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How can you differentiate between I want to eat:

Ich will essen.

And I want food:

Ich will Essen.

during conversation, in written form it is only the capitalisation of the noun the makes it differentiable?

  • Why do you want to differentiate? They mean the same. – Robert May 25 '16 at 20:20
  • And what do you want to eat if not food? – Simon Schüpbach May 25 '16 at 20:26
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    As long as you need to stick to those exact sentences you cannot but "ich moechte etwas essen" vs. "ich muss einkaufen" should do the trick. It sounds quite weird to use 'Essen' in this sentence as it begs the question 'und dann?' (basically what 'what do you want to do with it?) – Sim May 25 '16 at 20:28
  • @Sim thanks that was the answer I was looking for. – Daniel Robinson May 26 '16 at 12:11
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As long as you need to stick to those exact sentences you cannot.

But ‘ich möchte etwas essen’ to replace ‘ich will essen’ and ‘ich muss einkaufen’ as ‘ich will Essen’ should do the trick.

It sounds quite weird to use Essen in this sentence as it begs the question ‘und dann?’ — basically what ‘what do you want to do with it?’

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They don’t mean the same!

Ich will essen

Means that you want to eat.

Ich will Essen

Means that you want to get food. This food can also be for your friends etc.

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    I think the question was how to recognize which one has been told during a conversation. – Vulpo May 26 '16 at 7:31
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    yes I know they dont mean the same thing, I said that in the question, I want to know how will you determine the subtle difference if someone were to actually speak that, are they saying they want to eat or that they want food? perhaps for someone or something else. or is it simply not possible to differentiate this difference in speech? – Daniel Robinson May 26 '16 at 12:05
  • I think this was meant as a comment, so please do not post it as an answer. – Carsten S May 26 '16 at 14:08

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