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Let's say you're packing your bags for a camping trip with friends, and once you're finished you take a quick look at your packing list, in American English one might say:

Sleeping bag? Check.

Sunscreen? Check.

Hand sanitizer? Check.

and the list goes on...

Basically, it's something you say when something on a list has been dealt with.

Is there a German equivalent?

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    I have sometimes heared Germans using the English word "Check" in this situation (while the sentence or words before the word "Check" were German). Dec 16, 2021 at 10:11
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    It might be worth noting that the English here might be interpreted differently by British and American speakers, and this might affect the German translation. In British English "Check." as written here is likely to be taken as an instruction to determine whether or not something has been done, not as an assertion that it has been done. The BrE word for the latter usage would be "Tick.". Dec 17, 2021 at 12:08

5 Answers 5

30

There is not one as common word as 'check' in English. What you use depends on context and situation. It could be (probably among others)

  • Ok
  • Ja(woll)
  • Hier
  • Hab(e)
  • Ist da
  • Passt
  • Stimmt
  • Vorhanden
  • Abgehakt
  • Or indeed the very same: check
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    No German ever uses "Jawohl" in a non-sarcastic way outside the military. Dec 16, 2021 at 10:58
  • 11
    I can vouch for it being used also outside military without any sarcasm, even when not often Dec 16, 2021 at 11:05
  • 14
    "no German ever" is screaming for refutation. a softer formulation would be more effective.
    – choXer
    Dec 16, 2021 at 11:42
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    @choXer "No True Scots...German." yourlogicalfallacyis.com/no-true-scotsman
    – Mindwin
    Dec 16, 2021 at 12:36
  • 2
    @Mindwin Maybe you should pick a link for yourself. I have in no way doubted the basic criticism.
    – choXer
    Dec 16, 2021 at 15:17
20

The first one that comes to my mind would be erledigt

Duden reference

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    I am German and I can confirm this. The best German word would be "erledigt" indeed. Dec 17, 2021 at 1:48
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    I am German too and I can also confirm: "erledigt" is the best words. It's more usable for activities though, like "clean my room: done" -> "mein Zimmer saubermachen: erledigt"
    – jobrfr
    Dec 17, 2021 at 9:24
11

Common expressions for this are angekreuzt und abgehakt.

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    These are the right terms to describe the checked state of an item on a list ("Was ist auf seiner Liste denn noch offen? Eigentlich nur Proviant. Reisepass und Impfnachweis sind angekreuzt."), but as a response to going through a checklist as in "Gehen wir noch mal die Liste durch. Reisepass? Angekreuzt. Impfnachweis? Angekreuzt", which is what the OP is asking for? That strikes me as highly unlikely.
    – Schmuddi
    Dec 16, 2021 at 11:59
11

To me, the most natural spoken version is to switch between various variations of “ja”.

Schlafsack? Japp.
Sonnencreme? Ok.
Handsprit? Yip.
Zahnbürste? MmHmm.

The word “ja” itself for some reason doesn't work as well, when I hear that I'd rather expect some “not applicable” explanation like

Zelt? – Ja... also, wir hatten eigentlich vor die Wanderhütte zu benutzen. Sprich, Zelt brauchen wir garnicht.

In writing, one would of course just use the symbol just like in English.

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    Agreed. I guess a lot depends on the pronounciation and intonation of the 'Ja'. I'd hardly ever choose a 'Jaaa', but with a very short 'a' - or one of the versions you mention here as an affirmative. With a long vowel it arguably is often used to express scepticism in regard to the item being mentioned. Dec 17, 2021 at 13:58
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    Definitely. There's a lot of sublety. “jjhA” with a short but accented “A” works fine here, “jjaaa...” would indicate you're not really sure, “ja-ha” expresses exasperation (“of course I packed this”), “jjJAAaa” says “oh, that's a good idea, I hadn't though of that”, etc. etc.. Dec 17, 2021 at 14:06
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    Jepp. Jo. Jenau esu.
    – mirabilos
    Dec 17, 2021 at 17:26
6

I fully agree with planetmaker's answer. I just want to add, that there are also regional differences. I live in Austria, and the most common version here is

passt

All other predicates mentioned by planetmaker are also in use in Austria.

But there is an interesting issue with the German words for the noun check (or checkmark):

The check-symbol (the sign ✓) is called »Hakerl« in Austria (and also in Bavaria as I believe) but »Häkchen« in non-Bavarian Germany.
(I guess it could be »Häkli« in Switzerland and parts of Germany with Alemannic dialects, but I don't know much about Alemannic dialects and colloquial speech, so there is a high chance that my guess is not correct.)

But we in Austria have a severe problem with Hakerl/Häkchen: The word »Hakerl« is clearly considered to be a part of colloquial language. It doesn't belong to Austrian Standard German or any other standard variation of German language. This is why »Hakerl« is not listed in Duden, DWDS, Wiktionary or any other notable dictionary about Standard German. So, in Austria we use »Hakerl« a lot in spoken language, but we avoid it in written texts because it feels wrong to write colloquial terms.

Exceptions exist but are rare:

Leitbild Ried 2020: "Können viele Hakerl setzen"
AMS: Mann vergisst Hakerl auf Formular und verliert 600 Euro
Das Konto „ElonMuskoffici“ hatte ein offizielles Verifizierungs-Hakerl, ...
Was das neue Hakerl bei WhatsApp bedeutet
Kreuzerl, Hakerl, Stricherl - So wählen Sie richtig

But »Häkchen« sounds so unfriendly and so terribly German ("German" not in the sense of »belonging to the German language« but in the sense of: »belonging to the country Germany«) and therefore we avoid this word too. I think it is because of the uncomfortable combination of k and ch. We never use this word in spoken language and we use it in written texts only if we can't find a better solution. The word Hakerl is much easier to pronounce for Austrian people because we are used to the Austrian diminutive -erl which, on the other hand, seems to be hard to pronounce for some people from Germany.

So, when ever we want to use the German equivalent for the English noun »check« in written texts we get in troubles: Shall we use the very common and familiar but colloquial version »Hakerl« which looks unprofessional in written texts? Or shall we use the inconvenient and offish version »Häkchen« that sounds so terribly Non-Austrian? Both Versions are bad and so many Austrian authors often spend a lot of time thinking over other possibilities.

I'm pretty sure that also in all the editorial offices responsible for the above quotes, there were lengthy discussions before publication about whether or not it was okay to write the word »Hackerl«.


A digression about German diminutive suffixes:

German standard German has only two diminutive suffixes: -chen and -lein (Kindchen, Kindlein; Hündchen, Hündlein). But in Regions where Bavarian or Alemannic dialects are spoken you can hear also some other diminutive suffixes. One of them is -erl (Kinderl, Hunderl) in the region where Bavarian dialects are spoken (which is roughly Bavaria and Austria) which even exists in many words that are part of Austrian standard German (but - as far as I know - do not belong to German standard German or Swiss standard German):

The advantage of having an additional option is, that now you can avoid awkward sound-combinations that would appear with the other suffixes. The combination of k followed by ch is such a awkward combination. And this is why in Austria (and probably also in Bavaria) we use other diminutive forms than in other regions. Some of them belong to Austrian Standard German, but most of them belong to colloquial speech:

  • Päckchen → Packerl
  • Glöckchen → Glockerl, Glöckerl
  • Fleckchen → Fleckerl
  • Röckchen → Rockerl
  • Wölckchen → Wolkerl
  • Säckchen → Sackerl
  • Schlückchen → Schluckerl
  • HäkchenHakerl
  • etc.

None of the other diminutive suffixes is part of any of the three standards of German language, they exist only in colloquial speech and in dialects. Some of them are:

  • -ele and -ale: Sackele (Sack), Hundale (Hund)
  • -li: Säckli (Sack), Hündli (Hund), Röösli (Rose), Chügeli (Kugel)
  • -le: Häusle (Haus), Kindle (Kind)
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    In my experience, people in Germany would call it "Haken", not "Häkchen", and this also turns up in the phrase "Haken setzen".
    – Polygnome
    Dec 16, 2021 at 9:35
  • Interesting. Which publication do I need to consult if I want to learn more about the claim that the preference of e.g. Packerl instead of Päckchen in colloquial Austrian German is due to a perceived awkwardness of the combination /k/+/ç/, a combination that doesn't appear to be perceived as awkward at all by speakers of other German varieties? From a phonological perspective, /kç/ is not awkward at all – in fact, homorganic clusters are preferred in many languages. Do Austrian speakers consider /ts/ and /pf/ as "awkward" as well? If not, what's the difference between these and /kç/?
    – Schmuddi
    Dec 16, 2021 at 12:10
  • @Schmuddi: This is not a topic for comments on an answer. Post your question here: german.stackexchange.com/questions/ask Dec 16, 2021 at 12:31
  • @Polygnome: My first association with »Haken« is something like this: A B C which is hook in English. But we're not talking about hooks but about checkmarks. Dec 16, 2021 at 12:38
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    @Idman Was, wenn die Situation ist wie "Liste Dinge, die man in den Urlaub mitnimmt, auf?". Dann ist 'Passt' eine perfekte Antwort. Dec 18, 2021 at 9:14

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