Reviewing some of the basic grammar can actually be fun. Take the past tense of ‘to be’ for example! Have you conjugated it in your head yet? “I was, you was, he was, we was, you was and they was” How did it go for you, anything like that? Don’t worry, you are not alone.
In fact, it’s perfectly logical – no other verb changes in the past tense, does it? “I played etc or I went etc’, see what I mean? So why on earth should ‘to be’ be any different? Just to catch the foreigners out and many fall in the trap.
Before I go on, please go and watch this sketch with the London based German stand-up comedian Henning Wehn and listen carefully between 0.25 sec and 0.44 sec. https://youtu.be/48gV9W9UZHk
Have you watched it? Be honest, ok, so before I review the past tense of ‘to be’. I tell the folks to stand up and then I ask if anyone in the class is from London (I say it with a broad Cockney accent). Naturally, I get puzzled looks and the fun begins!!!
“Now children” I say with a grin on my face. Then I place my hand on my chest and say out loud “I was” – I encourage them to follow suit. I point at one of the other students and say “you were” – they follow suit. Next up I point to a ‘geezer’ (a London word for ‘man’) and shout “he was”. You get the picture!
At the end of the full drill, I play them that sequence of the YouTube video. And everyone realizes why I ask if they come from LONDON.
Have fun watching the rest of Henning and remember, “I was”, “you were”, – how could you ever forget?
to conjugate (konjugieren), “why on earth…” (Warum um Gottes willen..?), to catch sb out (hier: jdn überrumpeln), to fall into a trap (hereinfallen), sketch (hier: kurze Darstellung/Sketch), broad Cockney accent (ausgeprägter Cockney (London) Akzent), puzzled look (verblüffte Miene), to follow suit (nachziehen), “You get the picture” (kapieren),
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To recommend (empfehlen), commission (Provision),