I would like to know how Germans differentiate between wägen and wiegen. When it comes to past participle both changes to gewogen (of course, the simple past is also wog)

Do Germans just know them by context?

2 Answers 2


It is not entirely uncommon to inflect wägen like a regular verb (Duden), i.e.:

wägen, wägte, gewägt

This allows for a differentiation to both verbs wiegen, which can only be inflected as follows:

in the sense of to weigh: wiegen, wog, gewogen, wöge

in the sense of to sway or to rock: wiegen, wiegte, gewiegt


Yes, it would be mostly context. The same thing is true for pairs like du liest and du ließt – although those two are different tenses.

It helps that wägen is usually used as abwägen or erwägen, however abwiegen also exists … So we’re almost back to the context argument.

  • Someone give me a better pair that is escaping me atm and I'll replace lesen/lassen.
    – Jan
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 10:08
  • erschrecken. _
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 10:48
  • @Wrzlprmft And what would be the other half of the pair erschrecken forms?
    – Jan
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 11:10
  • erschrecken itself. It can mean to frighten as well as to get frightened: »Er erschrak, als es knallte.«; »Der Knall erschrak ihn.«
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Jun 25, 2015 at 15:37

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