'Es mit etwas versuchen'

This is given as an exemplar idiomatic verbal phrase in my grammar book as 'to try ones hand at something'. However, I can find no example of it on the internet. Can somebody please verify if this is an idiom that is in usage?


Ich versuche es mit Fußball?

  • The first thing which comes to my mind is this: youtu.be/v_EWWyJfgPc (probieren is a synonym of versuchen). Jul 21, 2018 at 12:40
  • 1
    @BjörnFriedrich I hadn’t noticed. Zwei Dumme, ein Gedanke ;}
    – Carsten S
    Jul 23, 2018 at 5:46

3 Answers 3


"Ich wollte kochen, aber das Essen wird nicht heiß." -- "Hast du den Herd eingeschaltet?" -- "Gute Idee, ich werde es mal damit versuchen."

"Der Arzt sagt, ich soll Sport treiben, aber mein Fuß schmerzt. Ich werde es nun mit Schwimmen versuchen."

Yes, this idiom is in use in Germany*, but I daresay it's only used in direct speech. Since a whole lot of content on the net is not direct speech, and this idiom is seldom found in it's pure form (i.e. without any additional words in between), I imagine you'd have trouble finding some examples.

*) at least in North-Rhine Westphalia, where I live. But I never saw anyone not understanding that phrase.

  • 1
    Only in direct speech? I don't think so, and I live in NRW too. You can see sentences like "Wenn es mit Seife nicht rausgeht, können Sie es mit Spiritus versuchen" in writing too. Jul 27, 2018 at 8:55
  • @RudyVelthuis To my knowledge: that example is direct speech, quoted in writing (I may be hazy on the definition of "direct speech", so if you've got a definition source, I'm all ears). --- Totally unrelated: I've seen your name before. Have you been active in dclpd and the usenet in general in the late 90s?
    – orithena
    Jul 27, 2018 at 13:45
  • @orithena: no, you can see it on "Ratgeber" sites too, and there it is not quoted direct speech. I think that saying it is only used in direct speech is wrong. OT: No idea what DCLPD is, but I have been on Usenet since the late nineties, yes. Jul 28, 2018 at 15:58
  • @RudyVelthuis I'd still argue that this is kind of direct speech, because the Ratgebers you're referring to are worded like talking to the reader. But yeah, I see your point. This is going to the definition territory. OT: dclpd = de.comp.lang.pascal.delphi; so ... Hello from 20 years ago. Your name is one of the first I came across when diving into usenet back then. And somehow, it stuck to my mind. (I signed my posts back then with "Dave KLiczbor", because I was typing the KL so fast that I didn't have time to release the shift key)
    – orithena
    Jul 28, 2018 at 16:31
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    And yes, i was quite busy an d.c.l.p.d. those days. Jul 29, 2018 at 13:22

It is much more common when used like this: "Wir hatten uns zwar getrennt, aber ich werde es noch einmal mit ihm/ihr versuchen." (We broke up, but I will give it one more try / I will give him or her one more chance)

Edit: Examples on the internet can be found here: https://www.google.de/search?ei=zlNaW5H8N-GE6ATgvKPwDw&q="es+noch+einmal+mit+ihr+versuchen"#


I had a hard time to find a printed example but succeded via DWDS in Korpora search in Die Zeit:

Die Zeit, 08.05.2014, Nr. 20: Einige Hotelbesitzer wollen es jetzt damit versuchen, Touristen in Igoumenitsa, dem nächstgelegenen Fährhafen, Broschüren in die Hand zu drücken, [...]

(Some hotel owners will now give it a try to distribute leaflets to tourists at the next ferry port.)


Die Zeit, 08.06.2011, Nr. 23: Der Hersteller will damit versuchen, mehr Männer hinter das Steuer eines Minis zu bekommen.

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