I want to say:

I will provide the necessary books.

I translated it like this:

Ich werde die notwendigen Bücher bereitstellen.

However, I am not sure whether bereitstellen is the correct word or not.

  • 3
    I think this question should stay open, because it reduces the translation request to a single source of concern which is (in my opinion) well-addressed.
    – Jan
    Jan 3, 2017 at 20:55

2 Answers 2


Learn: You never translate words. You always translate meanings!

This is not only true in case of »to provide«, this is ALWAYS true!

The english verb »to provide« has, according to Wiktionary, six different meanings (plus two additional meanings which seem to be obsolete), and for each meaning you can have different words in German:

  1. To make a living; earn money for necessities.

    to provide for somebody = für jemanden sorgen

    It is difficult to provide for my family working on minimum wage.
    Es ist schwierig, für meine Familie zu sorgen wenn man für einen Mindestlohn arbeitet.

  2. To act to prepare for something.

    to provide something = etwas bereitstellen, etwas zur Verfügung stellen

    I will provide the necessary books.
    Ich werde die notwendigen Bücher bereitstellen.
    Ich werde die notwendigen Bücher zur Verfügung stellen.

  3. To establish as a previous condition; to stipulate.

    to provide something = etwas voraussetzen (voraussetzen is a separable verb)

    The contract provides that the work be well done.
    Der Vertrag setzt voraus, dass die Arbeit gut gemacht wird.

    I'll lend you the money, provided that you pay it back by Monday.
    Ich werde dir das Geld leihen, vorausgesetzt du zahlst es bis Montag zurück.

  4. To give what is needed or desired, especially basic needs.

    to provide = versorgen

    We aim to provide the local community with more green spaces.
    Wir wollen die Gemeinde mit mehr Grünflächen versorgen.

  5. To furnish (with), cause to be present.

    to provide with something = mit etwas ausstatten, möblieren (ausstatten is also a separable verb)

    A carpenter provided our office with desks and cabinets.
    Ein Tischler/Schreiner stattete unser Büro mit Tischen und Schränken aus.
    Ein Tischler/Schreiner möblierte unser Büro. (If you use »möblieren«, you most often don't say with what)

  6. To make possible or attainable.

    to provide with something = etwas geben, etwas aufzeigen (aufzeigen is also a separable verb)

    He provides us with an alternative option.
    Er gab uns eine alternative Möglichkeit.
    Er zeigte uns eine alternative Möglichkeit auf.

  • 4
    +1 for "Learn: You never translate words. You always translate meanings!" That should be a banner for this site and for other languages. Jan 3, 2017 at 20:23
  • Ich würde Punkt 2 noch um die Variante Ich werde XYZ beisteuern erweitern, vor allem für Situationen, in denen mehrere Leute jeweils einen Beitrag leisten (for situations where several people contribute to the result, you could use the word beisteuern) Jun 21, 2019 at 11:17

Bereitstellen is one of a few options in this context. If you take a look at the Wiktionary entry to bereitstellen, for one you'll find that it indeed means to provide, to supply, and for another you'll find a synonym that is also a quite common way of saying the same thing: zur Verfügung stellen (meaning, to make available for use).

Ich werde die notwendigen Bücher zur Verfügung stellen.

I consider that phrase a little more common. Still, your word choice is absolutely fine.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.