In this paragraph two verbs have been used with more or less same meaning. The verbs are festlegen and entscheiden, so what's the contextual difference?

Ich lege gemeinsam mit meiner Trainerin fest, wie intensiv ich trainieren muss. Und ich muss mich natürlich oft entscheiden.

3 Answers 3


In addition to bakunin's answer: While both verbs often translate as "to decide", entscheiden is about the process of decision-making whereas festlegen is more about the outcome (that something now has been decided). Depending on context, festlegen may also translate to to fix, to determine, or to schedule (when it's about a point in time something is supposed to happen).


The words can be used as synonyms and are used in a fitting way here.

"Entscheiden" is perhaps the simpler one to explain: it means "to decide" or "to make a decision": one has two (or more) alternatives and takes one of them. Notice that the verb from which "entscheiden" is derived is "scheiden", which means "to part" or "to separate".

Und ich muss mich natürlich oft entscheiden.

From the context you gave (training) the decision is to continue working (hard) or to stop/work less hard. I'd interpret the sentence as: a voice in me says "stop working and relax" and I have to overcome that voice constantly.

"Festlegen" has to do with decisions and making them but only indirectly: "fest" here is used in the sense of "rigid" or "fixed": things are flexible and could take any direction but one decides for a certain direction and then the one course of actions is fixed and - rigidly - going in the direction decided upon. So, "festlegen" is not so much about a decision process but about the decision itself and how that influences destiny.

One decides upon the intensity of the training and, depending on the decision, training would take a different course, but after the "Festlegung" (the noun derived from "festlegen") it is one and only one course of actions.


I don't see much of an intersection. Entscheiden is choosing between alternatives and festlegen is some sort of commitment. Of course you can do that at the same time, but the commitment can also follow the decision by a significant time span.

(I have some problems with the example sentence, since I don't see an obvious object to the decisions apparently required.)

So you may decide to travel to Greece in your vacation, but the commitment is only done, when you sign the booking with the travel agency, rent the car etc.

When you decide to quit smoking, this decision may be easily revoked as long you don't commit by telling to some other people.

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