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gehen

Meanings

1.
to go
(walking and sometimes also a generic word for going places. But NOT as broad as in English. You do not use "gehen" in combination with things that drive or fly.)
Opposite (closest): kommen
2.
to function, to work
(for electrical devices as well as plans)
3.
to be about
("gehen um" - used to tell the topic or theme of a movie, book, project or conversation.)

Examples

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Word of the Day - "gehen um"

A fun look at the meaning of "umgehen" and what "walking around" has to do with "handling". And also a look at the combo "gehen um" and why it's super useful.

Vocab:

gehen um, umgehen


Word Family

Root: *ghē-

The core idea of this root was:

going away, disappearing

This is also commonly considered the origin of to go but other relations are not certain.

The English to go is defective in the sense that it doesn’t have its own past tense form. And it hasn’t had one for more than a thousand years. Instead, it uses the form went, which is taken from the verb to wend. It’s unclear, why to go is defective.

German gehen does have its own past form, but according to German etymologist, the cluster of gehen is actually a combination of two families – one being the one of to go and the other being that of the word of English gang, which ironically was originally about making steps.

Yeah… I know… this was already a bit too nerdy. We’re here to learn German, not do science :)

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