Happy New Year – Let’s get to work.

Written By: Emanuel Updated: January 4, 2024

Hello everyone,

and first off:

Frohes neues Jahr!!

Ich wünsche euch ein ganz tolles Jahr mit viel Freude, Liebe, Gesundheit, Abenteuer, Spiritualität und Entwicklung für euch.
Und natürlich viel Erfolg beim Deutschlernen!!!

And we’ll actually start the year off with a bit of leftovers. Yeay!!!
Because in the Advent Calendar, we had an exercise about the word lieber and how it’s used to express preferences. But we only covered half of the topic and then I completely forgot to finish and post the second part.
So today, as a quick starter, we’ll do the second part of the exercise for

How to use “lieber” in German

Which is actually the MAIN way to talk about your preferences. Not bevorzugen. Germans prefer using lieber.
Or to say it in German:

  • Deutschen verwenden lieber lieber.

And yes, this is a real sentence :).

If you want to read up on the “theory” of saying to prefer in German, you can find my article here:

How to say “to prefer” in German (bevorzugen, lieber, vorziehen)

I’d actually recommend you check it out again, if you’re unsure about what was in it.
And if you want to check out the first part of the exercise you can find here:

Using “lieber” – Speaking Practice (Advent Calendar 2023)

And just like that first exercise, so will this one be a practice based on you speaking.
“What?! Me speaking?”

 

Yes, you speaking!
It’s such an important phrasing for daily life, that it’s best to have your whole being learn it, body, mind and soul :). And not just some boring theory.

As usual, we’re using the epic pronunciation AI by EF, big thanks to them for letting me use it here.
And for those of you who are new, here’s a very quick primer of how it all works.
Feel free to skip it if you already know this type of exercise.

How it works

I’ll give you a bunch of sentences in English and you’ll have to speak them in German.
The AI will then give you a breakdown of how well your pronunciation was, word for word and in total. And you see the solution of course.

You can take as many recordings as you want, and listen to them. And there’s also my own recording for reference.
Let’s give it a try – just click record to start and click again when you’re done.

lieber
lieber

hint

My version:

If it doesn’t work, chances are that my site needs permission to access the microphone.
You can give mic-permission by clicking on the lock icon next to the URL.

 

There are some other issues with iOS devices that I am unable to fix (partially because it’s Apple’s problem), so if it still doesn’t work for you, try a different browser or device.
Still, it probably won’t work for some of you, so if it doesn’t, I’m sorry, but you can still do it as a translation exercise in your head or on paper.

Cool.
And now let’s get right to it.

How to use “jemandem lieber sein”

In the first part of the exercise, we looked at the phrasing lieber +verb

  • Ich arbeite lieber abends.
  • I prefer working in the evenings.

But there’s also the phrasing jemandem (Dative) lieber sein which is also a way to say to prefer, and this one is equally important in daily life.
Here’s an example:

  • Mir ist abends arbeiten lieber.
  • I prefer working late.

And the key thing here is this weird Dative that you might already know from other phrasings like “Mir ist kalt.”
It’s essentially “To/for me, XYZ is something something.”

And with lieber, we could say think of it as “To me, XYZ is more dear/preferable.” but in essence it means to prefer.
But now you give it a try.
Say this sentence in German using the mir-phrasing.

I prefer beer.
Mir ist Bier lieber.

hint

My version:

Great. Let’s do another one, again with the mir-phrasing.

I prefer Sushi today.
Mir ist heute Sushi lieber.

hint

My version:

And now, if we want to add the less preferred item, we can do that with als (than). Because at their core, these phrasings in German are a comparison. Careful now, because it’s not going to be “mir” any more ;).

She prefers wine over beer.
Ihr ist Wein lieber als Bier.

hint

My version:

Cool.

Now, one very common context for this phrasing is when people talk about the preferences for how or when something should be done. Like for instance when you talk with a friend about when you can meet for a beer.
And in these cases, it is actually really common to use the conditional. Just like in English pretty much, where you’d say “I’d prefer” instead of just “I prefer”.
Here’s an example:

  • Mir wäre morgen lieber.
  • I‘d prefer tomorrow.

And now it’s your turn:

I’d prefer next week.
Mir wäre nächste Woche lieber.

hint

My version:

Let’s try another one, one that’s a bit longer this time.

I’d prefer Wednesday, but Tuesday would also be okay.
Mir wäre Mittwoch lieber, aber Dienstag wäre auch okay.

hint

My version:

Sweet.

Now let’s try one where the perference is a whole sentence. Here’s an example:

  • Ihm wäre es lieber, wenn wir das heute machen.
  • He’d prefer it if we do that today.

And here’s your turn :)

I’d prefer it if we stay at home today.
Mir wäre es lieber, wenn wir heute zuhause bleiben.

hint

My version:

Cool!!
So that was a quick primer on how to make statements with this phrasing and all that’s left for us to do are questions, so let’s do some of those too.

And no, I’m not going to give you an example :).

Coffee or tea – what do you prefer?
Kaffee oder Tee, was ist dir lieber?

hint

My version:

Don’t worry if you didn’t get it. After all, what we do here is called learning, not knowing ;).
Let’s do another one.

When do you prefer – Monday or Tuesday?
Wann ist dir lieber, Montag oder Dienstag?

hint

My version:

And now let’s mix in that sweet sweet conditional, for 10% extra idiomatic-ness

When would you prefer – this week or next week?
Wann wäre dir lieber, diese Woche oder nächste Woche?

hint

My version:

And one last one

Would you prefer it if we meet this week?
Wäre es dir lieber, wenn wir uns diese Woche treffen?

hint

My version:

Yeah, the last one was tough because we didn’t really build toward it.

But hey… the point of these speaking exercises is NOT that you nail them all first try. The idea is that you come back to it a few times over a couple of weeks UNTIL you nail them all. Because that way, you have a chance that it just pops out naturally when you actually speak with native speakers.

All right. Now of course this was a short practice and not really complete.
So if you have any questions about this phrasing, please leave me a comment and I’ll try my best to clear it up.
Oh and another thing…. I was thinking about doing a kind of practice special for this January. So we’d do several exercises this month. Like for instance one for noun-verb combinations, like the one we did in the Advent Calendar, but bigger, and some other types as well.
Here’s a quick poll about it.

Should I abide by the results of the poll about Practice January?

View Results

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Oh… oh wait… that was supposed to be the second poll.
Here’s the real one:

Would you like to do Practice-January?

View Results

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So yeah… that’s it for today. Let me know all your questions about “lieber” in the comments, or just wish your fellow German learners some nice things for the new year. I hope you had a good start so far, have a great week and see you next time.

Oh… one more thing: 

There are only 5 more days for our crowdfunding for our card game (and webapp) for learning German prefix verbs. We’re fully funded, so we’ll definitely create and ship the game this spring.

If you’re interested and you want to get access to the webapp and the game as soon as we launch, you can still join till January 8th. You can find all the info on our Kickstarter page:

German Prefix Verbs – The Game – Kickstarter (fully funded presale)

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