Word of the Day – “treten”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day, this time with a look at the meaning of

treten

 

And of it’s maney prefix version.
“I think you meant ‘many’, right?”
Erm… no, I meant maney. Like a mane.
Like here. 
“You really spent time on Photoshop to make this, Emanuel?!”
Yeah, it’s a brand new mind map technique I learned in a workshop this weekend. It’s called “visualionzation”. Amazing, right?
Anyway, are you ready step into the world of treten?
Then let’s go… 

Treten is the German brother of the English verb to tread and together with words like trample, trampoline or the German word for staircase, die Treppe, they come from the absurdly ancient Indo-European root *der.
Wanna venture a guess about the core idea? It was simply walking, making steps.
Treten and tread have stayed rather true to that, but while to tread became kind of a niche word, treten is super super SUUUPER common. Because not only is it THE word for tread AND step, it’s also the word for kicking.
Not to far fetched, I think. It’s just the intent that’s different. The motion is kind of similar for stepping and kicking. You bring your foot forward. Well, unless we’re doing roundhouse kicks. But who does those anymore these days… Chuck, we miss you.
Anyway, the context will usually make it clear whether it is to kick or to step. Let’s look at some examples…

  • Die Prinzessin tritt auf den Balkon.
  • The princess steps onto the balcony.
  • Was macht ein Fahrrad-Chef? Ganz einfach: nach oben buckeln, nach unten treten.
  • What is it a bicycle-boss does? Very simple: truckle upward (bend the back), kick downward.
  • Thomas ist in Hundescheiße getreten.
  • Thomas stepped in dog shit.
  • Thomas hat vor Wut so doll gegen den Baum getreten, dass er sich den Zeh angebrochen hat.
  • In anger, Thomas kicked against the tree so hard that he fractured his toe.

The noun for treten is der Tritt but… you know how it is with German and English.

“What do we do for nouns?”
“I don’t know. I was just gonna use step again.”
“Hmmm…. okay, I’m gonna make Tritt NOT the translation for step then but only for kick. For step I’ll use the noun of schreiten. And I’m not gonna use schreiten itself.”
“Hahah man, they’ll hate you.”

And so it was. Der Tritt is the kick and for step German says der Schritt.

  • Maria gibt Thomas unter dem Tisch einen Tritt.
  • Maria gives Thomas a kick under the table.

Aarrghhhh, the cringe. It’s too strong. I shouldn’t have done this.
Anyway, while we’re at kick… in English, there’s also the metaphorical kick. No so in German. Tritt is really only a kick with the foot, while the metaphorical kick is … der Kick. How creative!
Cool.
So that’s treten. 
Now, let’s take a look at the prefix versions. Aka … the horde.
Seriously, there are quite a few and they’re super useful.
Let’s start with most crazy one.

eintreten

Like most , eintreten works with both ideas of treten – stepping and kicking. For kicking, the meaning is unusually literal.

  • Die Polizistin tritt die Tür ein.
  • The police officer kicks in the door.

But with stepping, we’re back to the twisted “prefix-normal”. Which means that the verb twists the idea in various way while kind of tip toeing around the most straight forward meaning.
Eintreten taken literally would be to step in or in one word: to enter (by making a step).  Eintreten does carry that meaning BUT it’s rarely used and sounds kind of lofty. Probably because eintreten has so many other meanings. What’s useful is the noun der Eintritt which is entrance in a financial sense… like tickets and stuff. “Wait, you just said that Tritt only meant kick… ”
Well, that was just for the stand alone. With a prefix, Tritt works fine as step.
“Oh… “

  • Ich habe Maria eine Eintrittskarte für das Museum geschenkt.
  • I gave Maria a ticket for the museum as a present.
  • Eintritt frei.
  • Entrance/admission free.

So, eintreten is not used much in the sense of actually setting foot inside of something. But as I said… prefix verbs like to twist and bend things. And eintreten is super common for more abstract “enterings”.
For example in contexts of joining parties, clubs or societies.

  • “Herr Präsident, warum sind sie damals als junger Mann in die Feministische Partei eingetreten.”
    “Ganz klar um Frauen kennenzulernen.”
  • “Mr. President, why did you join/enter the feminist party back then as a young man.”
    “Clearly, to get to know women.”
    (beitreten+etwas is another option here. It might be a bit more common actually)

And if you’re now like “Tssss… this isn’t too twisted.”, well then what if I told you that eintreten also mean to happen, to take place. Yup, another one. I guess there’s so much happening in the world, passieren, geschehen, stattfinden, sich ereignen and vorkommen just weren’t enough. We needed eintreten. Half a dozen words. Great job, German. Most verbose language on the freaking planet.
Anyway, the idea behind it is simply that something “steps into reality” and the context you find it in are predictions becoming reality.  So you wouldn’t use it for just random events.

  • “Und? Wie lief dein Date?”
    “Alles ist so eingetreten, wie das Einhorn vohergesagt hat.”
  • “And how’d your date go?”
    “Everything happened as the unicorn had foretold.”

Because of this notion of predictions becoming reality, it’s more useful than the bookish geschehen and sich ereignen. But still, it’s not THAT useful.
And I guess because it’s not THAT useful, there was room for yet another not that useful  meaning, right German.
“Spot on! That’s what I was thinking.”
So German, tell us,  what’s the last meaning for eintreten?
“It is to step up for, in the sense of ideals and similar things.”
So it’s like sich einsetzen für.
“Well, that one is reflexive and there’s a subtle differ… .”
Oh, we don’t have time for that, sorry.
Gotta get to the examples.

  • Maria tritt für ihre Ideale Türen ein.
  • Maria steps up doors for her ideals.

Wait… stepping up doors?! That doesn’t make sense in Engl … oh… wait, it’s actually pun’o clock.
Good thing movin’on’oclock comes right after that :).

austreten

Aus is the direct opposite of ein (in a locational sense), and so it’s no surprise that one of its meanings is to leave in the context of parties, clubs and societies.

  • Seit dem Interview sind viele aus Protest aus der Feministischen Partei ausgetreten.
  • Since the interview, many have left the party in protest.

Another non-surprise is that this isn’t the only meaning.
You’re ready? It also means to kick out in context of horses, to extinguish a fire by stepping on it and – get a load of this – leaking for liquids and gasses. In German these things “step out” of a container. Seriously German, I have no words for this.
“Well, I do. It’s austre…”
Oh whatever, just gimme an example…

  • Wie durch ein Wunder ist bei dem Tankerunfall kein Öl ausgetreten.
  • Miraculously, no oil leaked “stepped out” at the supertanker accident.

The last non-surprise is that austreten does absolutely NOT mean to step out in a literal sense.

  • Ich trete im Garten aus.

This might look like you’re stepping out into the garden, but what it really means is you take a dump in the garden. Yup, you heard that right. Austreten is a tactful option for taking a dump, and it was coined back in the day, when people actually did have to step out to do that. It’s getting a bit out of fashion, though. At least I don’t see it that much these days.  I just wanted to mention it because it has to do with feces and those are always funny.
Oh man … what is wrong with me today. Let’s move on.

auftreten

The most literal meaning of auftreten has is capturing the moment of putting your foot down, like… in the literal sense of putting down your actual foot, not the proverbial putting a foot down.

  • Mein Arzt sagt, meine Kreuzschmerzen kommen davon, dass ich falsch auftrete.
  • My physician says, that my back pain comes from the fact that I put my foot down the wrong way.
    (Can I say “tread” here? Help please :)

But that’s about as useful as a sprained ankle.
What makes auftreten really useful and a word you’ll definitely see  is the idea of going onto some kind of stage. It has a pretty broad range, from music shows to how you present yourself, but I think it’s always clear when you see it.

  • Thomas tritt im Zirkus auf.
  • Thomas appears/performs at the circus.
  • Wegen einer Grippe hat die Band den Auftritt abgesagt.
  • Because of a flue, the band canceled the show.
  • Maria hat ein sehr selbstbewusstes Auftreten.
  • Maria has a self-confident demeanor.
    (she carries herself in a confident manner)
  • In der Region treten oft Erdbeben auf.
  • In that region, earth quakes occur (“appear on stage”) very often.

Cool.

Now, so far all the ones we’ve looked at were separable. But of course, there are some non-separable ones, too.

vertreten

I feel like, I keep saying that the whole time but … this one is super uber useful.
And it’s surprisingly clear. If you’ve read my article on the ver-prefix, you’ll know that ver- can carry four notions. But here, it only carries one… the idea of for. So, literally vertreten means “to step for”.
It’s kind of the same idea as eintreten in the sense of stepping up for, but vertreten is MUCH more useful. Because it works for all kinds of contexts… representing and defending ideas, representing people, representing products. Heck, represent is a good translation actually. But let’s look just at some examples…

  • Maria hat ihren Standpunkt beim Meeting gut vertreten.
  • Maria defended/represented her position/point of view well at the meeting.
  • Um sechs aufstehen halte ich für vertretbar. 
  • I find getting up at six tenable/acceptable.
  • Thomas tritt dem Versicherungsvertreter aus Versehen auf den Fuß.
  • Thomas accidentally steps on the insurance sales rep’s foot.
    (is that idiomatic English?)
  • Die Klasse nimmt den Vertretungslehrer nicht ernst.
  • The class doesn’t take the substitute teacher seriously.
  • Politiker werden gewählt um das Volk zu vertreten.
  • Politician get elected to represent/stand in for the people.

Hmm… some of you might know that ver- can also carry the idea of away. So politicians vertreten could technically be understood in a different way. But it’s not pun’o’clock anymore, so let’s move right on.
And with the article almost finished, we actually have to set foot into… grammar land.

betreten

Be- carries the notion of “do onto” and one effect of that is that it does away with the need for prepositions that indicate direction and having a direct object instead a prepositional blah blah blah… so much Latin. Here’s what I’m trying to jargon…

  • Ich trete in den Raum.
  • Ich betrete den Raum. 

Both sentences mean that you enter the room, they’re just using different grammar to express that.
As we mentioned in the beginning, treten in isn’t used that much in sense of entering spaces.  But that’s different for betreten. Like many be-verbs it does sound a tad bit technical and dry, but you can definitely find it in daily life, especially in formal or scripted contexts.

  • Wenn Maria das Büro betritt, hören alle auf zu arbeiten und verbeugen sich.
  • Whenever Maria enters/sets foot into the office, everyone stops working and bows.
  • Betreten verboten!
  • No trespassing.
  • Mit dem Mac-Vegan betritt McDonalds neues kulinarisches Terrain.
  • With the Mac Vegan, McDonalds sets foot into new culinary territory.

And that’s it for betreten.
And for today. Yeay.
Yes, there are still more prefix version of treten (zutreten, übertreten, nachtreten, vortreten, zertreten) but I think you have a good idea of what can be done with the verb and you can figure them out yourself :).
And if you do have a question about them then we’ll just talk about it in the comments.
So that’s it. This was our look at treten and its many versions. If you have any questions or suggestions or if you want to try out some examples, just leave me a comment.
I hope you liked it and see you next time.

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vvv-ooo-vvv
vvv-ooo-vvv
2 months ago

So I’m a bit confused… you mention the noun “der Tritt” is used only for a kick… but Duden gives this as its first definition:

(besonders beim Gehen) das einmalige Aufsetzen eines Fußes

also if you do a websearch for Tritt it comes up with pictures of steps (things you step on to reach higher). I was expecting lots of pictures of karate kicks.

Am i missing something?

vvv-ooo-vvv
vvv-ooo-vvv
2 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Thanks for getting back to me.. .. Yeah, I figured Schritt was probably way more common – even with my fairly limited german i’d heard the word Schritt many times but i’d dont recall hearing “Tritt” used.

I simply judge based on how I use them as a native speaker and I never use Tritt for an actual “step”.

I mean, this is basically the beauty of this blog – that its based on a how a native speaker personally experiences the language – something that you just simply cant get from dictionaries…

Yeah, I’ve found image search is a very good quick way of getting a sense of how a word with multiple meanings (or meaning that are a bit unclear) is most commonly used.

vvv-ooo-vvv
vvv-ooo-vvv
2 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

good point, very true…

vvv-ooo-vvv
vvv-ooo-vvv
2 months ago

One comment on “putting ones foot down” – I associate this so strongly with the idiom “to put ones foot down” i was a bit confused at first as i’m not used to it in an literal sense. Its used to mean “to assert authority”. In slang it also can mean to go max speed in a car e.g. putting the foot down on the accelerator (see also “to floor it” e.g. “she was running late for work so she floored it all the way there” i.e. the pedal touches the floor of the car).

shucaomo
shucaomo
5 months ago

What is the German translation of “kick the bucket”?

sc42
sc42
29 days ago
Reply to  Emanuel

It means to die. This is the origin of the phrase “bucket list” – a list of things you want to do before the kick the bucket.

Ubungmachtdenmeister
Ubungmachtdenmeister
28 days ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Sounds more like to give up the spoon to me, also very odd as with the English idiom.

PeterB
PeterB
1 year ago

I’m assuming it should be “vorhergesagt” in “Alles ist so eingetreten, wie das Einhorn vohergesagt hast.”

Pepe
Pepe
1 year ago

Hi Emmanuel,

Ich habe eine kleine Frage zum Verb ‘eintreten’.
Gemäss ‘https://www.dwds.de/wb/eintreten’ ist die erste Bedeutung ‘hineingehen’. Unten gibt es einige Beispiele und zwar:
‘wollen Sie bitte hier eintreten!’
Mein Zweifel ist: warum wird ‘hier’ anstatt ‘her’ benutzt?
Meiner Meinung nach gibt es eine Bewegung und deswegen muss ‘her’ verwendet werden.
Kannst du mir bitte diesen Zweifel erklären?

Vielen Dank,
Pepe

Pepe
Pepe
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Hi Emmanuel,

Ja, das hilft mir sehr. Vielen Dank für die Erklärung.

Ich habe noch ein paar Frage. Gemäss dein Eintrag zum Thema ‘hin’ und ‘her’ kann man diese Wörter als Partikel benutzen.

Zum Beispiel:

– Kannst du hier herlaufen
– Kannst du hierher laufen
– Kannst du herlaufen
– Kannst du her laufen

sind alle diese Beispiele grammatikweise korrekt?

Wenn ja, dann könnte ich dieselbe Logik verwenden:

– wollen Sie bitte hier eintreten
– wollen Sie bitte hierher eintreten
– wollen Sie bitte hier hereintreten
– wollen Sie bitte hereintreten
– wollen Sie bitte her eintreten

Vielleicht sind meine Frage ein bisschen dumm aber ich bin immer noch ein bisschen verwirrt darüber.

Ich danke dir im voraus für deine Hilfe und Unterstützung!

Pepe
Pepe
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Hallo Emanuel,

vielen vielen Dank für die Erklärung :) Ich denke, dass ich damit fast und relativ gut das Thema verstanden habe.
Trotzdem habe ich eine letze Frage :D:

Die Abklärungen “sie sind beides Richtungen” und die “Gravitation” sind die Schlüssel. Deswegen weiss ich jetzt folgendes:

  • kannst du herkommen? (das ist ok)
  • kannst du her kommen? (das ist komisch)
  • kannst du hereinkommen? (das ist ok)
  • kannst du herein kommen? (das ist komisch)
  • kannst du her einkommen? (das ist falsch)

So weit so gut, aber hier habe ich die letze Frage:

In deinem Eintrag “https://yourdailygerman.com/german-hin-meaning-use/” hast du dieses Beispiel:

  • Ich jogge immer her.   (I always run here.)

also, in einem Relativsatz wäre das:

  • dass ich immer her jogge

Und es gibt auch andere Beispiele, wo ‘hin’ und ‘her’ alleine sind. Aber ich stimme dir zu, dass dies Ausnahmen sind:

  • Es ist 3 Jahre her, dass ich in Paris war

Deswegen ist meine Frage: wenn du “Aber alleine ist es fast nie.” sagst, dann meinst du, dass ausser den Ausnahmen, muss ich zum Beispiel “her” und “jogge” zusammen schreiben?

  • dass ich immer herjogge

Laut Google Translate (https://translate.google.com/?hl=en&tab=TT#view=home&op=translate&sl=en&tl=de&text=that%20I%20always%20jog%20to%20here) ist das:

  • dass ich immer hierher jogge

Meine Analyse der drei Alternativen ist:

  • dass ich immer her jogge (das ist komisch: weil ‘her’ alleine steht)
  • dass ich immer herjogge (das ist falsch: weil ‘herjoggen’ kein offizielles Verb ist)
  • dass ich immer hierher jogge (das ist ok: weil ‘hierher’ gut klingt

Und diese Situation ist dieselbe mit vielen Verben (ich kopiere etwas her, usw.)

Vielen Dank nochmals,
Pepe

Pepe
Pepe
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Hi Emanuel,

Many thanks again for the prompt and detailed response.

I do agree that Google Translate is really bad when it comes to idiomatic expressions. I just use as a last resort :)

To reply your question about: “Where did you read that “her jogge” is actually correct and the other one isn’t?”

I have been learning Germans for 6 months already and I quickly realized that it is a really smart language. And when I say that I mean that it follows logic and mathematics some how.

Anyway now I see more that instead of Mathematics or a Lego like language, german is more like physics (light can behave as particles or as wave, and ‘her’ can behave as a prefix or as an adverb, maybe I exageratted but I feel it like that ahahaha)

Therefore I just followed logic with the relative sentences and moved the verb to the end and voila “… her jogge”. But then you mentioned the fact that “her” cannot stay alone by itself, at least most of the time, and the idea of Gravitation + the same happens with trenbaren Verben. As a consequence I agree with you again that all together does it justice, although it feels a bit weird writing it together when.

Actually you really helped me to understand the inner workings of this at a good extent, which I feel happy and confident now. Many thanks for that !

And yes, with “sein” it would be super weird to write all together with any other word.

Out of curiosity and I do know that on my questions, I made for sure a lot of mistakes in German and even more errors while trying to be idiomatic, but still I would like to super briefly and quickly know, which part (and let’s avoid the fact that I am asking questions to learn German) of the texts made you realise that ‘ok this guy, really cannot be idiomatic in german’, so let’s better switch to English haha. I know it sounds silly but it would help me to improve.

Finally I would like to thank you again for your amazing work here and I am waiting super anxious that you write a book with all your articles and even a book series. Sometimes it takes such a geniality and intelligence to explain in simple words complex rules and funnily enough not many teachers can explain or justify their own language (like it is like that, there is no logic behind O_o).

Zuletzt möchte ich sagen, dass Deutsch kein Hexenwerk mehr ist und wir müssen uns bei dir dafür bedanken!

Louis Amiot
Louis Amiot
4 years ago

Ein anderes wichtiges Wort ist “zurück/treten”, das “to resign” bedeutet.

Expat
Expat
4 years ago

Two more uses came into my mind (I’m gonna try to combine them into one example):
“Der Präsident macht eine frauenfeindliche Bemerkung auf dem Parteitag der Feministischen Partei. Dann herrscht betretenes Schweigen, bis Maria verkündet, dass sie sich mal eben (draußen) die Beine/Füße vertreten müsse.”
(“The president makes a mysogynistic comment at the general assembly of the Feminist Party. There is an embarrassed silence until Maria announces that she needs (to leave the room) to go stretch her legs for a bit.”)

“betreten” in this case is mostly used in the phrase from above “es herrscht betretenes Schweigen” or when someone “schaut betreten zu Boden/zur Seite”, both meaning “embarrassed” and, in the latter, not wanting to make/maintain eye contact.

“sich (mal eben) die Beine/Füße vertreten”: That is also a fixed saying, I used it for Maria’s excuse that she “needed to get some fresh air” to escape the tension in the room, but it is usually used as a synonym for “talking a (short) walk”, for example when you’ve sat down for a long time, hence the “stretch her legs”. Not to be confused with “Ich habe mir den Fuß vertreten” (singular!) which means “I’ve sprained my foot”, although they are apparently related.

I hope that’s all correct, Emanuel. I couldn’t find out how the difference between “sich den Fuß vertreten” and “sich die Füße vertreten” developed :-/ Maybe you are more successful with your resources :-)

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
4 years ago

Question regarding the “austreten” example: “Seit dem Interview sind viele aus Protest AUS der Feministischen Partei ausgetreten.” Do we need the capitalized “aus” if we have “ausgetreten” at the end? Isn’t that like, one “aus” to many?

aoind
aoind
4 years ago
Reply to  Amerikanerin

The examples on Pons show the prepositional “aus” is required to mean exiting.

The examples without the preposition mean “to wear out”.

https://de.pons.com/%C3%BCbersetzung?q=austreten&l=deen&in=&lf=de

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
4 years ago

Nothing cringe-worthy about “kick under the table”. This is something you do to have a friend/spouse stop spewing out indelicate comments. Or something your spouse/friend does to you when YOU spew out embarrassing info about the host’s wife… You get it. It suggests reprimanding someone surreptitiously, while among people. There are other, friendlier actions that can be done with a foot, under the table but it requires taking off the shoe and being in close enough proximity to place your foot accordingly, but as far as I know, there is no term for that. Oder? Playing “footsie” insinuates flirting with the feet under the table, but the only “kicks” there are the “shits and giggles” kind, that is: I get a “kick” out of it, or I do it for the “shits and giggles”.

Amerikanerin
Amerikanerin
4 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Aha, a BJ – ok, no that doesn’t work with kick under the table. No doubt Thomas got a kick out of it, but it was a BJ under the table, not a kick. But good to know I don’t want to give anyone “einen tritt unter dem Tisch” – because it means BJ and not a literal kick with my foot to shut them up. Reminds me of when I first moved to Sweden – figured out that when I didn’t know the Swedish word, saying the English one with a “Swedish Chef” from the Muppets-accent would probably be correct. ‘Cept in this case it wasn’t – the Swedish word for slide show is “diabild” and not “slidbild” (slide show in English = slidbild in Swedish). Thinking “slidbild” would be correct for “slide show”, I invited a room full of board members and CEO’s to see pictures of my vagina. Nicht min hellster Moment in Schweden… I thought their reaction to the invitation was somewhat odd… I mean, honestly, it’s a slide show, what’s the problem? Imagine my dismay when I learned that I invited them to see pictures of my vagina and NOT a slide show. I would just like to go on record saying that there are no, nor ever have been, any pictures of my vagina, anywhere. Despite my invitation… Find myself fearful of using “kommen” without the “an” and refuse to ever discuss a dog’s tail (schwanz) in German and happy I don’t like milk so will never order a “latte”. Foreign languages are a minefield.

Anonymous
Anonymous
4 years ago

Hi! Just one question:

In this example it means to kick : Thomas hat vor Wut so doll gegen den Baum getreten, dass er sich den Zeh angebrochen hat.

And in this other example you translated it as to step: Thomas tritt dem Versicherungsvertreter aus Versehen auf den Fuß.

In the first is gegen + accusative and the second goes with dative.
So just trying to understand if the difference in meaning is because of the intention behind the action, aus Versehen vs gegen, or because of a different grammatical structure? How would you wrote that sentence so he kicks him accidentally (even though it would be hard to believe)?

Thanks!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
4 years ago

Loving this Emanuel . . . made me think of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niACZ7yIUMA

re kicking under the table – in English you only do that because you want to warn the person you’re kicking or tell them off for something. No connection with getting one’s kicks here!

and a small grammatical point:

“Und? Wie lief dein Date?”
“Alles ist so eingetreten, wie das Einhorn vohergesagt hast.”
“And how’d your date go?”
“Everything happened as the unicorn had foretold.”

had foretold would really translate as vorhergesagt hatte
But if you do a strict translation then ‘has foretold’ sounds as though the date has yet to happen. In English you’d probably just use the imperfect – as the unicorn foretold

(catch the typo ;-)

Lost in Desert
Lost in Desert
4 years ago

I would say “the way I plant my foot [feet]” in the one about back pain. I think this is one of the few places we use the verb “plant” in context of stepping, feet, or treading. Sports coaches used to use it with us a lot also…”be careful how you plant your feet when blocking, shooting”, etc. Tread has a bit of a formal feel to it for me (e.g. Boldly go where angels fear to tread….), etc.

Anonymous
Anonymous
4 years ago

having trouble believing that Hundescheisse translates to dog’s tail….

Alexander
Alexander
4 years ago

Kann man sagen?
Das Einhorn ist ins Fettnäpfchen getreten.

Ubungmachtdenmeister
Ubungmachtdenmeister
4 years ago

Here’s one for ya that I definitely come across regularly when accidentally visiting broken web pages and such like. Es ist ein Fehler aufgetreten. Im guessing here it is the happening/occurring disguise of auftreten here but wasn’t sure. The literal translation would probably be an error occurred. Fascinating stuff as always

aoind
aoind
4 years ago

Hi Emanuel. You’re on form with the silliness this week! You asked a couple of things there. A “kick under the table” is absolutely what you would say. You might also say “a dig” but that can apply to elbows too. I’m confused about the stepping up doors thing. What’s it a pun on? For the auftreten / tread thing I reckon I’d need to be a chiropractor to know the right phrasing there. Tread would probably sound a bit too imprecise though so something like “it’s the way I put my foot down / place my foot when I walk” is what I would scrape together trying to explain that. We also have “to pronate” but you have “pronieren” in German too. I think your flu-ridden band have an extra “hat” in their sentence. Lastly the insurance rep sentence is not right. The foot belongs to the rep and we would use the possessive to express that. “Thomas accidentally steps on the insurance sales rep’s foot”. You could say the “steps on the foot of the insurance salesman” but it sounds quite foreign like “the pen of my aunt”. Bis zum nächsten Mal! Tschüß!

aoind
aoind
4 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

A “kick under the table” is such a well known gesture to discreetly warn someone to shut their fool mouth (or stop being a dick in some other sense) that it could never mean anything else. Even as a heavily telegraphed innuendo people would wonder why you’d used such a fixed and unambiguous phrase.

I only know “pronate” because I’m a runner who’s had his gait and stride analysed on a treadmill when buying trainers. I suspect the same would apply to “pronieren”.