Prefix Advent Calendar – 22


Today’s word is something you won’t do if you really don’t like your Christmas present – and no, it’s not freuen. You’ll definitely fake that :) 


Literally, behalten  means  “to inflict holding on something” and that isn’t too far from the actual meaning to keep. Behalten isn’t as broad as to keep, though. It is limited to a sense of “not giving away/back” so it wouldn’t work for stuff like “keep me updated” and it also wouldn’t work if the focus is on “not throwing away”, like with bills or old pictures. For that context aufheben is the better pick.
behalten is also for in context of memories and secrets.

das Behältnis – a box or something similar
der Behälter – the container, containing unit

  • Kann ich das Buch noch eine Woche behalten?
  • Can I keep the book for another week?
  • Maria kann nichts für sich behalten.
  • Maria cannot keep anything to herself.
  • (Das) kannst du behalten.
  • (You can) keep it. (for good).
  • Ich werde das im Auge behalten.
  • I’ll keep an eye on that. 

By the way, behalten is directly related to to behold which once also meant to keep before it shifted focus toward” to keep in sight”.

If you want to try out some examples, or if you have questions just leave me a comment.

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6 years ago

Ich wollte wissen, warum man alte Bilder nicht behalten kann, und wie man “aufheben” dafür benutzt. Bei linguee ( haben die meisten Bedeutungen etwas mit cancellation zu tun und ich war ganz verwirrt bis ich diesen Eintrag gefunden habe:

Vielen dank! Ich wünsche, Onlinewörterbücher Links zu deinem Blog hätten!

6 years ago

Thomas had a little lamb, it’s fleece was white as…………Christmas! Oops, wrong everything, ich habe zu viel Bier getrunken!

David Datica
David Datica
6 years ago

Merry Christmass Thomas! Thanks for the updates!

6 years ago

Probably the thing I find the most fascinating between languages is how 1 word can be translated in so many different ways when viewed from the perspective of the other language and vice versa. I’m not going to go into any examples because I lack the time but you know what I mean. I think mostly though the multiplication happens between any other language and German. Probably because its so much more precise. And that throws all us learners off the trail far too often. Keep up the good work oder mach weiter so. Vielen Dank. (which word means keep in that German phrase “Mach weiter so”?)

6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Oh. Tut mir leid. Es gibt Immer eine Kleinigkeiten bei mir.

Von meinem iPhone gesendet

6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Haha… das ist herzlos! Wie können wir lernen, wenn unser Lehrer Witze macht? :)