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In my book I have come across both the verbs "aufschreiben" and "mitschreiben". A simple google translate tells that both of the verbs mean "To write down".

My question is/are: -

  • When to use which verb?
  • How will I know which verb to use if they both mean the same?
  • Any specific difference between them?

Can you also please give examples in form of a sentence for better understanding of their usage.

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    Google Translate is the wrong way to look up words. It only offers one possible translation and that may be wrong, not even depending on context. An alternative is dict.cc – infinitezero Jun 15 at 9:25
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aufschreiben

  • record by writing or also write down e.g. your observations, your thoughts
  • write down e.g. I wrote down the cell phone number

mitschreiben:

  • listen to something and write it down at the same time e.g. take down the lecture
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  • the last example should be not conjoined, right, specificly to mark the difference?? – vectory Jun 18 at 17:48
  • "prescribe sth" is "etwas verschreiben**" so this example is wrong "take part in a written test" is "einen Test schreiben" You can say "einen Test mitschreiben", but this more likely means you manage to participate in a test (there where some obstacles to overcome) – Masatwwo Jun 18 at 21:41
  • @masatwwo - thanks for the hints - edited my answer. – help-info.de Jun 19 at 5:33
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Although not an exact translation, cp. En. "to write up" (summarize, notice; list).

The connotatiin in auf "on" completely subsumes that and leaves nothing but the denotional sense, "onto [paper]; [to write] down", at first sight, although the usage is still very much within the realm of drafting a record.

Mitschreiben is used chiefly in the denotional sense, too, i.e. "along, in synchrony"; cp. eg. mit fahren, mitkommen. The etymologic connection to Greek meta might imply something more, and Lat. mit- "to send" (cf. message) might be informative on top of that, however long forgotten if that were the case, not evident from usage at all. Compare nonetheless Mitteilung to that effect; not here: vermitteln (cf. middle, mediate); probably not here: mitgeben, cp. Mitgift "dowry" opposite of "brideprice" (again there's a Greek comparison, viz. "to pay", iirc). Since auf can mean "on top of", a sense like "add to [a listing, chrinical, etc.]" also comes to mind, e.g. in police lingo: to write somebody a notice for a misdemeanor, but colloquially paraphrased when a particular listing is concerned, e.g. dazuschreiben.

At that it's notable that writing used to be a special craft with idiosyncratic terminology.

However it came to be today the main difference is that Mitschrift requires a lecture or other non-written source to copy from.

Whereas aufschreiben may be creative, perhaps spontanious, and so generally applicable that it is not specialized enough to have a corresponding result noun. There's only a superficial comparison in Aufschrift(cp. Überschrift, Untertitel, Inschrift). One might contrast Abschrift, that has very narrow usage in law denoting legal copy of a writ, next to ausfertigung with a similar sense but different legal requirements (ex perfection?).. Another connotation of aufschreiben (of debts, guilts) can be contrasted with abschreiben "to write off" (cp. streichen "to strike, erase from a list", refl. sich ein-/ausschreiben in university "im-/exmatrikulate"). Whereas the connotation of originality can be contrasted with another sense of abschreiben, that is "to write off of, cheat by copying, immitate".

Compare by the way: English copy-editing (a genre of advertising text, very descriptive)? Auftrag "task, mission" also " coating, layer on-top"? Annonce "(ad) copy" versus announce? Apostal, apocryphe, apo-, post (lol what?), En. off, irregular Ger. uff "up, on" from *op, cp. hör auf "stop" (listen up; leave it), contrast weg "away, off", note auf-g'- (*i.e. pastpart. aufgeschrieben)? fax, from facsimile, fac- "do" + simil(ar), suppletive present tense of fio, future "to be(come)", cf. (last) will? cp. of-ficial???

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