I see same word 'geht' however different translations

Edit: I am using Google Translate here so please correct me if I am wrong anywhere.

'Wie geht's?' translates to 'How are you?' Here "geht's" translates to "it's" on Google Translate.

However if I translate just the word 'geht', the result is 'going'.

Following two statements are another example: "Mir geht's nicht so gut." & "Es geht mir schlecht." Both have similar translation however "geht's" & 'geht' have a different meaning on it's own.

I want to understand why is there a difference and on what grounds or anything that might explain it.

  • Could you please edit your post and add examples for the different translations?
    – Arsak
    Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 7:17
  • We are unable to aswer this question without any context. Give us concrete and tangible examples, and tell us under which circumstances you heard or read them. Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 8:00
  • I have added more details to the question. Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 9:32
  • Do you really expect us here to explain why Google Translate does the various silly things it does? Perhaps better ask the Google Department of Imitated Linguistics? Commented Nov 11, 2018 at 16:16

2 Answers 2


The 'difference' you assume based on Google's underperfomance doesn't exist. The only difference is structures and idiomacy in respectively German and English.

gehen is to go, not * going. The conjugation is: ich gehe, du gehst, er/sie/es geht - I go, you go, he/she/it goes.

Except 'to go', gehen can also have the meaning 'to walk' or 'to work', as in Es geht nicht! -> It doesn't work!

Wie geht's? = Wie geht es? -> makeshift translation: * How goes it?

Mir geht's nicht so gut. = Mir geht es nicht so gut. -> makeshift translation: * Me (= to me) goes it not so good (well).

Es geht mir schlecht. -> makeshift translation: * It goes me (= to me) bad.

Of course, none of these makeshift translations has anything to do with real English. The only thing we can say is: German does it the way it does, and English does so, too: How are you? - I'm not really fine - I'm feeling bad. / I feel sick. / I'm having a bad time. The latter three depend on the situation.



Geht's is just the shortening of Geht es..., it's not a form of its own. Gehen in a non-personal usage means a personal or non-personal condition, a state of well-being, or similar. Thus, the regular sentence says, Es geht... ( mir gut, dir schlecht, etc.) and as a question, it says, Wie geht(')s (dir, mir, etc.) This question has become a familiar term replacing Hallo/hello and comes close to the French Ca va? One can also use it for other conditions like, Der Laden geht gut (The store is running well ) or, as a recent development, Geht's noch? as a challenging question for any situation which is going to go bad, wrong, or weird. - Both sentences, wie geht's and also, geht's noch?, are incomplete ones as for an object (S+P+O) but complete as for a basic sentence (S+P) since the subject is always ES so they allow easy entendings which can even become the base of a good joke.

  • Welcome again. Please consider some reformatting to make it easier to read your answer. Most things are directly at hand while editing. Additional help might be found here: german.stackexchange.com/help/formatting Commented Nov 9, 2020 at 18:21

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