93
votes
18answers
14k 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 ...
65
votes
4answers
13k 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 ...
58
votes
7answers
5k 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 ...
57
votes
36answers
30k 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 ...
53
votes
13answers
3k 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 ...
50
votes
28answers
4k views

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

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
7answers
969 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 ...
47
votes
17answers
79k 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.
47
votes
8answers
2k views

Wonach richtet sich das Geschlecht eines Anglizismus?

Wenn ich das Geschlecht eines Anglizismus bestimmen muss, orientiere ich mich an drei Gegebenheiten: Hat das Wort ein echtes Geschlecht (the mare, die Stute)? Welches Geschlecht hat die Übersetzung ...
43
votes
10answers
19k 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 ...
42
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
41
votes
14answers
9k 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 ...
41
votes
8answers
4k views

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

This question also has an answer here (in German): Schriftliche Höflichkeitsformel – Du oder du I was taught (several decades ago) to write a capital D for all pronouns such as ...
39
votes
4answers
990 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 ...
37
votes
7answers
3k 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 ...
36
votes
10answers
32k 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?
36
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
33
votes
9answers
1k 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? ...
33
votes
12answers
3k 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? ...
33
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
31
votes
10answers
5k 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 ...
31
votes
11answers
5k views

Resources for learning German

Since they have same questions on different language learning SE websites(resources for learning Russian), I'd like to write one for German language since it's a great idea to have all kinds of ...
31
votes
4answers
23k 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 ...
31
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
30
votes
1answer
333 views

Ursprung des Punktes bei Ordinalzahlen

Als ich diese Frage gelesen habe, wurde mir klar, dass ich keine Ahnung habe, warum wir im Deutschen Ordinalzahlen mit Punkten schreiben. In anderen Sprachen wird das ja anders gehandhabt, wobei man ...
29
votes
6answers
30k views

Schlussformel für Beschwerdebrief?

Diese Frage wurde auch hier (auf Englisch) beantwortet: How to end a complaint letter in German Standardschlussformel für förmliche Briefe ist ja „Mit freundlichen Grüßen“. Wenn ich nun aber ...
29
votes
3answers
591 views

Wann wird “bis auf” inklusiv, wann exklusiv verwendet?

Ich habe mehrmals die Situation erlebt, dass jemand einen Satz mit "bis auf" verwendet und mir nicht klar ist, ob eine einschließende oder ausschließende Bedeutung gemeint ist. Zum Beispiel bei ...
28
votes
3answers
3k 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?
27
votes
11answers
6k 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, ...
27
votes
4answers
726 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 ...
27
votes
3answers
4k views

Wieso sprengt man Rasenflächen?

Googles Resultate bezüglich der Herkunft waren mittelprächtig. Es scheint mir, dass es sich mit in die Luft jagen (dem anderen sprengen, das sehr bekannt ist) die Herkunft teilt. Aber wie die genau ...
27
votes
6answers
5k 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
6answers
3k views

“Nicht” vs “Kein”

This question reminded me of a question that I met when learning German, and I still kind of have it. What are the differences between these words usage? I thought that "nicht" was used to "deny ...
26
votes
7answers
90k views

What is the difference in usage between “Vielen Dank” and “Danke schön”?

I know that they are both essentially polite and mean "Thanks a lot", "Many thanks" etc. but I've always wondered if there is a specific difference between the two. Is there a specific context or ...
25
votes
6answers
10k 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 ...
25
votes
7answers
10k 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 ...
25
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 ...
25
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
25
votes
1answer
2k 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] - ...
25
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 ...
25
votes
6answers
9k 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: ...
25
votes
3answers
824 views

Grammatisch oder grammatikalisch?

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen "grammatisch" und "grammatikalisch"? Ist am Ende eins von beiden falsch? Wenn ja, warum? Wie kommen diese beiden unterschiedlichen Wortformen zustande?
25
votes
4answers
563 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 ...
24
votes
6answers
948 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 ...
24
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.
24
votes
5answers
4k views

Do Germans count on fingers starting from the thumb?

I’ve watched the Inglourious Basterds movie. In the bar scene the English spy is ordering three beers and held his three fingers up and by this giving himself away. Is it true in the real life? ...
24
votes
4answers
7k 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!
24
votes
12answers
2k views

Was ist eine angemessene Übersetzung für “shitstorm”?

Was ist eine angemessene Übersetzung für "shitstorm"? Gibt es dafür ein deutsches Wort?
24
votes
6answers
2k 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 ...
24
votes
2answers
15k 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 ...

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