74
votes
16answers
8k views

How can I better learn noun genders?

One of the things that I really liked about German, as I was studying it in college, was the very orderly grammar, which actually helped me to understand my native English better. As a non-native ...
55
votes
5answers
10k views

How rude is “Quatsch!”?

I've seen Quatsch! translated as Bullshit, which I was fine with as I had only heard it used among friends. Today, a university teacher used the Q-word in response to a student's serious suggestion in ...
49
votes
35answers
23k views

Simple but interesting German literature

This question is present as a matter of historical interest. While you are encouraged to help maintain its answers, please understand that "big list" questions are not generally allowed on German ...
48
votes
13answers
2k views

How can a native English speaker know when it is appropriate to use the polite (Sie) or the familiar (Du)?

In a language such as English, where there are no "built-in" (so to say) polite and familiar forms, what are some simple tips or guidelines for when to use the polite or the familiar forms? Are there ...
46
votes
7answers
3k views

How to use “doch”

I know "doch" is used to contradict a negative statement: A: Das ist nicht wahr. B: Doch! It's a great word for this usage and some languages really lack this word. But, I found it hard to ...
44
votes
26answers
3k views

What movies are good for learners who want to improve their grammar and vocabulary?

This question is present as a matter of historical interest. While you are encouraged to help maintain its answers, please understand that "big list" questions are not generally allowed on German ...
43
votes
7answers
795 views

Gibt es im Deutschen Reste von anderen grammatischen Fällen als den vier üblichen?

Ich habe mal gehört, dass das "Hause" in "zu Hause" ein Lokativ ist. Gibt es noch andere Überbleibsel von ungewöhnlichen grammatischen Fällen im Deutschen? Does German contain relics of other ...
39
votes
17answers
51k views

What's the difference between “Ich habe dich Lieb” and “Ich liebe dich”?

What's the difference between "Ich habe dich lieb" and "Ich liebe dich"? Both are defined as "I love you" in many dictionaries, as I've checked.
39
votes
8answers
2k views

Wonach richtet sich das Geschlecht eines Anglizismus?

Wenn ich das Geschlecht eines Anglizismus bestimmen muss orientiere ich mich an 3 Gegebenheiten: Hat das Wort ein echtes Geschlecht (the mare, die Stute)? Welches Geschlecht hat die Übersetzung im ...
36
votes
19answers
3k views

What are good online dictionaries for translation between German and English?

What are good online dictionaries for translation between German and English?
36
votes
3answers
7k views

Is there a reason why Germany (Deutschland) is called so many different things in other European languages?

Excuse me if this is off-topic. When I'm learning other languages, I usually (99% of the time) find that "England" is either the same or very similar in the other language. However, I know at least ...
35
votes
9answers
13k views

Ist “wegen dir” falsch und nur “deinetwegen” richtig?

Ich habe Widersprüchliches darüber gelesen, ob die Verwendung der Präposition wegen + Pronomen im Dativ richtig oder falsch ist. wegen mir, wegen dir, wegen ihm, wegen ihr usw. Viele Leute ...
33
votes
14answers
7k views

Polite alternatives to “Grüß Gott”?

I'm looking for polite alternatives to the omnipresent Grüß Gott in Austria/Bavaria. I dislike using a religious phrase to salute others (potentially non religious persons). I'm also not very ...
33
votes
8answers
2k views

Is it still good form to use a capital D for Du or Dir in a letter?

I was taught (several decades ago) to write a capital D for all pronouns such as Du, Dir, Deine, when writing to my German penpals. I am afraid it would look antiquated or very formal these days. Is ...
33
votes
2answers
2k views

What is a good translation for “I wish!” ?

Often times, a situation comes up and I want to use the expression "I wish!" For instance, somebody asks me: "Is that brand new car yours?" or "Was that you who I saw winning $1000?" However, I don't ...
30
votes
10answers
19k 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?
29
votes
7answers
2k views

Does the German language have a Shakespeare?

Most English speakers cannot read for very long before stumbling onto the words of Shakespeare, one of the language's greatest playwrights, who left an indelible mark on it. A great many of his ...
29
votes
9answers
983 views

What is the German equivalent of foo, bar, baz?

The English words foo, bar and baz are often used as placeholder nonsense names in programming. In French, "toto, titi, tata, tutu" are common. Which words are used for this purpose in German code? ...
29
votes
2answers
559 views

What is the origin of the rules about the capitalization of the first letter of each noun?

To my knowledge, German is the only language which capitalize the first letter of each of its nouns. Why is there such a rule? Meines Wissens ist Deutsch die einzige Sprache, in der der erste ...
27
votes
6answers
4k views

Dasselbe vs. das Gleiche, what's the difference?

How should one best interpret the difference between "dasselbe" and "das Gleiche" ? When should one use one or the other? Is it correct that "dasselbe" is appropriate for concrete things, and "das ...
27
votes
4answers
15k views

When to use Perfekt and Präteritum?

What's the guideline as to when to use Perfekt and Präteritum? I was always taught that the simplest rule is Präteritum (mostly) for written forms, and Perfekt is most common in spoken language. But ...
26
votes
8answers
3k views

What is the German equivalent for these speech fillers from English: “umm…” and “like”?

Do Germans use words like "um" and "like" to fill their speech? "Like" is obviously used by teens in Canada, etc., but I'm sure adults say "um" when they are unsure of something while speaking. I'm ...
26
votes
6answers
3k views

Why are German numbers backwards?

Latin languages, as well as English, speak numbers from left to right, in the same direction in which they are written, e.g. forty-two, quarante-deux, but in German, you write from left to right but ...
26
votes
3answers
2k views

Where is exactly the position of “nicht” in the sentence?

A question came to my mind while I was reading a conversation in German: Ich bin krank, Ich kann nicht einkaufen. Ich kann nicht mit Jonas zum Arzt gehen. Ich kann Anna nicht in den ...
25
votes
11answers
5k views

How do Germans react to foreigners messing up noun genders? [closed]

My boyfriend is German and we're going in a few months where I will meet his family for the first time. I am OK at German, but something I really have a hard time with is remembering noun genders, ...
25
votes
4answers
580 views

When is it OK to drop the first-person e, as in „Ich hab'“?

It seems common to drop the end-schwa of first-person verbs. I've both heard it and seen it written. Ich hab' eine Frage. Ich geh' zur Uni. I'm wondering: Does writing or talking like ...
23
votes
5answers
2k views

What is the German equivalent of “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”?

What is the German equivalent of "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog."? That is: A phrase used for font selection that contains all the letters of the alphabet.
23
votes
5answers
4k views

What is the correct way to denote a quotation in German?

In English quoted text is normally written in speech marks, "like this," or occasionally 'like this.' However on this site I have seen people writing German quotes like »this« and „this” What is the ...
23
votes
10answers
2k views

How is the ending -ig pronounced, and where?

I've heard the following alternatives for pronouncing the ending -ig of words like fertig and lustig: /ɪç/ (as in mich) /ɪʃ/ (as in Fisch) /ɪg/ /ɪk/ Where are the different pronunciations used? ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

How do synchronous interpreters handle long German split verb sentences?

One of the points where German differs from other languages are the split verb sentences where the two parts of a verb form can be placed quite some distance apart, for example: Ich habe nach ...
23
votes
6answers
3k views

What should be a formal greeting when you meet someone in a toilet?

Assume the following situation. You're in an office in Vienna. It's time around lunch and normally one greets each other with "Mahlzeit". You go to a toilet and suddenly meet your boss there. How ...
23
votes
3answers
1k views

Free online resources for beginner course [duplicate]

Along the lines of the same question on French Language & Usage, what are good, free online resources for an English-speaker to learn German properly from scratch? Ideally, important areas such ...
23
votes
4answers
425 views

Why do we have two equally used terms for “toe”?

There are two translations for toe that both are equally used. Both are pronounced almost the same but they have a different gender: der Zeh, m die Zehe, f What is the origin of this ...
22
votes
4answers
4k views

Was bedeutet: “Das geht sich nicht aus”?

Die Phrase "Das geht sich nicht aus" ist denke ich österreichisch? Ich bin Muttersprachler und hatte es davor noch nie gehört. Kann jemand helfen? Danke!
22
votes
11answers
2k views

Was ist eine angemessene Übersetzung für “shitstorm”?

Was ist eine angemessene Übersetzung für "shitstorm"? Gibt es dafür ein deutsches Wort?
22
votes
6answers
14k views

Schlussformel für Beschwerdebrief?

Standardschlussformel für förmliche Briefe ist ja „Mit freundlichen Grüßen“. Wenn ich nun aber einen förmlichen Beschwerdebrief schreibe, der nicht wirklich „freundlich“ gemeint ist (weil ich ...
22
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

Does the verb “möchten” exist?

I have often encountered the forms möchte, möchtest.... Does the verb möchten exist? Is it some special form of mögen or an independent verb?
22
votes
1answer
1k views

How do we pronounce “China”?

In German there is some confusion on how to pronounce the letters 'ch' in "China". I heard all of following variants: [ˈçiːnaː] - "ich" [ˈkçiːnaː] - "Bäckchen" [ˈkiːnaː] - "Kino" [ʃiːnaː] - ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

Why no perfect participle? “Sie hat sich scheiden lassen”

Sie hat sich gestern von ihm scheiden lassen. This sentence uses the infinitive lassen instead of the perfect participle gelassen. Which grammatical rule causes this?
21
votes
9answers
34k views

Does “Jawohl” carry Nazi connotations?

Would answering "Jawohl" to an order or request be associated with Nazi Germany? What about "Jawohl, mein Kommandant"? Can it be used (jokingly) without people finding it tasteless?
21
votes
5answers
715 views

Why use Konjunktiv I in mathematics?

Konjunktiv I is mostly used for indirect speech and wishes. The following sentence is neither: Die Funktionen ψn(x) seien Eigenfunktionen eines Hamiltonoperators Ĥ. Why is the Konjunktiv I used ...
21
votes
6answers
1k views

Translation of John Doe

(At least) in America, not yet identified dead persons are named "John (or Jane) Doe". If you read of a John/Jane Doe, then you know that this is a still unknown dead man/woman. Does any similar ...
21
votes
2answers
7k views

Wann kann man “in Deutsch” und wann “auf Deutsch” verwenden?

Ich kenne die beiden Ausdrücke "auf Deutsch" und "in Deutsch" (oder "auf Englisch" und "in Englisch"). Sind die beiden Präpositionen in diesen Formen immer miteinander austauschbar? Kann das jemand ...
21
votes
2answers
760 views

Eifersucht vs. Neid

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen Eifersucht und Neid? Mein Wörterbuch übersetzt beide Wörter nach jealousy.
21
votes
5answers
1k views

Is there a rule that dictates whether to use the eszett (scharfes S) or double s?

It's clear in the case of compound nouns, double s should be used e.g. Bundesstraße, but with other words I cannot see a pattern. To me it appears to be used somewhat randomly, e.g.: besser ...
21
votes
7answers
8k views

How to translate Fernweh to English?

Is there a good English translation for Fernweh? dict.leo.org suggests wanderlust and itchy feet, but they are both more about travelling around rather than going away.
21
votes
2answers
336 views

“Schlaf mir nicht ein” - warum “mir”?

Wie kann man denn genau die Verwendung von "mir" in einem Satz wie "Schlaf mir nicht ein!" erklären? Auf Englisch würde mir sowas wie "Don't you quit on me!" einfallen, aber auch da hätte ich leichte ...
21
votes
4answers
365 views

Do Latin loanwords conserve their gender?

When I asked my teacher for the gender of Mensa, she replied that it is feminine, because the Latin word mensa is feminine. When it comes to words that share the same spelling in both German and ...
21
votes
1answer
779 views

Weshalb werden manche Wörter mit Doppelvokal gedehnt („aa“, „ee“, …)?

Ich habe vor kurzem gelesen, dass das deutsche Wort Waage erst seit 1927 offiziell mit Doppel-a geschrieben wird (Zitat aus dem Duden von 1929): Durch eine Bekanntmachung des Reichsministers des ...

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