Missing Agreement Deutsch: How to Avoid Grammatical Errors in German Writing
German is a highly inflected language that relies on strict adherence to grammatical rules and agreement agreements between nouns, adjectives, and verbs. As a copy editor, it is essential to have a deep understanding of the rules of agreement in German to ensure that texts are grammatically correct and easy to understand for readers. One of the most common grammatical errors in German writing is the missing agreement (fehlende Kongruenz).
What is missing agreement?
Missing agreement occurs when there is a discrepancy between the gender, number, or case of the subject and the verb or adjective that describes it. In German, all elements of a sentence must agree with each other to convey a clear meaning. For example, in the sentence „Die Katze ist klein,” the adjective „klein” agrees with the feminine singular subject „Katze.” If we were to change the subject to „Hund” (masculine singular), we would have to change the adjective to „kleiner.” This is an example of noun-adjective agreement in German.
Similarly, in the sentence „Er liest ein Buch,” the verb „liest” agrees with the masculine singular subject „Er.” Changing the subject to „sie” (feminine singular) would require the verb „liest” to change to „liest.” This is an example of subject-verb agreement in German.
Why is missing agreement a problem?
Missing agreement can make a sentence unclear or even incomprehensible to readers. It can also make the writer appear careless or unprofessional. In some cases, missing agreement can completely alter the intended meaning of a sentence. For example, „Die roten Hunde spielen im Garten” means „The red dogs play in the garden,” while „Die rote Hund spielt im Garten” means „The red dog plays in the garden.”
How to avoid missing agreement?
As a professional, there are several strategies you can use to avoid missing agreement in German writing.
1. Brush up on your grammar: Make sure you understand the rules of agreement in German and keep a German grammar guide on hand for reference.
2. Use a spelling and grammar checker: A good spelling and grammar checker can catch many instances of missing agreement in your writing. However, it is important to use a reliable checker that is specifically designed for German, as many general-purpose checkers may not catch all errors.
3. Read your writing aloud: Reading your writing aloud can help you identify errors in agreement that may not be immediately apparent when reading silently.
4. Have someone else read your writing: A second pair of eyes can often spot errors that you may have missed.
5. Practice, practice, practice: The more you write and edit in German, the easier it will become to spot errors in agreement and avoid them in the future.
Missing agreement in German writing is a common problem that can result in unclear or incorrect sentences. As a professional, it is important to have a deep understanding of the rules of agreement and to use strategies such as grammar guides, spelling and grammar checkers, and careful proofreading to ensure that texts are grammatically correct and easy to understand for readers.