Category Archives: What is the Difference

On this section we look at words that seem to be the same and yet there is a clear difference…

Word of the Day – ” steigen”

steigen-meaning-germanHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. But first, let me say a big big DANKE to the people who have donated recently. You are awesome!
And if you haven’t donated yet, me and my dog will try to guild trip you into it later ;).
But first let’s learn some serious German by looking at the meaning of


Steigen is one of these verbs that kind of flies below the radar of many students even thoug it is a super useful word that you can hear or see every day. And not only steigen itself. There are several cool prefix versions, some funky differences between these versions, some annoying things about translating them to English and there are also one or two or three or four or five surprising family members. So we definitely have enough to talk about, and I’d say let’s get on board of the Steigen-Express… “Einsteigen bitte”,  doors are closing, and off we go :). Continue reading

Word of the Day – “lenken”

lenken-ablenken-meaningHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day.  This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of


Lenken is one of those words that many learners somehow miss out on even though it is something we do every day. No wonder, because can lenken can be done to all kinds of things… bikes, cars, companies, rivers, attentions, lives and more. Quite a selection, right? The thing that all these have in common is that they move. And lenken is about giving the movement direction.
Today we’ll find out how exactly to use lenken, what related words there are and of course what’s up with the prefix versions one of which is really really really important in context of THIS.
Haha… the second one… so cute. Anyway, where was I. Uh yeah… so are you ready to dive in and find out about lenken? Great :). Continue reading

Prefix Verb Shorts – “aufmachen”

aufmachenHello everyone,

and welcome to a  couple truths:  German has a plenty of prefix verbs that need explaining and summer is coming. Shabamm.
Time for a series that tackles both.

Prefix Verb Hot Pants

I mean shorts. Prefix verb sho.. whatever.
Every learner knows the problem… German has bazillion of these things and while not all of them are enough material for a whole Word of the Day many of them are really really useful and worth a look. And that’s exactly what a Prefix verb short is going to be. A short, quick look at the word. No fluff, no bullshit, no fun. And because they are so… well… short, we’ll probably do more than one a week. Or maybe just throw some in here and there so you get to learn more. Isn’t that great? So let’s get right to it with a look at the meaning of


This one really is pretty simple but that’s good so we can get an impression of the format. First we’ll always take a look at the parts. Which basic verb do we have, which prefix and what notions does this prefix have in store.
So … let’s do that for aufmachen, and maybe a warning right away:

!!!    Aufmachen does NOT mean to make up   !!!

Make up one’s mind, make up an example, make up for something … if you used aufmachen for these it wouldn’t even be understood. So what does it mean? Well, we have auf and machen. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “Teil 2 – teilen”

teilenHello everyone,

and welcome to the second Teil of our look at the Teil-family, and today is going to be just as awesome and inspiring as eating leftovers… exactly…  not very much. Meh. But what can we do. There’s nothing else so let’s dig in.
In the first part we learned all about the noun Teil, like… that it’s related to deal, that it means part, we learned that das Teil is for tangible parts while der Teil is for the rest and we learned a all those really useful Teile like Vorteil, Nachteil or Hinterteil. Today we’ll take a l… what? Oh right, we didn’t learn Hinterteil. Well, it means rear part.  This one.
What? Oh, right… NSFW. Meh, too late I guess. Sorry :)
Anyway, so today we’ll talk all about verbs and the basic one is of course Continue reading

Word of the Day – “Teil”

teil-meaning-germanHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of


Teil is the German word for part and it is related to the English word deal. Wait, the business deal?  Yeah, that one. A few centuries ago deal was much closer to the original “not as ancient as Indo-European but still freaking ancient”-Proto Germanic root that was all about share, part, amount. And in fact, this notion is still visible today. Just take these phrases:

  • That helps a great deal.
  • A good deal of  movie’s success is due to the excellent cast.

These are not  not about trade. These are about large parts. The helps solved a substantial part of the problem and a substantial part of the success is thanks to the cast. The business-deal was … uhm… coined some 200 years ago, probably based on the meaning amount, which is not that far from part.
We’ll see even more connections between Teil and deal once  we get to the verbs. But the noun Teil is really really cool and useful and there’s a lot to say about it. Let’s start with the gender. Yeay. That annoying gender that all the nouns have . Well guess what.  Teil is an exception!
Now you’re like “Wow, really. A word without gender? AWESOME!!! That is the start of the revolution!!!” but then you see my face all serious and emphatic and you begin to realize… “It has two genders, doesn’t it?” Continue reading