Wortauswahl - Choosing the best word out of a list of alternatives.

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22
votes
5answers
7k views

What's the difference in usage between “machen” and “tun”?

Is there any rules or guidelines when to use which one? Du darfst mir nicht sagen, was ich machen soll. or Du darfst mir nicht sagen, was ich tun soll. I find a big overlap in their usage: ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Word meaning “to use” – “verwenden”, “anwenden”, “benutzen”, “nutzen”, “gebrauchen”

I understand 5 words to roughly mean to use: verwenden anwenden benutzen nutzen gebrauchen When is one of these preferred to the others? I think that benutzen is the most commonly used of ...
33
votes
10answers
28k views

Why is “Fräulein” considered offensive, as opposed to “Frau”?

Does Fräulein imply that the woman being addressed is not fully a Frau? Does it imply a lower class status?
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Differences between “Klausur”, “Prüfung” and “Examen”

Is there any differences in usage between Klausur, Prüfung, Examen, Test*, and (Klassen)arbeit*? * Edit: added more synonyms based on answers below.
2
votes
1answer
651 views

What's the difference between “möchte”, “willst du”, “lieber”, “würden”?

Each of this words seems to mean I want / I wish / I'd like. For example: Was würden sie gern essen? Can you help me to understand the difference between them?
24
votes
7answers
8k views

How to distinguish between a female friend and a girlfriend?

The word Freundin can mean either a girlfriend or a female friend. In some cases, they can be distinguished by using the possessive pronoun to refer to the former: Ich habe mit meiner Freundin ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

“wenn” vs “falls”

When should "falls" be preferred to "wenn" in expressing conditional sentences? Also, are the cases in which the use of "falls" (or of "wenn") to translate "if" is unidiomatic or a mistake?
3
votes
4answers
246 views

Is there a difference between verbs 'bereisen' & 'reisen'

Recently I heard the verb bereisen which means to tour, travel. I have been using reisen to mean the same. Do these two verbs have the exact same meaning? Is there a context in which one verb fits ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Redewendung wenn man an ein fremdes Telefon gehen muss

Im Arbeitsumfeld gibt es üblicherweise mehr oder minder festgelegte Formulierungen die man benutzt, etwas in der Art von Firma Meier, Michael Müller, Apparat von Peter Schmitz hört man öfter. Im ...
10
votes
3answers
495 views

Using “nach” or “zu” for landmarks and similar

I had a little disagreement in my German class the other day regarding the use of nach and zu. We were practicing using nach and I said Ich fahre nach Disneyland. My teacher made this cringy ...
10
votes
4answers
875 views

What are “Marmelade”, “Konfitüre”, or “Fruchtaufstrich”?

Living in Germany I almost exclusively hear "Marmelade" for any spread made of fruits including "Erdbeermarmelade", "Himbeermarmelade", "Aprikosenmarmelade" and so on. Only rarely I also hear ...
8
votes
3answers
224 views

Which spelling is the right one: “deinstallieren” or “desinstallieren”?

Some computer software uninstallers that are localized for German users use the word "deinstallieren" and others "desinstallieren". Which one is the correct one - or are both words right? -- Update ...
7
votes
2answers
240 views

Relative pronouns for time (span)

Hätten Sie am Dienstag zwischen 10-11 etwas Zeit, 'wann'/'wo'/'in der' ich anrufen könnte? Which relative pronoun do I have to use in the question above?
5
votes
2answers
442 views

What is the difference between “schätzen” and “abschätzen”?

The following to sentenses have different meanings Er schätzt sie. Er schätzt sie ab. But looking at Er schätzt die zurückgelegte Strecke auf 5 Kilometer. and Er schätzt, dass er ...
1
vote
3answers
108 views

“hören” or “anhören” for listening to opera

"Wollen wir uns die Oper zusammen ___?" a) hören b) anhören From this dictionary, anhören is used for concerts, while hören is used for singers. So, does both work here, or only ...
24
votes
6answers
2k views

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen “Worte” und “Wörter”?

Diese Frage wurde auch hier (auf Englisch) beantwortet: die Worte vs die Wörter Wann sagt man „Worte“, wann „Wörter“? Beide sind ein Plural vom Singular „Wort“ und ich nehme an, dass es ...
17
votes
12answers
149k views

What are informal ways to say “good bye”?

In German you may say Auf Wiedersehen or Guten Tag when leaving. Both seem rather formal and may be inappropriate in a non-formal context. What would be the alternatives? In what context can we use ...
14
votes
10answers
1k views

Wann benutzt man “laufen” und wann “rennen”?

Ein Mann geht auf einer Straße. Er muss den Bus nehmen, um zur Arbeit zu kommen. Er hat die Uhr im Haus vergessen und weiß die Zeit nicht. Der Bus kommt, er muss sich beeilen, wenn er ihn erwischen ...
13
votes
3answers
14k views

Singular/Plural bei Aufzählungen

Man betrachte folgende zwei Sätze: Demnach muss nun das Ziel und der Zweck der Regelung ermittelt werden. oder Demnach müssen nun das Ziel und der Zweck der Regelung ermittelt werden. ...
12
votes
1answer
517 views

Zweite und dritte Person im gleichen Satz - wonach richtet sich das Verb?

This question also has an answer here (in English): "Paula und ich bin..." or "Paula und ich sind..." Wenn man zwei verschiedene Personen im gleichen Satzteil beschreibt, von denen einer ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Is there a difference between “anschalten” and “einschalten”

Is there a difference between anschalten and einschalten? If I turn on the TV, oven, heat, start the car etc., can either verb be used?
6
votes
2answers
689 views

How do we define the strength of coffee?

Coffee is the most consumed drink in Germany. No wonder it comes in a huge variety of flavours. However the list of coffee specialities does not say much on the strength of the brew. I heard of ...
9
votes
4answers
279 views

Welche Bedeutungen kann das Adjektiv “günstig” haben?

Welche Bedeutungen kann das Adjektiv günstig haben? Wie steht günstig zu billig?
8
votes
3answers
2k views

“ist” oder “sind” bei Aufzählungen

Üblicherweise verwendet man bei Aufzählungen den Plural. In konkreten Fällen kann sich das aber schon einmal komisch anhören. Beispiel: Folglich sind in Abbildung 1 ein Subsystem und in Abbildung ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

How to discuss your graduation?

What is the proper way to talk about your graduation? From high school, Germans have the "Abitur", but would we use the same term for an American high school graduation perhaps? Also, what about ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

Using “nötig” vs “notwendig”

What is the difference between "nötig" and "notwendig"? When would one be preferred over the other, or are they always interchangeable?
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the differences between “jein” and “naja”?

After reading this related post, I started wondering: what are the differences between jein and naja? I am especially interested in any context(s) where only one of them would be correct or ...
3
votes
2answers
230 views

Difference between “bis auf”, “bisher”, and “bis zu”?

My understanding is that they all mean "up to." But could they mean "up to in different contexts, some in time, for instance, and other with regards to space?
3
votes
3answers
304 views

Is There Another Way to (Poetically) Say “Sie ist schön?”

In one of my translations, I used: "[Deine Mutter] hat Schönheit. The original is a line in Gershwin's Summertime. My translation was: Sommerzeit, und das Leben ist leicht. Fische beissen, wenn ...
2
votes
6answers
2k views

Is there any other way to say “I don't care” in German

Is there any other phrase to express "Das ist mir egal" (I don't care) in German?
13
votes
4answers
530 views

Selbst oder selber?

Sind folgende Sätze beide richtig? a) Das haben Sie doch selber gesagt! b) Das haben Sie doch selbst gesagt! Wenn ja, gibt es dann einen Unterschied zwischen ihnen?
11
votes
3answers
3k views

Differences between “obwohl” and “obgleich” and when to use them?

Subordinating conjunctions always seem to raise the most questions for me, specifically in the differences between obwohl and obgleich. The text I am using in my studies states that they both mean ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

When should you use “erst” rather than “nur”?

It seems that in many situations where I might use the word only in English, either nur or erst is used in German. I have the rather fuzzy idea that erst is used for only in the sense of something ...
10
votes
2answers
292 views

Why is “erstmal” not recognized by my spellchecker and is “erstmals” correct?

I typed the following sentence in an E-Mail in Thunderbird: Muss man sich erstmal einloggen? The German spellchecker said "erstmal" is not a word and suggested that it be replaced with ...
9
votes
1answer
363 views

Is there a difference between “Messer” and “Kniff?”

The word I was taught for "knife" is "Messer". But someone, who appears to be a native speaker, answered a question to the effect that "Kniff" looked like its English counterpart "knife". Certain ...
8
votes
2answers
243 views

Wann Drache und wann Drachen?

Wann nehme ich das Wort 'der Drache' und wann 'der Drachen'? Ist es egal oder gibt es einen feinen Unterschied?
8
votes
3answers
710 views

What is the difference between “zurzeit” and “zur Zeit”?

Word's spellchecker often suggest that I write "zur Zeit" where I would naturally write "zurzeit". Is my understanding correct, that the meaning is always: zur Zeit = at some time in the past (zur ...
7
votes
3answers
479 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
1answer
410 views

“That is the reason why…”

To say That's the reason why he came would Das ist der Grund, warum er gekommen ist. Das ist der Grund, aus dem er gekommen ist. Das ist der Grund, weshalb er gekommen ist. Das ist ...
7
votes
2answers
849 views

Der/die/das as demonstrative pronouns: intonation, politeness and difference with dieser/diese/dieses

Three related questions: First, I'm interested in knowing if there is any difference in the usage of der, die, das,... and dieser, diese, dieses,.... For instance z.B. Ich habe zwei Hunde. {Der ...
7
votes
3answers
185 views

Gibt es ein deutsches Pendant zur englischen Wendung «writ large»?

In der englischen Sprache gibt es die Wendung «writ large», die normalerweise so benutzt wird: Switzerland is a democracy writ large. oder The State is the organization of robbery writ ...
7
votes
2answers
789 views

What is the difference between 'noch' and 'noch immer'?

They would both appear to mean the same thing in English i.e. 'still' How do they differ and under what circumstances might you use either of them?
6
votes
4answers
394 views

What's a good translation for “outcome measures”?

For example in the sentence: Outcome measures for this study include three-year-survival rate and relapse.
4
votes
1answer
125 views

Idiomatic translation for “In sum and substance?”

Google translate gives me "In Summe und die Substanz?' But is there a better, more idiomatic translation? And is that "better" translation "im großen und ganzen?" (This more literally back ...
4
votes
3answers
270 views

“von Englisch nach Deutsch” - why not “zu”?

Following the About.com article on zu vs nach, I would guess that "from English to German" would be von Englisch zum Deutsch, but Google Translate uses nach when trying to say 'to a language'. So it ...
4
votes
3answers
296 views

Weniger informeller Ausdruck für “weg-abstrahieren”?

Der Satz A und B sind gute Ansätze, welche aber die Eigenschaft E von der Problemstellung P wegabstrahieren. kommt mir sehr umgangssprachlich vor. Ich würde aber gerne diese Bedeutung mit einer ...
3
votes
3answers
277 views

Difference between “Ich möchte” and “Ich hätte gern(e)” and “Ich würde gern(e)”

I don't like phrase books for their original purpose. I prefer to use them to find out different ways to to say the same thing and learn the differences. This brings us to these three... 1 ."Ich ...
3
votes
2answers
78 views

“Wir können in dieser Zeit nicht mehr ohne dem…” Why the usage of Dativ?

In writing an essay about nuclear energy, or electricity usage by humans in general, I was corrected to the below sentence but I don't understand why "dem" was used: Wir können in dieser Zeit ...
3
votes
2answers
996 views

Some - How to say some?

I have not been able to find a definitive answer on using "some" in German. I've seen, irgend- words, etwas (Which I have come to know as something or some + an adjective: z.B. Dieses Kurs ist etwas ...
3
votes
2answers
414 views

Wörter mit selber Bedeutung, aber unterschiedlichen Artikeln

Mir ist heute beim Spazierengehen aufgefallen, dass die Wörter die Geldbörse, das Portemonnaie und der Geldbeutel die gleiche Bedeutung, aber unterschiedliche Artikel haben – was ich irgendwie ...