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GEB1: Use of German

This paper is available for the academic year 2023-24.


The paper is an introduction to reading advanced German texts and to advanced German grammar and vocabulary. In classes, we will discuss and analyse authentic texts, often taken from newspaper articles and/or the textbook to secure and consolidate both global and more detailed understanding of contemporary German. Attention will be given to different registers, formats of texts, style and accuracy.

Aims and objectives: 

The aim of Use of German classes is to help you work systematically towards a secure knowledge of aspects of the German language which are essential to clear communication. Given the nature of the German language, this includes a strong emphasis on grammatical accuracy in the teaching of Use of German, but the work you are set for classes, coupled with the work you do for College language supervisions, is also designed to help extend your expressive vocabulary and develop your sense of the right phrase for the right occasion.

Course materials: 

Teachers’ own materials and past papers.


  • Durrell, Martin (2017): Hammer's German Grammar and Usage, 6th edition, London: Routledge.
  • Durrell, Martin; Kohl, Karin; Kaiser, Claudia (2017): Practising German Grammar, 4th edition, London: Routledge.


  • Fagan, Sarah (2004): Using German Vocabulary, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Note that all of the above will also be used actively in language teaching in the second and fourth years of the course.

For more information on our teaching see here.


Teaching and learning: 

There are weekly classes organised by the department. All teachers are native speakers. Classes are based on a learning programme accessible on the university's VLE, using a range of exercises as a basis for students’ independent learning. Class teachers will also mark pieces of written work giving individual and detailed feedback. Parts of the classes will be based on questions which have arisen through students’ independent revision or which have become apparent to the teacher while marking homework. Classes are also used to discuss texts and their various interpretations as well as topical issues to do with current affairs in German speaking countries. We include video and audio clips in homework set for students, expanding your exposure to contemporary spoken German. The main focus of the teaching is on enabling you to study and revise independently, making sure that your handling of German idiom and grammar is confident and accurate.

Learning resources:

Learning resources can be found on the GEB1 Moodle.


This paper consists of two sections, and the examination lasts three hours.

  • Section A: (counting for 80% of this paper). Exercises based on a text in German, aimed at testing both comprehension and ability to express yourself correctly and idiomatically in German.
  • Section B: (counting for 20% of this paper). Some sentences to be translated from English into German, designed to test specific points of grammar.

For all German past papers, see here. Examiners’ Reports can be found here.

Course Contacts: 
Prof Silke Mentchen
Maren de Vincent-Humphreys
Matthew Hines