Questions tagged [expressions]

Redewendung – Questions about common expressions used in conversation and colloquial speech.

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5
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2answers
202 views

“da … wohl jemand”: Is this a sarcastic set expression with the meaning “a certain someone”?

Hm, da ist wohl jemand ziemlich gereizt. = "Someone ... looks irritated there." Da hat sich wohl jemand zu früh gefreut. = "Someone ... got their hopes up too soon there." I ...
1
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1answer
89 views

Is the expression “etwas ist vom Laster gefallen” used almost always figuratively?

Weil es irgendwo unterwegs vom Laster gefallen sein soll. They are looking for a certain object, and there is no mention of a lorry in previous contexts. Which leads me to think that the sentence ...
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2answers
2k views

How to use separable verb after a subordinating conjunction?

How do you use a separable verb after a subordinating conjunction? I know that for inseparable verbs, they're just conjugated and dragged to the end of the subordinating clause, but what about this: ...
5
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2answers
258 views

Can you use “unter der Sonne” to express the idea of “the best there is in the world”?

Felix ist der beste Gitarrist unter der Sonne. I wonder if "unter der Sonne" can be coupled with "der beste ..." as a figurative expression with the meaning of "the best there is in the world"?
6
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1answer
176 views

Has part of the original sentence like “Ich frage mich” been left out in this construction?

Wie es ihm wohl in London ergeht? Can you use the construction “wie/was/wo/ob … wohl …?” to express the idea of “I wonder how/what/where/whether”? I suppose the wohl here has the meaning of ...
1
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3answers
86 views

Dict.cc entry of »Rekord aufstellen«

Dict.cc has the following entries for Rekord aufstellen: einen Rekord aufstellen = to establish a record einen Rekord aufstellen = to set a record den Rekord aufstellen = to beat the ...
3
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4answers
555 views

Is there a simpler German saying for “Das Ganze ist mehr als die Summe seiner Teile”?

I am writing an e-mail to a potential business partner and want to express how our partnership could benefit the both of us. The above saying by Aristoteles came to mind but it sounds much to ...
4
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1answer
3k views

Etymology of „es geht um die Wurst“?

I came across a lot of German idioms that are based on Wurst as key word to express different meaning, such as: Es geht um die Wurst! (means: „now or never“ ) I know that Wurst are very popular in ...
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2answers
2k views

Is “zu …, um zu” a German equivalent of “too … to” or “so … that … cannot”?

1 : Ich dachte immer, du wärst viel zu beschäftigt, um zu deinem Vergnügen zu lesen. I’m not sure how to interpret the part "um zu". Is it incorrect to omit either of the two words and say: ...
6
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2answers
171 views

Is »für« or »vor« redundant in this sentence from »Der Spiegel«?

The below paragraph appears in the article “Schlacht um Deir al-Sor. 100.000 Syrer im Würgegriff des IS” from Der Spiegel: Die drohende Einnahme der Stadt stellt damit auch für die US-Armee vor ...
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3answers
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Expression “running out” in German

I have found the following translations for running out of something. Some verbs that make sense to me to use are ausgehen, ablaufen and enden. Note that I'm not interested in the literal meaning of ...
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4answers
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Expression “from scratch” in German

I have found the following translations for to start from scratch: (ganz) von vorn(e) anfangen/starten/beginnen bei Null anfangen/starten/beginnen And for to do sth from scratch: von Grund auf ...
9
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3answers
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How can I render the “that” in “Don’t be like that”?

I said to one of my German friends who was being pessimistic: Sei nicht so es! He answered that I could not use es but that I could add an adjective to it like Sei doch nicht so pessimistisch, ...
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3answers
110 views

How would one say, “Publish your work in English”? [closed]

I hope this is appropriate to post in this community. I am constructing a Facebook ad for German professors in the social and behavioral sciences. The ad will be in English, but I want the heading to ...
6
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3answers
189 views

»Business als usual«, »business as usual« or… What's the preferred form?

As it turns out, there are many variations of writing business as usual in German. I’m quoting below four sentences containing the expression, three of them come from German newspapers and one from ...
3
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2answers
4k views

In welchen Situationen wird “Alles Gute” verwendet?

Manchmal benutzte oder hörte ich es bei Geburtstagswünschen, Krankheit oder mutmachend, freundlich Aufwiedersehen sagend. Kann man Alles Gute in diesen verschiedenen Kontexten anwenden oder nur bei ...
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3answers
620 views

What the correct translation of “to be about to lose something”?

I was wondering what the right translation of the phrase "to be about to lose something" is? I truly need help as I am about to lose everything, but I don't know what to do. (Ich brauche ...
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2answers
1k views

“Die Liebe höret nimmer auf!”

I saw today this picture: This does not seem to be any verbal form from aufhören. What is this expression?
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1answer
3k views

The difference between ‘geboren sein’ and ‘geboren werden’

I have translated be born into German. I have two translations: geboren sein and geboren werden. I am studying the difference between them. Can they both be used to refer to the past (‘Peter was ...
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3answers
77 views

Expression for “without a fixed abode”

Is there no way to unambiguously state that a given person has no fixed place of residence, i.e. is "homeless"?-- the only expression I know of is obdachlos sein, which seems to entail sleeping on the ...
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3answers
4k views

Why does “Wie geht es dir?”, use a dative object? [closed]

Why does it have to be “Wie geht es dir”? Why can it not be “Wie geht es dich”? Also, is the you in “How are you” in English an indirect object or is it a direct object?
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2answers
1k views

What are other ways to express gratitude in German?

In conversational contexts, I've often found myself wanting to express gratitude in a bit more of an exciting way than Danke. I'm not talking about vielen Dank, tausend Dank etc. More personal ...
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5answers
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Woher stammt das »großes Indianer-Ehrenwort«?

Als ich einmal wieder meine Lieblingskinderserie, den kleinen Vampir geschaut habe, ist mir folgender Dialog in die Ohren gesprungen: Ich möchte das Wort »Vampir« die nächsten Wochen nicht mehr hören!...
3
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2answers
1k views

“To sense a pattern” or “to sense a theme” in German?

Is there an expression for to sense a pattern or to sense a theme in German? Meaning, for example, that we start observing similar things, or that we seem to be repeating the same behaviour, etc. (...
4
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2answers
2k views

How do I say “the most …” in German? [closed]

For example, I know that if I wanted to say “Most of the people here are good.” I know I should say something like: Die meisten Leute hier sind gut. Is that true in all situations in which I have ...
20
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4answers
4k views

Does German have the “must we not” formation?

If I say, in English, “Must we not speak German?”, I will be understood as asking whether it is true that we must speak German. It’s a strange phrase, as it means the opposite of the literal ...
3
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3answers
128 views

How to say “to wake up to a world”?

I was trying to translate the following sentence into German but I could not find a good translation for "to wake up to a world". I decided to go with "zu", and I hope it works. ...
3
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2answers
134 views

“Ich werde aus ihm nicht klug”

I know that "Ich werde aus ihm nicht klug" means "I can’t make him out" or "I can't understand him". Could someone please explain why? The literal translation "I become out of him/from him not smart" ...
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3answers
663 views

What is difference between trauern um and über?

I really did not understand why the verb "trauern" has two prepositions,which are "um" and "über", could you please me clarify? Wir trauern um die Opfer der Gewalttat in München, die so plötzlich ...
6
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3answers
479 views

What's a good German translation of “Aurgh!” or “Auuuurrgghhh!”?

The context is in a moment of fright, shocked surprise, or an intensely painful injury (along the lines of the Wilhelm Scream). I could go for phonetics and write „AAAAAHHHHH!!!”, but that’s just too ...
11
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1answer
248 views

Origin of “bis Motzen tutet”

I want to get a cross reference about a figure of speech which is common in the Berlin-based part of my family. They use very commonly the phrase "bis Motzen tutet" to emphasis the circumstance that ...
11
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4answers
375 views

Deutsche Redewendung für „Sit around the campfire and sing Kumbaya“

Ich habe nach einem Äquivalent auf Deutsch gesucht, konnte aber keines finden. Das einzige, das mir einfällt ist Abwarten und Tee trinken, aber ich glaube nicht, dass dies den Sarkasmus und die ...
2
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1answer
134 views

non relative clause with “in that”

I could not find a proper title for my question,this usage shows where the similarity or difference are in comparing facts. How could I translate in that part in following sentence. En: Second ...
5
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2answers
131 views

Understanding “aber des einen seins war blind”

The question is on the highlighted expression in this passage from Der arme Müllerbursch und das Kätzchen (1857), as collected by the Grimm brothers. In it, three mill hands had each brought a horse ...
2
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2answers
130 views

Understanding “aufs energischeste”

The question is on aufs energischeste as highlighted in this passage from Freud’s Totem und Tabu. The Verbot is that against incest. Die Übertretung dieses Verbotes wird nicht einer sozusagen ...
3
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2answers
5k views

Is “Bist du fertig?” offensive?

I am wondering on the use and the meaning of the word fertig in this sentence: Bist du fertig? In Italian a similar expression could be “Ma sei fuori/matto?” in the sense of “You are crazy!” In ...
4
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1answer
314 views

How to express the idea of “failing to do something fast enough/on time”?

How do you say that you are failing to do something on time or not doing something fast enough to meet time limits? For example, what would you naturally say in the following situations: Your train ...
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3answers
4k views

Wie sagt man den Ausdruck “Now we are talking”? [closed]

A: Kannst du mir deine Telefonnummer geben? B: Wieso willste sie? A: Ich möchte deine Stimme hören. B: Achso, meine Telefonnummer ist *****6850 A: Nun sprechen wir. Kann man das in diesem Kontext ...
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2answers
266 views

Wie sagt man “I don't mind” auf höflicher Art und Weise? [closed]

Do you mind if I go out with Jana tonight? No, I don't. Macht es dir nichts aus, wenn ich heute Abend ausgehe? Nein, das macht mir nichts aus. Bei dict.cc habe ich diesen Ausdruck gefunden, ich bin ...
9
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1answer
687 views

Expression for “little people”

What is an idiomatic way of expressing "little people", not as in people literally of small stature but people who are in reality important while still being "officially" unimportant?-- most notably ...
9
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4answers
469 views

Expression for blindly following rules

Is there any expression which denotes either The act of blindly and dogmatically following rules/instructions without regard for the practicality of doing so (For example, this would be an epithet ...
6
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2answers
963 views

Wieder- oder zurückkommen?

In einem Dialog aus meinem Lehrbuch sagt eine Frau, deren Mann auf Reise fährt: komm heil wieder. Ich hätte komm heil zurück erwartet. Was denkt ihr: Täusche ich mich oder liegt da ein ...
5
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3answers
649 views

Demographics and geographic use of “oder wat” (alternatively “oder Watt”)

I recently visited a major manufacturer of electrical equipment in Berlin. Among engineers and technicians I frequently heard "oder wat?", with 'wat' being pronounced the same as one would pronounce ...
7
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4answers
2k views

Sprichwort über lebenslanges Lernen

Ich brauche ein Sprichwort, welches die Wichtigkeit des lebenslangen Lernens auf eine prägnante Art und Weise ausdrückt. Wenn es sich reimt, ist es noch besser. Im Russischen gibt es eine Redewendung ...
8
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1answer
156 views

Moderne, gehobene Version von “Hof machen”

Wie nennt man im modernen Deutsch den Vorgang, bei dem ein Mann mit originellen und durchdachten Aktionen die Aufmerksamkeit einer Frau auf sich lenkt? Der Ausdruck soll betonen, dass das Ganze mit ...
4
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1answer
2k views

Wie kann man im Geschäft einem Verkäufer korrekt sagen, dass man sich zuerst nur umschauen möchte und noch keine Hilfe braucht?

Diese Frage wurde auch hier (auf Englisch) beantwortet: Natural way to deny help from a shopkeeper Wenn man in ein Geschäft geht und sich zuerst nur umschauen möchte, aber ein Verkäufer kommt und ...
3
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3answers
1k views

Der Unterschied zwischen “In Anspruch nehmen”, “verwenden” und “benutzen”

Ich werde morgen meinen Wagen für die Arbeit in Anspruch nehmen. Ich werde morgen meinen Wagen für die Arbeit verwenden. Ich werde morgen meinen Wagen für die Arbeit benutzen. Was ist der ...
12
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2answers
7k views

Is there a word for “hey” or “oi”?

I am wondering if there is a word in German that is meant to get attention, like from across the road or even the dining table, like hey or oi and what it would be.
9
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1answer
236 views

What does “italienisch konstruiert” mean?

I’ve encountered this expression in a book I’m reading. Here’s the whole paragraph: Liebe Emmi, ach, ist das angenehm, wieder einmal so einen richtig bezaubernden Ansatz einer Eifersuchtsszene ...
2
votes
2answers
127 views

How to say “Someone offered to take our things”, in a polite setting?

I want to say, “Somebody offered to take our things”, as a polite gesture. (so not stealing our things, or just taking them for no reason.) There are just so many different ways to say take — I’m not ...