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

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2
votes
5answers
859 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? ...
6
votes
6answers
325 views

“Allerdings” as a threat

My German teacher told me that the email I sent her contained a threat. What I wrote was "Allerdings komme ich morgen." She didn't tell me why, just asked me to research about this, but I can't find ...
1
vote
0answers
73 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?
3
votes
1answer
165 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: ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

How to translate “to make no sense”?

How would you say "to make no sense" in German? I've seen uses with machen and haben: Das macht keinen Sinn. Es hat keinen Sinn, mit Ihnen zu streiten.
4
votes
2answers
473 views

In letzter Zeit vs. in der letzten Zeit

Does the presence/absence of the definite article change anything? Or is it just the matter of preference whether to use it or not? in letzter Zeit in der letzten Zeit The German-English ...
1
vote
1answer
111 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?
5
votes
2answers
145 views

“In Kontakt, in Zukunft” without article?

I usually hear Wir bleiben in Kontakt. rather than Wir bleiben im Kontakt. and also in Zukunft rather than in der Zukunft Is there a reason why these words are not used with a ...
1
vote
3answers
223 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 ...
4
votes
3answers
168 views

Ein gewisser Unterschied zwischen Indikativ und Konjunktiv I

Wo liegt der Unterschied zwischen den folgenden Sätzen? Werden solche Strukturen für gewöhnlich benutzt? Wer das will, der wählt am 25. Mai ZZZ! Wer das will, der wähle am 25. Mai ZZZ! ...
1
vote
2answers
159 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
342 views

Translation of “What/How about …?” [duplicate]

A: What time should we meet today? B: What/How about 6pm? I wonder how people would say the "what/how about" part. I can't think of a good translation, and since it's a colloquial phrase, ...
0
votes
1answer
87 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".
0
votes
1answer
84 views

When to use “gibt es / es gibt”? [duplicate]

I see "gibt es" / "es gibt" being used in so many phrases. But I am not able to understand under what circumstances this is used? What I understand is that it cannot be directly related to English ...
0
votes
2answers
165 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
224 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

How does the current usage of Futur I sound to native German speakers?

AFAIK Futur I (werden + inf) isn't used in German any more. But 20 years ago I still learned it, and currently I feel somehow improper if I don't use it. I have a very bad feeling that I somehow lost ...
4
votes
3answers
194 views

“anschauen” as reflexive or not

The verb anschauen can be used either as a reflexive verb or not jdn/etw anschauen: to look at sb/sth sich dat etw anschauen: to take a look at sth I have trouble understanding the ...
20
votes
4answers
611 views

Should I use the old spelling rules?

There seems to be a strong negative emotional reaction among (some?) native German speakers to the new spelling rules. They use the old spelling rules themselves and dislike the new spelling. Should ...
5
votes
1answer
162 views

Pflanzen in dem/den Garten

Sie pflanzt die Küchenkräuter in _____ Garten. Should "den" or "dem" go into the blank? It is not clear to me whether "planting" counts as moving into the garden (i.e. would use "den") or as ...
5
votes
1answer
73 views

Aufzählung: trennt “sowie” die Glieder einer Aufzählung?

Aus den Beförderungsbestimmungen der BVG (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe) stammt folgender Satz: "Vollständig zusammengeklappte Fahrräder sowie Kleinkindfahrräder bzw. fahrradähnliche Roller (mit einem ...
3
votes
2answers
82 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, ...
4
votes
2answers
900 views

Answer to “Machen Sie es gut”

Sometimes when saying goodbye people would say Machen Sie es gut. or Mach es gut. What would be good answers to this? I can think of Gleichfalls. Sie auch. / Du auch.
7
votes
3answers
178 views

“sagen” in “The news/article/post says …”

"The news/article/post says ..." Is it correct to say (a) Der Spiegel sagt, dass ... (b) Der Artikel sagt, dass ... (c) Die (Facebook-)Post sagt, dass ... or should the verb ...
6
votes
1answer
114 views

Article and preposition for foreign universities

I'm curious as to what article/preposition one should use to refer to studying at a university, such as Stanford University (in the USA). Which ones are correct if I want to say "I study at Stanford ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

Usage of “etwas” and “einige”

I read in the book that etwas means some. Ich brauche etwas frisches Fleisch. Er hat etwas Geld. There is also another determiner that is einige. It also means some. Vor ...
2
votes
2answers
2k 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. ...
5
votes
3answers
441 views

Bus fahren - usage and grammar

Does Ich fahre Bus. mean both I drive a bus. (=I'm a bus driver.) and I ride the bus. (= I travel on a bus as a passenger.) ? Why do you use Bus with no article here?
1
vote
3answers
330 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.
2
votes
3answers
2k 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, ...
3
votes
4answers
182 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, ...
9
votes
3answers
4k views

Ich meine == I mean?

Today in my German class, I subconsciously said "I mean" and when I apologized for changing to English, my teacher said "Almost, you also say 'ich meine'" in German. Is this expression used so common ...
8
votes
2answers
369 views

“Ich habe dich akustisch nicht verstanden”

I have heard many people using the expression "Ich habe dich akustisch nicht verstanden" which strikes me as very convoluted (my mother tongue is Italian, but I speak English on a regular ...
1
vote
2answers
128 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
334 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?
3
votes
3answers
399 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.
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Höfliche Anrede mit zweiter Person Plural: »Ihr solltet zugeben, dass Ihr ganz einfach Angst habt.«

Die zweite Person Plural wird ab und zu verwendet, um Höflichkeit auszudrücken. Folgendes Beispiel stammt aus dem Buch "Die unendliche Geschichte" von Michael Ende: »Held Hynreck«, sagte Bastian ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

“Ich möchte das gerne machen” or “Ich würde das gerne machen”

What is correct, between (a) Ich möchte das gerne machen. and (b) Ich würde das gerne machen. or both? If both are correct, is there a difference in meaning?
2
votes
3answers
127 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
1answer
146 views

What are the differences between the german nouns for 'event'?

There are many nouns that describe an event, occation, or happenings They all can be translated to either; * der Anlass * das Geschehen * das Geschehnis * das Ereignis * die Veranstaltung How do ...
1
vote
1answer
44 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.
0
votes
1answer
98 views

Usage of “vermögen”

How do I use the verb vermögen? In my dictionary it functions like the modal verb können. Ich vermag es, mit meiner Freundin Jana nach Mallorca zu fliegen. Can I remove the es and still retain ...
3
votes
2answers
944 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
572 views

How do I say “The only way” in German?

How do I say "The only way" in German? Die einzige Art und Weise, Deutsch zu lernen, ist mit Deutschen zu reden. Is there another alternative for this?
3
votes
1answer
129 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.
4
votes
1answer
204 views

Usage of “der/die/das eine” and “der-/die-/dasjenige”

What is the difference der/die/das eine and der-/die-/dasjenige? Do they mean 'the one'? Er ist derjenige, der aus Berlin kommt. Er ist der eine, der aus Berlin kommt.
1
vote
2answers
487 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
232 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
122 views

What happens when only the verb is left after a subordinate clause?

Simple example: A1) Der Mann, den wir gestern sahen, rennt. Is that correct with that lone verb at the end or should it better be A2) Der Mann rennt, den wir gestern sahen. another example ...
2
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...