There are at least six verbs in German, which mean “to agree”:

  • übereinkommen
  • etw. vereinbaren
  • einverstanden sein
  • sich einigen / sich einig werden
  • sich absprechen
  • sich auf etw. verständigen

Can you please tell me what is the difference between all these verbs? Are they interchangeable? And most importantly, when should I choose one verb over the other?

1 Answer 1


The following are mostly synonymous and can be translated as "to agree on sth." in the sense of "to reach/come to an agreement", i.e. two or more parties had some kind of conflict/discussion/negotioation which they are resolving.

etw. vereinbaren
sich einigen / sich einig werden
sich auf etwas verständigen

The result - the sth. that the parties agree upon - may (but does not need to be) written down as a treaty/contract

sich absprechen

has some overlap with this meaning, but it is usually used when the involved parties are discussing how to coordinate efforts on something.

einverstanden sein

is different - by itself it does not say anything about the process of reaching an agreement, it merely states that the subject agrees to/concurs with something now, no matter if they always did so or were recently convinced.

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