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A work colleague was speaking over the phone and he used the phrase:

Danke für die Auskunft

I googled it and found that is also a synonym for information, so what is the difference between both?

Thank you in advance for your input

2 Answers 2

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(You've sort of answered the question yourself by distinguishing "information" and "input"...)

Auskunft is an answer to a request for information.

It means the act of answering such a request, or the content of such an answer. Information is just a content, hence a kind of thing, in and by itself. Therefore, "Information" has a much wider range of uses.

Incidentally, "Auskunft" can also mean an information desk or an institution that answers requests for information (e.g. "Wikipedia Auskunft" - https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Auskunft ). Like the information desk in a train station. Nowadays, however, they prefer to call it "die Information" in Germany. But this does not refer to "information" (the content) per se; it means it is a place where they provide information. Providing information when needed is Auskunft.

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"Information" is a more neutral term for an information. "Auskunft" has the connotation of an information that you didn't know and have been told. Think about a phone number you needed, or the opening hours of a store. Chances are you asked somebody for the information, but that's not strictly necessary.

Today, "Auskunft" has a bit of an outdated ring to it. It's mostly used in set phrases like the one you've heard, or in professional settings, when it is a person's job to answer questions and give out information. Think of a help desk, for example.

Instances like a help desk or a phone directory service may be called "die Auskunft" for short themselves, too. For example, the inquiry service of the phone provider Deutsche Telekom calls itself "11833 - Die Auskunft der Telekom", with the number being the phone number of the service.

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