Sprachgebrauch - Questions about subtle points of usage of German words or phrases.

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3
votes
4answers
690 views

du vs dir in “How are you?”

As far as I know, du is used to mention a direct object and dir is to mention an indirect object. If that is the case, why do they use "Wie geht's dir?" to ask "How are you?", when "you" is a direct ...
3
votes
2answers
177 views

Hochdeutsch only or also regionalisms?

When making a sales call, for example, should you: only speak standard Hochdeutsch with the customer no matter what, use that customer's regional language or dialect if you know it to "get on their ...
3
votes
2answers
114 views

Höfliches Ersuchen mit “ruhig”

Wird es in der Alltagssprache als zu gehoben (oder gar altmodisch) bezeichnet, wenn man eine höfliche Bitte mit "ruhig" sanfter macht? Zum beispiel: "Nehmen Sie ruhig Platz!" "Geben Sie mir ...
3
votes
2answers
359 views

Usage of “vorher” and “vorhin”

What is the difference between vorhin and vorher? Both mean ago in my dictionary. When are they used and in what context? Ich habe mit dir vorher gesprochen. Ich habe mit dir vorhin ...
3
votes
2answers
65 views

“folgende” or “folgendes”?

I am writing test instructions for a website. Which is (more) correct from these two sentences? Testanweisung ist folgendes: Testanweisung ist folgende: I know that it is die Testanweisung, ...
3
votes
4answers
157 views

“Dies” or “das” for introducing person

I know that in German "dies" is used not so often as "this" in English. But say, in a situation like, you're introducing your friend to another friend, and you gesture your hand toward that friend, ...
3
votes
1answer
419 views

Can we use “wissen lassen”?

I was thinking about how to say "I will let you know". The first sentence that comes to mind is Ich werde dich wissen lassen. Grammatically this looks fine. However, I feel a bit strange about ...
3
votes
1answer
322 views

Ist der Dandy immer auch ein Lebemann?

...ist ein Dandy und Lebemann (und umgekehrt) ist eine recht häufig verwendete Phrase Mehrere zusammengehörige Fragen stellen sich mir dazu: Ist Dandy und Lebemann nicht ziemlich dasselbe ...
3
votes
1answer
131 views

Is “sich einverstanden erklären” proper German?

I am writing a translation for a cookie agreement text. I am quite sure my current text will bring the message across but I'm not sure if this 100% proper German. This is the original English text: ...
3
votes
1answer
99 views

Usage of “neulich” and “in letzter Zeit”

What is the difference between neulich and in letzter Zeit? Both mean recently. Ich habe neulich mit meiner Mutter geredet. Ich habe in letzter Zeit mit meiner Mutter geredet.
3
votes
3answers
109 views

Does “dürfen” + other negatives imply the same thing as “dürfen nicht”?

Do negations used with "dürfen" carry the same meaning as "must not" in German? That is, does a sentence like: Sie dürfen nicht jemandem erzählen. mean the same thing as Sie dürfen niemandem ...
3
votes
1answer
400 views

“Could” phrases

As far as I know the word could is the subjunctive of "can/to be able to" which translates to "können". However I'm not sure about the subjunctive of "können", and how it affects German sentence ...
3
votes
2answers
707 views

How do I decline “jemand” or “niemand”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Beugt man jemand oder niemand mit Endung? The declension of indefinitve pronouns "jemand" or "niemand" seems not to follow strict rules. I can read all of the following: ...
3
votes
1answer
68 views

Kann “schlechthin” auch mit unbestimmtem Artikel stehen?

In einer Kommentardiskussion zu einer anderen Frage hat sich eine weitere interessante Fragestellung ergeben, nämlich ob schlechthin immer mit betontem bestimmtem Artikel steht oder auch mit ...
2
votes
5answers
329 views

“To have a haircut”

How would you say I had a haircut yesterday. Would it be (a) Ich hatte gestern ein Haarschnitt. or (b) Ich habe mir gestern die Haare schneiden lassen. Which one sounds more natural? ...
2
votes
3answers
142 views

reintun vs. reinmachen

I heard both words used quite often in spoken German in the meaning of "to put something into something". Are these two words identical in meaning and interchangeable or are there any differences in ...
2
votes
1answer
318 views

What are differences between “des” and “darum”?

What are differences between "Des" and "Darum"? Apparently they both mean "therefore", do they? Here are some contexts: "Meine Mutter war eine Wienerin, D'RUM habe ich Wien so gern." "DES ...
2
votes
3answers
507 views

“darüber” vs “über es”, and the “dar”-family

I am having a hard time understanding the usages of darüber, darauf, darin and most of the words in that family. For example, what is the difference between darüber vs über es? Compared to English, ...
2
votes
4answers
4k views

Usage of “aber”, “jedoch” and “allerdings”

What is the difference between allerdings, aber and jedoch? I looked them up in the dictionary and all three mean 'but'. Could anyone tell me how they're used in a sentence?
2
votes
1answer
134 views

nur vs. nur noch

Is there a rule that tells me when to us "nur noch" over "nur"? Are they interchangeable? For example, consider the following two sentences: Heute sehen wir uns nur noch selten. Heute sehen wir uns ...
2
votes
3answers
241 views

What are examples of grammatical mistakes that native Germans make? [closed]

I'm curious to know what sort of grammatical mistakes are made by native German speakers. Are there errors in speech or writing that give a native away as being poorly educated? Native English ...
2
votes
2answers
158 views

Geht “beobachten, wie jemand etwas tut” auch ohne “wie”?

Im Englischen kann man schön schreiben: I watch my son eating soup. Im Deutschen muss man dagegen einen holprigen Nebensatz bilden: Ich beobachte, wie mein Sohn Suppe isst. Ich beobachte ...
2
votes
2answers
386 views

What's the opposite of “jawohl”?

I understand that in military or police or some other formal situations "jawohl" is the positive response to a command, much like "yes sir" in English; but how does a soldier say "no sir"? In ...
2
votes
3answers
177 views

Wann benutzt man 'sehr' oder 'viel' mit Substantiv und Adjektiv?

sehr adv. Zum Beispiel: Es schmeckt mir sehr. Bill Gates ist sehr reich. viel indef. pronoun, adj. Zum Beispiel: Das Kind hat viel gegessen. Bill Gates hat viel Geld.
2
votes
2answers
98 views

Arbeitsumfeld ist deutschsprachig

Klingt der Satz, "Mein Arbeitsumfeld ist deutschsprachig" so, als ob das Umfeld selbst Deutsch spricht (will ich nämlich nicht sagen), oder als ob an meinem Arbeitsplatz nur Deutsch gesprochen wird?
2
votes
2answers
238 views

Wie sagt man “I've Heard Some Talk” auf Deutsch?

I'm trying to translate a poem from English to German, and the "missing line" is: "I've heard some talk, they say you think I'm fine." I've rendered "They say you think I'm fine" as "Man sagt du ...
2
votes
2answers
195 views

Usage of the verb “gehen”

Gehen actually means 'to go'. The use of gehen is a semi-auxiliary in colloquial. It expresses a possibility and the infinitive has passive force. Die Uhr geht zu reparieren. which means 'The ...
2
votes
1answer
978 views

Rules for “es geht um”

As I am learning German on my own there are a lot of things I do not fully understand. One of those things is the use of geht um. Which I think it means something like about (it's about). The problem ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Wann benutzt man “wenn” oder “ob”?

Ich glaube, dass ob wie das englische if ist und wenn wie das englische whether. Also ob mit Kondition, whether in allen anderen Fällen. Ist das richtig? Beispiele Ich weiß nicht, ob ich Zeit habe. ...
2
votes
0answers
76 views

Using “-lein” and “-chen” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there any rules how to build the diminutive? I was reading this article on Duden's webpage and began wondering about the diminutive forms of "-lein" and "-chen". ...
1
vote
3answers
186 views

What does “vorm” mean?

In the sentence: Früher habe ich immer Angst vorm Fliegen gehabt. What does "vorm" mean? Dictionary says it means "vor Mittags," but I don't think it fits here.
1
vote
3answers
133 views

Preposition for “going to your house”

Können Sie mir sagen, wie ich vom Flughafen nach Ihrem Haus mit der U-Bahn fahren kann? Should it be "nach" or "zu" here? I'm not sure because we say "Ich gehe nach Hause" and "Ich bleibe zu ...
1
vote
2answers
5k views

“Schönes Wochenende” versus “Schönen Wochenende”

Is there any preference to using "Schönes Wochenende" or "Schönen Wochenende" as a parting statement? Are they both allowed, or is there a preference for one over the other? Different people have told ...
1
vote
3answers
136 views

“Gradeaus” vs “geradeaus”

I know that geradeaus means "straight". But I also heard its variation gradeaus. Is it appropriate to say or write this word so?
1
vote
2answers
104 views

“very much” to modify verb

Die Nachricht hat mich ___ überrascht. I want to mean "the news surprised me very much". Should I use "viel", "sehr", "sehr viel", or do all of them work?
1
vote
3answers
123 views

Present progressive. Wie drückt man diese Verbform aus, bitte ohne “gerade”? [duplicate]

In manchen Büchern sowie in Antworten auf eine ähnliche Frage (R2D2, May 2) kann man lesen, dass man eine Art von "present progressive" mit "gerade" oder "soeben" ausdrücken kann. Zum Beispiel: ...
1
vote
2answers
83 views

Preposition for “in/auf einer Sprache unterhalten”

Wir können zwischen uns Deutsch sprechen Wir können uns _____ Deutsch unterhalten. Should I use "auf" or "in" here? In English we would use "in" with a language, but here I suspect it would ...
1
vote
1answer
149 views

How to use perfect in this sentence

I have a problem understanding how to use perfect in the following sentence: Ich bin mit dem Bus in das Stadtzentrum gefahren. I know we are supposed to use the auxiliary verb haben in perfect ...
1
vote
1answer
548 views

Modal verbs: preterite or perfect?

I was told that while speaking people generally use perfect instead of preterite. Is it also common for modal verbs? Which is used in which cases? Ich konnte ... or Ich habe gekonnt ...
1
vote
1answer
93 views

Warum lachst du über meinen Freund?

Can lachen über be used only to mean laughing at something? Or can it be used when laughing at a person or situation as well?
1
vote
1answer
37 views

Usage of “derweilen”

Can I use derweilen instead of während? Is it more formal than während? Ich fegte den Fußboden, derweilen ich fernsah. Ich fegte den Fußboden, während ich fernsah.
1
vote
2answers
328 views

Verwendung von “brauchen” als Modalverb und “bräuchte-”

Als ich beim Forschen war, um mehr über den Konjunktiv II zu lernen, um ein Handout zu machen, habe ich in Hammer's German Grammar and Usage gelesen, dass brauchen manchmal als ein starkes Verb ...
1
vote
0answers
69 views

How to use “verfassen”? [closed]

I know that verfassen means to write or to compose: Alle Bücher sind in deutscher Sprache verfasst. Can I say "Ich verfasse einen Brief"? Or is the word used for lengthier works such as books?
0
votes
3answers
72 views

Difference between “etwas in den Griff bekommen” and “sich an etwas gewöhnen” [closed]

What is the difference between the two phrases: etwas in den Griff bekommen Ich muss das Auto in den Griff bekommen. sich an etwas gewöhnen. Ich fange an mich an dieses kalte Wetter zu ...
0
votes
2answers
143 views

Usage of “auf + Akk. + schauen”

Schauen can be combined with a number of prepositions. Ich schaue zu/unter/hinter/aus/in... For most of them, the local implication is pretty clear. *Auf is not though. Ich schaue auf ...
0
votes
2answers
413 views

Wie kommst du zu? / Wie kommst du in?

Is there any difference between Wie kommst du zu? and Wie kommst du in? Is any of them more formal? More common? I could think that it depends on the object, but I've seen them both very often, even ...
0
votes
2answers
147 views

On verbal parentheses [closed]

I know that one of the peculiarities of the German language is this thing called verbal parentheses, which extends all the way from the auxiliary verb to the unonjugated form of the verb. What I ...
0
votes
3answers
157 views

“mir ist etw. gefallen” vs. “ich habe etw. fallen lassen”

Mir ist das Glas gefallen. Ich habe das Glas fallen lassen. Do both sentences mean I (accidentally) dropped the glass? Can these two structures be used interchangeably?
0
votes
1answer
299 views

How do you call somebody basically a “Klugscheisser” without causing offence? [closed]

Often your boss/team mates seems just to know everything better despite having expertise in a specific discipline. What polite metaphor/periphrasis would you choose that states clearly and shortly ...
0
votes
1answer
62 views

Meaning of this sentence with “erledigen” [closed]

Could anyone enlighten me as to the meaning of this sentence? "Sie sollte sich von selbst erledigen". The previous sentence is "Niemand wollte der Sache auf den Grund gehen".