Google Translate comes up with the phrase, Es ist dein Umzug, but I have a feeling that "Umzug" is the wrong word here. I think that "Zug" would be more appropriate.

The reason for this intuition is simply that "zug" is already found in a number of chess terms, e.g. "zwischenzug" for "in-between move" and "Zugzwang" for "compulsion to move".

Thus, I would be tempted to say Es ist dein Zug or dein Zug for short. Is my intuition correct?

  • Why would you ever say that in chess, of all games? There's exactly one action you do in each turn, namely, move one of your pieces. (Well, two in case of castling, and you may remove a captured piece of the opponent's. And switch the clock. But all that is still one atomic action.) And after that action, it's your opponent's turn... hard to miss, really. Sep 14, 2017 at 21:55

2 Answers 2


Yes, "Zug" is correct in this context. While "es ist dein Zug" would be understood, "du bist am Zug" is more natural. Also natural is "du bist dran" (it's your turn).

Note that "Zug" only applies to board games, and not for example to card games.


"Dein Zug!" on its own is more natural than "es ist dein Zug", but the register is still "educated and old fashioned". Something you'd read in a book, not something you'd say today.

Trying to translate English literally ("It is your turn/move!", "Your turn/move!") usually just doesn't work.

You can use "du bist dran" for all games where the players take turns, and even in a metaphorical sense. So it's perfectly appropriate for chess or other board games.

  • 2
    Is "dran" inappropriate for chess? Sep 14, 2017 at 4:03
  • 1
    Thanks for the helpful answer! Both the idiomatic "du bist am Zug" and the alternative "du bist dran" are good to know. But how about dein Zug? Would this be natural?
    – ktm5124
    Sep 14, 2017 at 7:43
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    I always use "Du bist am Zug."
    – äüö
    Sep 14, 2017 at 8:11
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    I would just like to add that, contrary to your statement, there are some card games where "Zug" applies, mainly turn-based trading card games. Maybe your edit "you can use Zug for all turn-based games" was supposed to correct this, but it still felt unclear to me, so I wanted to point it out. Sep 14, 2017 at 9:01
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    "Dein Zug" is a bit ambiguous, as you could be talking about the persons last move.
    – allo
    Sep 14, 2017 at 15:12

As a native speaker I would recommend

Du bist dran!

As the most natural idiom.

Why? Because "Du bist am Zug" is more formally, suggesting a little bit that the other person should really move now, while "Du bist dran" rather suggests that the other person does something, while not being so much forced to move timely as if you say "Du bist am Zug".

Depends on how direct you want to say that its the other persons turn.

  • 1
    Ah, very helpful. Thanks for teaching me about the connotations.
    – ktm5124
    Sep 14, 2017 at 9:27
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    Could you just say "du bist", or is that not OK in German?
    – Mr Lister
    Sep 15, 2017 at 6:08
  • @MrLister yes, it is ok. you can do that aswell.
    – Gewure
    Sep 18, 2017 at 9:01

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