Questions about common expressions used in conversation and colloquial speech.

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24
votes
5answers
17k 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 ...
21
votes
3answers
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 ...
20
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 ...
19
votes
7answers
3k 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
607 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
4answers
2k 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
563 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
12
votes
5answers
173 views

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen “über etwas diskutieren” und “etwas diskutieren”?

Zum Beispiel Wir haben heute Verschiedenes diskutiert. oder Wir haben heute über Verschiedenes diskutiert.
11
votes
5answers
9k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
217 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
152 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
6answers
1k views

Expression of extreme surprise (possibly vulgar, but without being insulting)

Is there a formula or expression that I can use to express these English sentences? What on earth did you just do? What the heck did I just hear? What the hell just happened? or, in ...
10
votes
4answers
3k 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?
10
votes
5answers
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
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
5k 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
2answers
493 views

How do you say “he will be on TV”?

I can't figure out how to say “I will be on TV” or “he will be on TV" correctly (in reference to being on a TV show that will be aired). The best I can think of something like »Ich werde am Fernseher ...
9
votes
2answers
2k 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
6answers
47k 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 ...
8
votes
5answers
197 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?
8
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
3k 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 ...
7
votes
6answers
183 views

Beschreibung extremer Langsamkeit

Gibt es noch andere Worte/Redewendungen als "im Schneckentempo", um extreme Langsamkeit auszudrücken?
7
votes
3answers
715 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
7k 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
2answers
539 views

Does “aufrollen” have a colloquial meaning?

I'm translating an old German newspaper article and the word "aufrollen" is used in what appears to be a colloquial manner, since the literal meaning "to roll (up)" doesn't quite fit. Here is the ...
7
votes
2answers
237 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
226 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) ...
6
votes
3answers
412 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
692 views

Was bedeutet “wär von Vorteil”?

Ich habe diesen Kommentar ein paar Mal gesehen: Wär von Vorteil. Was bedeutet er?
6
votes
4answers
261 views

Warum erstinkt man Lügen?

Am Wochenende haben wir Mäxle gespielt (das wohl in anderen Regionen Deutschlands Meier heißt – warum auch immer), und an einer Stelle habe ich einen Viererpasch zurückgewiesen mit den Worten: Das ...
6
votes
3answers
517 views

What is “Hacke, Spitze, eins, zwei, drei”?

I’m currently learning the German language as I’m new to Germany. Learning something new from the public every day is really cool! Yesterday I happened to hear bunch of kids playing across the street ...
6
votes
2answers
750 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
423 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
114 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
607 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?
5
votes
2answers
616 views

Is “es macht mir Freude” correct and used?

Is this expression equivalent to "it makes me happy"? Does it sound ok or maybe too old style? Would I ever hear a young person saying it? Is this expression used or common?
5
votes
3answers
169 views

Meaning for “das ist mir wirklich unangenehm”

On Pons I found that das ist mir wirklich unangenehm means I am really sorry for, while on Dict.cc I found the translation how embarassing (unverified version though). I would like to know what it ...
5
votes
3answers
1k views

How to say “Sorry, not now, I am too busy”

I would like to be able to express Sorry, not now, I am too busy, or simply the idea that I am busy right now. I am not sure what to choose between besetzt and beschäftigt to say busy. I don´t really ...
5
votes
2answers
302 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
102 views

Wie nennt man jemanden, der ständig plant (was auch immer er tut)?

Da gibt es (laut Google) nur eine Frage (auf Gutefrage.de) mit unbefriedigenden Antworten. Ich bin im englischen StackExchange darauf gestoßen und ich weiß nicht einmal, wie man es auf Deutsch ...
4
votes
4answers
844 views

German equivalent of “It works”

In English there is an idiom: It works. Or more likely: That/It works for me. I think that the following is wrong, as arbeiten seems rather literal, but would it be a correct ...
4
votes
2answers
234 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
220 views

“I am undecided between X and Y” - Expression

Let us say you are buying something and talking with the seller behind the counter. How would you express your indecision between two items? Is "Ich bin zwischen dem X und der Y" correct?
4
votes
2answers
85 views

Meaning and construction of a proverb

I have a couple of questions about the proverb: Den Toren packt die Reisewut, indes im Bett der Weise ruht I couldn't find a translation for die Reisewut. It seems composed by two words, die ...
4
votes
3answers
282 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
4k 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
1answer
201 views

»Das geht leider nicht« vs. »Es geht leider nicht«

In German, there is an expression: Das geht leider nicht. To my knowledge, this means one of the following: Unfortunately, this is not possible. Unfortunately, it won’t go. But what does ...