links. Many of the materials on this site are suitable for classroom use, and teachers are welcome to use or adapt them. HOWEVER: The materials presented are for private or classroom use only and may not be used in any publication or for-profit purpose without prior written consent. By downloading or copying these materials, you agree to these terms of use.


Wherever you are in your journey towards German perfection (beginner, intermediate, or advanced), deutschdrang can get you a little closer to your goal. Mark Twain called it “The Awful German Language”, but of course he was (half) kidding.

“Surely there is not another language that is so slipshod and systemless,
and so slippery and elusive to the grasp.” 

                                                    Mark Twain,  “The Awful German Language”


While I disagree with the first part of Mark Twain’s statement–German is by no means “slipshod” or “systemless”–I must admit that it is very “slippery and elusive to the grasp.” I have over twenty years of teaching experience with German, but it never ceases to amaze me how difficult it must be for a non-native speaker to learn the language. Growing up with German as my native language, I took its complexities for granted, and only through teaching it did I come to truly appreciate the fact that I was “born into it” and did not have to learn German as a foreign language. That said, I admire anyone who attempts it and more so anyone who persists, and I hope that my pages will 

* help you with your studiesmarktwaintramp

* open your mind to other cultures

* provide useful links to other resources

* increase your desire to learn

* and maybe even entertain a little. 

So scratch that itch and follow your “Deutschdrang”! Viel Spaß!

Read the complete text of Twain’s essay or listen to an audio version online.The essay is most entertaining for those who have already studied German to some extent and can relate to the language concepts lampooned by the author. English worksheet with questions about the essay. Easy-to-read pdf of the text that could be used to answer the questions.

If you want to compare German and English next to each other, check out our deutschdrang blog, which includes short BILINGUAL articles on various topics related to German and/or German-speaking countries. Each article features a short learning activity. Levels vary, but most appropriate for upper-level beginners and up.


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8 Replies to “Home

  1. Guten Tag ,
    I habe sehr lange nach die Antwort von diese Frage gesucht ? Was ist Unterscheid zwischen ( für ) und (Zum) . Wenn benutzt Mann jeder von ihnen ?

    z.b. Ich mache die Hausaufgabe zum/für meine Lehrerin

    Ich bin dankbar für Ihnen Hilfe ? warum nicht Zum Ihnen Hilfe

    wie kann Mann wissen welch zu benutzen ?

    Danke schön

    1. Das ist nicht so einfach zu erklären. “zum” ist eine Kombination von “zu” und “dem”, wäre also in den Beispielen oben sowieso nicht möglich, weil beide Substantive (“Lehrerin” und “Hilfe”) weiblich sind (es müsste also “zur” sein). Sehr oft verwendet Deutsch ein indirektes Objekt (Dativ) statt der Präposition “zu” (“Ich gebe der Lehrerin die Hausaufgaben,” nicht “Ich gebe die Hausaufgaben zu der Lehrerin”). In Ihrem zweiten Beispiel ist es “für,” weil das Adjektiv “dankbar” mit der Präposition “für” kommt. In vielen Fällen wird die Präposition durch ein Verb oder ein Adjektiv bestimmt, das idiomatisch eine gewisse Präposition verlangt. In Ihrem Satz oben sagen Sie richtigerweise z.B. “Ich habe NACH der Antwort gesucht.” Das ist idiomatisch. Es könnte theoretisch ja auch “Ich habe für die Antwort gesucht” sein, aber das wäre falsch. Am besten lernen Sie diese Dinge, wenn Sie viel lesen und immer darauf achten, welche Präposition oder welcher Fall mit einem Verb oder einem Adjektiv verwendet wird. Ich hoffe, das hilft. Ich wünsche Ihnen viel Erfolg beim Lernen.

  2. Danke! Sou brasileiro e sempre fui fascinado pelo idioma Alemão. Estudo diariamente por conta própria e espero muita coisa interessante nesse site.

  3. Danke Schon! this kind of information i was looking about the German language. i got the very useful information and now learning German through it.

  4. Hi,
    I am a keen learner of German and I came across your site while browsing the webpress site. I’ve only had a brief look through your materials but they look to be very useful and in many different media which is great. Thanks for sharing your expertise and experience. My wife is Austrian born and my goal is to be able to participate in family discussions when we next visit her family in Austria in a year or so. I’m on the way to my learning goal but it is such a large mountain to climb. I have to keep remembering that it is perseverance which matters.

    All the best from Melbourne, Australia.

    1. Thank you, Rob. I am glad you find the site useful. Unfortunately, many of the materials are not self-explanatory in grammar terms, so you’ll still need a good textbook or a good teacher to help you understand the basic concepts. I’m sure your wife can help you with that. For your purposes of being able to converse with your in-laws, I would suggest the website of deutsche welle http://www.dw.de/learn-german/german-courses/s-2547, which offers entire courses for free that feature a lot of audio and video materials. If you have difficulty with a specific issue, please feel free to write back, and I’ll try to make up an online exercise for it. Good luck in your quest! Follow that “Drang” to learn German! 🙂

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