Your Free Time

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Your Free Time

How do you spend your free time? You probably feel you don't have too much of it at the moment, having to revise for exams! This topic is bound to come up in one form or another in any of your exams, so make sure you know the vocabulary really well and that you've got plenty to say if it comes up in the speaking exam.

The list of hobbies is endless. If you have a particular hobby, make sure you can say lots about it in German. This exercise is to help you revise some of the usual hobbies. It is just to give you some ideas.

Look at the pictures of free time activities below, then drag the German phrases on top. Mark your answer to see how you got on...

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In all languages, the verb (doing word) changes according to who is doing the action. This happens in English, but if this is your mother tongue, you don't think about it! When we learn another language, we have to learn these things as we go along, but it helps to know that English is just like any other language.

So, if we look at the verb "to play". In English, we would say "I play". If we then want to say someone else (male or female) is playing, we say "he plays", or "she plays" we add an -s to the word plays.

German verbs change, just like English ones. In German, there are two types of verbs - strong verbs (irregular) and weak verbs (regular). We are going to practise weak or regular verbs.

First of all, you need to see how a weak verb operates. You take the "infinitive" - that's the word you will find when you look up an activity in the dictionary - for example, to play = spielen.

Then, you lop off the -en and you are left with "spiel". (This is called the stem!)

You then add on the endings according to who is doing the action:

ich spiele I play
du spielst You play (friend, family member)
er/sie spielt He/she plays
wir spielen We play
ihr spielt You play (2 or more friends or family members)
Sie spielen You play (polite, formal) Sie will always have a capital 'S'
sie spielen They play

Note: When you say, for example, "John plays", you use the same part of the verb as saying "he/ she plays" - for example, John spielt.

Likewise, if you are talking about two or more people playing, it is the same as saying "they play", so you use this part of the verb - for example, John und Mary spielen.

Use this exercise below to practice your verbs. Drag the verbs into the correct blue gap and mark your answer:

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If you are talking about a free time activity, you are bound to want to say when or how often you do it. The key thing to remember is that:

The verb (doing word) is always the second idea in a sentence.

So, if you start the sentence with an expression of time (for example, every day), the verb has to come next. So in German, you have to turn the verb around.

For Example:

Every day I play football = Jeden Tag spiele ich Fussball

(Ich spiele has been turned round so that spiele can be the second idea in the sentence).

In this exercise the sentences have been jumbled up. The English sentence needs to be translated in German...

Click on the words in the blue blocks so that they appear in the correct order. Mark your answer each time before moving on to the next question:

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The sorts of activities we do in our spare time often depend on the weather - for instance, sledging in Winter/sunbathing in Summer.

In German, you use the word "wenn" if you want to say when it's hot, cold, etc...

You have to be careful with word order, but if you can use this structure correctly, just think about all those marks adding up!

So, the first thing to remember is that 'wenn' sends the verb (doing word) to the end of that bit of the sentence, up to the comma!

For Example: When it is cold = Wenn es kalt ist (ist is the verb)

The second thing to remember is that after the comma, the next verb comes and it is turned around (inverted).

For Example: When it is cold I play football = Wenn es kalt ist, spiele ich Fussball

The best thing to do is to learn an example, then you can apply the same rule in all new situations.

This exercise will help you to learn the rule...

Look at the pictures of weather and the activities, read the sentences and click on the correct German sentence for each one. Watch out very carefully for the word order!

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Some of us are couch potatoes and some of us love kicking a ball around. You need to be able to say what you like and don't like doing in your spare time.

Here is a reminder of how to say you like and don't like doing things:

Ich spiele gern Fussball I like playing football
Ich spiele sehr gern Fussball I really like playing football
Ich spiele nicht gern Fussball I don't like playing football
Ich spiele gar nicht gern Fussball I really don't like playing football

To gain extra marks in your speaking or writing exams, you should always try and give a reason. Here are some ideas for reasons for and against doing various activities:

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Es ist interessant It's interesting
Es macht Spass It's fun
Ich lerne viele Leute kennen I get to know lots of people
Ich werde fit I get fit
Ich halte mich fit I stay fit
Ich lerne viel I learn a lot
Es ist entspannend It's relaxing
Es ist aufregend It's exciting
Es ist billig It's cheap
Es ist kostenlos It costs nothing

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Es ist langweilig It's boring
Es macht keinen Spass It's no fun
Es ist schwierig It's difficult
Es ist teuer It's expensive
Ich muss neue Kleider dafür kaufen I have to buy new clothes for it

So, to put the two things together you need a word that sticks bits of sentences together, called a conjunction. The word you will use here is "weil" = because.

The key thing to remember here is that:

After "weil" the verb (doing word) goes to the end of the sentence.

So, to put the two things together you need a word that sticks bits of sentences together, called a conjunction. The word you will use here is 'weil' = because. The key thing to remember here is that:

Ich spiele gern Tennis.

Ich halte mich fit.

Here are the two sentences brought together into one sentence:

Ich spiele gern Tennis, weil es Spass macht. ("macht" is the verb and therefore goes to the end because "weil" has been used.)

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