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Duden and other resources list both "benutzt", and "benützt" as valid but indicate that "benützt" is used regionally in Switzerland, Austria and southern Germany.

Are translations for Germany different to those for Switzerland and Austria? Is "benutzt" also accepted in Switzerland and Austria? Are there any reasons for this difference?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 12 down vote accepted

The "Atlas zur deutschen Alltagssprache" is both an awesome resource and dangerously fun to browse - I've wasted hours there.

They have the following distribution of the synonymous words "benützen" and "benutzen":

benutzen vs benützen

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Sehr interessant! +1 –  splattne Aug 22 '11 at 13:18

In swiss-german "brauchen" is normally used.

But if we're writing (or talking Standard-German for that matter) both are used. I think it depends a bit on the dialect the person speaks: for some "benutzen" will feel more natural for others its "benützen".

To answer your question, "benutzen" as well as "benützen" are understood and accepted in Switzerland.

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For me (Viennese), I use both words and they have a slightly different flavour for me. "benutzt" has for me the flavour of using something up. A used hanky would be "benutzt" not "benützt".

On the other hand, "benützt" is more about ongoing use or right type of use as in "Please don't use my towel as doormat."

Therefore, the fact that Viennese people will tend to say "Das kann man nicht mehr benutzen." does not imply at all that "benützen" is not used frequently.

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I remember riding a Bim a few years back and seeing some sign with "benützen" on it. Made me smile :-) –  Jan Dec 7 '11 at 16:20

I think in southern Germany and Austria "benutzt" is as valid and common as benützt. I would rather use "benutzt" (or "gebraucht") than "benützt". I'm from South Tyrol which is near Austria and Switzerland.

I wasn't sure about Switzerland, so I googled "benutztes original" site:ch" just to see if there are any web pages containing a typical part of small ads. In fact, it seems to be common in Switzerland too.

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Apart from the almost non-existent difference, I guess "benützt" would rather refer to a thing recently being used (like a tissue, cutlery) in contrast to "benutzt" referring to something used in the sense of "gebraucht" (e.g. a car, a children's toy). –  slhck Aug 21 '11 at 20:29
Personally I feel that "benutzen" sounds more official. "Benützen" just sounds wrong, even though it's not. –  Katharina Nickel Aug 22 '11 at 13:13

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