12 Best German Grammar Books for Beginners and Beyond

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German is a rich language infamous for its complex case structures and endless repository of long compound words.

To surmount that sizable challenge, it’s best to approach German with a helping hand. More often than not, some solid, well-written German learning books or textbooks can be just that and more.

Grammar books help with the most challenging aspects by concentrating on the cold, hard facts – the rules, their exceptions, and all the sorts of conjugations and inflections needed to understand how sentences and conversations emerge in the language.

In other words, their subject matter might not be the most desirable aspect of learning German, but it’s definitely among the most useful!

Now, the good news is that German is a popular language, and there are plenty of books to choose from. The bad news is that this can be the opposite of what you want: too much choice leads to analysis paralysis!

To make things easier for you, I came up with the following guide on the best German grammar books suitable for every experience level.

German grammar book and eyeglasses on top of a table

Read on to find out which kind of German grammar textbook is right for you and your learning goals!

Best German grammar books for beginners

1. German Grammar for Beginners Textbook + Workbook

German Grammar for Beginners Textbook + Workbook Included: Supercharge Your German with Essential Lessons and Exercises (Learn German for Beginners)
  • German, My Daily (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 305 Pages – 06/07/2022 (Publication Date) – Independently published (Publisher)

It’s all in the name with this top-seller, and though you might fault the authors somewhat for a lack of imagination, the actual content of this textbook is on-target.

Made entirely with beginners in mind, the book features 30 in-depth lessons on many different aspects of German grammar, including verb conjugations, case declensions, and other key topics.

The content is very carefully laid out to prevent new learners from being overwhelmed by complexity. As such, the explanations of all the grammar rules covered tend to be very short and concise.

The included workbook lets you practice what you’ve learned in hundreds of applied exercises – should be enough to let those pronominal forms sink in. Meanwhile, there’s an added audio CD with bonus material for assisting in pronunciation.

What I like about this book:

  • It’s highly approachable for beginners
  • Includes a ton of content, more than enough for the average reader’s needs
  • Succinct and concise explanations in plain English

2. English Grammar for Students of German

GERMAN, ENGLISH GRAMMAR FOR STUDENTS OF GERMAN, 6TH ED. (O&h Study Guides) (English and German Edition)
  • Adam Oberlin (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 170 Pages – 06/01/2014 (Publication Date) – Olivia & Hill Press (Publisher)

From the highly rated “English Grammar for Students of Foreign Languages” series, this grammar book tries a slightly more advanced approach without sacrificing its approachability.

Specifically targeted toward native English speakers, each thematic chapter of the book is essentially split into two sections. In the first of these, the book explains a core grammatical concept of the English language – the apostrophe-s for indicating possession, for example.

The follow-up section at the end of the book then contrasts that with the same grammatical element in the German language (the narration remains in English throughout, of course).

This A-B pattern is highly effective, not in the least because of the linguistic relationship between the two languages.

It also gets you to develop a proper understanding of how German grammar works in and out by contrasting it with that of a language you already know very well. In my experience, this helps the material sink in and stick more easily in the long run.

What I like about this book:

  • Unique English-German grammar combo is effective, intuitive
  • Easily digestible form factor (less than 200 pages)
  • Teaches you to be more self-aware of grammar in both German and your native language

3. Deutsche Grammatik: Schritt für Schritt einfach erklärt

Don’t be put off by the German-language cover – Deutsche Grammatik is still firmly a grammar book intended for beginning learners, as is proudly declared by the “A1-B1” proficiency label on the front.

Along with its companion exercise book, this grammar tome aims to give you a close and intimate understanding of the most important grammatical rules of German – think when to use which pronoun, or how prepositions work.

It does this with the help of a genius trick: all-German explanations and casual examples! While perhaps a bit more challenging to read for the beginner than some English-language alternatives, these are still kept basic enough to be perfectly intelligible for anyone with enough patience and motivation.

What I like about this book:

  • All-German instruction is effective and immerses you further
  • Direct and example-based explanations of basic rules
  • Takes care to not overwhelm the novice reader

4. Basic German: A Grammar and Workbook

Basic German (Routledge Grammar Workbooks)
  • Schenke, Heiner (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 222 Pages – 03/03/2016 (Publication Date) – Routledge (Publisher)

Routledge is one of the kings of grammar textbooks, so it’s no wonder that their stab at German literature for budding learners is among the best you can find.

Meant as a one-stop resource for all kinds of grammar practice from beginner up to a somewhat intermediate level, Basic German combines plenty of illustrated examples, hard definitions, and tons of exercise material to satisfy the needs of any learner.

At the end of each chapter (themed to match a grammatical concept in each case, not so much a specific rule), there is a snappy overview that makes sure that the material sinks in through repetition.

Overall, this is one of the most nicely-structured and comprehensive German grammar books I know, especially for beginning learners!

What I like about this book:

  • Covers an impressive scope without being overwhelming for novice readers
  • Both lessons and practice exercises bundled into the same volume
  • Fully comprehensive of (nearly) all grammar topics a beginner needs to know

Best German grammar books for intermediate learners

5. Grammatik Aktiv

Grammatik aktiv
  • Friederike Jin (Author)
  • German (Publication Language)
  • 312 Pages – 01/01/2017 (Publication Date) – Cornelsen (Publisher)

Part of a series of grammar books covering every experience level and use case, Grammatik Aktiv is most interesting for intermediate learners in the form of this B1-C1 level edition.

Covering highly useful, advanced topics like complex word order scenarios and tenses, Grammatik Aktiv features a rather high ratio of exercises to theoretical lessons.

That, along with the higher-level language used throughout, is a sure sign that the book was composed by those with a solid foundation of German basics in mind.

No wonder it is used worldwide to prepare students for the Goethe Institute German proficiency exams, among others!

What I like about this book:

  • A neat compilation of the most important grammatical features for intermediate learners
  • Heavy focus on conversational skills and practical exercises
  • Easy to follow

6. Hammer’s German Grammar and Usage

Hammer’s German Grammar and Usage (Routledge Reference Grammars) (German Edition)
  • Durrell, Martin (Author)
  • German (Publication Language)
  • 638 Pages – 05/31/2021 (Publication Date) – Routledge (Publisher)

Hammer’s German Grammar and Usage guide is one of the most well-reputed in its segment, having found success with countless students the world over.

Focusing on spoken German, with a reader-friendly, to-the-point vibe, the Hammer’s Guide not only goes over sentence structures and grammatical rules as they are found in the contemporary colloquial language, but also assists in spelling, pronunciation, and word choice – areas often not covered by other grammar books.

This book also includes plenty of citations, an extensive glossary, and even recommendations to several other resources online and in print to further advance your learning journey!

What I like about this book:

  • Perfect for practicing conversational German skills including pronunciation
  • Down-to-earth, colloquial examples and exercises
  • Excellent external resources and references included

7. Ăśbungsgrammatik fĂĽr Fortgeschrittene

  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Hall, Karin (Author)
  • German (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages – 11/29/1995 (Publication Date) – HUEBER VERLAG GMBH & CO. KG (Publisher)

This book is almost entirely composed in German and aimed at those studying the language in Germany at a university level. It’s still very useful for self-study contexts thanks to its easy-to-follow structure and great illustrations of featured grammar concepts.

With its intensive drills and thorough subject-based overviews of German grammar, Übungsgrammatik is great if you’re already thinking about bridging the daunting gap between “intermediate learner” and “fluent speaker”.

What I like about this book:

  • High-quality instruction equally suitable for university and self-study contexts
  • Detailed examples and exercises
  • All-German print makes for a higher immersion

8. Intermediate German: A Grammar and Workbook

Intermediate German: A Grammar and Workbook (Routledge Grammar Workbooks)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Miell, Anna (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages – 12/10/2019 (Publication Date) – Routledge (Publisher)

This is the intermediate-grade sequel to the “Basic German” grammar book by Routledge I reviewed above. Most of what I said about that book also applies here, with the distinction of the Intermediate volume going more in-depth on some advanced topics and rules.

I find it especially useful for those who took their first steps with Basic German, as the book’s layout largely draws from that of its predecessor. This makes for a smooth and familiar-feeling reading experience, where new content and more complex grammar rules are introduced and explained in the smoothest possible fashion.

What I like about this book:

  • Excellent follow-up, perfectly building upon the foundation laid out by beginner’s books
  • Particularly useful for those familiar with previous Routledge grammar books
  • A thorough examination of more complex grammatical structures

Best German grammar books for advanced learners

9. Schaum’s Outline of German Grammar

Schaum’s Outline of German Grammar, Sixth Edition (Schaum’s Outlines)
  • Gschossmann-Hendershot, Elke (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages – 10/22/2018 (Publication Date) – McGraw Hill (Publisher)

Like the Hammer’s Guide and Routledge’s series, Schaum’s Outline of German Grammar is a real classic, a perennial centerpiece of many a German course’s core syllabus.

Compared to its contemporaries, it’s much denser and very exercise-heavy (even including audio-based pronunciation drills), which is one of the reasons I chose to put it here, among other grammar books suitable for advanced learners of German.

If you don’t need the kind of beginner-friendly style that many other German grammar textbooks count on, then Schaum’s is a great option for solidifying your grasp of the language.

What I like about this book:

  • Text and audio-based exercises challenge even experienced German learners
  • Little hand-holding makes for a rewarding (if slightly daunting) challenge
  • Stellar reputation among learners and educators

10. Help Yourself to Advanced German Grammar

Help Yourself to Advanced German Grammar
  • English (Publication Language)
  • Longman (Publisher)

As the title implies, this German grammar textbook is specifically written for the benefit of advanced learners who are looking for challenging self-study material to complement their existing routines and stretch their boundaries.

There are plenty of in-depth reviews and exercises covering every advanced German grammar topic under the sun – from the Plusquamperfekt to the esoteric nature of personal pronouns in the genitive case.

That makes Help Yourself to Advanced German Grammar one of the top grammar books I would recommend to those studying for a high-level German proficiency exam or simply trying to bring their language skills to the next level.

What I like about this book:

  • Tailor-made for advanced solo learners
  • Excellent selection of challenging high-level exercises
  • In-depth explanations of complex concepts

11. German Grammar Drills

German Grammar Drills, Premium Fourth Edition
  • Swick, Ed (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages – 07/28/2022 (Publication Date) – McGraw Hill (Publisher)

If you’re at the point where acquiring new knowledge isn’t your main goal anymore (particularly if you are mainly aiming for spoken German), then a grammar book of solid, challenging drills might be just what you need.

German Grammar Drills is aptly named, considering it’s the gold standard within this segment.

The kinds of hardcore exercises you’ll find within are designed to stimulate the brain and allow existing knowledge to sink into your subconscious.

In my experience, drills like this can be a super-handy companion to accelerate your progress even when you have all the major rules down to a T – that alone makes it worth a try!

What I like about this book:

  • Straight to the point, with hundreds of well-written, challenging grammar drills
  • Makes sure to explore every area of commonly-used German grammar, formal and casual
  • Plenty of examples and detailed reviews to understand and enhance learning progress

12. Lehr- und Ăśbungsbuch der Deutschen Grammatik

  • Lehr- und Ubungsbuch der deutschen Grammatik – aktuell: Lehrbuch – aktuell A2
  • Product type: ABIS BOOK
  • Brand: Max Hueber Verlag
  • Dreyer, Hilke (Author)
  • German (Publication Language)

If you seek a high-level, technical, and comprehensive overview of the German grammatical landscape written in the language, then you really should do yourself a favor with a copy of the Lehr- und Ăśbungsbuch der Deutschen Grammatik.

Designed both for natives interested in the study of Germanistics as well as expats and foreigners brushing up on their diction, it’s an obviously weighty grammar tome that doesn’t cut corners – and that’s not just true about the presentation, but the content as well.

For intermediate learners, let alone beginners, its formal, all-German presentation alone will be overwhelming, not to mention the intensive drills and exercises spaced throughout.

However, those who count themselves among its target audience will find the Lehr- und Ăśbungsbuch der Deutschen Grammatik to be a really rewarding read that you can always refer back to for just about any German grammar questions.

What I like about this book:

  • A serious overview of advanced German grammatical features, all in German
  • Just enough of a challenge for advanced learners and near-native speakers (but not
  • Perfect reference book thanks to its excellent glossary and rich content


No matter where you’re coming from in your desire to perfect your command of German, having a grammar book to lean on can definitely make life easier.

From accelerating your learning progress to shining a new light on (not so) complicated rules, it’s the kind of permanent, objective reference that you can’t get from casual conversations with native speakers alone.

Parliament building in Berlin, Germany, with German flag waving

I hope that some of the German grammar textbooks featured in today’s guide will be helpful to you. If you’re feeling more confident, you can also explore German novels and storybooks.

Let us know which of these books you picked and how you liked it – or, in case you have some other recommendations, leave them in the comments down below!

That’s it for today. Auf wiedersehen, and viel Glück with German!

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