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to replace something
(Leans a bit toward the replacement being a "good replacement", while "austauschen" is more neutral and a mere one for the other.)
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Word Family

Root: *sed-

The core idea of this root was


Today, the majority of members of the family are about a somewhat broader sense of “putting down”.
Here’s a little (incomplete) overview:

  • to sit, seat (“sitting”)
  • saddle (“seat”)
  • to set (“putting down”)
  • settle (“sitting down for camping”)
  • soil (“where your settlement is”)
  • session (“the sitting”)
  • seance (“the sitting”)
  • siege (“sitting in front”)
  • sediment (“dust settling”)
  • possess (“sit on”)
  • obsess (“sit on, occupy”)
  • sedate, sedative (“settling”)
  • assist, assistent (Originally, a person sitting next to the judge)
  • assess (see “assist”, originally an assistant responsible for determining fines)
  • size (see “assess”)
  • cathedral (Originally, it was a scholar’s chair, the root is the “thed”- part)
  • chair (comes from cathedral)
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3 months ago

Hallo, Emmanuel! I think I understand the nuance between austauschen (more neutral, focus on the exchange) and ersetzen (more focus on the old -> new upgrade of something), but when I looked up how to talk about substituting ingredients in something (like butter for oil), ‘ersetzen’ was used.

z.B. Kann ich in diesem Rezept Butter durch Öl ersetzen?

To me, cooking ingredient substitutions are pretty neutral and would use ‘austauschen.’ What would you use more often in this context as a native speaker? (I’m a dietitian- this comes up often for me :)

Vielen Dank!

3 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Thank you! I’m starting to understand. But when you suggested a bike part as a use for austauschen, wouldn’t ersetzen be better because one would assume you are replacing part of a working system that has worn out?

I was thinking of ‘ersetzen’ as being more associated with an upgrade in quality as an old part wears out, but if is is used to describe ‘swapping out’ a part of a system, I can see how a recipe would be considered a ‘system’ of parts (where ingredients are the parts). Does this sound right?

It seems like ‘ersetzen’ is more common than ‘austauschen.’ Aside from student exchanges, what are some other common contexts for ‘austauschen?’ I see that ‘umtauschen’ is used for exchanging money/items in a store, etc, which is probably the most common use of a ‘-tauschen’ word in my daily life.

I find your site invaluable when it comes to learning context!! Thank you so much for all the work you put into it!

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