What is the difference between the two adjectives "nützlich" and "sinnvoll", when both of them mean "useful"? Could you please give some examples?
closed as off-topic by guidot, Robert, peterh, Philipp, Björn Friedrich Nov 8 '18 at 7:57
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As often in German, you can to split those two words into their pieces and analyze what they are about:
nützlich — es ist von Nutzen → it's of benefit/advantage
sinnvoll — es ist voller Sinn → it's full of reason
Most times, things that are full of reason tend to be beneficial so you can use those two words interchangably. There is a difference about plan and outcome, however:
Mein Plan ist sinnvoll. – Gut.
Mein Plan ist nützlich. – Wofür?
Dieser sinnvolle Plan war sehr nützlich. – Gut.
Dieser nützliche Plan war sehr sinnvoll. – Hä?
A fixed phrase you may encounter:
Mach dich mal nützlich! (Come on, help us!)