Questions about common expressions used in conversation and colloquial speech.

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21
votes
4answers
12k views

Kann man sich entschuldigen oder nur um Entschuldigung bitten?

Achtung: Folgende Frage könnte als Haarspalterei oder Spitzfindigkeit empfunden werden. Ich frage mich, ob der folgende Ausdruck sich entschuldigen eigentlich richtig ist. Man hört ihn sehr ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the German equivalent of the English “aka”?

In English, the abbreviation aka means "also known as". A literal German translation might be "auch bekannt wie". Is this, in fact, the correct German equivalent? And is the abbreviation ABW (or the ...
17
votes
6answers
2k views

“Toi, toi, toi” – was genau bedeutet dieser Ausdruck?

Ich habe gerade "Toi, toi, toi" gehört, und habe keine Ahnung, wie ich das nehmen sollte! Ist es gut? Schlecht? Wenn man im Englischen "Tut, tut, tut..." hört, es ist nicht so prickelnd. Hat dieser ...
16
votes
2answers
445 views

What does “Ich brauch mal Storno” mean?

Ich war heute bei Kaufland und habe blah blah... ich brauch mal Storno gehört. Bedeutet das so etwas wie "Kaffeepause" oder mehr in Richtung "Pinkelpause"? Oder ist die Bedeutung eine ganz ...
16
votes
2answers
2k views

Natural way to deny help from a shopkeeper

When browsing a shop, it is common for a shop assistant to ask “can I help you?” or similar. In English, it is quite natural to say: No thanks, I am just looking. I am looking for similar ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

How would you translate “to judge someone” to German?

In English, "to judge someone" often implies a negative opinion, as in "Don't judge me!". Is there a German equivalent for this? How would you translate the example? My dictionary gives "jmdn. ...
12
votes
4answers
488 views

Expression for someone with very broad and detailed knowledge

Are there any well-known German expressions for someone who is very board and detailed in knowledge? for example: He is a human database
11
votes
3answers
194 views

Terms for “Nicht-Verstehen signalisieren”

As I read here: The first two sentences are classified as "Nicht-Verstehen signalisieren". Are there other widely known terms or interjections to signal you didn't understand something?
11
votes
2answers
144 views

Bei XY unterm Sofa?

Ich hatte in mein Notizbuch diesen Ausdruck geschrieben: "Wie bei Heini Geiger unterm Sofa" (C'est le bazar!, Es ist sehr unordentlich) Es scheint unmöglich zu sein, mithilfe von Google mehr ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

How should we apologize in German?

The most common phrase in german phrase book for apology would be es tut mir leid or tut mir leid to mean "it does me suffering". From the questions on the difference between "entschuldigen" or ...
9
votes
4answers
1k views

How would you translate “you have my vote” into German?

In English, you'd say to candidates that you'll vote for them. How would you say this in German? Something like: Hey Stefano, go for it. You have my vote.
9
votes
3answers
4k views

What is the literal meaning of “Hau ab!”?

If you want to tell somebody to go away you could shout: "Hau ab!" However this is considered as not very polite, much like "Get lost!", or "F*** off!". I am wondering where German "Hau ab" ...
9
votes
4answers
2k views

What does “auf Habacht” mean?

I saw this in a book as a sort of military order, but can't find it in dictionaries: auf Habacht What does it mean and why isn't it mentioned?
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Was ist das Gegenteil von “hervorheben”?

Beim Schreiben meiner Arbeit bin ich auf folgendes Problem gestoßen; wie drücke ich (als Verb/Adjektiv) aus, dass etwas nicht mehr hervorgehoben ist oder wird? Es geht dabei z. B. um das Hervorheben ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What is the best way to translate “To do list”?

The closest translation I can find so far is Aufgabenliste which is more literally "Task List". Is there a more commonly used, native way to express the common english phrase "To do list" when using ...
9
votes
7answers
1k views

Online resource which has easy German to read with its English translation

Is there any resource online which has easy German (should use most common words in daily setting) and also has its English translation alongside?
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Meaning of schon in “das schaff' ich schon”

Watching Futurama, one of the characters said: "das schaff' ich schon!" What exactly does this mean, and how does "schon" change the meaning? (I don't remember, but I think it was Fry, which ...
7
votes
6answers
179 views

Beschreibung extremer Langsamkeit

Gibt es noch andere Worte/Redewendungen als "im Schneckentempo", um extreme Langsamkeit auszudrücken?
7
votes
3answers
371 views

“used to [verb]”

How would one say "used to", as in I used to live in Kiev. Previously, I was told you would use früher: Früher lebte ich in Kiew. But upon looking it up just again, dict.cc says you'd use ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

“Das ist kein Thema” - What does it mean?

Recently I moved to the Konstanz area, and what I noticed is people saying "Das ist kein Thema" for everything. So, what exactly does it mean? And when to use it?
7
votes
3answers
4k views

What could be expressed by “Ja, klar” in different situations?

If I say "Ja klar", What are the different meanings expressed by this expression?
7
votes
1answer
136 views

Origin and Usage of “i wo”?

A colloquial way of answering negatively/dismissing an offered statement can be the use of the word(s) "i wo / iwo". The meaning of "i wo", according to Wiktionary, is this: (umgangssprachlich) ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Ursprung von “Nicht verzagen, … fragen”

Bei einer Diskussion kamen wir letztens auf den Ausspruch Nicht verzagen, [Name] fragen. zu sprechen. Aus purer Neugierde überlege ich nun, ob das ein Zitat ist oder einfach nur eine aufgrund ...
6
votes
6answers
21k views

How does a German say “Nice to meet you”?

In English it is common to reply with "Nice to meet you" when you were introduced to somebody. Likewise you say "Was nice to meet you" on leaving. Are there any similar phrases a German would use in ...
6
votes
5answers
176 views

Is there a non-regional German expression for the Swabian term “Gschmäckle”?

Is this term only well-known in Southern Germany or also in the deep North? Is there short alternatives for modern High German? Does anyone know a similar English short expression?
6
votes
3answers
362 views

How does one say “Five cubic metres”?

I found myself on the telephone today attempting to explain the volume that a bunch of furniture would perhaps occupy in a truck, and I used Fuenf cubisch Metern But it was fairly clear to me ...
6
votes
2answers
512 views

Was bedeutet “wär von Vorteil”?

Ich habe diesen Kommentar ein paar Mal gesehen: Wär von Vorteil. Was bedeutet er?
6
votes
2answers
225 views

Is there a difference between “Schuld haben” and “schuld sein”?

There are two expression which a very similar in German Schuld haben and schuld sein Is there a difference in meaning, maybe a subtle one? Why is the first "Schuld" capitalized and the ...
6
votes
2answers
491 views

Mut, Tapferkeit, Sicherheit, Porzellankiste?

Im Ausdruck: Vorsicht ist die Mutter der Porzellankiste (er könnte indirekt von Shakespeare kommen aber ich finde diesen Artikel nicht schlüssig) Warum hat die Porzellankiste Tapferkeit oder ...
6
votes
1answer
267 views

A kind of – German Expressions

Whenever I try to say something like ‘A type of car’, or ‘a type of food’, I end up saying ‘eine Art + nominative singular’ or ‘eine Art von nominative singular’ but I’m not really sure about it. ...
6
votes
1answer
99 views

Precise terms for “Sachebene”, “Implikationsebene” and “Textebene”

To begin with, I just "invented" these three expressions, maybe an example helps: "Er erledigte seinen Auftrag und entsorgte seine Waffe. Dann stieg er in seinen Wagen. Er fuhr davon." So the ...
5
votes
3answers
413 views

What would be an appropriate translation of the expression “strike the iron while it's hot”?

What would be an appropriate translation of the expression "strike the iron while it's hot" in German?
4
votes
3answers
254 views

“To go rogue” in German

How could this phrase be translated into German? I can think of zu einem wütenden Einzelgänger werden or similar combinations with different adjectives, but none of them are nearly as concise ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

What should one say when someone arrives from a quite long trip?

When you see a friend who is going to travel, you'd say: Gute Reise. What would you say to someone who has arrived from a quite long and exhausting trip?
4
votes
2answers
215 views

Ist es “die” Webseite und “der” Link?

Ich habe all meine Computerkenntnis in den USA erlernt, und deshalb verstehe ich kaum, wie man technische Sachen nennt, und ob man die, der oder das sagt. Könnte mir jemand helfen, die folgenden ...
4
votes
2answers
204 views

Differences between “erwachen” and “aufwachen”?

I was trying to read Die Verwandlung in German and in the first lines I encountered this word in this context: Als Gregor Samsa eines Morgens aus unruhigen Träumen erwachte, ... I'd like to know ...
3
votes
7answers
5k views

How should I ask politely for a moment of someone's time?

How should I politely ask for someone's time to interrupt them, like in English: Do you have a minute? May I bother you for a moment even though you're quite busy?
3
votes
2answers
205 views

Chatty expression in German

There are chatty expressions in English, like in the middle of a conversation someone says: [Getting angry] Does it work the same in German? as in [sauer werden] Or such a thing isn't ...
3
votes
4answers
859 views

How to say “to check the mail”?

I did a Google search for this and all of the hits related to checking one's e-mail. Can anyone tell me how to say "to check the mail" correctly in German? I think I've seen prüfen used for "to ...
3
votes
1answer
53 views

How to write an allergy notice label?

What is the correct expression, maybe some sort of a cliché, to warn consumers about possible allergens, something like: Don’t use this product if you have an allergy to one of its ingredients. ...
3
votes
1answer
183 views

Why “ein Uhr” and not “eins Uhr”

Why is it that "one o'clock" is ein Uhr and not eins Uhr? It is understandable that it's not eine Uhr, since we're not referring to one clock. But why is it that we're just using ein here?
2
votes
3answers
157 views

Wie beschreibt man das Futur mit der Vergangenheitsform?

Wenn man etwas, das man vorhatte, ausdrücken will oder eine in der Vergangenheit stattfindende Geschichte erzählt, kann diese Form in Englisch verwendet werden: I was going to go to the library. ...
2
votes
2answers
59 views

“Besides the fact that…”

Gibt es einen deutschen Ausdruck, der diesen englischen entspricht? Meiner Einschätzung nach würde man sagen Außer der Tatsache, dass aber für mich klingt das ziemlich unidiomatisch.
1
vote
2answers
152 views

How to say “I'll work hard for the whole semester”

How can I say "I'll work hard for the whole semester" in German? Ich arbeite schwer das ganze Semester lang. Is it okay to use the adjective "lang" here? Or Ich arbeite schwer für das ...
1
vote
3answers
66 views

“Now that I think of it…”

Wie würde man diesen Ausdruck ins Deutsch übersetzen? Meiner Einschätzung nach wäre es Jetzt, wo ich daran denke, müssen wir nicht bis den 27. einen aussuchen. (=Now that I think about it, ...
1
vote
1answer
889 views

Warum sagt man “letzte Woche” aber “in der letzten Woche”? [duplicate]

Warum gibt es einen Unterschied im Wort "letzte"?
1
vote
1answer
515 views

How do you ask “who is this?” when someone knocks at your door in German?

With no prior knowledge of this, I would say Wer ist das? MY question is related to what I read here http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vasistas#Etimologia It's a page from the Italian version of ...
1
vote
1answer
489 views

Was ist die deutsche Bezeichnung für red/black/dead eye?

Die Begriffe "red eye", "black eye" und "dead eye" bezeichnen die Mischung von Filterkaffee und Espresso. Laut Wikipedia: Drip coffee to which espresso is added may be called a red eye, black ...
1
vote
1answer
127 views

Is there another German interpretation of “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”?

My German was far better as a child then it is now. I am currently attempting to re-learn it. During this review, an anecdote that I've repeated frequently has come under scrutiny. While in ...
0
votes
2answers
184 views

“Ich brauche eine Frau zum Lieben” [duplicate]

I thought the verb brauchen is a zu-construction verb, but in this context why does it have to be "zum Lieben" not "zu lieben"? Any explanations why it's like that?