How do you know the grammar rules used in the sentence?

I’ve just started using LingQ to improve my German as I’m at a level where I can read basic sentences. Please correct me if I’m wrong but LingQ appears to be focussed on reading and improving vocabulary. What I don’t see is where the grammar is explained for the particular sentence I’m reading.

In German I can translate all of the individual words into English, but because of the word order or case or tense it isn’t a precise translation. Really I would like to know what grammar rules are used. Is there any option or feature on LingQ that tells me these details for the particular sentence I’m reading?

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Part of the philosophy is to not worry too much about the grammar. That trying to learn the rules of grammar early on, you are likely to forget anyway. That with a lot more input you’ll start to figure these out. Having said that, it makes sense to look up things from time to time and slowly start to understand the grammar. i.e. Don’t try to study grammar all the time, but try to pick up tidbits here and there.

A couple of things you can do. First of all, I’d suggest using sentence view. From here you can translate the sentence as a whole. Here you can see what tense the verbs are in, at least from an orientation to your own language. You can also see how certain words may interact to potentially create meanings that your individual word lingq’ may not be showing. This is especially true with words with separable prefix.

On the lingq’s themselves, or as you click on a word, often the words will have tags that may indicate the word is a verb, or a noun, or what tense the verb is. Verbs may also show the tags for many of the potential separable prefix forms of the verb. If you click on these it will bring you to the reverso conjugation dictionary that will show the meaning of that specific prefixed verb, as well as the conjugation. Likewise, in most cases there will be a tag for the base verb (no prefix) that will likewise go directly to the reverso conjugation dictionary where you can see the meaning and the conjugations of the verb. So you can get these little tidbits of grammar.

If you click on your avatar in the app or on the web, there is a “grammar guide”. This will at least give some of the basics of the language.

Aside from that, what I’ve been doing lately is copying the sentence into chat gpt and asking it to explain the grammar in the sentece: “Explain the grammar in this German sentence: …” . It will breakdown the sentence and explain the meanings of all the words, or phrases. It will also mention the verb tenses, and other grammatical aspects. Unfortunately this isn’t directly linked, but isn’t too cumbersome to do, if you are doing it rather infrequently.

Infrequent being the keyword here. Imo you don’t want to get stuck doing and checking grammar on everything you are reading. You’ll add years to learning the language. Much of it you can absorb from just reading and occasionally looking up things. Whether using chatgpt, online sites that explain grammar. Or, for German, if you love grammar, get Hammer’s German Grammar and Usage. You’ll find everything you could ever care about grammarwise in that. From time to time I’ll check out certain things somewhat in depth. Or if I have a question as to “why” something is the way it is, this is a good resource to check.

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Adding to @ericb100 's comment:

What I have found is that as I read more, I get curious and start looking up grammar. Quite regularly, it will explain things I have already gained some familiarity with. That way, the rules become more than just abstract descriptions: my mind fills in some actual content.

If you do have questions on German grammar, there are a few German native speakers here including myself who are happy to answer!

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There are grammar guides for each language on LingQ. Have a look at it.

German Grammar Guide on LingQ

I would highly recommend you buying a good grammar book. This grammar book is highly recommended by German teachers and they use it in a private language school here in Germany.
It is small, portable and cheap.

Übungsgrammatik für die Grundstufe by Friedrich Clamer, Erhard G. Heilmann
It also comes with a solution book so if you want to check your answers for exercises you have to buy it as well.

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In my opinion what your most helpful tool will be the sentence view mode and “review sentence” feature where you will be able to basically parse the sentence (put it back together into order, if you know what the word does you now have the word order for verbs/adverbs etc). However, German is a language with 100s of subdialects so best be sure you´re dealing with Hochdeutsch in its pure form. I would advise you to use Easy German - YouTube and import their grammar guides.
I personally have used the books Schritte Neu and if you import the audio scripts into Lingq you often have the grammar point they´re focused on in the conversations. You then have the books to read the grammar points.
For me, if you took a book like the German Equivalent of Michael Swann for Grammar it might not work so well as it may have lots of tables, and these don´t go very well into Lingq.
You can also generate your own content (writing sentences which have been checked) and then use the sentence review function.
Using Wikipedia:
If you are not sure the term in German, put the term in English into wikipedia and click through to German. Then import that page.
Using Youglish:
Go to youglish.com on the German function, put in a key term, and you´ll come up with all the subtitled Youtube videos with that thing. Therefore the subject “Deutsche Grammatik” leads to this video chain - Deutsche Grammatik | 21 pronunciations of Deutsche Grammatik in German (youglish.com), eventually you will get to this video 5 Fehler beim Deutsch-Lernen (B1/B2) - YouTube. Click through to youtube and you can import the video into Lingq. Read through it and you will learn what the person is explaining, then you can focus on the examples of what they´re explaining in the sentence review.
I don´t think this is personally the best use of Lingq, as its strength is in learning vocab, listening to people and getting your writing corrected. If you listen to Dr Stephen Krashen he gives an example of the s form of verbs in he/she/it, most foreigners will never use the rule even if you explain it to them a lot, until it clicks (a certain amount of learned grammar structures from reading/speaking/writing). Therefore learning Grammar can often be counterproductive to improving your abilities (think about your first language, did you get explained what a noun was before you used it?).
I have been learning German for years and though there are a few funny things like Einzigartiger Fall der Fälle - Christian Morgensterns Gedicht „Der Werwolf“ : literaturkritik.de I think if you´re a native English speaker you should focus on your strengths (i.e: if you study 5 hours a week, 1 hour grammar, the rest aquisition strategies). I study German with Slovaks and it is simply not fair, they learn German grammar like nothing as for them it is easier than Slovak grammar.

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