In German, there is an expression:

Das geht leider nicht.

To my knowledge, this means one of the following:

Unfortunately, this is not possible.
Unfortunately, it won’t go.

But what does the following phrase mean?

Es geht leider nicht.

What is the difference between them? According to Google, both expressions are used comparably often (187k vs. 118k). Are these two idioms exchangeable? Are there situations in which I should use only one of them?

1 Answer 1


The literal translation of the two is:

Das geht leider nicht - Unfortunately, this is not possible / Unfortunately, this won't work

Es geht leider nicht - Unfortunately, it is not possible / Unfortunately, it won't work

The usages are the same as in English, depending on the context you may want to use one or the other

  • 1
    You forgot to translate »leider« in your literal translation: »Unfortunately this will not do« and »Unfortunately it will not do«. Apr 12, 2015 at 8:04
  • @HubertSchölnast true, fixed it.
    – tannerli
    Mar 29, 2016 at 13:24

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