Word of the day


The German Word of the Day brings you useful German Words and helps you to build your vocabulary. We will look in detail at its origins, “dos and don’ts “, similar words, lots of examples and of course… the meaning. So here are the words so far…the explanations are not perfect. There are a few glitches here and there, sometimes its too and some things are not 100% on point. So, if you come across something that goes against what I’ve said… confront me. And if you don’t understand something… it’s not your fault. It’s always the explanation.

Now, before we get to the archive …let’s talk business. Dun dunn dunnnnnnnnn.

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 “WHAT? Paying for free stuff is really stupid.”
No! It’s not. It is smart, awesome and sexy, it gives you good money karma and it helps make the internet a better place with less ads and less sucking up to Amazon and the like.
“But why don’t you just charge for it?”
Because putting a price tag on it would mean slamming the door  into the face of people who can’t afford it at the moment…. and the club is called “Education”. Seriously, I don’t want to exclude anyone and I don’t think it’s necessary because I believe in voluntary pay and I believe in you.. wow, if that wasn’t cheesy I don’t know what is.
But it’s so much work.”
No it’s not. Let me just put on my brightest smile, hold on, here it comes:
“Okay, I’m charmed .”
Perfect, then here’s the button :)

Tausend Dank !!!!!



556 responses to “Word of the day

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  1. Hey Emanuel, any chance you could a word of the day on Sachen some time?

    • I’ll look into it, just gotta wait till I “feel” it :)

    • I am seeing a german joke that shows usually 4 frames with pictures and subtitles. Schlecht fur die knocken, Schlecht furs Fahrrad.Schlecht furs die image, The last frame usually says Doch Leider Heil. I know Schlecht is bad for the subject. But at the end it seems to say Nevertheless we Heil, Kyle,Steil, or something that rhymes with it. Can you help me understand these jokes?
      Linguist student

      • Hi Karl,

        so I looked it up online and it seems to be a song by the band Deichkind (which I think sucks) … the song is called “leider geil”… geil literally means horny but it is used as cool or fly quite a lot. It is on the edge between slang and common. It has made its way into the claim of a major eletronic retailer (Saturn – “Geiz is geil” -“stinginess rocks”) … so Deichkind lists lots of things that are bad for something and yet… basically fun.
        here is the link to the lyrics:


        I do not know whether it was them to come up with this contradiction… I doubt it actually…. but yeah… I think that’s the joke… like

        Driving an SUV, bad for global temperature. However, it’s fun.

      • Are there any that say “Leider geil?” then it would sound like this awesome Deichkind song…

        • I don’t know… I didn’t know the expression before Karl brought it up and I think I would not have understood it unless context had been string enough… anyway… Deichkind is kind of successful especially amongst young people… they won the Jägermeister Rock league once I think and they know which buttons to push to create a catchy tune/phrase that has a good chance to be picked up into “school yard talk”… so people who know the song might use it in daily life and friends of theirs will probably understand even without knowing the song… that is IF the phrase was invented by Deichkind in the first place…
          Anyway… long story short… I don’t think it’s mainstream enough yet, and people will very likely miss the joke

    • zugeben, aufgeben, angeben please :)

    • Cornilus Pumber nickel

      I guess German is hard for a 12 year old………..

  2. If you could explain the differences between deshalb/deswegen/daher that would be awesome. I asked one of my German friends yesterday, and she replied with “There are not the same…but it is difficult to explain.”

    • Good question… so deshalb and deswegen are definitely the same pretty much… if someone perceives a difference… well than that is correct too but to me they are the same and many web sources about this indicate that they are … as far as daher is concerned it is indeed a little different. Yet it can be/is used synonymously in MANY occasions. Some regions might favor daher and others won’t ever use it. I don’t really use it for example. What makes daher special is its locational undertone… it is built with the pointer da and the word her, that indicates an origin. “Woher kommst du?”, “Wo hast du deine Hose her?”… daher is appropriate whenever you want to say “from there” be it literally or abstract… so daher is maybe a bit more “from that perspective” or coming from there”. Deshalb and deswegen don’t have this undertone of location/origin, although the des is technically the da pointer too, just in a different dress. I think I’ll make daher a WotD but I hope this helps a bit… oh… apparently there is a rule that requires you to use daher in certain constructions but except for linguists I don’t think many people are aware of it and it is a new rule too so no need to know it :)

  3. I look forward to the “daher” WotD. I really dig your “molecular” explanatory approach!

  4. How about “unheimlich”? I kinda struggled when I tried to explain it to some friends in the U.S.

  5. This is probably very basic but what is the difference between auf, in and an?

    • Hi Shane, yes this is basic in that you need it basically every day… the problem with German prepositions is that they mostly have 2 to 4 possible English counterparts which might contradict one another… the general idea, the main gist of the three is this:

      in – inside
      auf – on top of, for and unfortunately also open
      an – at, on

      Note that these are not ALL possible translations… or they are if you will but in German we say “A letter at god.” instead of “to god” … so you can either say that an means to at times or you can say… whatever to means in German… I don’t need it in that situation because Germans say “an” whatever that means :)… either way… in and auf would make less sense than “at” does, so just get the notion of prepositions and when in doubt go for the least weird one… hope that helped a bit. I could add that you gotta get used to it and stuff but I think you know that :)

  6. Maybe you could do one on the particles (or adverbs, whatever you would call it) da and wo… like how they modify prepositions, like dabei, davon, wozu, etc. Do they go in the normal spot of a preposition? I understand the basic concept of these but find it hard when using them in speech!! I don’t like them.

    • Ha, that is funny… I have started writing an article about damit, davon daraus etc. a few days ago… I had lots of work but I am positive that I will get to finish within the next few days… I can see that you don’t like them, because they are a new concept (at least in one way they are used) but they save you the trouble of thinking of case and gender and once you are used to it, they can be a nice tool to put emphasis in your sentences :)

      • Ha, anything that saves you from thinking about case and gender can’t be all bad… in fact, in could be amazing!

  7. Hey Emanuel,

    Great blog! All your posts are really entertaining and educational (Wow! Who knew that was possible?) :)

    Macht’s gut!
    – Michael

  8. Hi Emmanuel, thanks so much for your cracking blog. What a great job! Funny and informative educashun for all.
    You have done doch as a wotd. What about its counterpart Eben?
    thanks, Tony

    • Hi Tony, thanks for your feedback… I really appreciate that :).
      I have been pondering “eben” for a while now and it is on my to do list. It is a hard one to grasp however. I kind of have issues to find a common denominator. But I’ll go for it soon. Anyway, it is not the counterpart of “doch”… at least not, if by counterpart you mean some sort of opposite… they are kind of on the same side (as far as the modal particle meaning is concerned)… but I don’t want to spoil it yet :)

      • Thanks Em,
        I’m basically self-taught, but learnt a while ago that whilst doch is a positive answer to a negative question, eben is a positive answer to a positive question. Does it really get more complicated?

        • oh I see… well, kind of… actually, “eben” is an affirmative re-enforcing statement if someone states or claims something that you consider correct… something like “exactly”… only less exact. It can NOT be used as a kind of “yes” and often “genau” is the better choice.
          And other than that there are the meanings: even, straight, just now, and another flavoring power that is kind of giving in into a initially unwanted compromise without having been entirely against it (that would be doch) … so I guess there is more to it :)

  9. Hi Emmanuel,
    Your posts really clarify things that learners of the language find confusing. Could you please explain the many uses of ‘werden’? Also the so called particles – doch, mal, etc. That would be real helpful.

    • Hi Geethika,

      thank for your nice feedback, which is really motivating to hear.
      Werden is a good idea and I will do it soon, I think. As for doch, I have done it already… you can find it under “small but useful”. I am definitely planning to do all particles… they are just some tough words and I… well… let’s say I have some respect for the :)… so I have to think about them thoroughly before I write something… anyway… I’ll do ’em :)

  10. Vielen Dank :-)

  11. Ankit Khandelwal

    What confuse me all the time is some words like ‘eigentlich, endlich’ . May be you can have a look on it :)

  12. Hello, Emanuel

    I’ve been following your blog for the last three months, and I would like to thank you for being so precise in your explanations.
    I would like to make a request for you, it’s about the verb bleiben. I always confuse bleiben with liegen (by the way, the explanation of liegen that you did was pretty good) and I can’t find a good place where I can find how to differenciate them.

    Therefore, I would appreciate if you get some free time to talk about “bleiben”.

    Vielen Dank :)

  13. Hello, again

    My mother tongue is Portuguese. I’ve created a thread in the wordreference forum asking for an explanation about this subject, if you would like to see it in order to understand better my problem, this is the link: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2471976
    As you can see, the people who posted just said that it was wrong, but didn’t explain me why. It’s completely clear to me that I should (must) use liegen, but I don’t understand why I can’t use bleiben too. In short, I don’t know how to use bleiben…

    Thank you :)

    • Hi Filipe, so I looked at the thread and some of the examples are not so bad I have to say.
      You are right that you can use “bleiben” as well… but it doesn’t mean the same:

      – Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch – means that the book IS on the table (answers to the question “where is the book”)
      – Das Buch bleibt auf dem Tisch – means that the book will remain on the table so it will not/should not be taken away (answers to the question “What will happen to the book? or Can I take the book and put it on a shelf?”

      I think your confusion comes from “ficar” which can mean both “to stay” and to “be located”.
      Well stay and bleiben are more narrow in meaning than ficar.
      The “opposite” of “bleiben” is “go somewhere else/be taken somewhere else”.
      The opposite of “ficar-sein (location)” is “to be somewhere else” or simply “not to be there”.

      Das Hotel liegt (ist) am Strand – das Hotel liegt (ist) nicht am Strand sondern in den Bergen.
      Das Hotel bleibt (will be at the beach for some time) am Strand – das Hotel ist jetzt noch am Strand, aber wir machen es kaputt und bauen es woanders hin.

      Does that help??? :)

      • Hi,
        don’t want to confuse, but there is another meaning of both words used together, which I can imagine, is quite confusing for someone learning german.

        “liegen bleiben” could mean to stay in bed, or sth. broke down.


        “Ich werde liegen bleiben.” – I will stay laying.
        “Das Auto blieb liegen.” – The car broke down.

        Hopefully this will be some help.

  14. can you explain everything regarding adjectives !! i have been facing many problems in this particular topic.there are some subdivisions under adjectives , like , adjective ending of the nouns without articles , and then there is, adjectives as nouns !! i was doing some exercises on these topics !! but have encountered many doubts !! so could you please explain with the help of sentences on how to apply the rules especially for genetive and dative ??

  15. I would like a lesson on the various ways to say “it” in a sentence once we have established what It is. Also the several choices for the word “stop” I know them when I read them, but never seem to know which one one is best when I’m on my own.

    • Wow… “it”. I don’t know if I could put that into a concise and non-boring article… I mean it quite the same as in English, only it is used in some different expressions and things you call “it” in English will be “er” or “sie” in German. I know this probably doesn’t answer your questions so if you have any specific problem I’d be happy to try to explain those… but it in general … hmmmm :)
      As for “to stop” – I have written an article on aufhören which is one possible translation of to stop. In there you can find some info about the other translations and the differences between all of them, but you may want to also check this out:


      It is a discussion board with a rather high quality I have to say. I have written an answer for that question there which focuses a bit more on the differences between “aufhören”, “anhalten”, “einstellen” and “stoppen” and I think you will find what you want to know there :)

  16. Could you do a word of the day post about the word “denn?” I thought it just meant because/for, but I’ve been seeing it in some readings where it seems to be used more like a particle (like doch) so I’ve been having a hard time translating its exact meaning in some sentences. Your explanations have helped me quite a bit so I figured I’d throw out a request.

  17. I have alot of ideas for German words of the day :) but I will just give a small list (source- Very eager German student)
    der Arzt- The doctor
    das Kind- The child
    die Freunde- The friends
    das Volk- The people (citizens), Singular
    die Menschen- people
    die Frau- The woman
    Es geht mir schlecht- I am very bad
    Es geht mir nicht so gut- I am bad
    Sehr gut- Very well
    Ich wohne in- I live in
    Es geht mir okay- I am okay
    Woher kommen sie?- Where are you from?
    Wie Heiben sie?- What is your name?
    Danke- Thank you
    Tschau- Ciao
    Tschub- Bye
    Bis bald- See you soon
    Ich komme aus- I am from
    Auf Wiedersehen- Good-bye (formal)
    Bis spater- See you later
    Guten Morgen- Good morning
    Guten Tag- Good afternoon, Good day
    Guten abend- Good evening
    Und du?- And you?
    Ich Heibe- My name is
    Hallo- Hi (used any time of the day to say a casual “hi”)
    Es freut mich!- Nice to meet you!

  18. could you do “schon”? “ich bin schon wieder zu spät” “es ist schon 22 Uhr” “sie ist schon nett” “ich bin ganz sicher schon mal hier gewesen” “schon allein deswegen bin ich dagegen” “findest du ihn süß? -schon” “er hat den pokal schon drei mal gewonnen” “nicht den hier und schon gar nicht den dort” “was hat sie schon damit erreicht” “was kann der denn schon?” “hast du schon deine hausaufgaben gemacht?” i’m native german, but still i like your blog and i think this needs some clarification for our foreign friends :)

    • Yep, schon is definitely schon on the list. I just didn’t dare so far. But I think I’ll be ready soon. Thanks for your examples… I will have a look at them to see whether I thought of every meaning :)

  19. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE teach us how to use “tun” and “machen.” Thank you!

  20. I just have to say, I really appreciate all the work you put into this site. Your post on the “da-words” is the only reason why I no longer get into the fetal position and start crying whenever I come across them.

    I realize it’s asking a lot, but I would really love to see a post on ‘lassen’. It’s one verb that trips me up almost every time. It just seems to have too many uses.

    • Hi Tofer,

      thanks, that is great to hear, because I honestly think German is not that difficult or at least it is explainable for the most part but what to me is clear might be confusing to others. So… cool you got the da-words straight. As for lassen, it is definitely on my list (which doesn’t exist) but seriously… I have it in mind and I will do it at some point :)

  21. Hi! I’m British and just finished doing my A1.1 integration course in Hamburg, which is great! I’m now into my 2nd week of A1.2 and the grammar doesn’t seem to be too bad to understand…aside from the obvious der, die und das that we don’t have in English!

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know how great I think your blog is and how incredibly helpful it is going to be to me as I continue on with my German journey to C2! I really hope you find the time to continue sharing with us your wealth of knowledge and you have such a talent of being able to make the most confusing things just click and fall into place!

    Thank you!!

  22. This is a great blog. Keep it up.

  23. Thank you for the help. I look forward to reviewing your past posts to catch up while waiting on the new ones.

  24. Great blog. I have been studying german for a few years and have really not understood the proper use of “als” as a conjunction. I wasn’t sure that I would find anything on line, but then I read your Word of the Day blog on this term and it made a great deal of sense. Thank you. I will be returning often to your site.

    • Cool I could help clear that up… it is odd. You’re definitely not the only one who had had problems with als although the rule is actually pretty simple… at least I think so… but textbooks really fail at explaining very often because they treat their readers like children that can’t comprehend logically structured info… I am beginning to rant about textbooks, must stop immediately or else this will be pages long :)

  25. Hi! Thanks Emanuel for this wonderful blog for non-German German speakers. I found this a couple of days ago and now constantly following it so that I don’t miss anything . Again Vielen Dank :)
    I recently came across these similar words for “to feel or sense” in German which are giving me hard time during uses which are : empfinden, fühlen, spüren. Online dictionaries aren’t much help, so I had to turn up to you ;) Could you please do it in your “Word Of The Day” section sometime or may be help me somehow. Thanks in advance :)

  26. Hi! Maybe you could explain the difference between strong ending for adjectives and a weak ending? Because no freaking website in the world can seem to explain it. :|

  27. This probably isn’t worth its own post so I’ll just ask it here (although things never end up being as simple as I envision them). In my lessons I’ve come to the following two sentences:

    Das Auto fährt auf das Tunnel zu.
    Die Kinder rennen auf das Meer zu.

    I’ve tried to look up what exactly is being conveyed by the auf…zu construction. It almost looks like “into” but I’m used to seeing simply “in” for that. Any help is appreciated.

    • Good question… this double preposition is confusing I bet… I never noticed it.
      So auf etwas zu means a movement of the own body directly toward something…

      Ich renne/fahre/gehe/komme auf dich zu.

      I cannot geben a plate auf dich zu because the plate is not moving itself.

      In an abstract sense it also means to approach someone in some way with a specific subject in mind… like

      Wegen der Bücher komme ich nochmal auf dich zu.
      As for the books, I will get at you at some point.

      Hope that clears it up… if not, feel free to ask more :)

  28. Hopefully the answer to this question is simple and doesn’t need its own post. In my lessons I’ve now come to the following two sentences:

    Das Auto fährt auf einen Tunnel zu.
    Die Kinder rennen auf das Meer zu.

    I can’t seem to find any rules for this auf…zu construction. It seems like its trying to convey “into” but I’m used to seeing simply “in.” Any help would be much appreciated.

  29. What is the difference between denn and weil?

  30. Can you tell me the difference between lernen and erlernen?

    • Ok so… the er prefix often gives the word a more divine feel…. so erlernen sounds a bit like more.
      Then, erlernen implies that you are done. You know it. You achieved mastery kind of. Lernen lacks that notion. You can lernen German for decades without erlernen it.
      Lernen is also the translation of to study in the context of sitting in the library or read a textbook.

      I did 2 hours of studying. would be Ich habe 2 Stunden gerlernt.

      Erlernen can’t be used that way.

      And than finally I think erlernen sounds best with nouns, whereas lernen can be used for all kinds of things.

      Ich habe gelernt, dass/wie/zu/wo etc…. all this doesn’t sound very good with erlernen.

      I think lernen is way more common and erlernen is really limited to a craft or something.

      I hope that helps :)

  31. What does allerdings mean exactly?

  32. What’s the difference between trauen and vertrauen?

    • That would probably be worth a WotD too… I just have such a long list that I don’t think I can fit it in… in short vertrauen is to trust, trauen is to have the courage, with a side meaning of to trust that is mostly used in negative phrasings with nicht (don’t trust)

  33. obgleich, obschon, obwohl what is the difference between them?

    • Oh those are exactly the same :)… obwohl is used pretty much always, obgleich sounds very educated and obschon sounds dated… I did use obschon in my masters thesis a lot but more as a little joke (I don’t think anyone got it)… I never use it in spoken

  34. What does zwar mean?

    • Zwar comes from the same root as Wahrheit (truth) but it has shifted in meaning over time… I think the best translation is a phrasing like “Conceded that …., I nevertheless….”

  35. Make your word of the day “trotzdem”!

  36. What’s the difference between mieten and vermieten?

  37. Any chance of getting a Word of the day on the reflex verb “sich”?

    • Hmmm “sich ” doesn’t really carry much meaning … I mean there is certainly a lot to say but it is all grammar… I’ll have to think about

      The core of it is that “sich” can be any SELF referential pronoun in third person so it can be:

      himself, itself, herself, oneself, themselves and in also each other or one another at times.

      • How about just a post on the consequences of adding in reflexive pronouns to verbs that don’t necessarily require them? I don’t know if there’s a general rule or if it’s just outright wrong… or if it’s a case by case basis. For example how would the meaning of something like “Verstehst du?” be changed if you say “Verstehst du dich?”

        • You can’t really say “verstehst du dich”. That doesn’t make any sense. That would be like saying “do you understand yourself”

          • Why would that not make sense? You can say that in English in a few different contexts. Like, “How much of it do you understand yourself (as opposed to with the help of a translator)?”

          • Oh that’s a different “yourself” then the one in “You wash yourself.” The one here just emphasizes that it is YOU who did it … like

            – “Nice book.”
            – “I wrote it myself.”

            I don’t know right now what the jargon term is but as far as function goes it is more like an adverb, not reflexive.

            – I wrote this quickly/alone/myself.

            English uses the reflexive forms for that but German (and I guess other languages too) doesn’t. In German you’d use “selbst”

            – Wieviel verstehst du selbst?
            – How much do YOU (yourself) understand?

            (I’ll answer the other question tomorrow :)

          • Exactly. I think I might use that when I do sound check with someone or if someone has to listen to a crackling recording of themselves.
            If you want to go for the “get along”-verstehen you’d need to whole program… so the preposition and an entity of sorts

            – verstehst du dich mit jemandem?
            – Do you get along with someone?

        • That would be more of a listing than a post… but I have done a post on “reflexive” and I think it might actually answer most of your questions (it’s kind of hidden so here’s the link)


          Let me know if that helps.

  38. schon und eben ….. bitte!!!

  39. Could you do a word of the day on the word bloß.

    • Ohhh good word! I never would have thought of that although it is so common :)

    • I know some people will disagree, but for me, “bloss” is interchangeable with “nur”

      • I think you’re right in so far as that any “nur” can be replaced by “bloss”… but it doesn’t always work the other way around.

        – “Wollen wir Never Say Never von Justin Bieber gucken?”
        “Bloss nicht!”

        This doesn’t work with “nur”… or least to me it doesn’t. I feel like there might be a couple other of these more idiomatic uses but they don’t come to my mind right now.

  40. I’d like to throw out a suggestion to your presumably long list of WotD topics: perhaps an article on amplifiers. I find myself knowing very few ways to amplify adjectives and such in German. I know sehr, and then voll, echt and tierisch from some of your posts, but I always feel at a loss for words when I’m trying to sound passionate or incredibly frustrated about something.

  41. Can you explain mal? It seems like it gets thrown into sentences all the time but I don’t know why.

  42. How about Sonst? (hope im not repeating a suggestion) Sonst confuses the crap out of me!
    I thought at first, that it just meant “or eles”
    Gebe das Rauchen auf sonst du ungesund werden konntest.
    Does it have other meanings too. My dictionary says it means like 10 different things.

    • Yep, I will do sonst since it is one of these small functional words that one really needs. But “else” is pretty much it. I don’t know what language you are translating it to. Maybe there are in fact 10 different concepts but to me it is pretty clear cut… I mean in comparison with things like eben or doch :)

  43. i don’t understand why u all want to learn german i mean english is a way more beautiful and usefull language
    btw my mothertongue is german

  44. hello, I would like to ask, can you please explain the adverbs like : miteinander, beinander…and all the words that contain EINANDER ? thanks.

  45. hey do you know why verbs such as zahlen, antworten and zweifeln add be to the front? does it change meanings at all, because if I’m not mistaken it doesn’t drastically alter the meaning of the verb…

    • yep it does… I am actually planning to do a post on be as a prefix soon so this is just the basic asnwer:

      be kind of means something like “to inflict the verb on sth”… I’ll elaborate in the post to come :)
      Oh and then it also changes the grammar a great deal… check out the article on antworten vs. beantworten for more on that

  46. Hey, do you think you could do one on…
    Solang, So lang, Solange, So lange, so weit, soweit, so weit wie, so lange, sofern wie…
    This stuff is really confusing to us English speakers, and I honestly have looked everywhere for a good explanation.

    • Oh that’s a great idea… my god, I have soooo much work to do it seems :) but thank you!! I think I’ll just do a word on “so” and fit it in there.

      By the way… soweit vs. so weit was part of the recent German spelling reform and they changed in the rules there… it might be more logical now but to me it is just wrong.

      Here is the difference for all these words in a nutshell:

      if it is a subordinating conjunction then write it as one word… all the other situations, 2 words… I’ll elaborate in the post

  47. Ich würde dir empfehlen, ‘gelten’ zu decken. Es scheint ganz verwirrend, wann man Wörterbuch an sieht.

    • :D… besser wäre zu sagen “zu behandeln” oder etwas komplett anderes. “Decken” wird relativ selten benutzt… nur für Tisch, Dach und Pferde (guck mal “Deckhengst” nach) :)

      Ich decke den Tisch.
      Ich decke ein Dach.

      Und auch so, wenn du sagen willst “cover something physically” dann ist das meistens “bedecken”

      Ich bedecke meinen Kopf.

      “Gelten” mach ich… aber nich hier, sondern in meinem neuen Q&A Forum… link folgt morgen :)

      • oops. Tut mir Leid. Das ist ein tatsächlicher dummer Fehler. Aber kenne ich jetzt zwei mehre Verben. Außerdem sah ich einen Gebrauch von “sondern”. Danke und danke!

        Es ist schon Morgen hier in Indien. Deshalb muss ich ungefähr sechs mehre Stunde warten. Hätte die Zeit weltweit gleich sein! Ich würde die Zeit mit den Fingern nicht zahlen müssen.

        • Nein, kein dummer Fehler. Was man nicht weiß weiß man nicht. Da ist nix dumm dran :).
          Du hast noch ein paar andere Fehler gemacht. Einen 2-mal:

          “Ich kenne jetzt 2 mehre Verben”

          Das funktioniert in Deutsch nicht. Du kannst entweder sagen:

          “Ich kenne jetzt noch 2 Verben”

          (but that implies that you are somewhat saturated with verbs)


          “Ich kenne jetzt 2 neue Verben.”

          (which have the same “another 2… oh my” notion of noch)

          Der gleiche Fehler ist hier:

          Deshalb muss ich ungefähr 6 mehre Stunden warten.

          Hier sagt man:

          “… ich ungefähr noch 6 Stunden warten.”

          Hier kannst du nicht “neue” sagen :).


          Ausserdem sah ich einen…

          Da solltest du die spoken past verwenden. Dein Satz klingt Goethe-mässig.


          Hätte die Zeit weltweit gleich sein.

          Guter Versuch, aber das ist English :).

          Deutsch wäre entweder:

          “Wäre die Zeit nur weltweit gleich.”
          If only time were the same world wide


          “Könnte die Zeit nur weltweit gleich sein.”
          Oh could the time be the same world wide.

          Mit “hätte” implizierst du in Deutsch eindeutig Vergangenheit konditional und das macht in dieser Situation keinen Sinn.
          Und dann schließlich noch zur Sicherheit:

          Die Zeit mit den Fingern zahlen means “to pay it with your fingers.”

          Du meinst aber zählen bzw. zaehlen ;)

          Aber, hey… man kann alles was du geschrieben hast ohne Probleme verstehen also mach dir keine Sorgen. Fehler sind zum lernen da.

          • I am so grateful to you! I always I am writing perfect German. And the effort you put in correcting it makes me stop replying in German. May you reach the blue skies above the clouds in your life… from where you can see all the mistakes people are doing in German so that you could correct them all at once. :D

            Seriously, I wish you all the best! Viel Glückwünsch!

        • NEEEEIN. Du darfst nicht aufhören in Deutsch zu schreiben! Wenn du das machst, dann … äh… dann ähhh… dann korrigiere ich garnix mehr… nie wieder. :)

  48. Hi Emanuel…I think I found a new gem (aka unlisted post). it’s darauf and his friends. here’s the link http://yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/tag/darauf/
    or maybe it is listed under someother name. bye

    • :)… that is listed under online course and then da-words because it is dealing with all of them at once.. but thank you anyway. I will include a link in the WotD section:)

  49. What’s the difference between hinweisen and verweisen? :)

  50. Hey, could you explain the difference between nun and jetzt? Also the difference between wieder and noch/nochmal? Also could you perhaps do echt as your word of the day, find that word a bit confusing…

    • oooofff… those are tough questions. I will do a WotD on noch and also on wieder at some point so this will have to wait, but as for nun vs. jetzt, … I’ll have to think about it and as soon as I have figured it out, I’ll let you know.
      What is confusing about “echt” though? It is pretty much “really” all the time. Do you have examples that confuse you?

    • Alright, so someone actually asked the same question (jetzt vs.nun) in one of my lectures so I was forced to think about it :)…

      here is the link to the German-is-easy forum. I put the answer there, so it doesn’t get lost in the comments.


      • Ok, thanks man! As for echts, I was just confused as to what its actual definition was because I have heard it in so many instances, but if it does mean ‘really’ most of the time then I will take your word for it.

        • Well, at least I think it is… okay, it can also mean real or genuine as in “not fake” but that is the same idea pretty much… in either case, if you come across an example where “really” or the more broad meaning doesn’t fit, go ahead and let me know :)

          On a side note… when you talk you should not use echt when you want to say “really really”… “echt echt” just doesn’t sound nice. So for double really go for “echt richtig” or “echt total”

  51. komm mal klar what does it mean?

  52. What’s the difference between “antworten” and “beantworten”?

  53. Hey man! I have seen the word ‘lauten’ banded about a lot here in Germany, in particular with regards to accessing codes or opening times. What does it mean? And is it a direct replacement for sein or means something different?

  54. Can you please do an article on preposition families – like um, rum, herum, darum, warum, umher; or aus, raus, heraus, hinaus, draus, daraus, woraus, draussen, aussen, ausser, ausserhalb? Those things confuse me.

    • ooooffff… that will be more than one post I guess but I’ll see what I can do. Could question, that’s for sure…
      I have written about the difference between hinter and hinten. And all I explain there also holds for the pairs runter-unten, raus – draussen, rein-drin, vor-vorn(e), rauf – drauf… so you will find at least some answers there. Here is the link:


      and then another quick fix:

      words with “r” are usually shortened words with her and the meaning is roughly the same (sometimes one is better than the other depending on the situation). The just-r version sounds way more colloquial.
      rum -herum
      raus- heraus
      runter – herunter
      rein – herein

      Hope that helps

      • Danke schön. Another thing I wanted to know – i don’t know if this is a quick answer or an entire post, but the idiomatic usage of duzen and siezen – how to use these words in speech.

        • Oh that’s easy I think… you just use them as what they mean… I’ll just give you some examples:

          – Mein Professor hat mich geduzt.
          – Einen Polizisten muss man unbedingt siezen. Duzen kostet Geld.
          – Die meisten Leute in Berlin duze ich.
          – Du kannst mich duzen.

          Generally I would say, that duzen and siezen is not used that much and people rather go for “du/sie sagen”. But that might be a regional thing or a personal thing, anyway. Of the two, siezen is even more rare… if you said to someone:

          – Bitte siezen sie mich (please be use formal pronouns)

          that would be really really disconnecting… like raising a big wall.
          I hope that helps, if not, then maybe I just didn’t get what you were going for so just ask again:)

  55. I’ve learnt three different words for ‘access’, – zutritt, zugang and zugriff. Do they mean the same thing/are interchangeable? Or do they have different meanings

    • Hehe… German and its precision. So, the key to this is looking at the roots of the words.
      Zutritt comes from treten which is to kick and to step. So Zutritt is an access you can access by “stepping”. For instance a door.

      Zugang comes from gehen and it can be used in a very literal sense… for instance for a door… in a less literal and yet physical sense (Zugang zu sauberem Wasser) or in an abstract sense… for example a computer. However, the physical notion is the more common one.

      Zugriff comes from greifen which means to grab. So this is only used for things you can touch… in a literal sense but equally in an abstract sense. A computer trying to access a file doesn’t really want to enter it, but rather wants to do stuff with it… like … with a book. So in context of a file for instance Zugriff would probably the best choice, Zugang kind of works and Zugriff makes no sense… hope that helps :)

  56. Hey, dude, how are you? I’m studying the declinations of some words like viel, manch, solch, all… and the following adjectives. As a matter of fact, I understood quite easily some of the general rules (most of them I saw at DUDEN-Richtiges und Gutes Deutsch) but a doubt appeared through my studies: I can’t quite understand when to decline or not the words I mentioned before. I mean, I know how these words should be declined, but I don’t know WHEN they should be declined. I don’t really know if there are any rules or something, but if you could give me at least a hint, I would really appreciate :)

    Auf Wiedersehen!

  57. I’ve noticed a common German linguistic technique that is often used is for them to start a word with ‘da’. When this is used, what excatly does this mean and is it only used in certain situations?

    • Do you have an example for this? Or do you mean the da-words… like daran, davor darauf etc… because then there is a post here for you :)


      • e.g. ‘da steht mein Auto’. If I’m not mistaken, I would say this in English as ‘that’s my car’, but in German I assume that the way to say this would be for ‘da’ to be placed at the start. If this is the case, I wanted to know in what situations and instances I would use ‘da’ at the start rather than my default English version (which I’m sure doesn’t translate well into German)…

        • Oh okay… let’s start with translating your English version… and this is pretty straight forward:

          – That’s my car.
          – Das ist mein Auto

          The sentence:

          – Da ist mein Auto.

          does not really mean the same although the English version and the da-version might be used in the same situations.
          The da is like a verbal index finger pointing at something… the translation is “there”. Da can point to things “inside the speech”… that’s what the da-words do a lot .But da can also be just a verbal companion of a physical pointing gesture…the sentence “Da ist mein Auto” does not make any sense if I don’t indicate what da is pointing at. I can use my finger or my head or even my leg… but I have to point.
          Do we need this da? No… we could just point our finger and say “Mein Auto”… same content… but that wouldn’t be a sentence and “da” allows us to make a sentence… which would mean nothing without the physical pointing though…
          So… the sentence literally means:

          – There/here is my car.

          But also the first version (Das ist mein Auto) doesn’t make sense without the physical indication… so basically the difference is that da- is more focussed on “where?” while “das” is more focused on “what is this”
          What is really tricky is the combination:

          – Das da ist mein Auto.

          “Das” is pointing and “da” is pointing too… pointing at the same thing that is. If I wanted to translate this I could say:

          – That over there/right here is my car

          (Note that da can point at anything no matter how far away or close by it is.)
          But I think it is more accurate to just drop the da and translate this as

          – That’s my car.

          Germans just love use the verbal pointer “da” and you can throw it in whenever you are doing a physical pointing gesture.
          So… I hope this made some sense. I really have problems to word things right now, so if it wasn’t clear please please be honest and tell me and I’ll give it another shot. Anyway… so bottom line:

          – Das ist mein Auto.

          is kind of answering “Which car is yours?” while

          – Da ist mein Auto.

          is ansering “Where is your car?”

          Hope that clears it up.

  58. Hello! Thank you for this website – it’s really helped me understand some of the really little things that are actually really important. Do you think that at some point you could cover this (not really sure how to categorise it) because I’m having a lot of trouble getting my head around whether to use the Präteritum of “werden” or “sein” as in “ich wurde / ich war”. Vielen Dank für Ihre Hilfe!!

    • oh… I will do this but I am afraid by the time I get to it, you will know it perfectly :)…
      but to give you at least some help:

      – Ich war.

      Is active voice… you were (tired, late, 13 years old…)

      – Ich wurde…

      This can be 2 things… it can be the real past of werden.

      – I became/turned…

      – Der Film war sehr lang und ich wurde langsam müde.
      – The movie was quite long and I got tired after a while.

      And then it can also be the past of passive voice:

      – Ich werde angerufen.
      – I am being called.

      – Ich wurde angerufen.
      – I was being called/ I have been called.

      Hope that helps a bit :)

  59. Hi Emmanuel, don’t you have a fb page? just curious.

  60. How about einfach? I learned it as simply, but it seems to have many different uses I can’t grasp. Tanks!

  61. I have only just started learning, but am really looking forward to seeing how this unfolds. Thank you for your excellent explanations and breaking it down. It makes learning another language so much more interesting.

  62. I just think this blog is so awesome. Its explains in great details that textbooks would never bother explaning. Just wondering if you can do post on the particle ‘aber’?

  63. Hi Emmanuel!
    I’m having a tough time translating “I like” in german. is that gefallen?..is that mogen? ..is that gernhaben?…is that something else?? I’m lost. I’ve googled around quite a bit but I havent been able to find a clear explanation….so here I come to our german Guru begging for some words of wisdom. Kannst du mir helfen? Also…does it sound really wrong if I say “ich liebe Kino gehen” ?

  64. Hello Emmanuel, your explanations of mögen vs gern haben vs gefallen are brilliant. You transformed a nebulous subject into a crystal clear one. You are a genius ! thank you very much.
    If you have time one day, it would be nice if you could discuss Sache as opposed to DInge. I found some references on the subject, but but topic was dealt with in such a complicated way that it was incomprehensible.
    Have you considered adding a search box to your site or is that something that your ‘template’ on which your site is based does not offer?
    Keep up the great work!

    • Ha… someone actually asked for Sache vs Dinge over a year ago and I started something but then I just didn’t feel I could get a hold of it so I stopped. But I’ll look into it again, I promise.
      As for the search box… I could include one but then I’d have to include a side bar and that would cost screen space on the right side and I like my “wide screen” :)… in the beginning I was like “I’ll just make everything accessible in a list, so what do I need a search for”. But in fact it would make sense, since I do talk about certain words inside an article that has a different title so it is hard to find that. but I did some trials with the WordPress.com search engine and it seems like they can only find tags or headlines. They were not able to find “bestellen” although it is part of one post. So at least the WordPress search wouldn’t be of any help. Unfortunately I can’t include Google so as of now I think the best way is to just enter yourdailygerman plus whatever you’re looking for in Google… all right, enough boring talk :)… thanks a lot for your comment, I really appreciate it

      • Just one comment about Sache vs Ding and I will leave you in peace, and never bring up this subject again. I only mention this because you are the expert, and perhaps sometimes may not fully realize what about a subject confuses a student of german because it is instinctive for you.
        There are basically 2 problems with the way Ding and Sache are discussed in books:
        1- it would appear that there are 3, not 2 words: Ding, Sache and Algelegenheit. Most books limit the discussion to Ding and Sache.
        2- In practically all books, it is a question of Ding and Sache as either concrete thing (Ding) or abstract (matter, issue, affair, abstract ‘thing’) (Sache and Algelegenheit). What I find confusing is that there seems to be another dimension to the question, which is singular vs plural, namely that Ding and Sache can change ‘meaning’ ( as in concrete vs abstract) if they are used in the plural form as opposed to singular. For example, a concrete thing singular is Ding, and abstract thing singular is Sache, but if I understand correctly, plural concrete objects is Dinge BUT plural abstract objects is Dinge, not Sachen, which is totally absolutely confusing. Example, I would intuitively say ‘wir müssen über diese Sachen sprechen’ whereas my understanding is that the the correct form is ‘wir müssen über diese Dinge sprechen’ because in the plural Dinge is used for abstract things (and Angelegenheit for affairs – whatever the difference is between issue/matter and affair which is not obvious). I even wonder if all these books have the same understanding of what the difference is between concrete and abstract, if I look at the examples that are given. In summary, I have never seen the topic treated properly. My objective is only to explain how confusing the subject can be. Hopefully, you will not conclude that the question is simple and I am crazy! thanks again for an outstanding site, jean

        • Thanks for taking the time and writing your thoughts. This was actually quite helpful not only because it helped me to see the problems a little better but also because it made me think about the topic and I think I’ll do it soon. I feel ready now :)… the problem with explaining this is that it is all really blurry in fact. There is no “If this applies use that”-rule. There are more tendencies. There is no correct/incorrect. There is just more likely/less likely. People use the words based on their custom so you will always find examples that defy a definition based on semantics. Using Sachen in the example you mentioned is totally fine to me. Google n-gram search does however back what you say… Dinge would be the way more common option. That doesn’t make Sachen wrong. It just makes it rarer in combination with sprechen. Take different verb and the situation changes. Vergessen for instance… . Take this example… the combinations are “Sachen machen” and “Dinge tun”. If the difference between abstract/concrete were really the fundamental influence on how people use the words it should be the other way around… but it’s not. It is highly idiomatic. So… there is certainly a difference between them when it comes to abstractness but that won’t explain all use cases.
          I’ll stop now but I’ll definitely take on that subject soon. Thanks a billion for bringing up this whole singular/plural topic. There is definitely a difference in use but I think I would have overlooked that :)

  65. Hello Emmanuel, in an answer to a previous question (cananon, feb 24, 2013), you state that one should reserve decken (which cananon used as empfehlen zu decken, asking you to cover a word in your blog) only in a physical way (Tisch, Dach, Pferd). I am surprised because I looked up empfehlen zu decken in linguee.de and found lists many official texts in which the translator uses ’emfehlen zu decken’ meaning ‘recommend that you cover’ your costs, your needs, the budget deficit, etc. Are these translations wrong or perhaps suboptimal?. Thanks again for a great blog! Lucius

    • Oh my god, no… the translations are totally correct and 100% idiomatic

      – Kosten decken
      – Bedarf decken
      – Ausgaben decken
      – …

      I totally did not think of those and it was a small epiphany when I read your comment. I was like “Wow, this is so true, this decken is just the very same cover-idea as the other one.” So yeah… I totally missed out on that and th lesson to be learned there for you is: never just trust me :)… seriously, I’m sorry… I’ll have to try to be more thorough especially in the comments

  66. Hello Emmanuel, for the benefit of other forum members, I would like to say that your solution (web url + search word) in google search works perfectly. Like many, I very much enjoy your explanations about verb prefixes. The best most intelligent explanations on the web. Some are easy to find (be, zer, um) because they are treated as individual topics but others are buried inside comments (such as ‘ver’, ‘zu’ and others). Is there any way you could suggest to find all the verb prefixes that are discussed ? thanks, Lucius

  67. I just wanna appreciate your blog.I think its a blessing for Deutsch learners and i thank God to be part of that blessing.Keep up the good work and God reward you.Vielen dank

  68. here is a tough one, “Aufnehmen”
    I hate it, it sucks. I understand that German can be mean but this list of definitions is just too much to handle.
    Skin can “aufnehm” sun, a band can aufnehm a song an animal can aufnehm a baby, Wikipdea dose it to artikals…

    woooow I might just start learning Chinese or something, maybe even astrophysics, can’t be as hard as aufnehmen….

    • well it is to “pick up” with a possible implication of having it with from then on…

      – Wikipedia picks up articles and then they’re in there
      – animals pick up babies (I hope their own)
      – a band picks up audio waves of their playing on a tape and then they have it and can carry it around
      – a party or a club can pick up someone as a member
      – you can even “pick up” an activity.. so then you’re doing it (Er nimmt seine Arbeit auf.)

      You just have to interpret “to pick up” in a very abstract and sometimes yet super literal way but to me it is all the same thing.
      Does that help a bit??? If not, well try Chinese … but I think they have some REALLY REALLY weird things in store for you :D

  69. thank you very much. The post was very useful. Lucius

  70. Errr… ok, you’re right, that wasn’t SOOO bad. Just takes a bit of mind-yoga.
    and yes, Chinese is weirder, they use the same word for: want, miss, like, and, think. I actually think you wouldn’t find it too hard, since you seem to be good at that kind of thing, but I’m good just with learning German for now.
    Thnx 4 the explanation, keep up the good Blogs.

    • Hmmmm… want, miss, like, think… my initial idea was “to have in mind”. That would make sense for all of them, I guess. I really enjoy doing that… finding abstract least common denominators for words but it is much much easier to do that kind of thing in your own language :)

  71. First of all I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog! It is really helping me to learn many key vocabulary words in German. However, I was just wondering if you could help me to understand the various meanings of the word “noch”. My German friend gave me a few instances in which it is used, but I don’t know if there is some underlining idea behind the word that I’m just not seeing. I would greatly appreciate it if you could help me with this or direct me to somewhere that could answer also answer my question.

    • Oh …noch has been on my list for a long time but I kind of shy away all the time. It is really hard but I recently realized something that just might have been the missing piece… so maybe I’ll finally dare :D

  72. Oh really? I give you credit! It just has been confusing me because it seems like a lot of its possible translations are somewhat diverse. I’ve been trying to figure out some general meaning behind the word, but I’m having a really hard time with it. Reading what you have to say on it would help me a lot!

  73. Ich liebe word of the day, danke dir!

    Do “DA”!

  74. nun mal what does it mean weil männer nun mal so sind

    • The combination “nun mal” means something like “just” as in… well, men are just like that.
      So it expresses that there whatever is stated is the reality and there is nothing we can do about it.

      – Der Mensch braucht nun mal Schlaf.
      – Man needs sleep, period. That how it is.

      – Man kann nun mal nicht alles haben.
      – You can’t have everything, face it.

      There is not “the one” translation for it as you can see… it is really about the idea.
      And why does “nun mal” have that idea? NO idea … Es ist nun mal so ;)
      Hope that helps

  75. Hello Emmanuel, how can the same word anhalten mean both to continue and to stop ? It is very confusing. Please note that it also means to pause, to block, to pull over (a vehicle) etc which are basically variants of to stop. Herzlichen Dank und freundliche Grüsse, jean

  76. thank you very much. Just to explain the context: I was reading your excellent explanation of aufhören where you mention that you can only aufhören yourself, not things, not other people, and that anhalten is used to stop things like a DVD. Then in another context, i found anhalten as meaning to continue and was totally confused, but I am sure that there is an explanation. thanks again, Lucius

  77. Weltvernichtungsmaschine

    Dieses Blog ist wirklich einzigartig! So ein Gespür für die Sprache! Erstaunlich.
    Ich habe eine kleine Frage: Könnten Sie irgendwann über das Wort “auch” etwas erzählen? Ich höre zu dieses Lied von Goethes Erben, das heißt Die Brut (ich weiß, es ist ein bisschen komisch), und da gibt es die Zeile:
    “Auch Röhm war nur ein brutaler Schläger”
    Ich wüsste gern was “auch” hier bedeutet.
    (In case it all sounds like gibberish, here’s the translation:
    This blog is really one of a kind, such a feeling for language, it’s astonishing!
    I’ve a question: Could you possibly tell us about the meaning of the word “auch” at some point? There’s a song by Goethes Erben that I like, and there’s this line in this song where it says:
    “Auch Röhm war nur ein brutaler Schläger”, and so I’d really like to know what this “auch” means here.)

    Once again, thank you very much for your great work! (You’ve been thanked many times but the more the better, right?)

    • Dein Deutsch ist quasi perfekt also keine Sorge wegen “gibberish” :D…und keine Sorge wegen danken. Das les’ich immer gerne :)

      Nun zu Goethes Erben:

      In dem Gedicht geht im groben es um die Nazizeit und die Zeile bezieht sich auf Ernst Röhm. Röhm war schwul und er war lange der Führer der SA, bis er 1934 auf Befehl von Hitler ermordet wurde.
      Das auch in der Zeile ist das Standard-auch… es heißt also “too, as well, also”. Es ist nicht ganz klar, auf wen sich das auch bezieht, da vorher niemand explizit als “brutaler Schläger tituliert wird. Ich denke mal, dass es so gemein ist, dass Röhm genauso so ein Naziidiot war wie die, die ihn ermordet haben… die “Brut” ermordet sich sogar selbst.

      Unabhängig davon….ich glaube “auch” heißt eignetlich IMMER “too, as well”…vielleicht nicht wortwörtlich, aber die Idee ist immer drin.
      Ich hoffe das hilft :)

  78. Hi Emmanuel..

    your blog is awesome, i read almost all of your post now, so damn helpfull.
    I kinda hope that you will do the word “lassen”
    It drives me crazy sometime..

    Thanks and keep going bro!

    • If you “wählen” me in the upcoming Wahlen, I will do “lassen”. I promise! … kidding :)… of course I’ll do it. And by the way…you read almost all of them?! Man, that is a LOT of reading :D. Great you’re not bored yet.

      • Kinda all yeah.. but doesn’t mean I remember all those. I understand the concept when I read but in daily conversation I guess “the feeling” of the that particular language is the thing that will drive you mostly. But the general concepts of the grammar I read here are very useful. Btw thanks for your reply and I am looking forward to reading your post about “lassen”
        Vielen Dank!

  79. Thanks so much for your blog! Es hilft mir wirklich sehr : )
    Quick question (is there ever such a thing?) but what’s the difference between manche and einige? It seems subtle but i haven’t quite sussed it out yet.

    For example, einige Leser sind total gegen die Aktion. Can one also say Manche Leser sind…? Or if I want to say “I ate some apples”? Einige again sounds right here again but i’m not sure why!
    Thanks and keep up the amazing work!

    • Hahaha… if something is not a quick question then it is this one :D… well, ok.. I it is quicker than “How do cases work ?” :)
      Anyway, so… the really really really super short answer is that “manche” is generally less than “einige”, and “einige” is more neutral… manche can be used as a poetic form of “some”.. “einige” is pretty mundane and sounds like dry counting.
      As for “Manche Leser” vs “Einige Leser”…. I think “manche” sounds like a little less readers but they are really close, at least to me.
      And now with the apples… people would say this

      “Ich habe ein paar Äpfel gegessen.”

      if it is just a normal statement and this

      “Ich habe einige Äpfel gegessen.”

      (with an emphasis on “einige”) if they want to express that it were more than would be considered a normal average amount of apples.
      With “manche” the meaning would change:

      “Ich habe manche Äpfel gegessen”

      sounds to me like your trying to Shakespearean stage acting for this:

      “I have eaten a fair number of different kinds of apples in my life so far”

      but you fail because actually it should be

      “Ich habe manchen Apfel gegessen.”

      wow… that was a big help I reckon :D… now, if you want to read more on this, a fellow blogger has done a post about this just a few days ago so here’s the link:


      Hope that helps a bit … but I am positive that you’ll always come across uses that defy what you’ve learned.. it’s German :)

  80. Vielen Dank für deine Antwort! Du bist wirklich hilfreich :)
    Ich habe gerade deine Nachrichten/Artikels gelesen, die gehen um “umgehen und treffen” (hoffentlich das war richtig..hast du gemerkt, dass ich umgehen benutzt habe).

    In deine Beispiele, hast du gegeben viele Beispiele mit dem Wort “bei”, zum beispiel:
    “Bei der nächsten prägen geht es um 10000 Euro”
    “Beim Meeting ging es um das neue Design”
    “Beim Gipfel ist Angela Merkel mit dem französischen Präsidenten zusammengekommen”.

    Kannst du bitte eine Nachricht schreiben, die geht um das Wort “bei”? Englisch hat kein äquivalent und es ist sehr schwierig zu verstehen. Es tut mir leid über meine Fehler..ich habe nur seit diesem Jahr im Februar Deutsch gelernt. Dein Blog ist ausgezeichnet Danke!

    • Dein Deutsch ist schon ganz gut. Mach dir da mal keine Sorgen :). Natürlich ist es nicht perfekt aber alles ist ohne Probleme zu verstehen. Und ja… du hast gehen um perfekt benutzt.. ok fast perfekt… man würde sagen “in denen es um … geht”. Aber das machen Deutsche auch oft anders.
      Hier ein paar kleine Korrekturen:

      – der Plural von Artikel ist… Artikel (Die 3 Artikel in Deutsch nerven)
      – Nachricht is message… wie zum Beispiel SMS oder E-Mail und passt in diesem Kontext hier nicht so gut
      – Ich habe nur seit diesem Februar Deutsch gelernt… das machen alle falsch… es muss sein “Ich habe erst seit diesem Februar …” Nur funktioniert nicht gut mit Zeitangaben. Mehr dazu findest du in dem Artikel über “erst”.

      Und zu “bei”… die beste Übersetzung in English is “at”
      im weitesten Sinne ist es ein “close to someone/something”.

      – At the next question..
      – At the meeting…
      – At the summit…

      Ich werde über “bei” trotzdem irgendwann schreiben aber vielleicht hilft das erstmal.

  81. Vielen Dank, ich schätze das! : )

  82. Hi Emanuel! Ich bin im Februar 2013 nach Wien, Österreich, gekommen und seitdem lerne ich sehr intensiv Deutsch Ich muss sagen, dass ich deinen Blog sehr informativ und lehrreich (und lustig) finde . Ich würde mich freuen, wenn du einmal über dem “sich lassen” mehr erzählen könntest . Alles gute und liebe Grüße aus Wien!

  83. Hi Emanuel, Great site – am a beginner and really enjoying reading through your words of the day. Any chance of doing a post on “naja”? The standard meaning seems to be “well” but it seems to have so many different uses so very difficult to get a handle. It can be used at the start of a sentence, sometimes positive, sometimes negative, sometimes simply as a placeholder or (most puzzling) I’ve seen it used as an interjection on its own with an exclamation point (Naja!!). Really don’t know what’s meant with this :)

    Keep up the great work !!

  84. Hi, I’ve been following you for quite some time and I think they run the most unconventionally helpful german learning site out there :) If you are up to it, please consider making a word of the day post about bestehen, I mean pons’ possible translations include to pass sth, to be, to consist, to insist, I just don’t see how they add up. That’s it from me, keep up the good work :)

    • Hey man, thanks for the nice words :)… bestehen… well… so basically it is “to inflict standing” (if you’ve read the article on “be-” you’ll know what I mean)… and that explains a lot actually

      – to insist… I “inflict standing” on my position, I hold my ground. Even the prepositions match up:

      – Ich bestehe auf einem Refill.
      – I insist on a refill.

      – to consist. The thing in question inflicts standing on the world, abstractly spoken… the preposition this time is “aus” which would literally be “out of”… so the thing has kind of grown out of the ingredients and now it stands there

      – Dieses Bier besteht aus Hopfen, Malz und Hefe.
      – This beer is made from hops, malt, and yeast.

      – to pass. This is a funny one. Hunters and fighters sometimes put one foot and what they have “defeated”. They inflict standing on it. Why not do that to a test you passed. You have defeated the test. Time to pose for the photo :)

      – to be. Again, we can use the idea of “to inflict standing” on the world to explain this. A club “exists” since decades. It “stands” here… of course it doesn’t literally stand but on an abstract level it makes sense.

      This was really short but I hope it helped anyway :)

      • Yeah, it actually kinda makes sense now, thanks :)

      • Interessanterweise gibt es in diesem Fall Parallelen zu Russisch.
        stehen = stoyat’
        bestehen aus etw. = sostoyat’ iz … (iz=aus)
        bestehen auf etw. = nastaivat’ na … (na=auf)
        bestehen etw. = vystoyat’ (aber auch “projti” = wörtlich “pass”, “durchgehen”)
        d.h. all die Wörter haben etwas mit dem Stehen zu tun, wie im Deutschen.

        • So… I checked right away and guess what… stoyt and stehen are directly related and come from the same Indo-European root that meant … well pretty much the same… in English it only survived as “to stand”… I guess these prepositions and the meaning the combination has is pretty old after all.
          Unfortunately I don’t speak a Slavik language. I think that would open a whole new world of relations and connections of words :)

        • Grateful Reader

          Ich finde eigentlich immer wieder überraschende Parallelen zwischen Russisch und Deutsch, die oft im Englischen fehlen. Ein anderes Beispel:

          Ich gehe davon aus, dass…

          Ya iskhozhu iz togo, chto…

          Is – aus, khozhu – gehe, iz togo – von das.

          Die bedeuten das Gleiche, und die beiden werden in übertragenem Sinne verwendet, was die Analogie so viel interessanter macht.

  85. Hello Emmanuel, I am sure that you have a good idea, but I don’t understand what you mean by the following. Would you be so kind as to explain:
    – to pass. This is a funny one. Hunters and fighters sometimes put one foot and what they have “defeated”. They inflict standing on it. Why not do that to a test you passed. You have defeated the test. Time to pose for the photo :)

    thanks very much

    • I was thinking of this special pose where you put one foot on your prey..


      However, as it turns out (after a Google image search) most hunters kneel behind what they’ve hunted.
      To me, the “one foot on top” is a stereotypical gesture of victory… you fight the bear and then you win and you put your foot on the bear for the picture… and that is kind of “bestehen”. You fight the test and you prevail. And the test is lieing there before you in defeat.
      But this is more of a way to remember it than it is the actual background of the word. I think it basically comes from the fact that you’re still standing after a challenge… you “persist” if you will… and from there it is not far from “insist” and “consist”… hmm… makes me wonder what “sist” means :D… anyway I hope I could clear it up

    • Grateful Reader

      Think of an exam not as of a dangerous forest you’re passing through, but rather as of a coming storm. If the storm has passed and you’re still standing – congrats – du dast die Prüfung bestanden!

  86. Extremely funny and useful as a mental image. Thank you very much. A few ideas about translating bestehen using common english expressions. Consist and pass as per your examples.
    to insist: ‘stand’ your ground which means that you are not ready to compromise, you ‘insist’ on…
    to exist: to ‘stand’ on your 2 feet, which can be used to mean that you ‘exist’ as an individual with your own opinion, as opposed to just being a member of a group and thinking like the group.
    to subsist (used legal lingo) example a law stays in force. You can say in english that a law ‘stands as is’, ie will not change.
    thanks again for your brilliant answer, Lucius

  87. What’s the difference between spüren and fühlen?

    • Good question:… generally spüren is a little more in the physical world. It is nerves and instincts but not so much the soul. Fühlen also can talk about the soul… but I might discuss that in more detail in a post… so I hope this is helpful in all its shortness :)

  88. Hey, one more question: why is it that sometimes dicitonaries don’t give out plurals for certain nouns? Zum Beispiel:
    It says it’s neutral, ok, but why isn’t the plural even mentioned, atleast say it’s singular only. Do I always have do jump to (in this case) Werk in order to determine the plural form, or is there something more to it?

    • Hmmm… that is actually quite annoying I guess. I checked “Bauwerk” on Leo.org, Pons and Dict.cc and nowhere do they give you the plural. Pons as well as the others are at least to some extend crowdsourced. So I can imagine that a lot of compound words are user entries. But either way… I don’t think there is a system behind it. “Bauwerke” is a regular plural form and there is no reason to not give it provided that you give plural forms to begin with… I have never realized it but many online dictionaries seem to skip them altogether. I guess for me who is looking up English nouns it doesn’t really matter but the other way around… well it sure does :D
      You can always check on Duden.de or on Wiktionary ….


  89. You should do an article on na. It seems so common, but there’s no explanations of it. What I understand is that it usually adds a touch of sarcasm, since it means like “yeah?” or “well?” by itself, but there are so many expressions with it that I’m not sure how strong that connotation is.

    Another good article would be Gemütlichkeit. I understand the idea, but there are some instances I’m fuzzy with like “Probier’s mal mit Gemütlichkeit” The typical cozy feeling doesn’t quite work there.

    And finally, DANKESCHÖN! You have no idea how much your blog has helped me make sense of all the things that I surmised by myself and from the big complicated grammar books.

    • Hehe… na isn’t really a word actually :). As far as translations go I think the best 2 are “well” (for statements) and “so” for questions…

      – “Na, wie war die Prüfung?”
      “Na schwer natürlich.”

      – “So, how was the test?”
      “Well, hard duh.”

      Na is always at the beginning of a sentence and it doesn’t have to be ironic. It really depends on how people say it and what the message is. The word itself can be friendly, encouraging, impatient, patient… it is really just a “starter”. If you want to check out another source, then here you go:


      As for “Gemütlichkeit”… the translation is really more than just free :D… the word necessities alone does defy the idea of Gemütlichkeit for me a bit. Gemütlichkeit in context of flats or seats or so means comfy, but you can also use it for persons sometimes and then it means something like “relaxed, slooooow, doesn’t stress it, laid back”

      – Er ist ein gemütlicher Mensch.

      I think rhythm compelled them to change it so much. But for me, having known the German version for years, it totally works with the bear character and the advice to “chill out”.
      Hope that helps and thanks for the nice feedback :)

  90. Hey, big fan of yours, keep it up :) So the reason I’m here is because I’m getting confused by words that have similar meaning, and most of all the ones that mean “happen” like passieren, geschehen, vorkommen and even erfolgen kinda. Are they interchangeable or are there definite situations in which each word is used? Cheers :)

    • Hey, thanks for the nice feedback :)… the words you mentioned are confusing indeed but they are for the most part not interchangeable. It is hard to give a quick overview when to use which… mainly because there is a lot of “language in use” involved… but a few things I can say:

      vorkommen – this is more like “to occur occasionally”… so it happens from time to time.
      It is often replaceable with “passieren”.

      – “Ich bin zu spät.”
      “Kein Problem, das kann mal passieren/Das kommt vor.”


      It has the word “to follow” in it so it is mostly used in context of consequence… and a planned one at that. “Erfolgen” is not suitable for things that happen by chance or at random.

      – Die Bestellung war erfolgreich. Die Lieferung erfolgt in den nächsten Tagen.
      – Your order has been successful. Delivery will be within the next few days.


      This is a little dated and it is not that much used in daily life. It means the same as “passieren” but it sounds a little more poetic. Also, in context with person it has a grave touch to it.

      – Was ist mit dir geschehen?
      – What happened to you?

      This will sound concerned. The speaker assumes something bad happened. There is a fixed phrase:
      A really really great tool to find the best match in English is this website:


      You can enter each word there and they will give you a lot of text snippets English and German side by side. Mostly official documents. There, you can get a feel for the situations in which the words are used.
      Hope that helps a bit :)

  91. Hallöchen :) Came across your blog the other day, and find it so so useful for helping me understand all those overly-complex German words that seemingly no-one else has been able to explain so well… been studying German for a couple months now, since my mum’s originally from Nuremberg, and I’ve got quite a few German mates who I’d love to speak the language with, and basically have a question or two about some stuff that’s left me kind of confused…

    1) I’ve got this German mate in school from “Mainz” or something thereabouts, some place near Frankfurt, and he always says “der” or “die” instead of “er” or “sie” e.g. “der hat ein großer Kopf” or “ich mag die”.. is this just a dialect or something, or just a whole new grammar thing I’ve totally missed out?
    2) When saying “die sind”, what’s the difference between that and “sie sind”? or is this just the same thing as what I’ve mentioned above ^ ?
    3) How do you form the plural of a nationality/occupation etc. e.g. “der Waliser” – do you just take the masculine form and stick a feminine definite article there instead (so it’d become “die Waliser”)? (since I already know “die Engländer” and “die Ausländer” are the respective plural forms for “der Engländer” and “der Ausländer)

    Thanks so much for helping so many people in the difficult task that is learning the German language, gut gemacht, und mach es weiter so :DD

    Viele Grüße aus London!

    • just realised I made a little mistake.. “der hat einen großen Kopf” is what I meant :) still getting to grips with using the cases more casually…

    • So here we go :)

      1) Der, die, das can be used as demonstrative pronouns (like “this one” and “that one”) . So they can work without anything following them.

      – Welches Auto willst du.
      – Das.

      There are situations in which those words are needed.

      – Ich habe gestern Maria getroffen und DIE hat gesagt , dass

      People would use DIE if Maria has said something different than the person they’re speaking to for example… so it is she as opposed to someone else.
      But sometimes people use them instead of personal pronouns (as is probably the case in your examples) This is quite common I would say, although I don’t know exactly which region or dialect to pin it on. Anyway,it does sound a bit informal and can even sound condescending.

      – Was will DIE denn?

      But as far as grammar goes, there is nothing new and you can just rely on picking that up over time, I’d say.

      2) Same idea as 1 :)

      3) Yes, that is how it works for ALL personal that is built with -er… der Busfahrer, die Busfahrer, der Engländer, die Engländer, der Rentner, die Rentner, etc…. but it is not a pattern for nationalities in general. Der Franzose, die Franzosen, der Russe, die Russen… it really depends on the ending of the word

      Hope that helps :)

      • Thanks a lot :D
        Sure does help ^^ tolle Erklärung, wie immer :) yeh I reckon it is just his dialect, he says some other dodgy things as well :P cheers for clearing up all this stuff for me, and well done for the great work you’re doing with this website :D

  92. Hallo, wie geht’s?

    Can you please add to your (surely ever growing list!) about the difference between ändern, verändern and wechseln? I love your explanations :)

    They seem to have subtle differences that I can’t quite get. The only easy thing I understand is the whole “changing money” thing with wechseln but as for the other two…

    I’ve found these examples:
    Mein Freund hat sich in den letzten Jahren sehr verändert.
    Er hat meine Meinung geändert.

    Vielen Dank im Voraus!

    • Oh… that one :)… That really confuses a lot of people. So… I have actually done some explaining in the article on the prefix ver, the second part.


      I talk about ändern vs. verändern there and the result is… that it is hard to tell. We’ve also discussed about this in the comments a little so … you won’t find an answer but you’ll find some ideas there.

      As for wechseln… that is to EXchange… as in to change one item for the other. So it is not to alter or to modify.

      If you wechsel your t-shirt you put o a new one. If you ändern it, you dye it or cut holes into it.

      Hope that helps a bit :)

  93. guten Tag Emmanuel!!

    ok, so i hope you haven’t covered this already but i need some clarification with “lassen”. I get it when it stands by itself, to leave or let. But i always see it after another verb and this is where the angst sets in!! any help would be awesome!! You are the absolute best! Thanks again!!


  94. Hallo,
    Ich habe schon morgen schwere Probe. Ich kann nicht daran aufhören zu denken. (I´ve got a difficult exam tomorrow. I can´t stop thinking about it.)
    Damit habe ich ein Problem. Welche Möglichkeit ist richtig – “daran aufhören zu denken” oder “daran denken zu aufhören”? Oder ist es einfach möglich beide Möglichkeiten verwenden, ohne Bedeutung nicht zu verändern. …. Danke für deinen Rat und für ein über-tolles Web :)

    • Haha… ja, die Wortstellung macht vielen Probleme. Also… wir haben 2 Teile (2 Verben): “aufhören” und “denken an”.

      Der Anfang ist

      – Ich kann nicht aufhören

      Um ein Verb mit “aufhören” zu verbinden, nimmt man eine “zu-Konstruktion” (wie du es gemacht hast.

      – Ich kann nicht aufhören, zu denken.

      (I can’t stop thinking.)

      Wenn man “about” etwas denken will, dann nimmt man die Präposition “an”.

      – Ich kann nicht aufhören, an etwas zu denken.

      Unser “etwas” ist der Fakt aus dem Satz davor.

      – Ich kann nicht aufhören, an das zu denken.

      oder mit da-Wort

      – Ich kann nicht aufhören, daran zu denken.

      Sowohl das zu als auch das “daran” sind Teil von dem denken part. Du musst immer alles nach Verben trennen. Was gehört zu welchem Verb (Aktion). Im Deutschen setzt man ja auch immer ein Komma zwischen zwei Aktionen. Das kann helfen.

      Noch eine Kleinigkeit: “exam” ist nicht “Probe” sondern entweder “Examen” (groß) oder “Test” (klein) oder “Prüfung” (mittel)… eine Probe ist ein “trial” und ein “rehersal”.

      Hoffe das hilft und wenn du wirklich eine Prüfung hast, dann viel Erfolg :)

  95. Emmanuel,
    Yours is a truly helpful website for German language learners like I. Can I request you to explain the difference in meaning, if any, between ‘Nummer’ and ‘Zahl’?

    Many thanks,


    • Hey Thuyein,

      thanks for your nice feedback :)…

      So… in German there is Ziffer, Zahl and Nummer (all “die”)

      a Ziffer is this: 1 (single digits)

      from “Ziffern” you can build a “Zahlen”: 1, 11, 16253795
      So 11 is one “Zahl” but two “Ziffern”.
      If 11 is also a Nummer depends on the context or the usage. A “Nummer” always has the additional idea of lists or orders of some kind.

      – Nummer 1 (number 1)
      – Tischnummer (table number)
      – nummerieren (assign numbers)

      There are a few instances here and there that are a little contradictory to that… like… “Jahreszahl” could also be “Jahresnummer” because they put them in order or “Telefonnummer” should probably be “Telefonzahl” since it is just a random sequence of digits. So don’t look at it as totally strict :)
      Hope that helps

  96. Many thanks! I find your site incredibly helpful for making seemingly difficult concepts much much clearer!
    I recently came across a new verb that confused me somewhat…
    Genesen seems to mean “to recover” so would it be the verb if I was asking my relative if he has recovered yet?
    zb Ist er schon gegenesen? oder
    Ich hoffe, dass er schon gegenesen ist!
    (or do you have to have a thing to recover from eg eine Erkältung?)
    I’m confused as I thought sich erholen was the verb to use for recovering but it seems to be more to do with relaxing or holidays?
    and can you use genesen also with very serious things like cancer?
    Vielen Dank im Voraus!

    • Hey, thanks a lot for your nice feedback. Really keeps me motivated :D

      The “genesen” I know is indeed “to recover from illness” and the two examples you gave were perfect. But “genesen” is a bit old fashioned and it is not used that much anymore… especially not for everyday sicknesses like a cold or a tummy acting up. Even for serious stuff, it sounds a little odd but you’ll see it in some related compounds. By no means should you say “Gute Genesung”… that sounds awful :)

      People would indeed use the word “erholen” in many occasions and it does mean both “to recover” and “to relax”. The primary meaning is “to relax”.
      Then, there is “auskurieren” which is more what the sick person does to the sickness and “wieder auf den Damm kommen” which is “getting back on the road”.

      Anyway… the most common phrasings for this kind of stuff are neither of the above mentioned words… Germans would phrase it differently.

      – Geht es ihm schon besser?
      – Is he better already?

      – Ich hoffe, ihm geht es schon wieder besser.

      This is focusing on the process. And if you really want to talk about full recovery then you’d ask

      – Ist er wieder gesund?
      – Is he healthy again?

      Hope that helps :)

  97. That does thanks :) and please don’t ever lose motivation!!! You have incredibly grateful people from all over the world (even from my little wee New Zealand) trying their best to learn a new language, and you add some language brightness in an otherwise difficult path!

    Das hat danke :) and bitte nie Motivation verlieren!!! Du hast unbedingt dankbare Leute von der Welt (sogar von meinem kleinen Neuseeland), die am besten eine neue Sprache zu lernen versuchen, und du gibst etwas helle Sprache in einem andererseits schwerigen Weg!
    (yikes, das war nicht einfach…tut mir Leid, fuer die Fehler!)

  98. That does help, Emmanuel. Thank you for taking the time to explain my query. So ‘Ziffer’ is unit digit like 0, 1 … 9. And we build ‘Zahl’ (14, 287 etc) from ‘Ziffern’. But why can single digit number like 4 or 7 be not called ‘Zahl’ as well instead of ‘Ziffer’? Or can it be? Maybe my question isn’t right. For I’m trying to find the justification for particular usages which is something we are not supposed to do in learning language. I don’t know. :D

    Best wishes,


  99. Hallo,
    Wie geht’s?
    Please can you tell me the meaning of andere and how to use it?
    Also how to use meistens, meiste, usw
    Danke im voraus

    • Ok so the stem is “ander” and it is the same root as English “other”. The meaning of the German “ander” is probably more “different” than “other”. You can use this as an adjective and as a pronoun…

      Ein anderer Mann…
      Eine andere Frau
      Ein Anderer…
      Eine Andere

      However you want to use it, you’ll have to add some ending for Gender and case so there is andere/n/m/s/r.
      And it is similar for “meiste” which means “most”.
      Hope that helps… if not, let me know what exactly you are struggling with and I’ll try to help you out :)

  100. Hi! I was struggling with the meaning of, and how to use, ‘gar’, and I was hoping that you could explain it to me! Somehow you always make these things so easy to grasp (: thank you for your hard work!

  101. You are really excellent as German teacher. I am learning German by myself for personal reasons and I can only state that your approach to teaching it is highly impressive, different, efficient
    And Most of all to the point. Amazing.

  102. hey i love your articles, particularly the modal particle ones have been super helpful for me! i would love it even more if you did a section on prepositions ;) realise it is relatively basic but even after learning german for 10 years i still really struggle with them. anyway, keep up the good work!

    • Oh trust me, I do struggle with English prepositions too… sometimes I am just like “uhm… for, to, at? which is it gonna be?”
      This is normal because many prepositions have a huge overlap and which one goes with a verb is just random. And learning random things is just hard for a human brain :).
      Anyway… I will talk about the prepositions in the future… for one things, I will do a series on “talking about place” and we will see all of them in their local meaning there. And then I will discuss them in their function as prefix and there, we’ll see if we can find a core. It’ll be a while though until all are covered so you’re good for another 2 or 3 years of confusion :D. Thanks for your nice feedback!

  103. Hey, hallo. I möchte Sie nur etwas fragen. Ich habe viele Probleme mit der Präposition ‘bei’. Ich weiss wirklich nicht den Untershied zwischen ‘mit’, ‘bei’ und manchmal ‘zu’. Meine Müttersprache ist Spanische und es ist echt schwer, weil wir nur ein Wort für ‘bei’ und ‘mit’ haben.

    Übruingens, du hast einen schöner Blog, Viele Danke!

    • Hi Nacho,

      die gleiche Frage hat vor kurzem schon mal jemand gestellt :)… hier ist ein Link zu meiner Antwort


      Ich hoffe, das hilft. Wenn nicht, dann sag Bescheid :)

      • Ohh, nun Ich weiß, dass es ist einfacher als ich gedacht hatte!!. Jede Sprache ist unterschiedlich, und jede davon hat seinen Reichtum. Auf Spanische, gibt es keinen Unterschied zwischen ‘at’ und ‘with’ auch, und weil fast niemand, dass ich kenne, Englische und Deutsch spricht, niemand hat mir schon die englische Übersetzung gesagt. Aber nun ich verstehe. Vielen Danke.

        Übrigens, ich habe mich wirklich angestrengt, um auf Deutsch zu schreiben. Ich lerne Deutsch seit 2 Monate jetzt! Also vergib mir für die Fehler, bitte korrigiert mich wenn du Zeit hättest. (Ich hoffe, dass ich gut gesprochen habe). Und wenn du Spanische irgendwann lernen willst, ich würde gern dir helfen.

        • Wow. Also für 2 Monate ist dein Deutsch wirklich beeindruckend gut!!! Hut ab! :)…. hier mal ein paar Korrekturen:

          Nun weiß ich (verb has to come second and “nun” is a complete “when” box so it is position 1
          … dass es einfacher ist, als… (dass-sentences are side sentences with the verb final)
          … Jede Sprache ist anders… (“Unterschiedlich” works too but “anders” is better, “unterschiedlich is more “divers in itself”)
          … hat ihren Reichtum … (Sprache is female, so not “seinen”)
          Auf Spanisch… (no -e, pretty much never, it always ends in -isch pretty much for the language)
          … fast niemand, den ich kenne… (wrong case and wrong gender but at least not double ss :))
          take out “schon”, it doesn’t work here.
          aber nun verstehe ich (same reason as above)
          Ich lerne jetzt seit 2 Monaten Deutsch…. (time rarely comes last, very rarely)
          …, wenn du Zeit hast. … (no need for conditional here)
          Und wenn du irgendwann Spanisch lernen willst, würde ich dir gerne helfen…. (the wenn-Satz is a side sentence with the verb final, this side sentence is a “When/if”-box and takes up position 1 of the main sentence. That’s why the “würde” has to come after it.

          All in all… a few mistakes with the structure which is normal but this was 1000% understandable and it was quite good. Hast du vorher garnichts gewusst??? Was ist dein Geheimnis :D

  104. Hi! I have an idea for you re word of the day…nehmen. yup it doesn’t seem like much but in one week, I’ve come across some strange ways to use it that surprised me, namely mitnehmen for distressing someone, and wahrnehmen/wahrgenommen for to notice/discern/realise something! Thought they could make for an interesting discussion!

    • That’s a nice idea, but I fear that “nehmen” as a whole is too huge. I cannot possibly cover all prefixes in one post (or two) and the words you mentioned are actually quite simple… so… why not just do it here :)

      Etwas nimmt mich mit.

      Literally this means “Something takes me with it”… for instance an exam or something. And now… in English there is a phrasing that isn’t all that far.

      Something is dragging.

      So it is dragging you along, wearing you out. And there you got “mitnehmen”.
      As for “wahrnehmen”… “Wahr” means “true” or “real” and so “wahrnehmen” means “take for real”… and if you take something in as reality, that is not that far from “to perceive”

      Ich nehme schlechte Vibes wahr.
      I take bad vibrations for reality.
      I perceive bad vibrations.

      Hope that makes sense :)

  105. How can we translate (about to) zum Beispiel :) -he was about to kill her- ?????

    • It depends a bit on context but I think the best match for spoken German is

      Ich wollte gerade (gehen, einen Kaffee trinken,…).

      but that overlaps with

      I was just doing this….

      Then there is

      Ich was kurz davor…
      I was just short of (lit.)

      which is used if you were about to.. say.. explode. So you weren’t literally about to explode. A similar idea is

      Ich war drauf und dran…

      which sounds like “I was ready and set to” with somewhat of an urge behind it.
      And then there is the super-colloquial

      You can also use the even more colloquial

      Ich war grade am Gehen, Telefonieren…

      which overlaps quite a bit with

      I was just going, on the phone

      So… that phrasing means, you’ve already started.

      If you want to write a novel there are a few more high brow phrasings like

      Er wandte sich zum Gehen, als…
      Er schickte sich an zu gehen, als…

      Bottom line… the default is “Ich wollte gerade verben” but the translation that actually captures it depends on context… as so often. Were you really about to do it, or do you just mean that you were short of it? What happened then. Something external (the door bell) or internal (your remembering something). I can’t really come up with a general rule :)

      • Vielen dank :) ok how to translate (one of) zum beispiel -that film is one of my favourite films-
        And I want to know is there difference between (etwa) and (Ungefähr) ??
        And (raus) and (draussen)??
        And explore me the verb (bestehen) what I know about that verb is , it means to success but when it commes with (aus) it means consist of and when it comes with (auf) it means insist on is that right ?????

        • Sorry I meant explain not explore :)

        • So… don’t know if you’ve read the article on “Liebling” but the construction yu asked for is not in it, so…

          one of my favorite …

          Difference between “ungefähr” and “etwa”… they’re the same in that sense. “Etwa” has other meanings, though. I think “ungefähr” is used more. My personal favorite is “zirka” :).

          in German is

          eine/n/s/r/m meiner Lieblings(word)…

          The article of course varies depending on case and gender :).

          The difference between “draußen” and “raus”… it is the same System for all those weird pairs. Check out this article and if you have follow up questions then go ahead:


          and then, why does “bestehen” mean what it means… someone has asked that before, so I’ll just link you there:


          And if you haven’t read the post on the prefix “be-” you should check that out too :)

          Ich hoffe, das hilft.

          • Thank you very much you are such a good man :)
            I have some verbs but I really don’t trust google translate so please (schreiben Sie mir sie) :) and i want to know what comes after them akk. Or .dat.
            Deny / admit / depend on / misunderstand ??
            And is the difference between (rauben) and (stehlen) like in english ???
            How we translate (first of all)?
            and the word (reputation) and of course with its article ?
            How to build such a sentence (what a good boy you are) ? And (how good you are)??????

          • Ok so here we go..

            1) for the words you asked, that depends of course on the German translation so I’ll just pick one… another one could have a different case

            deny – ablehnen + acc
            admit – zugeben + acc
            depend on – abhängen von + dat
            misunderstand – missverstehen + acc

            2) yes, it is like “to rob” and “to steal”

            3) “first of all” depends on context, “zuerst, erstens, als erstes, zunächst mal, vor allem”… they are all possible

            4) that would be “die Reputation” or “der Ruf”

            5) Those exclamatory sentences work the same in German …

            Was für ein guter Junge du bist.
            Wie gut du bist.

  106. One difference is perhaps that ungefähr can be used with clock time (‘let’s meet at about 3 o’clock, wir treffen uns ungefähr um 3 Uhr – also gegen 3 Uhr ) which is not the case with etwa. Emmanuel can confirm if this is correct.

    • Nice observation. It’s true that “etwa” wouldn’t work in that context. Me personally, I would use neither and say

      Wir treffen uns zirka um 3.

      or even better…

      Wir treffen uns so gegen um 3.

      The last one is the most idiomatic one, I think. “Ungefähr”, “etwa”, and work best if it is really an issue of counting (or accounting or recounting)

      “Die Regel ist so und so und so. Richtig?”
      “Naja, so ungefähr” (kind of)

      …. I mean… of course the time is based on counting too but 3 pm doesn’t feel like “3 hours” to me.
      Oh and I just thought of “in etwa”… this works with time too I guess,

      Wir treffen uns in etwa um 3.

  107. Very interesting. thank you very much Emmanuel. Just one last comment from my readings, but I am not sure that this is right – subject to Emmanuel’s scrutiny.
    in english, ‘about’ means ‘more or less’. In german, there appears to be at least 2 forms of ‘about’. One is like english ‘more or less’ and the other means ‘not more than’ expressed in german by gegen and an.
    With ‘an’ it is easy to understand because one of the meanings of an is ‘towards’ (the other meaning is ‘at’). Why gegen would mean ‘not more than’, I do not know.
    Es gibt zirka vier Tausend Bücher in der Bibliothek . there are more or less 4000 books in the library (imagine that you are showing off the library to visitors)
    Es gibt gegen (= an die) vier Tausend Bücher in der Bibliothek . there are no more than 4000 books in the library (useful if you are moving and discussing how many boxes you will need to pack the books)
    Emmanuel: it this correct?

    Another question: does the ‘gegen’ / ‘an’ concept apply to time?
    Wir treffen uns zirka um 3 Uhr . Let’s meet at more or less 3 o’clock (for example suggesting that we will go for a coffee – there are no time constraints; I don’t care if you are 10 minutes late).
    If I say Wir treffen uns gegen um 3 Uhr, does it also mean Let’s meet no later than 3 o’clock (for example, something you would say in the context of meeting someone no later than 3 … because we have to catch the 3:15 train, or because the movies (or the opera) starts at 3:10.
    Thank you again very much Emmanuel. Lucius

    • So… I I feel like I have read the same thing somewhere… that “an die” means “not over” while “zirka,etwa, ungefähr” can be more or less. And it would make sense too. However, I have to say that I don’t really feel it and I doubt that many people do. If you look at the Google Search results for the phrase “Das kostet an die”


      then you will find many uses in which I think that the people neither have any particular desire to underline the top end

      Das kostet an die 20 – 30 Euro

      nor that they know how how much exactly.

      Das kostet an die 5 Euro.

      Also, if the upper limit were really that important and known people likely use “maximal” to stress that it is … well… the upper limit.
      So… I really think “an die” is synonymous to “zirka” and the others… at least in daily use.
      Then, I think “gegen” only really works with time

      Wir treffen uns gegen 3.

      And again, I would not assume that it must be 3 the latest. You can check on Google with “gegen 1 oder 2”.. or other numbers. If people really want to refer to the latest possible that would be “spätestens”
      With other numbers, “gegen” sounds weird to my ears

      Es gibt gegen 4000 Bücher.

      Maybe in some other region, this is how they say it but I would never say it that way. I think “gegen” just has too strong an “against, versus” connotation.

      Bottom line… at least in that regard German is less complicated than it seems.

  108. thank you very much but about (rauben) and (stehlen) in English we can not say – he robbed my bag – but we must say – he robbed me(of my bag) – but the use of steal is – he stole my bag – we can not say – he stole me – is that what you mean :) ???
    and what case do they make ???? DANKE

    • No, I was just talking about the meaning… like robbing being more direct and not sneaky. As far as grammar goes, “stehlen” and “rauben” are the same. The person you take from gets dative and the object gets accusative…

      He robbs my bag “to/from me” or
      He robbs me my bag…

      those are the literal translations

      Er raubt mir meine Tasche.

  109. In English we say zum beispiel :) (you are good , aren’t you ) how to say -aren’t you- , is it like English or we say -nicht wahr- instead ?????

    • German doesn’t have this “aren’t you” “isn’t it” phrasing. “Nicht wahr” is a good way but a bit formal. The more idiomatic way is a simple “oder (nicht/doch)”

      Du wusstes das schon, oder (nicht)?
      You knew that already, didn’t you?
      Du weißt es nicht, oder ((doch))?
      You don’t know it, do you?

  110. Jonathan Austen

    I have been reading so much here and love it. Outside of here I read books printed by Cornelsen (eg. Teufel in Seide). I also trained via Fluenz. In all my lessons I always learned that “der” is for “it” when referring to something in the previous sentence. But in the learning german books I read I see things like “ihn” ex. “Es gab Fisch heute Mittag. Ich habe mich geweigert ihn zu essen.” I would expect “ihn” to be “der” or even “es” but things like this confuse me because I immediately think “ihn” is referring to “him” but there is no person being referred to in the two sentences.

    Anyone else run into this when learning German?

    • “Teufel in Seide”… I have read that too… well, I had students narrate the plot to me :). Anyway, I am sure many people have the same problem that you have. The thing is that German assigns pronouns (er, sie, es, ihm, ihn,…) based on the grammatical gender. It does not matter whether it is a person or an animal or a thing.

      Der Tisch ist schön. Ich werde ihn kaufen.
      The table is nice. I will buy it.
      Das Fahrrad ist schön. Ich werde es kaufen.
      Die Hose ist schön. Ich werde sie kaufen.

      You cannot use the English pronoun as a reference.
      Now, all those “er, ihn, ihm…” and so on are the equivalents to “he, she, it, him”… “der, das, dem, den,…” are two things… they all means “the” as an article but they are also used to refer back to stuff you’ve already mentioned. So they are pronouns too. But they are pointing pronouns… like “that” or “this one”. You don’t need those very often though.

      Hope that clears it up a bit.

  111. how to take a part of the sentence out the sentence of (modal verb) and its verb which must be at the end of the sentence in its original form , zum beispiel ( ich will wie er sein ) is that correct ????
    or ( ich will sein wie er ) and what is the role ?? Danke =D

  112. ich habe eine andere frage wie übersetzen wir (those) ich bin total verwirrt darüber ist es – das – oder – denen – wir können es machen durch beispiele
    ( those who study well succeed )
    ( i don’t like those who don’t respect others )
    ( those students are good ) i denke , wir verwenden hier – dies –
    und in Dative auch ?????? Danke :)
    und ich denke , wir verwenden – denen – in (relative clauses) auch aber im Dativsfall , bitte ich brauche Ihre Erklärung hier :)

    • Those can be each of the following…

      die, denen, den/ diesen, diese/ jene, jenen

      If you are pointing, then you should use either “dies” or “jen”. The rest depends on the case

      Die, die gut lernen, werden Erfolg haben.
      Ich mag die nicht, die andere nicht respektieren.
      Diese/Jene Studenten sind gut.

      Denen… can be a relative pronoun but can also be a regular one.

      Die Studenten, von denen…
      Ich habe von denen geträumt.

  113. Danke =D
    Gibt es einen grossen unterschied zwischen ( manche – irgendein – einige – etwas – ein paar -ein bisschen ) ????? ich weiss sie bedeuten ( some – any – a little ) , und es ist über zählbar und unzählbar aber ich weiss mehr nicht :) Danke

    • Also das ist eine echt breite Frage… ja, es gibt große Unterschiede, teils inhaltlich, teils grammatisch, aber das wäre sogar zuviel für einen Post. Deshalb hier nur mal die Superkurzversion:

      manche/n/s/r/m – some (singular and plural)
      irgendeine/r/m/n – some (any), one no matter which one (singular)
      einige/s/n/m/r – a few (plural)
      etwas – something (singular)
      ein paar – a few (less than “einige”)
      ein bisschen – a little, a bit, a little bit of

  114. is one of those wrong ( Ich bin am glücklichsten ) , ( ich bin der glücklichste ) i have seen both on different websites but i think one of them is wrong :) what do you think ???????

    • They are both correct and the meaning is quite similar… with “am” the Focus is on how you are

      Ich bin glücklich.
      Ich bin glücklicher.
      Ich bin am glücklichsten.

      With “der” it is abiut who you are…

      Ich bin der glückliche.
      Ich bin der glücklichere.
      Ich bin der glücklichste.

      The difference doesn’t really translate to English I guess but I hope it helps.

  115. Hi! Is it possible to get an explanation of er- words? For example ersehen, instead of sehen..

  116. Gibt es einen grossen unterschied zwischen ( reichen ) und ( genügen ) , die beide worte meinen ( to be enough ) :) ???

    • Well, “reichen” can also mean “to hand over” but as far as “being enough goes” I think they are pretty similar. “Genügen” sounds more formal so in daily life I think “reichen” is used more. One request… could you use ” ” or something similar to mark up the words. I always get confused by the parentheses :)

  117. Ich danke ihnen , ok wie Sie wollen :)

  118. Hey, could you do ‘jeweils’ for word of the day? I see it all the time, and vaguely know what it translates as, but never use it and I have never actually fully understood what it means…

  119. Hey, could you do ‘jeweils’ as your word of the day? I know what it vaguely translates as, but I never use it and I don’t know the full meaning of it…

  120. Is there a big difference between ” geduld ” and ” geduldigkeit ” I mean I was taught that any adjektiv that ends with ” ig ” or ” lich ” can be nomen by adding ” keit ” to it , ” geduldig ” that’s the adjektiv
    Danke im voraus :)

    • Good questions… so “Geduldigkeit” isn’t a word as in it is not in a dictionary or thesaurus. But it is understandable and makes sense so why not. People invent words using the German Lego-like parts all the time. I would understand it as “your being patient”… whereas “Geduld” is the regular patience.

      Deine Geduldigkeit ist echt unglaublich.

      With “Geduld” it would sound a little more as if you’re refering to the patience in one particular situation… like… someone is being nagged hard by his or her kid and the person keep super calm and so on. With “Geduldigkeit” it definitely sounds like your talking about the general character trait- That said, it is an invented word and sounds as such. So you won’t find many people saying it. And sadly, as soon as there is a little bit of “unnativeness” in your inflections, people will perceive it as an attempt to say “Geduld” instead of a creative use of the language. Don’t be discouraged though.. playing around is good and I invent words in foreign languages all the time. But I often find that they just find weird what I find witty :)

  121. please i really don’t know the tense of ” würden ” and ” wären ” and such verbs i know it sounds like would … but i don’t know the rule to obtain it and to use it :)

  122. thank you very much that has been so useful but why are the verbs are written without ” n ” is it the same ??

  123. how to use ” anklagen ” to say ” accused of … ” =D

  124. Danke und Ich bin ein bischen verwirrt über den unterschied zwischen ” bieten ” , ” anbieten ” und wie sagt man ” dispense with …….. ” ????

    • “to dispense with” – “etwas entbehren können, auf etwas verzichten können”… as for “bieten” vs. “anbieten”… the grammar is the same and so is the meaning but “anbieten” is usually for smaller, tangible things… you would “anbieten” a coffee while a hotel room could “bieten” a nice view.

  125. Tausand dank :) how to use ” wie ” to mean like I mean where to put the verb zum beispiel ” …..like I have said ” is the verb after it or in the last and ” unlike ” is it ” unwie ” I don’t think so . what do you think ???

  126. and what are the words where we put ” es ” in the adjectives after them like ” etwas ” we say zum beispiel ” etwas gutes ” ????

  127. I’m asking about the words like ” etwas ” When we add ” es ” to the adjectives coming after them I’ve read before ” etwas Gutes “and ” nichts Gutes ” with ” G ” capital and now I am asking about the words like them and about ” wie ” how to use it grammatically I mean where to put the verb right after it like Deshalb or in the last like dass and how to say ” unlike “

    • Forgive me if it I am being totally dumb but what exactly are you asking about those words?

      “… I mean where to put the verb right after it like Deshalb or in the last like dass and how to say ” unlike “

      I do understand that, I’m sorry.
      Could you maybe give an example for each of your questions? That would help me a lot. Danke im Vorraus

      • I’m asking shall i use it like ” deshalb ” like we say ” ich will nach Deutschland fliegen deshalb lerne ich Deutsch ” here we’ve put the verb right after ” deshalb ” or like ” dass ” when we say ” ich habe gehört dass du gut spielst ” here we’ve put the verb in the last,so how to use ” wie ” in sentences including verbs =D

        • So, in actual questions, the order is

          – Wie – verb – rest?

          And in indirect questions, which also includes the use of “I didn’t know, how …” the “wie” as well as any question word makes a side sentence… that is, the verb is final

          – Wie komme ich zum Bahnhof? (actual question)
          – Ich weiß nicht, wie ich zum Bahnhof komme. (super Indirect question)

          Is that it? Does that help? :)

          • Danke :) but i’m actually talking about its use to mean ” like ” not ” how ” so how do i translate such a sentence ” like you want ” i’m asking here about the position of the verb that’s all =D

          • Ahhh… now I get it :)… that would be at the end then.

            – Wie du willst. (as you wish)

            Have you checked out the post on comparisons? There is a good bit about that in there…

  128. I’m sorry if this has been asked before. I’m too impatient to read through all of your comments. :) Can you explain the differences between na, nee, and naja? Sorry for the spelling if it is wrong. I love your blog and it has helped me so much! I had to laugh at your explanation of “ankommen” and why you need an extra “an” at the end of a sentence. In high school. I wrote what you explained was a mistake. The exact same example. My teacher couldn’t tell me why it was wrong, but now I understand! Thanks!

    • Thanks for the nice feedback and neat story about “ankommen” :)… as for your question… I feel like someone has asked that before but I don’t remember where to find it and so I’ll just go ahead. “Nee” and “na” are not really words. “Nee” is the same as “nein”.. just colloquial. Very much like English “nah” I’d say.
      “Na” can be used to introduce a sentence or it can simply be a very colloquial greeting

      – Na, alles klar?
      – Hi, all good?

      “Naja” is something like “well” when it is used to indicate that you’re thinking or something… I can’t really put it into words

      – Why won’t you come to my party.
      – Well, the thing is that….
      – Naja, die Sache ist die, dass…

      Oh and “naja” can also mean “mediocre” .

      – How was the movie?
      – So naja naja.

      I do say that sometimes :). Hope that helps a bit. For these “words” it is definitely best to just pick them up by exposure.

  129. ubungmachtdenmeister

    Ich habe dir Geld gegeben. Was willst du doch mit dem Geld machen? Ich habe gar keine Ahnung. Ich meine überhaupt nicht nur mein geld aber alle geld. Was machst du damit?

    • Erstmal vielen, vielen Dank, ich hab’ mich sehr gefreut :)… was mach ich damit? Also, zur Zeit bezahle ich davon meine Domain, 2 Worpress Upgrades und als nächstes werde ich das NO Adds upgrade kaufen. Ich weiß nicht, wie viel und wie oft Werbung angezeigt wird, aber ich will am liebsten gar keine. Und dann spende ich einen Teil weiter an Seiten, die ich gut finde.
      Und damit ist das Geld im Prinzip auch schon alle. Es ist zur Zeit nicht so viel leider. Mittelfristig würde ich gerne zumindest teilweise davon leben. Ich arbeite ja mittlerweile ca. 15 bis 20 Stunden pro Woche daran (inklusive Kommentare) und zusammen mit meinem normalen Job bleibt wenig Zeit mich auf ein Buch oder anderes zu konzentrieren.
      Klar, man könnte Werbebanner machen oder einen Sponsor suchen oder eine Pay wall machen. Aber das will ich nicht. Dass muss doch auch so gehen. Vielleicht ist das zu Hippie-mässig gedacht, aber … danke auf jeden Fall nochmal

    • We were talking about “doch” in the other comment…

      – Was willst du doch mit dem Geld machen?

      Do you mean “denn”? Because “doch” doesn’t work very well, if at all, in questions. “Denn” would be the prefect particle for this situation.

      Oh and also, it should be “sondern” in the last sentence :)

  130. tausend dank wirklich das war eine grosse hilfe , eine andere frage bitte ich habe vorhin ” etwas Gutes ” gesehen , warum es enthaltet ” es ” =D
    und gibt es ähnliche worte wie “etwas” ?????

    • Meinst du, warum es nicht “etwas Gut” ist? So wie “something good”? Dann musst du mal die Serie über Adjektiv-Endungen lesen. Speziell den letzten Teil. “gut” ist ein Adjektiv. In “etwas GUtes” ist es zu einem Nomen gemacht worden, aber es behält seine Adjektivendung. “Etwas” funktioniert wie “ein”… in dem Artikel findest du noch mehr solche Artikelwörter. Die Serie ist auf der Online COurse Seite relative weit unten :)

  131. Can you do a session on Genitive? Also: gerade!

  132. Hi Emanuel, I remember reading one of your posts containing ‘the book/film is about’. I thought the verb was ‘handeln’ rather than using ‘über’ but I can’t find the post! Can you help please! P.s. I learn soooo much from your posts (still not confident to write this request in german though!)

  133. how to use ” bis ” with verbs =D

  134. Kannst du bitte einen Artikel an “some” schreiben? Es gibt soooo viele Möglichkeiten!!
    Manch, etwas, einige, irgendein, ein paar…und jetzt habe ich “Welch” rausgefunden…

    Ich lerne jetzt über die verschiedene Arten von “some” in einem Grammatikbuch aus der Bibliothek. Es hat mich leider verwirrt.

    zb: I need some coffee. Have you got any?
    “Ich brauche Kaffee. Hast du welchen?

    The boys wanted cheese, so I went out and bought some
    “Die Jungen wollten Käse, also bin ich welchen kaufen gegangen”

    Kann man auch “irgendeinen” hier benutzen?
    “welchen” wirkt zu mir wie “which”.

    Kannst du bitte mir erklären?
    Vielen Dank im Voraus!

    • So I actually had this kind of policy for myself that I will not use English words as a title (like… how to say “to get” in German) BUT I think I might make this one the one exception. I’m sure many people would like to know about all those words and “some” is just too perfect a framing to ignore it. So I’ll add that to my to do list … won’t be right away but it won’t be too long either :)

      • I know it’s against your “title” policy, but there are more universal words (in addition to “some”) that have multiple options in German and result in a lot of consternation and constipation (for me at least!). Two others that I struggle with are “get” and “put”, especially in the abstract or general sense. If you could add those to your list it would be greatly appreciated!! :)

  135. i have a conclusion and i’m not sure of it , i have recognized that many adjectives in english ends with ” tic” is the same in German but converting it to ” tisch ” like ” idealistic ” which is ” idealistisch ” , ” opportunistic” is ” opportunistisch ” , und so weiter , ist das total richtig ???

    • Good question… I’d say it’s correct at least for the stuff that comes from Latin… which applies to all the examples you mentioned. BUT… I think it doesn’t work the other way around :) … wählerisch – picky etc.

      • vielen dank , ich denke dass es keine ausnahmen gibt
        ” pessimistic ” = ” pessimistisch ”
        ” optimistic ” = ” optimistisch ”
        ” realistic ” = ” realistisch ”
        wie denken Sie darüber ????

  136. I just found your wonderful website by accident. What a nice surprise. Please forgive me for complaining already: Have you considered adding a search box to your site? I don’t have to time to scroll through all the comments but I hate to ask something that was already discussed. I have many questions about little things, but there is one word I have never dared to use in seven years of living here: überhaupt. No matter how many times I look it up, I cannot get my head around this word. I just know you could explain it in a way that would enable me to use it in public, even once. Thank you for creating this helpful and entertaining site.

    • Yeah, I know :) … you’re not the first one to ask for a search function but so far I wasn’t willing to trade my full width content. I do see your point though. There is a lot of stuff “buried” in the comment section. Good news is that I have found a theme that will allow me to keep my design free of a side bar AND have a search box. I need to do some CSS stuff first but I am planning to switch in the months to come. It’ll be a WordPress.com search though and as much as I like WordPress… the search kind of sucks. For now, you can definitely just use google by typing whatever you’re looking for and adding “yourdailygerman”… ok… I guess that was mediocre news… but here’s the good news…
      I already did “überhaupt”. I just forgot to add it to the Word of the Day page:


      Viel Spaß beim Lesen und Lernen :)

  137. No, that’s fine…works for me! And today I will tackle überhaupt and then use it this week. (When I asked my teenage son what “geil” meant a few years ago, he explained it and added, “But you can’t use it”!)

  138. how do we say ” even if ” with examples bitte =D ?

  139. Hallo, dieses Blog ist wirklich fantastisch! Ich hab’ soviel damit gelernt. Ich lerne seit einem Jahr Deutsch, und ich mache das selber (oder selbst?). Also ist es sehr hilfreich für mich. Ich nutze Deutsche Musik, Youtube Videos, und dein Blog. Die Sprache ist schwer, aber nicht zu schwer mit deinem Blog. Sehr gute Erklärungen, vielen dank!

    Ich hab’ ein Problem gehabt: es gibt ein Lied von Die Toten Hosen, “Kein Alkohol (ist auch keine Lösung)”, Ich hab’ den ganzen Text der Lied ohne Übersetzungen verstanden, Aber mit der Ausnahme von ein Satz: “Wer ist schon bei so was gut drauf?”. Warum ist die Überstezung dafür “Who is actually in a good mood when facing this?” Stimmst du mit dieser Übersetzung?

    Ich hoffe, dass mein Deutsch richtig gewesen hat. Gruß!

    • Thanks a lot for the nice feedback, :D… “selber” and “selbst” are kind of the same, with “selbst” being the standard one. There might be instances where only one works but that is nothing you need to worry about. Anyway, I would say “alone” in that context because learning is always something you do yourself.
      Oops… Ich hab’ in Englisch geschrieben. Das war Gewohnheit. Sorry. Also… die Textzeile:

      – Wer ist schon bei so was gut drauf

      “Gut drauf sein” heißt “to be in a good mood. “bei so was” ist “doing something like that, being there when something like that happens”. Im Grunde ist es einfach eine Variante von “Ich bin bei meiner Oma”, “Ich bin beim Essen”… naja, und das “schon” macht das ganze zu einer rethorischen Frage, wo “niemand” impliziert ist. Insofern ist die Übersetzung ganz gut.
      Hier mal ein paar kleine Korrekturen:

      – “das Lied” also “der Text des Lieds”
      – “Stimmst du dieser Übersetzung zu/stimmst du mit dieser Übersetzung überein?”
      – Ich hoffe, dass mein Deutsch richtig gewesen IST. (aber das weißt du wahrscheinlich eh :)

      Dein Deutsch ist schon echt gut, Kompliment :)

      • Aber natürlich! “Der Text des Lieds” und “gewesen sein”, nicht “haben”…Was habe ich gedacht!
        Die erste Frage sieht für mich ok “Stimmst du dieser Übersetzung zu?”, das Verb ist “zustimmen”, nicht “stimmen”. Aber die dweite kann ich nicht verstehen. Wo kommt “überein” her?

        As for “bei so”, I can see now that it’s a lot similar to English. Like in ‘by’ in the sense of ‘near’, “being around’ (Yeah, by isn’t a direct translation, but in this case they’re quite similar!), and ‘so’ in the sense way, manner. The “was” is still a bit confusing, I know it comes from ‘etwas’, but is it attached to ‘bei so’ or to ‘gut drauf’? Maybe to gut drauf as in “any good mood”, hence the ‘actually’ in the translation. Guessing here, if it comes together with “bei so” I have no ideia why it’s there. By the way, “etwas” and its synomyns would make for a hell of a Word of the Day, don’t you think? ;)

        Danke sehr für die Erklärung, für die Korrekturen, Kompliment. Ich muss es sagen, weil ich Lehrer auch bin: Du bist ein sehr guter Erklärer, das ist nicht leicht! Bis spät :)

        • Also es gibt ein Verb “übereinstimmen mit” und das ist “to agree with (a person)”… die Grammatik davon ist echt ein bisschen unhandlich

          – Ich stimme mir dir darin überein, dass…. (es kommt bald ein Artikel zu “Stimme”, da dann mehr davon :)

          Es gibt auch “übereinkommen” und dementsprechend “Übereinkunft” (agreement)… Ich denke “überein” ist so ein bisschen die Idee von “superimposed”.

          Dann… sorry, der Cluster ist natürlich “bei so (et)was” und es heißt wörtlich “at such something”
          Und dann noch eine kleine Korrektur:

          – Bis später (nicht: “bis spät”)

          Aber das wusstest du garantiert auch :)

  140. How to translate such a sentence ” thanks for playing with me ” as you see after ” for ” the verb includes – ing- so in german how will it be like ???

  141. Oh, those “da…” words will be the death of me! Will I just wake up one day and begin peppering my sentences with them?! ; )

    • Yes, you will…. just… that.. sometimes pepper doesn’t fit the dish :). But seriously, it’ll come. Don’t think “I’ll never get it”, because then your subconscious will see to that you don’t. Just think “I’ll get them whenever I’m ready.” . Da-words are like this one CD you thought you didn’t like and then one day it talks to you and you listen to it all the time :)

  142. Well, OK, as long as it isn’t “ABBA.”

  143. will you please write me names of novels and i will download them -pdf- and study them :)

  144. could you do ‘eigentlich’?

  145. I also have a question. Well, it’s a little big, I’ll try make it short. It is just that the other day I took a test of the Goethe-Institut. And I only had coursed the A.1.1 course, wich is the first course for beginners, but I happened to have more knowledge of German for that course so I tried to skip the A.1.2, and the A.1.3 by taking this test. Well, the thing is that I recived a call yesterday from the Goethe-Institut, telling me that I actually had enough ground to be in the A.2.3 niveau, wich was a big surprise. But I’m a little bit worried, because I’m not really sure If I have everything needed to be in that level. If you have the time, I’d apreciate it if you tell me short what I’m supposed to know, or what are the most important things to know in the A,2,3 level.

    • Oh there are 3 sublevels for each?! That is surprise. Last summer I learned there were two. Before, I had thought it’s just A 1 , A 2… and I have to say that I am not sure if this is really necessary. I mean 6 beginner stages ?! Really? I can maybe understand it, if their courses are really targeted but I could also imagine it to be what I’ll call “the Hobbit Syndrom”… more parts = more cash. I don’t think there is a significant difference between A1.2 and, say, A2.1 (with a skipped A1.3), at least not when you start making comparisons between different schools.

      Placement tests are a difficult thing. I think I could pass the grammar part of Italian B1.2 but I would suck in the course because I cannot neither talk nor understand enough. So my question would be: did the test include free writing AND an interview? If so, I’d trust their judgement. If not, well… I’d probably suggest you go with it anyway. If you find a gap, you can easily read up on that at home and all the grammar gets repeated in B1 anyway, because that’s how they do it. I can’t really tell you what you need to know, and it also depends on the teacher and the priorities but I am almost certain that you can manage, even if it is tough. If you want you can write a short text, then I can tell you what I think what level you are:).

  146. Could you do a WOTD on Eben? I find I struggle with all the meanings of this word

    • That’s been on my list for a WHILE, but after “noch” and “mal” I felt kind of burnt out a little. Writing about these words is exhausting, actually :). Also, I am kind of thinking I should save it for the book, so people have a reason to buy it (I’d put it online for free later though). Either way… it’ll come

  147. The book?! I haven’t been here for several weeks but that got my attention! To paraphrase an old movie, “If you write the book, they will buy it.” : )

  148. what’s the difference between zeigen and vorzeigen?

  149. Is there any chance you could feature the verb “lassen” as a word of the day? Existing texts on the subject are, for me, confusing and contradictory. I’m sure you could explain everything comprehensively, but simply.

    Regards, Richard

  150. Me encanta tu blog!!!
    Dein Blog gefällt mir sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo sehr!

    Grüße aus Argentinien!

  151. Könnten Sie einen Artikel über “reichen” schreiben? Es scheint viele Bedeutungen und keine genaue Entsprechung in Englisch zu haben.

  152. You don’t get to complain about his English unless you can speak German as well as he speaks English. Nor is it necessary for his English to be perfect to help you learn German. You have a lot of gall to call him out on his English, which surpasses that of a lot of native speakers.
    The multiple examples are helpful because they point out commonly made mistakes. That’s the value, since you missed that. (And you’re a real class act to swear here and use all caps to shout.)
    Using “Oh” is like taking a breath or a pause, which is also obvious to the rest of us, who enjoy and learn from the site. I’m a “girl,” so you might not want to read what I have written. Oh…too late!
    Not coming back? What a shame.

  153. The sole fact that you are angry over a language website is the most amusing thing. Oh by the way, I’m a male and I just started my sentence with Oh :D

  154. Yeah, to everyone who I “insulted”, I would just like to let it be known that I meant no harm and was only trolling. In my opinion, I think it would be best to delete all my comments, that way we could ‘bury the hatchet’. It’s your website however, so it’s ultimately your choice.
    Anyway, love the site. Keep up the good work. ✓

  155. Vor ein paar Tagen war ich den Artikel über “Box Model” (weil es ein super guter Artikel ist!) suchen, und es war für mich ziemlich schwierig zu finden. Ich konnte es nicht auf “Grammar Jargon” finden, und, ich glaube, man würde es erwarten, es auf “Grammar Jargon” zu finden.
    Ich dachte, dass du das wissen möchtest…
    Ich versuche nur Hilfreich zu sein!
    Liebe diese Seite!

    • Ja, stimmt. Ich habe es da nicht hingemacht, weil “Box model” ja kein offizieller Begriff ist. Aber danke, ich lass’ es mir mal durch den Kopf gehen (I’ll think about it). Eine kleine Korrektur:

      – Vor ein paar Tagen war ich …. suchen.

      Das ist “I was searching” und das gibt es in Deutsch nicht. Da sagt man einfach “habe ich … gesucht”.
      Klingt für einen Englisch-Muttersprachler wahrscheinlich erstmal ein bisschen dumm und unpräzise, ist aber reine Gewöhnungssache :)

      • Ah okay!
        Ich hatte einen deutschen Freund darüber gefragt, weil ich in Duolingo “war…’verb’en” gesehen hatte, und ich weiß es, dass Duolingo normalerweise ziemlich schlecht zum Deutsch lernen ist. Er hat mir erzählt, dass es perfekt richtig ist, aber es scheint mir ein bisschen merkwürdig…
        Man kann nie “war was machen”?
        zum Beispiel: Ich war gestern saufen

        • Oh, daran habe ich garnicht gedacht. Das geht tatsächlich.

          – Ich war etwas machen.

          Das ist richtig und man kann viele (fast alle Verben einsetzen). Und ja… es sieht sehr so aus wie English “I was doing something”.
          ABER… es gibt einen entscheidenden Unterschied…. die Deutsche Version impliziert das Verb “gehen”

          – Ich war Tennis spielen.

          Das heißt für mich, dass du irgendwo hingegangen bist, und dann dort Tennis gespielt hast.

          – Ich war einen Artikel suchen…

          Das klingt dann wie

          – Ich bin irgendwo hingegangen um einen Artikel zu suchen…

          zum Beispiel in die Bibliothek.
          Wichtig ist, dass es überhaupt nicht um “progessiveness” geht.

          – Ich war schon mal Tennis spielen.

          Das ist nicht

          – I was already playing tennis.


          – I have played tennis in my life before.

          Hoffe, das macht Sinn… sorry, dass ich da nicht dran gedacht hab’ :). .

  156. I think I need some help with the difference in the uses of “es gab” vs “es waren”. zB. es waren viele Leute auf der Straße. Es gab viele leute in der Kneipe?

    I was also watching Der Untergang and Hitler says “Es bleiben im Raum” and then states the individuals, the use of “es” here confused me.

    Any advice?


    • I think I would almost always say “Es waren ” in context with people being at a place. I would use “es gab” if the location is already specified and/or not the focus.

      – Es gab ein paar Leute, die keine Lust hatten, aber die meisten waren motiviert.

      As for “es bleiben im Raum”… that is a filler-es. Technically, I can just move every box after the verb. But position 1 cannot be empty or the sentence will sound like a question. In comes the filler-es. It is not the subject, not an object, it is just a filler.
      It is a bit limited in its use in that I can only do it if the subject is third person. But then it always works

      – Meine Mutter hat mich….
      – Mich hat meine Mutter…
      – Gestern hat mich meine Mutter…
      – Angerufen hat mich …

      – Es hat meine Mutter mich gestern angerufen.

      It sounds a bit stiff most of the time though. Hitler does it, because he wants to list a bunch of people, so he cannot start the sentence with the list… or hardly. He could have said:

      – Im Raum bleiben….

      But with “Raum” after bleiben “Raum” gets more punch. And “Im Raum bleiben” is much too smooth. “Es” first makes it stiff. Fits the body language :)

      • Danke. Also: es GAB viele Biere in der Kneipe. es WAREN viele Leute in der Kneipe.

        Was ist denn damit: Es gab 200g Fleisch in dem Kochtopf. In dem Kochtopf war 200g Fleisch. Es war 200g Fleisch in dem Kochtopf.

        There was 200g of meat in the pot.

  157. Hi Emanuel. Just a quick question: are you aware of the uniqueness and beauty of your blog? :D

  158. German Learner


    Can you please do an article about gucken, and all of its children and grandchildren (angucken, aufgucken etc.) and cousins (guggen, kucken etc.)?

  159. Random question. I struggle with relativsätze in past tense: z.B. ich freue mich sehr darauf, dass ich so viel heute erledigt habe. can I also write that as:
    Ich freue mich sehr darauf, so viel erledigt zu haben?

    Ich freue mich sehr, nach England zu fliegen. Ich freue mich sehr, dass ich nach England geflogen habe. Ich freue mich sehr, nach England geflogen zu haben?

    Can I use ‘zu’ constructions in past tense or must I use dass, and if so, where does the zu go?

    • geflogen BIN. daRÜBER

    • So just real quick for the people who are reading the comments… Andy meant to say “ich freue mich darüber” which means “I am happy about” while “darauf” would have been “I am looking forward to…

      But now to the question… can you do that? The answer is yes. Your examples are perfecty correct… well, except that you have to use “sein” with “fliegen” instead of “haben”

      – Ich freue mich darüber, nach England geflogen zu sein.

      It works because the past tense is still there… we have ge-form (erledigt, geflogen) and a helper verb. The only difference is that the helper verb is in dictionary form. But “gegessen haben” is clearly past tense … because it fits the bill.
      Quite sophisticated constructions by the way :). Your German must be pretty damn solid.

      • Vielen Dank!! Prettydamnsolidisch würde ich wohl nicht sagen, aber wegen deiner Webseite habe ich mich viel verbessert. Wegen dieser Webseite hier und des Goethe Institutes fühle ich mich so, als ob ich wahrscheinlich erfolgreich in Deutschland leben könnte, *worüber* ich mich sehr freue :) Also vielmals danke :)

  160. I meant darüber not darauf

  161. how to say ” i thought you better than that ” , ” than that ” is the problem here

  162. Does “ja” deserve an article?

  163. And a word request to add onto your (i’m sure) enormously growing list of word requests! :)


    In regards to the given possibilities in the link below…schrecklich!

    • That list is … “ausführlich” :D… seriously, I usually like Pons because they order the meanings and give examples but this is just a mess full of redundancy. “Aufnehmen” is essentially to.. oh wait. I’m not gonna say yet

  164. I think the prepositions are very useful. Any chance of seeing more prefixes added to the list? auf, aus, etc
    Wegen vs weil would be great too! I learned they both mean “because” but there has to be a difference in their usage
    what about some prepositions taking the genitive: trotz or statt for example?

    • At least one thing I can help with right away:

      “wegen” is a preposition, “weil” is a conjunction. The former connects things, the latter connects activities. And “wegen” is not just “because” but “because of” because “because” can only connect activities

      – I’m tired because my work. … is wrong
      – Because of I’m tired, I go to bed… is wrong, too

      As for the prefixes… I have different plans for them Muuuuaahahahahahahahah (evil laugh) :)

  165. I think a post on “Blick” would be nice. Somehow I really miss this word in the English language.. “Augenblick”, “einen Blick werfen”, “Schlafzimmerblick”, “Blickwinkel”… such an awesome word :).

  166. Do you have a post on ‘hin’?

  167. Hello

    It’d be very nice if new WOTD posts were added to this list to make them easier to find. Like the ones which have been recently added: lassen, lesen aren’t listed here.

  168. could you please add the word “ja” or just explain it to me quickly? I see it in books all the time and thought it just meant “yes” but apparently it has some other meaning I don’t know of. Thanks

    • In a nutshell it’s a coloring particle that reaffirms a statement. It can disperse doubt before it’s even raised, it can express surprise about just how something is or it can put extra emphasis on orders (by hinting at consequences).
      It has no direct one word translation in this function but it’s always somehow about affirmation

  169. Hallo, habe ich ‘ne kleine Bitte,Könntest du irgendwann einmal ein Beitrag über die verschiedene formen/Bedeutungen der begriffen “wechseln” und “Tauschen” schreiben.Ich glaube das sehr hilfreich wäre.

  170. I stumbled in to this fantastic blog of yrs. Believe me I just love this. I was learning german in goethe institut. I cld not continue and doing self study because I don’t have the time as I am working and the timings do not suit me. A thousand thanks.

  171. Liebe Emmanuel, oben fehlt ein paar Wörter (z.B. wirken), darüber du schon geschrieben hast. Ich erinnere mich nicht die anderen Wörter, die ich auch bemerkt habe. Natürlich kann man immer google benutzen, um diese Wörter zu finden, aber vielleicht wäre es besser (und beeindrunkender), wenn das Inhaltsverzeichnis komplett würde. Wie immer, danke und korrigiere mich, wenn du wollte.

    • Ja, ich bin ein bisschen faul, was das Updaten der Liste angeht :). Ein paar Sachen fehlen aber mit Absicht.
      Hier ein paar Korrekturen:

      – Liebe Emanuel…

      Ich bin ein Mann, also “lieber” :)

      – Oben fehlt ein paar…

      “Fehlen”… Wörter ist ja Mehrzahl.

      – … Wörter, darüber du schon….

      “über die”. Hier brauchst du ein Relativpronomen. Das können da-Wörter nicht. Dazu klingen sie zu unabhängig.

      – Ich erinnere mich nicht die anderen..

      Du braucht eine Präposition… “ich erinnere mich nicht AN etwas”

      – … und korrigiere mich, wenn du wollte.

      Einfach “wenn du willst” :)

    • Ops… ich hab’ jetzt grad mal geguckt und da haben schon echt viele gefehlt :)…. Danke für die Erinnerung.

  172. Hallo, Hallo! First of all, I want to congratulate you for the amazing German learning tool that your blog is! I’ve been reading it non-stop since I’ve started learning German, and I can assure you that it is helping me a big deal! Not only me, but also a couple other students that I’ve introduced to this awesome blog! I’m still waiting for verbs like machen, lassen, usw. to show up here, but as I’m not in a hurry, I think I’ll just, sit down, relax, and enjoy the ride! Once more, keep up the good work! Best regards from Brazil!

  173. Hi do you send daily/weekly emails (i.e. word of the day)?

    • There’s an e-mail going out whenever I post something new. Usually once a week. There should be a (very small) black button in the lower right corner saying “follow”. When you click it a form pops up where you can put in your e-mail address. Hope that works :)

  174. Hi! I´m from Brasil, and I just found your website, and I love it! You are very funny, and the lessons on the site are very usefull. Thank you for all the work you had!

  175. Thanks so much for all this! Could you do one on ‘gelten’ some time? I feel like I see and read that word (and its derivatives) everywhere, and even though I know what it means, I’m still not really sure how and when to use it, haha.

  176. I’ve been looking around for some insight into this, maybe you could help! When to use Entschuldigen Sie versus Entschuldigung? A friend tried to explain it to me, but he didn’t quite seem to know how to phrase it, so it’s still a little unclear to me. Thanks!

    • Hmm… I think I’d use “Entschuldigung” if I really want to apologize to a stranger for a minor mistake. Like, stepping on someone’s foot in the train.

      – Oh, Entschuldigung.

      “Entschuldigen Sie” is a standard introduction if you’re about to ask a stranger something… like the time, or the way to the metro or whatever

      – Entschuldigen Sie, wissen Sie wo die U-Bahn ist.

      You can switch that up of course, the sense is the same. It’s just not as idiomatic then.
      Hope that helps.

  177. Hi Emmanuel! Ich finde dein Blog ganz hilfreich und total interessant. Es hat mir ja schon viel geholfen, um mein Deutsch zu verbessern. Ich warte auf den nächsten Post. :)

    Kannst du mir bitte erklären, wie man das Wort “also” richtig benutzen kann. Ich hab mal gelesen, dass es so etwas ähnliches wie das englische “so” oder “therefore” ist. Das verstehe ich schon. Jedoch hab ich festgestellt, dass es manchmal benutz wird, wenn jemand ein Begriff definieren oder erklären will. Zum Beispiel:

    -Eine Herberge ist eine Unterkunft, also ein Platz, wo man schlaffen kann.

    Ist das immer so, oder?

    • Ja, das hast du richtig beobachtet. “Also” verwendet man oft, wenn man etwas genauer erklären will. Das Englische “so” kann das auch. Der einzige Unterschied ist, dass Englisch “so” immer am Anfang von einem Satz steht. Das deutsche “also” steht vor einem Ding

      – A hostel is accomodation. So [it’s a place where you can sleep].
      – Eine Herberge ist eine Unterkunft. Also [ein Platz zum Schlafen].
      – …, so [a place to sleep]… wrong

      Man kann “also” auch am Anfang von Sätzen verwenden. Dann klingt es aber sehr stark nach einem Grund, und weniger nach einer näheren Erklärung.

      – …,. Also ist es ein Platz wo man schlafen kann.

      – … And that’s why/hence/so it’s a place to sleep.

      Hoffe, das hilft.

  178. Hey Emanuel, can you do a WotD about “eigentlich”? My german penpal uses it quite a lot and I still don’t quite understand the tone it adds to the sentence.
    Thanks, and keep up the good work! One of the most interesting blogs out there for sure :)

    • It’s been on my list for so long :)… I’v actually started it but for some reason I kind of never felt ready/in the right mood for it. But I’ll definitely do it. One morning I’ll wake up and think “Today’s the day… I shall clean the bathroom.”
      And then might do “eigentlich” ;)

  179. I’m not sure if anyone has asked for it yet, so if they have I’m sorry for being repetitive :) but it would be great to have the difference between ‘tun’ and ‘machen’ clarified in terms of use. I really enjoy this blog! Your explanations are so perfect to understand and really help to clear up any confusion I may have had from other sources. Keep up the great work!!!

    • Yap, I’ve been asked before and I still tip toe around it :). It’s not that it’s super difficult but it’s kind of messy. I’m still waiting for the right day where I really feel like taking this on.

  180. Hey Emanuel
    I have recently came across the word wobei and got confused a lot. So i researched it many dictionaries and other sites and i came to understand it somewhat but not completely. I understand it in questions of this sort , “Wobei ist denn das passiert?” But there are statements which use wobei to state an exception or disadvantage or something of the sort(for eg, Wobei ich sagen muss, dass es auch Ausnahmen gibt).
    I also looked up this topic on Stack exchange (http://german.stackexchange.com/questions/9073/usage-of-dabei-and-wobei)
    SO, what i am requesting is if you could explain wobei in detail and clarify the difference between
    während and wobei/dabei (in particular why wobei/dabei cant be used in the sentence: “Der Postbote kam, während ich außer Haus war”.

    • Good question actually. So … “dabei” is different from the other two in so far as that it is not an intro-word but just a box. “Wobei” and “während” can work like “weil”, “dabei” doesn’t.

      – Ich habe Fussball gespielt. Dabei [“Bei das”… simple box] habe ich mich verletzt.
      – Ich habe Fussball gespielt, wobei ich mich verletzt habe.

      The second one refers to playing soccer while at the same time being a relative sentence without an established entity. That must sound totally complicated :)… but if you read the post on “wo-words” it’ll be clear.
      As for “während” vs “wobei”… there difference is that “während” refers to nothing. It just marks whatever comes after it as happening at the same time as the action in the main sentence.
      “Wobei” on the other hand does this marking but it also, relative pronoun that it is, refers to something,

      – Während ich gegessen habe, habe ich Youtiube geguckt.
      – Ich habe gegessen, wobei [“during which”] ich Youtube geguckthabe.

      The second version is not idiomatic though. For simply time relations you’d usually go for “während”. “Wobei” is more about “at what acitivy were you” …

      – Wobei hast du dich verletzt?
      – What were you doing when you hurt yourself?

      “Während” would just ask for actions happening in parallel while “wobei” creates a closer connection.
      There are some abstract uses of “wobei” but in essence it’s always about “being at that thing/topic/activity”.
      Don’t know if that was clear :)… let me know if not.

      • doesnt dabei also create a closer connection as it also refers to an activity?

        • Not sure what you mean… like… connection between which elements?

          • connection between the activities happening.
            You said “Während would just ask for actions happening in parallel while “wobei” creates a closer connection”
            Isn’t the same true of dabei as well? for example
            Ich habe das Frühstück gemacht, wobei (bei das Frühstück machen) ich mich verbrannt habe.
            Ich habe das Frühstück gemacht. Dabei (bei das Frühstück machen) ich mich verbrannt habe.

          • Ah I see… yeah definitely. “Dabei” and “wobei” are both references, just with a different side job (being a box vs. being an intro-word) so they both create more connection.

            – Ich habe mich verbrannt, während ich Frühstück gemacht habe.

            In theory, this could mean that you burned yourself on the heater… so your burning yourself has nothing to do with the making breakfast other than that it happened at the same time… in practice of course people will hear a connection. But with “wo/dabei” it is built-in.

  181. I’d like to request an explanation of translations for the English word, “get” and it’s different uses. Particularly meaning, “to receive” or “to fetch,” and possibly other meanings that aren’t coming to mind at the moment. “Bekommen” comes to mind, but I’m not sure that’s always the most appropriate word to use.

  182. Hey emanuel greatly appreciated your clarification about wobei. I have another question which i would like to request an answer to.
    Whats the difference between wozu/dazu and wofür/dafür? Are they interchangeable?
    I have your posts regarding da and wo words so i know that there are many contexts in which they are not interchangeable. I mean, for example, in the sentence:
    Wozu ziehen wir mit ihr zusammen, wenn sie uns nichts zu essen macht?
    Can wofür be used here instead of wozu?

    • Well, if the preposition isn’t tied to a verb but rather just there to express the lose idea of direction, then you can interchange them (though one version might just be more idiomatic than the other).

      – Wozu/wofür brauchst du eine Zange?

      But if the verb demands the preposition, then you’d have to go with that

      – Wozu gehört diese Karte… good
      – Wofür gehört diese Karte … wrong

      because it is “gehören zu” and not “gehören für”
      Hope that helps.

    • I would use neither. In this case, you’d use “warum” or “weshalb”

      • To me (in the “zusammenziehen”-example), “wozu” is okay and “wofür” is not unheard of at least in spoken. That may well be a regional thing though. I feel like I hear this kind of “warum”-ish “wozu” quite a bit in Berlin.

  183. Maybe some day you could elaborate on one of my (American) husband’s favourites – “eben”. That’s a good one and very idiomatic!! Great blog, btw.

    • Oh definitely :)… it has been on the list forever. But it’s one of those monsters where I really have to feel completely energetic to do it (and I need a LOT of spare time which I can’t afford at the moment). But yeah… I’ll get to it eventually.

  184. I have a suspicion it’s one of those words you can never really fully explain to a non-native speaker ;-)

  185. Hi Emaniel, would you be able to do ‘aber’ for a word of the day? It is notoriously common and confusing and gives me headaches all the time!

  186. Hi Emanuel,

    Thank you so much for your incredible generosity and time in sharing all that you do here… it has helped me above and beyond.

    Mit Freundlichen grüßen,

    p.s. word of the day idea ::: eigentlich ;)

  187. Hey Emanuel, I was wondering if you could maybe elaborate on the different ways there are ‘to try’ things in English. Such as to try “probieren” a new kind of cheese or to try “versuchen” to do something. Especially with “versuchen”, I have problems conjugating this with “zu” in phrases such as “Ich versuche das zu machen”. I’m also not sure how you would conjugate “versuchen” in a past tense sentence. Anyways, I would be grateful for any attempt to elaborate on these uses! : )

  188. CarlosRoigBCN

    Hey Emanuel, fist of all, thanks for everything. You don’t just teach me german, but also you make me smile! I love your blog [and I’ve donated yet two times ;)] Secondly, I am not sure if you have talked about the word “ja”. I’m not sure of how to use it really, and looks like these words that you just use for reasons that I cannot understand… Thanks again!! Carlos

    • Ja!
      Definitely :). I even started the article a while ago but then I felt like it’s just not “ripe” yet. Sounds weird but sometimes I just have to let topics sit for a while and then one day it’s all easy. I think(hope) I’ll do it soon.
      Oh and thanks a billion for the donations. It really means a lot to me. This is kind of a job for me but I want to keep it free. And people like you show me that it’s not entirely impossible. Danke!!

  189. Not sure this would require an entire article, but I’m curious about the differences between a few causative conjunctions… specifically darum/deshalb/deswegen/daher. Are they all just used interchangeably, or are there subtle differences that warrant the usage of each? I get that it’s essentially citing the difference between “therefore…” and “that’s why…”, which is why I’m also curious which word gets the most mileage in terms of daily use. I mean in English, if you walk around saying “therefore” instead of “that’s why” all the time, it sounds a bit pretentious or awkward, at best. The same goes for something like “for that reason…” as opposed to “that’s why” in English… again, less common but here it’s likely because of the extra syllables it adds… for these German words, they’re all about the same (in terms of time required to say/pronounce), so that obviously doesn’t apply. Hopefully you can help me (and others) avoid making grammatically correct, yet awkward sounding, statements with these words. Thanks in advance!

  190. I personally love “hence”. Used it here in the US today, not sure they understood what I meant :-) But you’re right, there are subtle difference – I would probably not use “darum” or “daher” when speaking; “deshalb” und “deswegen” are pretty much interchangeable for me. Oh and to confuse you even more, “darum” also means “about” as in “darum geht es in diesem Buch” = “that is what this book is about” ;-)

  191. I’m quite a fan of your website. I keep it in my favorites since it helps me a lot see differences in some words in german. ^^

    I don’t know if can ask you something *I’m just gonna try* Is there a difference between “verrühren” and “mischen” ? (I know it means “mix” but maybe one is more about mix things while cooking and the other… like mix business and pleasure ?)

    Thank you in advance. ^^

    • “Mischen” in the most general term for “to mix” and it works for all kinds of contexts. But it’s also very unspecific. t sounds a bit empty, stale. In a cooking context I think people would go with “vermischen” or have some other indication of what get’s mixed where.
      “Rühren” is what you do with a spoon so “verrühren” is a somewhat slow mixing by spoon … so just like Kat said “to stir”… hope that helps :)

      • Oh ok, so when it’s about doing the action, it’s “Ich vermische das und das”, but in recipe (I’ve studied one for my translation lessons) “das und das gut mischen”, right ? *und somehow the same idea for rühren und verrühren ?*

        Thanks for the help, yeah, it really helps me. *really serious about learning german*

        Oh by the way, there’s an expression or idiom (I always forgot the difference) which I’d really want to understand : Es geht mir unter die Haut
        In english normally : it gets under my skin. The only problem I have with it, it’s that I’m not sure if it’s positive and negative or JUST positive and that song of Tim bendzko with that name, I like it =)

        • I don’t know much about recipe-lingo actually :D… I hate cooking with recipes because it NEVER turns out anywhere near what’s on the freaking picture and that drives me crazy. Also, I don’t like being told what to do in general.
          But yeah… I guess “mischen” could work in a book. Note that there are plenty other words in the kitchen context for that … like “unterheben”, “einrühren” “unter Rühren hinzufügen”. It’s kind of funny actually.
          As for “geht unter die Haut”… good question, and I’m actually not sure. I never use it, neither does anyone around me so I don’t have a feel for the scope. If I had to judge I would say that it’s more toward negative things or at least thrilling things (which can also be your crush saying the words). Not for pure joy though… like… “I got an A+ in the German exam. That really went under my skin”… doesn’t feel right to me. But I might be wrong.

  192. Verruehren is actually to stir (in), rather than mix, so that’s the difference in use. Mischen has a lot more meanings than (ver)ruehren. Hope that helps.

  193. Quick one for you, probably… could you explain what it means when dict/Duden/etc. make a notation for something, “besonders amtssprache”? What does it mean by especially in official languages? I’ve seen it listed on a few things, most recently “in Bälde.” I’m not really sure what they mean by that when they give you a basic phrase and tell you, “especially in official language.” Best guess is that it means it sounds rather stiff and… official, like you would hear it in an office building but not so much on the streets or between friends. Is that correct?

    • Yap, “Amtssprache” is the language used by the administrative bodies of a state…. very stiff, complicated, depersonalized wherever possible and objective as hell. The language in police reports borders on comedy.
      “In Bälde” for example just sounds heavier, more important and educated than “bald” and I think many a Prussian layman could be impressed or intimidated by this kind of lingo 150 years ago.

  194. This blog has made german really easy. Thank you. Could you please explain the meaning of treiben with its prefixed ancestors. Thanks in advance

  195. I appreciate this blog so much. Can you write and article on either the Demonstrative Pronouns(This, That, These, Those) or at least the difference between ‘Jeder’ and ‘Das’? Both mean ‘that’ apparently?

    • I’ll think about it :). As for “jeder” and “das” though…. “jeder” is more like “each/every”. I don’t think it’s ever translated to “das”. Do you have an example for that?

  196. Your article on noise-words was incredibly helpful and descriptive – I couldn’t find anything like it elsewhere. Could you please reconsider making that article on animal movements? :) Vielen Dank im Voraus!

    • Thanks, glad you like it :). With the animal movements, I actually took that as a joke but then again …. why not. I don’t think I know that many though…. like… what kinds of words would you be looking for?
      Also, if you have any other idea for these specials please please let me know. I haven’t been able to come up with anything cool recently but I think there’s a lot of styles to explore

  197. Can I order a word please? :) Or let me put it another way – I have a wonderful suggestion for you, in case you are exhausted all ideas for wonderful words to make an article about :) and the word is ….”holen”. With a hell bunch of prefixes which changes _completely_ the original meaning of holen. And a couple of “holen”s are really important, like einholen or nachholen (what is the difference?), uberholen, abholen, etc… and should be in top 100 verbs to learn, imho. Also meanings of several ‘holens’ like abholen money at cashier in supermarkets if you pay with card (is it abholen?) – are impossible to find on the internet. So I bet it will be a great Word Of The Day!
    I was actually even a bit surprised when I didn’t find this word on the site. Usually if I have a tricky word which you hear all the time on the streets with different prefixes and google translate doesn’t help much – I am sure, that if I go to this site I always can find this tricky word as Word Of The Day.

    • You’re totally right! “Holen” is super useful and important and interesting :). I have it on my list and I even made a draft but I felt like something was missing. I didn’t “feel” it. The only thing I did feel was that it was gonna be quite a monster post so nothing for summer :). But I’ll definitely do it, it’s a must have.

  198. hello! I’ve searched and searched for teh sense behing ‘zu-zum-zur in terms of when I would think, as an english speaker, ‘für’ should be there. For example, ‘Zum Mitnehmen’. A better example: Ich habe das Foto zu meinem Geburstag bekommen. Or: Machen Sie sich auf Ihrem Notizblatt Notizen zum Hauptteil.

    • *the sense behind.. :)

    • What exactly is it that you’re struggling with? When to use which … zu , zur, zum etc? Or why it’s “zu” and not “für”. Because if it’s the latter, there is no good answer. “zu” makes as much sense as “for”. When it comes to prepositions you rarely see a perfect match :)

  199. Hi Emmanuel, some of the animal movements I’m thinking of could be categorized by land animals (trotting, galloping, cantering, lumbering, wriggling, hibernating, snorting), sea creatures (hiding, scuttling, floating, leaping), and birds (flitting, flapping, soaring, swooping, diving, waddling, wading, migrating). I suppose some of these are animal behaviours rather than just movements.

    I’ll have to get back to you on ideas for styles. Cooking might be a good one. There are lots of instructions to recognize, lots of precise verbs to know… There must be many verbs and adjectives associated with all five of the senses when it comes to cooking. Plus it’s something we do everyday! Thanks.

    • Cooking is a nice idea, too. There’s definitely a large number of vocab. The only challenge is to have t be more than just a list of words. I’ll give it some thought for sure.

      • Cooking is quite hard I think. There are many different names for the same food (based on location in Germany).

        e.g. the “meatball” or “Frikadeller” (Not sure if this is the correct translation) is called:


        – Frikadellen (most used I think, you should get your order anywhere in Germany with this name)
        – Klops (East)
        – Buletten (Northeast)
        – Fleischbällchen (more or less official, but often mixed up with “Hackfleischklößchen”)
        – Fleischküchle (Bavaria, and some other parts of south Germany)
        – Hackfleischklößchen (little version used for soups)

        Furthermore the cooking in Europe is merged very closely, and it often needs further investigations to determine the origins of some food.

        e.g. you could also find the meatballs a little bit customized in scandinavian or slavic countries called “Köttbullar” and “Ćevapčići”.

        This is just one example for the complexity of this category. But I really like the idea, and your site too. Would be glad, if I could help with this, cause I am german and started an education as cook in earlier years. So I am no Expert, but I think I know a bit about it.

        Liebe Grüße :)

        • (ich schreib mal auf Deutsch, dann haben die Leute was zum üben :)… du hast auf jeden Fall recht, was die Speisen selber angeht. Das ist zu kompliziert und kleinteilig. Ich dachte bei der Kategorie eher an die wichtigen Verben… kochen, backen, braten, dünsten, schälen … an sich gibt es da hunderte, aber wenn man sich auf die wichtigsten 10 oder so beschränkt, könnte das ganz interessant sein. Ich glaube, ich mach das wirklich mal. Wenn du Ideen hast, immer her damit. Wenn du willst, kannst du auch einen Gastpost machen… falls du selber Blgger bist oder so. Auf jeden Fall danke für den Input. Ich finds immer toll, wenn auch Muttersprachler hier mitlesen.
          Liebe Grüße, Emanuel

        • Fleischpflanzerl :-)

  200. what is the difference between reisen and verreisen?

    • “Reisen” can be “travelling around” (from A to B to C to D) or it’s travelling in a more epic sense.
      “verreisen” is the more worldly version. Like “going on vacation”.
      Hope that helps

  201. hallo! zuerst einmal will ich dir dafür danken, dass du immer noch dieses Blog schreibst! Ich finde es total hilfreich! Ich habe aber auch eine Frage (und ich konnte leider nirgendwo finden, wo die besser hinpassen würde). Es geht um Sätze wie “who do you want to win?” Wie kann man solche Sätze übersetzen? Zuerst habe ich gedacht, dass es irgendwie so wäre, wie wenn man z.B. “who do you think will win” übersetzt. Aber es scheint mir, dass “want” ein bisschen anders ist, denn man kann mit anderen Sätzen einfach einen anderen Satzteil haben: “who will win, do you think?” – so was geht aber mit “want” gar nicht. Vielen vielen Dank!

    • Fuer wen haeltst du die Daumen / wer ist Dein Favorit / fuer wen bist du. But shouldn’t it be”whom” ???

      • danke! ‘für wen bist du’ habe ich auch gedacht aber ich wollte einfach wissen ob es möglich wäre, den Satz wörtlich zu übersetzen. und ich weiB es eigentlich nicht so genau, aber ich würde sagen dass es ‘who’ ist, weil wir über den Verein reden, DER es gewinnt, also nominativ. ich kann mir aber auch vorstellen dass ‘whom’ richtig ist, wie z.B. “I want him to win it”, aber ich könnte nicht sagen, ob das daran liegt, dass wir sehr selten das Nominativ benutzen, auch wenn es richtig wäre, oder daran, dass es in echt Akkusativ ist. Auf jeden Fall ist es ein interessanter Satzbau!

        • Nur ums noch mal diret zu sagen:

          – Who(m) do you want to win?

          kann man nicht direkt so übersetzen. Wir haben 2 Verben – want and win. Aber zwei unterschiedliche “agents”. (You want, who wins). Deshalb können wir keine “zu”-Konstruktion nehmen. Dafür müssten die Subjekte/agents gleich sein. Also bräuchten wir auf jeden Fall ein Introwort, um die Sätze zu verbinden. Deshalb

          – Wer willst du, dass er gewinnt.

          Leute sagen sowas (ich auch). Aber das ist ganz ganz schlechtes Deutsch.
          Bei der Aussage ist es übrigens nicht so schwierig.

          – I want him to win.
          – Ich will, dass er gewinnt.

      • Great suggestions. “Für wen bist du” might be the best. I was thinking more literally:

        – Wer willst du, dass er gewinnt? (NOT GOOD GERMAN but I do say that sometimes)
        – Wer soll deiner Meinung nach gewinnen?
        – Wenn es nach dir geht, wer soll gewinnen?

        But they’re all very long.
        As for “who” vs. “whom”… I think technically it should be “whom” but my experience with English is that a lot comes down to what’s idiomatic and what isn’t and this might be one of those cases :)

        • I’m assuming that “Wer willst du, dass er gewinnt?” is a typo as that is most certainly not proper German; I don’t even think “Wer willst du dass gewinnt?” would be, to be honest!! And I’m also pretty sure that “whom” would be correct, but a) this is not a forum on the English language and b) hardly any English native speaker knows how to use it anymore (which I personally think is a shame, but I think it’s a bit of a losing battle :-) )

          • It’s not proper, no doubt, but I have said this in my life before… more than once, as did friends of mine. You know, these instances where you’re lazy and you just start talking without thinking and then you’re like… “oh grammar, damn!”

          • Unfortunately, I know this only too well – having lived in English speaking countries for going on 8 years, I slip into Denglish a lot when speaking to German friends and family…

  202. anlügen and belügen are they used interchangeably?

    • They’re really pretty close. “anlügen” sounds a bit more like a one time lie while “belügen” is more for bulk lying. But that’s just my impression, for other native speakers it might be different

      • Yeah, I wouldn’t have said that…overall, I’d say “anluegen” is more common

        • They are exactly the same, and can be used interchangeably. While “anlügen” is more common in spoken language, “belügen” is it for the written language. Maybe thats causing the feeling “belügen” is the bigger one, and “anlügen” just a one time action. Just a view examples:

          “Du hast mich die ganze Zeit angelogen!” “Du hast mich die ganze Zeit belogen!”
          “Er hat sie alle angelogen.” “Er hat sie alle belogen.”
          “Politiker lügen uns an.” “Politiker belügen uns.”

  203. How can I register for the daily word by email?

    • There’s a little box in the bottom right corner that says “follow”. When you click it a form pops up where you can subscribe with your mail. It’s just a weekly word though :)

  204. Hallo, könntest du mal erklären, wie man richtig “beziehungsweise” benutzen kann?

  205. When can one use “erstmal” and when “erstmals”?

    • Erstmal = “first” (lass uns erstmal essen – let’s eat first), erstmals = “for the first time”, but I have to warn you, this sounds terribly old-fashioned to me, I wouldn’t use it :-). What a difference one letter makes, ey?

  206. I see the “follow” box but this is for new posts rather than for the weekly word. Any other suggestions?

  207. So if it’s not erstmals being outfashioned what should it be as “for the first time”?

  208. I would just say “zum ersten Mal”. But apparently, not everyone thinks it’s old-fashioned, so maybe it’s just me :-)

  209. Hi Emanuel, I have been reading your blog non-stop for a week! When I take short breaks for sleep, they are enriched/tainted by German-Is-Easy dreams/nightmares (imagine being surrounded by treacherous piles of verbs that keep multiplying rapidly with different prefixes until you are drowning).
    I have resolved to read every entry, but this task sometime seems as insurmountable as learning German. I wish I could somehow just “install” the whole thing into my brain, like in the Matrix. Though I am nowhere near “finished,” I have learned so much, and I think this site is a completely unmatched resource for learning connotation and common expressions. I contributed 20 American dollars a couple of days ago, but I’m starting to realize that I owe you much more than that. (Begins to undress…jk)

    But seriously, I think this blog should be boiled down to fit into a book at some point. I’d buy it! Just pour the whole blog into a pot and heat until 75% of the worstest jokes evaporate. (juuuuuuust teasing)

    Okay, so if I haven’t said it yet: thank you thank you thank you tausendmal. bye till soon

    • Worstest? LOL

    • Wow, someone is basically binge reading my stuff. That is crazy :). Thanks a lot for this awesome feedback. It’s really motivating, especially the undressing part… uhm… I mean the Biergeld :). Seriously, vielen lieben Dank!!
      As for the book… it’s too much for one book, even with all the meh-jokes gone. And boy are there many of those. When I read old posts now I sometimes fremdschämen myself for myself. My old self anyway, because nowadays every single joke is spot on… … … ahem :).
      Viel Spaß weiter hier beim Lesen und wenn du dich traust, schreib den nächsten Kommentar auf Deutsch.

  210. Hey Emanuel, I found the comparisons you are making introducing new words to be very helpful to catch the differences in similar words. Can you please introduce the “vermissen” and “verpassen” in the Word of the day section?
    Thank you in advance!

    • That’s an easy one to clear up. “vermissen” is about “missing object” because they’re not there.
      “Verpassen” is about missing “actions” as in you yourself are not there. That includes stuff like “the bus stopping at my station”

      – Ich vermisse den Bus.
      – The idea: I really wish the bus was here. I miss it.

      – Ich verpasse den Bus
      – I am too late to catch it.

      Lemmi know if that helps.

  211. Grüß Sie. Love your posts. They help me to improve my German. Loved the one on “doch” i read awhile back. Haven’t really checked the site out, but I’m going to. I really need a refresher on basics as I’ve had no one with whom to converse for a long time. I started talking to myself and my birds and writing my journals in a mixture of German and English to practice. Wanted to sign up for your posts. Vielen Dank für alles. Ich wünsche Ihnen alles Gut.

  212. Could you do “dabei”? Thank you, I love your blog!

  213. Very helpful

    • Ha… I just found this comment in the spam folder and only because the email address and name felt familiar because I had just read the mail with the donation before :). Thanks a lot for that. As for sending mails… I can’t add you to my mailing list manually because I’m at WordPress.com and it’s their functionality but there should be a (very) tiny black box in the lower right corner saying “follow” (or just a “+”). When you click it, it should enlarge and you should see a form where you can sign up with mail.
      Let me know if it doesn’t work and I’ll try to find a work around.
      Und nachmal danke

  214. Hi Emanuel :) Zuerst muss ich Ihnen sagen, dass ihre Website mir sehr sehr sehr geholfen hat. Ich habe Ihre Webseite allen meinen Freunden vorgeschlagen, die Deutsch lernen, und sie finden sie auch sehr hilfreich.

    Nun zur Frage… Ich bin nicht ganz sicher, wann ich ‘sowie’ und ‘sowohl… als auch’ benutzen soll. Ich habe gedacht, beide konnte benutzt werden, um ‘in Addition to/ as well as’ zu sagen. z.B. habe ich das Folgende in meine Aufgabe geschrieben:

    ‘Man könnte glauben, dass die deutschsprachigen Länder nicht so stark von Australien unterscheiden – beide haben ein florierendes sowie starkes Wirtschaftssystem, einen hohen Lebensstandard und eine ähnliche Regierungsstruktur.’

    Mein Lehrer hat mir gesagt, dass hier ‘sowie’ nicht benutzt werden kann und dass, ich ‘sowohl… als auch’ benutzen sollte. Jedoch habe ich den Grund dafür nicht verstanden.

    Danke für Ihre Antwort :)


    • Hey Matt,
      seufz… manche Lehrer sagen zuviel. Mich würde mal interessieren, wie er oder sie darauf kommt.
      Es gibt keinen grammatischen oder inhaltlichen Grund. Das einzige, was gegen “sowie” sprechen könnte, ist Stil. Aber sowohl als auch ist da nicht schöner:

      – … sowohl ein florierendes als auch ein starkes System
      – … ein sowohl florierendes als auch starkes System

      Die erste Version geht gar nicht, da sie so klingt, als hätte man zwei Systeme.
      Und das zweite ist einfach unnötig lang und kompliziert.
      “sowohl… als auch” wird normalerweise benutzt um eine Paralellität zu unterstreichen.

      – Ich habe sowohl die Küche ALS AUCH das Bad geputzt.

      Hier soll es kommunizieren, wie viel das ist.
      In deinem Beispiel geht es darum die Adjektive “florierend” und “stark” zu verbinden. Die sind sich im Kontext von Wirtschaft meiner Ansicht nach aber VIEL zu ähnlich. Kann man ein florierendes Wirtschaftssystem haben, das nicht stark ist? Die Verwendung von “sowie” oder “sowohl als auch” klingt so, als ob einfach jemand auf Krampf nicht “und” schreiben wollte.

      Vielleicht meint dein Lehrer, dass man “sowie” im Sinne von “so stark wie florierend” missverstehen kann. Ja, kann man bestimmt. Aber man kann ALLES missverstehen, wenn man will.

      Ergo: ich sehe keinen Grund, warum “sowie” nicht gehen sollte. Und wenn es stilistisch nicht geht, dann geht “sowohl… als auch” auch nicht.

      Hast du mal gefragt, warum das nicht geht?
      Danke übrigens dafür, dass du meine Seite weiterempfiehlst.

  215. Hi Emanuel
    Ich habe deine nützliche Seite über verweisen und hinweisen schon gelesen
    aber hätte eine Empfehlung:
    weisen und seiner Nachwuchs, aus|weisen, hin|weisen, auf|weisen, nach|weisen, beweisen, verweisen, zu|weisen, zurück|weisen.

  216. Can you please clarify the word Leistung/Leistungen (plural can be something different, wright?). It used in million different way, I have a feeling. Danke.

    • German-is-easy

      Yeah, Leistung is on my to do list. As a quick fix think of it as “work delivered in a certain amount of time”. That should fit most contexts.

  217. Hello Emanuel, if I may call you such. I am ever grateful to you for the work you have done creating this amazing resource. While it seems monumentally presumptuous to ask any more of you, perhaps you would find it an interesting challenge to solve for us the deep mysteries of the word “bei” and its even crazier relative “dabei”. To help with my “Sprachgefühl” I frequently put on a Schlager playlist while I do my morning exercises and every single phrase I catch with the word “dabei” in it seems quite untranslatable, or at least when I get round to looking it up it means nothing like what I took it for. I know you have done an article on the “da-words” but it did not cover “dabei” specifically and I can’t find “bei” having been covered at all. Thank you in advance and keep on truckin’!

    • German-is-easy

      I’ve been thinking about doing single takes on some of the da-words for a while and “dabei” is worth a look for sure. As for “bei”… I want to do prepositions at some point but that’ll be a while still so …what is it that you have trouble wrapping your head around. Maybe I ca clear that up here.

  218. An article on prepositions would be awesome! I can imagine it being a 10-parter or something.

    Until then let’s see if I can illustrate my problem with “dabei” which, now I’ve been thinking about it during my high impact schlager workout, seems perhaps soluble.


    1. (From a children’s Christmas song on Yabla.com about baking cookies):

    “Heute wird gebacken! Und ich bin auch dabei”

    For now let’s say “dabei” accords to it’s basic translation (per Google Translate) of “there”. The above line translates literally to

    “Today is baking! And I am there too”

    Yabla.com however translates that last bit rather sweetly to “And I am doing it too”

    and so next

    2. (from Brunner and Stelzer’s “Arche Noah”)

    “Komm wir laden dich ein, dabei zu sein”

    Seems to me to be saying “come we’re inviting you to be there”

    Google Translate says that “dabei zu sein” means “to take part”. I said “hmm…” quite a lot after reading that.

    and lastly

    3. (from “Wer das Leben liebt” by the Cappuccinos)

    “Wer das Leben liebt, ist ganz vorn dabei”

    I could only think this meant “(he) who loves life is there at the very front”

    Google Translate says “ist ganz vorn dabei” means “is on the front line”

    Having considered these three in juxtaposition, a pattern emerges. It’s like “dabei” really does mean “there” like Google Translate would have you believe but, more specifically, “there” in the sense of “actively there”, like helping out with the baking, mucking in with the creation of a better world while sailing to a distant shore or with the dirty fighting at the front line of loving life.

    Am I on the right track here?

    I think my difficulties must stem from the difficulty of translating “bei” and I’m guessing Germans learning English must find it similarly difficult the other way round. I know our Hessian au pair is always saying “by” when she really means “at”, “with” or “in”.

    Thanks in advance once again :D

    • German-is-easy

      Yeah, I used to make the same mistakes. German and English bei/by really have deviated quite a lot from each other. The core of the German “bei” is “in the close vicinity/proximity”. Used with locations that have “no door” (like people) or activities (beim Essen).

      – Ich bin bei meiner Schwester.
      – Ich habe ein Buch (da)bei.

      In examples like the ones you gave, it means that you’re present/there, be it actively involved or just as a bystander.

      – Wir fahren zum See. Bist du dabei?
      – We’re going to the lake. You’re in/with us?

      – Brangelina haben geknutscht. ich war dabei.

      The first example is more about taking part, the second is clearly about being an eye witness.

      – Wir laden dich ein, dabei zu sein.

      This could be either. You really can’t tell unless you know what they’re up to. The last example could be thought of as a fixed expression.

      – vorne mit dabei sein

      It does mean pretty to be on the forefront but again… it can be an active role or more a witness role depending on what’s going on. In context of life, it means that you’re doing extreme, intense things… ganz vorne is not where the comfort zone is.
      So… there’s not the one translation for it. “Ich bin dabei.” can be anything from “I’m in” to “I’m there watching”.
      Hope that helps.

      • Ich habe heute auch genau die “bei” Frage. Ich habe solchen Satz geschrieben, “Aber ich war tatsächlich beschäftigt mit meiner Berwerbung einer Schule.” Dann kriege ich die Korrekt: “Aber ich war tatsächlich mit meiner Bewerbung bei einer Schule beschäftigt.” Dort weiß ich nicht, warum der Genetiv umsetzt werden soll?

        vielen Dank im Voraus!!

        • German-is-easy

          Wenn du den Genitiv verwendest, dann zeigt der, wem die Bewerbung gehört.

          – Ich lese die Bewerbung des Mannes.
          – I read the application of the man.

          – Ich war mit meiner Bewerbung der Schule beschäftigt.
          – “I was busy writing my application of the school.”

          Ich würde den Satz so verstehen, dass die Schule sich bewerben will und du bist die Sekretärin und schreibst die Bewerbung.
          Ich persönlich fände “für” besser als “bei”. Man sagt zwar “sich bei x bewerben” aber man sagt “die Bewerbung ist für” und nicht “die Bewerbung ist bei”.
          Hoffe, das hilft.

  219. Thanks Emanuel, yes it does help. I guess the meaning in any particular circumstance will become clearer to me as my ability to decipher context improves, but at least now I have a greater appreciation of the possibilities.

  220. Hallo Emanuel, ich möchte hier eine Frage stellen. Ich habe das Wort “während” hier gesucht und nur eine Erklärung in einem Kommentar herausgefunden. Aber es gibt um während bzw. wobei. Ich möchte wissen, wie kann man “während” und “in” unterschieden? Ich habe Duden in nachgeschlagen, aber still verwechselt. Danke danke!

    • German-is-easy

      Also “währen” vs. “wobei”: “wobei” ist ein Relativpronomen und heißt soviel wie “during which event”. “Während” ist “while”. Beide drücken Gleichzeitigkeit aus, aber die Grammatik von beiden ist verschieden.Ausserdem sind bei “wobei” beide Aktionen verbunden, bei während nicht unbedingt.

      – Ich lese, wobei ich fernsehe. (KEIN SCHÖNER SATZ!)
      – Ich lese, wobei du abwäschst.
      – Ich lese, während du abwäschst.

      The second one sound like my reading is the background music for your doing the dishes. Wir sind im selben Raum. Im Dritten sind wir einfach nur zeitlich parallel.
      Lass mich wissen, ob das hilft.

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