This lesson will give you some more basic sentences and phrases to become familiar with. Take a look at the sample conversations below.
A: Hallo! Wie geht es dir? (Hello! How are you?)
B: Guten Tag. Mir geht es gut. Wie geht es dir? (Good day/hello. I am fine. How are you?)
A: Mir geht es nicht so gut. (I am not so fine.)
B: Warum geht es dir nicht so gut? (Why are you not fine?)
A: Ich bin sehr müde. (I am very tired.)
B: Es tut mir leid. (I’m sorry.)
A: Wie alt bist du? (How old are you?)
B: Ich bin zwanzig Jahre alt. Und du? (I am 20 years old. And you?)
A: Ich bin dreiundzwanzig Jahre alt. (I am 23 years old.)
In the first conversation, person A is replying that he or she does not feel well. You could also say, in this situation, “Ich bin nicht gut.” This means, “I am not fine.” The “so” in the conversation example has the same effect as “so” in the English language. That is why “Ich bin nicht so gut” means “I am not so fine.”
Warum is the word for “why.” When asking someone a question, the verb usually comes first. If there is a question word, that word then goes to the front of the verb. The example is “Warum bist du nicht so gut?” Bist is the verb form of “am” that corresponds with you (du). Since “warum” is a question word, it is appearing before the verb in this question.
Here is the conjugation chart for “sein” (the verb for “to be”). Please note that “sein” is an irregular verb, so the chart must be memorized because it doesn’t follow the normal pattern.
Ich bin I am
Du bist You are
Er/sie/es ist He/she/it is
Wir sind We are
Ihr seid You all are
Sie/sie sind You (formal)/they are
In the first conversation, “müde” is the word for “tired.” This is modified by “sehr” meaning “very.” It is typical for a modifier to appear before the word it is modifying in German.
In the second conversation, you should note that Jahre (meaning year or years) is capitalized. This is because it is a proper noun; all proper nouns are capitalized in German. Modifiers, pronouns (except for Sie), and verbs are not capitalized.
Also note that in the second conversation, “how old are you?” is being asked. Since it is in question form, the verb is coming before the pronoun. The verb isn’t in second place here, but it still comes before the pronoun. This is one of the irregular sentences (verbs are usually in first or second position when a question is being asked.
“Es tut mir leid,” from the first conversation, is the standard way to say “I’m sorry.”
Practicing with these new sentences and phrases will help you become more familiar with German and make it easier to learn more complicated structures. But for now, just focus on these basics!