There are many times where you want to take a look inside some premises like a bar. Almost every day I face the following difficulty.

How do you say (when somebody comes to speak to you and ask you for example if you need a table) in German: I only want to take a look and I will decide later. Or totally casually just say: Hey I 'll take a look first.

Are the 2 (following) sentences that I use correct? Die klingen, glaube ich, schief.

 - Ich werfe nur einen Blick.
 - Ich schaue mir rum.
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    You're never going to have a good drink if you're sightseeing only ;)
    – tofro
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 20:36
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    I know, one is not supposed to answer in a comment on this platform, but this is too short for an answer: Ich schaue nur. Both of your sentences are not good. Ich schaue mich (nur) um is good, also Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 22:13
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    it's not clear to me why this is labeled 'etymology'. take is a Norse borrowing without cognates in German. It seems to align with ziehen in some phrases, and herumziehen (to loiter; go around) should work in reference to bar evenings, but nothing in relation to viewing comes to mind.
    – vectory
    Commented Nov 27, 2021 at 23:32
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    @BernhardDöbler There's no need to write 500 words. Just explain what's wrong with OP's sentences. Then your comment is a good answer.
    – Olafant
    Commented Nov 28, 2021 at 11:54

2 Answers 2


Correct phrases for the situation you describe are:

Ich schaue mich nur um.
Ich schaue mich erst einmal um.

The phrase:

Ich werfe nur einen Blick hinein.

is also correct German but implies that you're standing outside and peeking in, while the former are a better match for the situation you describe where you are inside already but trying to decide whether you'll stay.


The verbiage would be most likely verbal, gucken, schauen, nachsehen. Einen Blick werfen for a denominal construction is common indeed and matches your starting point with to take best, maybe einen Eindruck gewinnen "get an impression" works as well in ightly elevated speech, but the prepositions are decisive. You do not just turn an eye but need to say rein, heinein, in das Lokal, auf die Statue or something of that sort. In this view, the verbal phrases match your request much better: Ich möchte nur mal eben gucken.

"* Ich schaue mir rum" is unacceptable. Either it's accusative mich, or substandard Berliner mir where schauen would be rather uncommon. As the separable verbs are sich umschauen or sich umgucken, it would never be rum. Without the self-reflexive there is rumkucken, not "* (he)rum gucken", as far as I can tell.

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