Lesson 2



“Freizeit” means “Free time”. This dialog is of Franz and Greta familiarizing each other with their sports activities.

German Dialogue • Freizeit
Sports and time Sport und Zeit
Franz Hallo, Greta! Wie spät ist es?
Greta Es ist Viertel vor drei.
Franz Wirklich? Ich spiele um drei Fußball. Machst du Sport, Greta?
Greta Nein, ich bin faul. Ich gehe jetzt nach Hause.
Franz Fußball macht aber Spaß!
Greta Bis dann.
Franz Wiedersehen!

Sports and Activities

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Sports and activities Sport und Aktivitäten
English German
sport(s) Sport
interests, hobbies, activities Hobbys
football/soccer Fußball
American football Football (spoken as in English)
volleyball Volleyball
basketball Basketball
tennis Tennis
baseball Baseball (spoken as in English)
9-pin bowling Kegeln
chess Schach
board game das Brettspiel
game das Spiel
homework Hausaufgaben (pl.)
television das Fernsehen/der Fernseher
movie der Film

Spielen, Machen and Other Verbs

All three verbs that you were introduced to in Lesson 1 are irregular in some way; however, most verbs are regular verbs. The following is a table of the endings you add to the stems of regular verbs to conjugate them:

German Verb • Freizeit
conjugation Konjugation
Singular Plural
first person ich -e wir -en
second person du -st ihr -t
third person er -t sie -en
sie -t
es -t

For example, the verbs spielen and machen,

German Verb • Freizeit
to play spielen
Singular Plural
first person ich spiele wir spielen
second person du spielst ihr spielt
third person er spielt sie spielen
sie spielt
es spielt
German Verb • Freizeit
to do_make machen
Singular Plural
first person ich mache wir machen
second person du machst ihr macht
third person er macht sie machen
sie macht
es macht


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

Note the last sentence. In English one plays sport, while in German one does sport. You can also use the w-words from Lesson 1 to make some more combinations:

  • Warum spielst du Baseball?
Why do you play baseball?
  • Wer hat Hausaufgaben?
Who has homework?

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

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

Compound Sentences

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Conjunctions Verbindungen
English German
and und
but aber
or oder

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

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

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

Other Verbs and Their Conjugations

German Grammar • Freizeit
Verbs Verben
German English
lesen to read
schauen to watch
sehen to see
arbeiten to work
schreiben to write
schwimmen to swim

Schauen, schreiben and schwimmen are all regular verbs, they follow normal conjugations. To conjugate , you first remove the ‘ en ‘, then add the correct ending, here is an example,

Verb First Step Finished
schauen schau ich schaue
  • Arbeiten is an irregular verb; however, it has a simple change. Whenever the ending starts with a consonant, an ‘e’ is added before it. So it would be du arbeitest, not du arbeitst. As well as er, sie, es, and ihr arbeitet, not er, sie, es, nor ihr arbeitt.
  • Lesen is also an irregular verb. First, when forming with “du, er, sie, and es”, it is du liest, not du liesst or du lesst.
  • Sehen is the last irregular verb. When forming “du” it is siehst and with “er, sie, and es” it is sieht.

Two More Verb Forms

There are two more verb forms in English that you will learn this lesson: the present progressive (“I am playing, he is making”), and the affirmative “I do play, he does not play”, which includes a form of ‘to do’.
It might be tempting to make the present progressive sentence, “I am playing.” into “Ich bin spielen.”. After all, ‘spielen’ sounds a lot like ‘play-ing’, but that is not the definition. ‘Spielen’ means ‘to play’, which makes “Ich bin spielen.” into “I am to play.”, not at all what you are trying to say. So it is not “Ich bin spielen.”
The second phrase, “I do play”, is another tricky one. This one may seem like, “Ich mache spielen.” But don’t forget, there are no helping verbs in German. “Ich mache spielen.” just doesn’t work.
Both of the phrases above are simplified in German. Instead of “I am playing.” and “I do play.”, German makes them both simply: “Ich spiele.” When using ‘not’, instead of “does not play”, you get “Ich spiele nicht”. This may sound like old English, and there you see where English came from, and why it is called a “Germanic” language.

Expressing likes and dislikes

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Expressing likes and dislikes Verbindungen
English German
I like… Ich habe … gern
I like to play… Ich spiele gern…
What do you like? Was hast du gern?

* I like … also translates to: Ich mag. Mögen being the root verb, to like. What do you like? translates to: Was magst du? Ich mag, du magst, er/sie/es mag, wir mögen, ihr mögt, sie mögen.

In German, there are several ways to express likes and dislikes. This way is a casual way. You can also add other verbs for other things, like asking or saying if they like to play, or make things.

  • To express preference, use lieber instead of gern. For example, “Wir spielen lieber Fußball.”
  • To express favorites, you use am liebsten, meaning “most of all”, in the same context as lieber. For example, “Ich spiele am liebsten Schach.”.
  • To express dislikes, use nicht gern instead of gern.


The first big unit in this level is time, which we are just about to get to. German time is very much like English time. However, we must begin with German numbers.

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Numbers Zahlen
English German
zero null
one eins
two zwei
three drei
four vier
five fünf
six sechs
seven sieben
eight acht
nine neun
ten zehn
eleven elf
twelve zwölf
thirteen dreizehn
fourteen vierzehn
fifteen fünfzehn
sixteen sechzehn
seventeen siebzehn
eighteen achtzehn
nineteen neunzehn
twenty zwanzig
thirty dreißig
forty vierzig
fifty fünfzig
sixty sechzig
seventy siebzig
eighty achtzig
ninety neunzig
hundred hundert
hundred and one hunderteins
thousand tausend
1001 tausendeins
1101 tausendeinhunderteins
3000 dreitausend
200 000 zweihunderttausend
  • Above are some basic numbers in German. If you haven’t noticed the pattern, “-zehn” creates “-teen” and “-zig” creates “-ty.”
  • The numerals, when written as figures, appear the same in German and English, but when spoken or written in full, the units normally come before the tens. They are connected by und.

for example, “einundfünfzig”, which is 51, from “eins” and “fünfzig”, notice “eins” turned into “ein”.

  • In spoken words, “zwo” can be used for “zwei”, distinguishing it from “drei”.


Asking the Time

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Time Zeit
English German
What time is it? (How late is it?) Wie spät ist es?
What time is it? (How much clock is it?) Wie viel Uhr ist es?
Ef It is 10:15 Es ist zehn Uhr fünfzehn.
BoA It is 10:15 Viertel nach Zehn
BoA It is 10:45 Viertel vor Elf

In table above you might have seen the Ef and BoA, those stand for exact form and before or after. Specific times can be expressed in two ways: Exact form (e.g. “Four thirty-seven”) or before or after form (e.g. “Twenty-three to five”).

Exact form

This form is the same as English. For example,

  • Es ist zehn Uhr fünfzehn.
It is 10:15 a.m.
  • The new word Uhr means “o’clock”, and is used in all exact times, it comes between the hour and the minute.
  • Also, German-speakers generally use the 24-hour clock when expressing time this way, therefore, 3:29 p.m. (15:29) is “fünfzehn Uhr neunundzwanzig.”

Before or After the Hour

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
English German
After, Past nach
Till, to vor
quarter Viertel
half before Halb
  • Use the same form as in English. For example, 10:57 can be said as, “drei vor Elf(three minutes to eleven”. Likewise, 4:10 would be “zehn nach Vier(ten minutes past four).”
  • Typically, use the smaller time interval with ‘nach’ or ‘vor’. Don’t say, “siebenundfünfzig nach Zehn.”
  • You don’t need a vor when using halb. For example, 11:30 can be said as, “Halb zwölf” and 5:15 can be said as “Viertel nach Fünf”, 5:45 would be “Viertel vor Sechs”.

Note: This is only used with informal time telling. You don’t use ‘Uhr’.

Saying When You Do Something

Wann spielst du Football? (Football means American Football. The much more popular soccer would be “Fußball”, which lit. means Football)
To say you play a sport at a certain time in English, you would answer, “I play football at 3:30.” This is all the same in German, with the translation of ‘at’ being um. That makes the above response “Ich spiele Football um halb Vier.” or “Ich spiele Football um fünfzehn Uhr dreißig.”.

Other Time

Times of Day

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Times of Day Tageszeiten
English German
the day der Tag
today heute
tomorrow morgen
the day after tomorrow übermorgen
yesterday gestern
the day before yesterday vorgestern
(early) morning Morgen*
morning Vormittag
afternoon Nachmittag
evening Abend
night Nacht

*In German, except the capitalization, the words for “morning” and “tomorrow” are the same: morgen. If you want to say tomorrow morning use morgen früh (meaning: early on the next day) instead of Morgen morgen.

  • The words above can be combined into phrases like “gestern Abend”.

Days and Months

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Days Tage
English German
Monday Montag
Tuesday Dienstag
Wednesday Mittwoch
Thursday Donnerstag
Friday Freitag
Saturday Samstag
Sunday Sonntag
  • Instead of “Samstag” you can say “Sonnabend”.
German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Months Monate
English German
January Januar
February Februar
March März
April April
May Mai
June Juni
July Juli
August August
September September
October Oktober
November November
December Dezember
  • To say “on Monday”, say “am Montag” or whatever applies. To say “in January”, say “im Januar” or whatever applies. This is the same for all of the days and months.
  • You can also combine the times of day from earlier with the days of the week. But they’re both nouns. To do this, therefore, we must combine the two words into one, as in “Dienstagnacht” (Tuesday night).

Culture Note: The German week begins on Monday.


German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Dates Daten
English German
first of (month) erster
second of (month) zweiter
third of (month) dritter
fourth of (month) vierter
seventh of (month) siebter
eighth of (month) achter
-th of [below 20] -ter
tenth of zehnter
twentieth of zwanzigster
thirty-first of einunddreißigster
-th of [20 to 31] -ster
on (the) am
  • The ordinal numbers from 2 to 19 take the endings t and from 20 upwards take the ending st
  • For example “on the 25th of December”,
Simply say “am fünfundzwanzigsten Dezember.”
In other cases you say “fünfundzwanzigster Dezember” or “der fünfundzwanzigste Dezember”.
  • In Germany, dates are written out in the logical order Day . Month . Year, instead of the American Month/Day/Year.
German uses a dot instead of a slash. Do not use the slash in dates, as it is unusual and confusing because you cannot tell if “4/6” means 4th of June (4.6.) or 6th of April (6.4.)


German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Birthdays Geburtstage
English German
Birthday Geburtstag
Happy Birthday Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!
Best wishes on your birthday! Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag!
Here is your present! Hier ist dein Geschenk!
Thank you! Dankeschön!
That’s a nice party! Das ist eine tolle Party!
  • To say, “My birthday is on November 13th”, say, “Ich habe am dreizehnten November Geburtstag.”

Here am dreizehnten November, 13. November and 13. 11. represent the same date.

Note the order; it translates back literally as “I have on the 13th of November birthday.”


German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Seasons Jahreszeiten
English German
Spring Frühling
Summer Sommer
Autumn Herbst
Winter Winter
in (the) im

To say “in Summer”, say “im Sommer”. For example,

  • Im Sommer spiele ich Baseball.
I play baseball in summer.

The time always goes before the verb and the subject. (time, verb, and subject)

Periods of Time

If you want to express a certain period of time, but it doesn’t have a specific name, like Nachmittag, you can do it like this:,

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Seasons Jahreszeiten
German Time
von Starting Time
bis Ending Time
  • This is the same as from … till … in English.
  • This can also apply with dates. For example, “Wir haben Schule (school) von Montag bis Freitag”.
  • Exceptions
Wir haben frei vom fünfundzwanzigsten Dezember bis zum zweiten Januar.

How often?

Wie oft?, there are many ways to answer this question. Two are “once, twice, or three times in a …” or “always, often, or never.”

A Number or Times

To say, “once a month”, or “four times a week”, add “mal” to the end of the number and use the examples below.

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Daily Täglich
English German
Day am Tag
Week in der Woche
Month im Monat
Year im Jahr
Weekend am Wochenende
Morning morgens
Evening abends
Afternoon nachmittags
Night nachts oder in der Nacht

For example

  • Wir kegeln zweimal in der Woche.
We bowl twice a week.

Common Adverbs

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Sometimes Manchmal
English German
always immer
most of the time meistens
often oft
sometimes manchmal
seldom selten
never nie
only nur
  • To apply these words, put them in the sentence, after the verb and subject, but before the sport/activity.
  • You can also use ‘nur’ to say things like, Sie spielt nur manchmal Tennis.
  • Note that if this is translated word-for-word, it becomes, She plays only sometimes tennis. That’s just the way German is.

Time-Related Words

German Vocabulary • Freizeit
Sometimes Manchmal
English German
Time die Zeit
Free time die Freizeit
  • To say you have time, ignore the ‘die’.
  • To say when, insert other phrases you have learned this lesson. For example, Ich habe am Samstagabend Zeit.
  • Note that the word order is the same as that of birthdays. You can use Freizeit in the same way.

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