I was wondering if somebody could help me with the translation of “in Gang setzen/kommen/sein” and the seemingly related “in Gange” version. Most dictionraries seem to translate these as “get something going” or something similar. Seems easy enough. So I ask a friend, “Kann jemand ein Sozialleben “In Gang setzen”” for example, you move to a new city, and want to “get your social life going.” Turns out this doesn’t work. At the same time, there seem to be many instances of “eine Party in Gange” on the internet, and so at this point I am quite confused. Can somebody offer me any help? Thanks!

  • 1
    "in Gange" would have been said in older times for "in Gang", but there is also "im Gange" in the sense of something going on already.
    – Javatasse
    Jul 7, 2018 at 21:32
  • "in Gang" cannot always be replaced by "in Gange", for example "etw. in Gange setzen" is incorrect because here "Gang" is accusative, and the -e suffix can only be used with the dative.
    – RHa
    Jul 8, 2018 at 16:43

1 Answer 1


In Gang setzen: It is used in a mechanical context or in a time process, only started by people (activate a machine; preparing an party, a deal, a negotiation, ...). In Gang kommen: Relates to the machine or the process itself: A machine starts running, or the process...). In Gang sein: The machine or the process is running.

The context with Sozialleben is not so good. Sozialleben "happens" and is not activated by people (-:.

Regards Christian

  • thank you. So maybe “in Gang setzen”=get a process underway/set a process in motion. What do you mean my your “preparing a party” example, if you would be kind enough to explain further :)
    – user33598
    Jul 7, 2018 at 13:51

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