How to write an essay “How I spent the summer” in German or just talk about a vacation, what words you may need and what basic rules you should keep in mind – in our today’s article, which will be useful not only for schoolchildren and students, but also for those who return for German courses after the summer break.

So the three summer months have come to an end, many of us are returning to school / university / courses (underline as necessary). In the meantime, we have prepared for you an article designed to simplify life at first.

Today we will talk about how you could spend the summer and repeat the vocabulary on this topic.

Top 5 things to keep in mind!

1. First of all, the Germans call this period der Sommer (summer) or  die Sommerferien (summer holidays). 

2. Since we are writing about what has already happened, we will use the past tense or the perfect past ( Präteritum or Perfekt – when to use what ). Präteritum, and this is the second form of the verb, is correct in writing and emphasizes the descriptive character. Perfect, on the other hand , is used more in colloquial speech, and in writing it conveys the shade of a story or conversation.

3. There is also an important grammatical feature worth remembering: wenn and als temporary conjunctions – “when“. Wenn tells us about “when” that happens regularly, several times, every time. Als tells about a one-time event in the past.

4. The essay format involves writing a related text, expressing opinions and wishes, as well as a touch of sincerity, so when you start writing, stock up on a set of cliché expressions and introductory words, a la “ Ich hoffe, dass… “, “ Ich denke, … “,” Hoffentlich“, etc.

5. It is also necessary to remember the grammatical difference between the questions “ where? ” and “ Where? “.
“Where?” – WO? – requires after itself strictly Dativ, and “Where?” – WOHIN? – supplemented in Akkusativ.

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Having discussed the main points of writing an essay, let’s move on to the necessary vocabulary.

The most basic:

der Sommer – summer
die Sommerferien (Pl.) – summer holidays
der Urlaub – holiday
die Reise – trip
im Sommer – summer

When can I go on vacation / holiday:

im Sommer / Herbst / Winter / Frühling – summer, autumn, winter, spring
in den Ferien – holidays
am Wochenende – weekends
letzten Sommer / Monat – last summer / last month
letzte Woche – last week

letztes Jahr – last year
im letzten Urlaub – last vacation
in den letzten Ferien – last vacation
vor einem Monat – a month ago
vor einer Woche – a week ago 

How long can you be on vacation / on a trip / on a holiday:

einen Tag – one day
drei Tage – three days
einen Monat – one month
zwei Monate – two months
eine Woche – a week
drei Wochen – within three weeks  

IMPORTANT! Intervals require Akkusativ.

Where to spend your holidays / stay ( Wo = Dativ ):

Ich machte Urlaub… – I was on holiday…
Ich war… in Urlaub. – I was … on holiday
in der Stadt – in the city
auf dem Land – in the village
in den Bergen – in the mountains

am See – on the lake
am Meer   – on the sea
im Ausland – abroad
im Ferienlager / Trainingslager – in the summer / sports camp
auf dem Campingplatz – at the campsite

in der Jugendherberge – at the student hostel
im Hotel – at the hotel

Where can you go on vacation ( Wohin = Akkusativ ):

Ich bin nach / in … gefahren – I went to …
Ich fuhr / flog / reiste nach … / in … – I went, flew, traveled to …
in die Stadt – to the city
aufs Land – to the village
in die Berge – to the mountains

zum See – at the lake
an das Meer – at the sea
ins Ausland – abroad
in das Ferienlager / Trainingslager – at the summer / sports camp
auf den Campingplatz – at the campsite

in die Jugendherberge – at the student hostel
ins Hotel – at the hotel

What can you ride with:

mit dem Auto – by car
mit dem Zug – by train
mit dem Flugzeug – by plane
mit dem Schiff – by ship
zu Fuß – on foot 

IMPORTANT : With transport (to ride something), the construction mit + Dativ is always used

Common verbs of motion and their three forms:

fahren – fuhr – (ist) gefahren – ride
fliegen  –  flog – (ist)   geflogen   –  fly
gehen – ging – (ist)  gegangen – walk / go 

The full list of irregular verbs can be found here

An example essay:

Die Schüler gehen im Sommer nicht zur Schule. Sie haben 3 Monate lang Sommerferien. Die Kinder müssen nicht früh aufstehen, keine Hausaufgaben machen und nichts für die Schule vorbereiten. Deshalb liebt jeder den Sommerurlaub.

Students don’t go to school in the summer. They have a summer vacation that lasts for 3 months. Children don’t have to get up early, do homework, or prepare anything for school. That’s why everyone loves summer vacation.

Ich mag die Sommerferien sehr, weil ich dann viel freie Zeit habe. An hellen Sommermorgen liege ich nie lange im Bett. Nach dem Aufstehen frühstücke ich schön. Dann spiele ich draußen mit meinen Freunden. Und wenn es draußen regnet, spiele ich am Computer oder gehe ins Fitnessstudio. Manchmal gehe ich nachmittags mit meinen Freunden ins Kino oder spiele Basketball im Garten.

I really like summer vacations because of the amount of free time. On bright summer mornings I never lie in bed for a long time. After I get up, I have a delicious breakfast. Then I play outside with my friends. And if it’s raining outside, I play on the computer or go to the gym. Sometimes in the afternoon I go to the movies with my friends or play basketball in the yard.

Jeden Sommer fahre ich aufs Land, um meine Verwandten zu besuchen. Ich helfe im Garten oder kümmere mich um die Hühner und Enten. Im Dorf gehen mein Vater und ich oft fischen. Ich gehe morgens gerne an den Strand, wenn es nicht zu heiß ist. Ich schwimme, sonne mich und spiele mit meinen Freunden am Flussufer.

Every summer I go to the countryside to visit my relatives. I help in the garden or look after the chickens and ducks. In the village, my dad and I often go fishing. I really like going to the beach in the mornings, when it’s not so hot yet. I swim, sunbathe and play with my friends on the riverbank.

Wenn mein Großvater nicht zu beschäftigt ist, gehen wir in den Wald, um Pilze zu sammeln. Abends genieße ich es, am Feuer zu sitzen und Spieße zu kochen, und ich schlafe auch sehr gerne im Zelt.

When my grandfather is not very busy, we go to the woods to pick mushrooms. In the evenings I really like to sit by the fire and cook kebabs, also I very willingly sleep in a tent.

Für mich dauern die Sommerferien nie zu lange. Aber ich freue mich immer, wenn die Schule wieder anfängt und ich alle meine Freunde sehen kann.

For me the summer vacations never last too long. Despite this, I am always happy when school starts again and I can see all my friends.

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