Questions tagged [expressions]

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

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3
votes
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 ...
3
votes
1answer
625 views

“Möge es dir gelingen” vs. “Viel Erfolg”

Ich habe eine kleine Frage bezüglich dieser zwei Sätze: Möge es dir gelingen. Viel Erfolg! Welcher der beiden Ausdrücke wird am meisten benutzt und welcher ist (stilistisch) am elegantsten?
3
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1answer
104 views

Meaning of “XXXX halt” [duplicate]

I had the following exchange while chatting: I did not understand the word "Futterpampe", so I asked, and the she answered (i think) that it means "Cat food". But what confused me was the way she ...
3
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1answer
102 views

Could I use “zu … von” to ask the difference between two objects?

I was watching a German YouTuber asking the difference of normal pork and a special raw minced pork, and he said something too fast that was hard for me to grasp, but it sounds like: Was ist der ...
3
votes
1answer
220 views

What does »Gettofäuste verteilen« mean?

The two below paragraphs come from the article in Der Spiegel called “Jugendliche in Frankreichs Banlieues. Kurz vor dem Knall.” My question refers to the expression Gettofäuste verteilen used in the ...
3
votes
1answer
164 views

About the expression “macht es Ihnen etwas aus ~”

In the sentence "Macht es Ihnen etwas aus, immer bis 10 Uhr Abend zu arbeiten?", who is the subject of the verb "arbeiten"? That is, is it asking Is it ok with you when you work until 10 pm ...
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" ...
3
votes
1answer
101 views

What does the phrase “[jemanden] auf den baum bringen” mean and where does it come from?

I am translating a Till Eulenspiegel story from German to English, and I encountered the following sentence (source, see section 22]: Eulenspiegels Frechheit brachte den braven Mann vollends auf den ...
3
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2answers
309 views

How to say “for 20 years”?

He has lived here for 20 years. ==> Er hat seit 20 Jahren hier gelebt. Can we also say it like: ==> Er hat 20 Jahre hier gelebt. ? ( https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_adverbial_phrases I found ...
3
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1answer
488 views

Hat “jemanden zur Rede stellen” eine andere Bedeutung als “jemanden sich rechtfertigen lassen”?

Ich hatte diesen Ausdruck im Englischen gesucht und to take someone to task gefunden. Ich bin der Meinung, dass der deutsche Ausdruck für jemanden sich rechtfertigen zu lassen verwendet wird. Mit ...
3
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1answer
96 views

German expression for “learning by ear”?

I saw this expression "learning from ear" on DW, similar to the better know expression "playing by ear". I want to know what the equivalent for this is in German. Both expressions ...
3
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3answers
178 views

Does “nur zu” have the same encouraging tone as “more power to you” in English?

Talking with my colleague about reading though an extra-thick medical book, I said jokingly: Zum Gelehrten tauge ich wohl nicht, was? Wenn du es schaffst, auch nur einen dieser Wälzer durchzulesen, ...
3
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1answer
81 views

German equivalents of the French expression “pour un oui ou pour un non”

Tu ramènes toujours tes complexes ethniques, pour un oui ou pour un non, dans toutes les discussions, même les plus anodines. {literally}: You always dredge up some complex about your ethnic origin, ...
3
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1answer
773 views

Is there another German interpretation of “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”?

My German was far better as a child then it is now. I am currently attempting to re-learn it. During this review, an anecdote that I've repeated frequently has come under scrutiny. While in ...
3
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6answers
291 views

What are the German equivalents of “blow away the cobwebs”?

We were having a conversation in French after a concert, and I was wondering how I'd express the same idea in German. I would have said: Ich habe die letzten Tage damit verbracht, eingepfercht in ...
3
votes
1answer
172 views

How is the idea of “girlfriend material” naturally expressed in German?

Elle n'est pas de l'étoffe dont on fait les copines... {literally}: She's not of the material from which we make girlfriends. То express the idea of "she's not (X)girlfriend material", &...
3
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3answers
120 views

In the “sowohl A als auch B” expression, which of A/B is stressed?

In the sentence below, "Ich bin sowohl in Norwegen als auch in Schweden gewesen." which word is stressed? I mean, in nuance, isn't it that one is regarded obvious and the other is regarded ...
2
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4answers
595 views

German equivalent for “look and feel”

I’m drafting a ‘handwritten’letter to a good friend who has been studying German for the past three years. I’m using my computer to ‘write’ the letter, using the “Mistral” font in 16 point size. The ...
2
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3answers
218 views

How do I say “show someone a good time” in German?

Can I say "jemandem eine gute Zeit zeigen" (They showed me a good time = Sie haben mir eine gute Zeit gezeigt), or is that clearly something borrowed from English? If this expression is odd/...
2
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3answers
968 views

Is there any reason but aesthetics for the use of “dann mit” here?

A very famous song says: Ein kleines Edelweiss, das bringst du mir dann mit I am trying to understand what is the role of dann mit here. For me, if the phrase didn't have these words the meaning would ...
2
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2answers
136 views

Redewendung für „for my records“ oder „for my files“?

Die englische Redewendung „for my records“ (oder „for my files“) wird in den Staaten oft verwendet. Gibt es auch eine ähnliche deutsche Redewendung, die oft verwendet wird? „Für meine Akte“ ist mir ...
2
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2answers
278 views

In German, how to say “Mars approaches Earth this closely only once every 15 years”?

Das letzte Mal, dass der Mars so dicht an der Erde war, ist 15 Jahre her. I want to rephrase this sentence into something like: Mars only approaches Earth closely enough to be visible to the naked ...
2
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2answers
282 views

Old German ways of saying “in particular”

Is "nämlich so" (or something spelled in a similar way) an abbreviation for an old way of saying "in particular"? The context I am working with seems to suggest that "in particular" might be the ...
2
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2answers
10k views

»Ich habe frei« vs. »frei habe ich« vs. »ich bin frei« vs. »frei bin ich«

Which of the following phrases are correct: Ich habe frei Frei habe ich Ich bin frei Frei bin ich The original meaning is « I'm free ». What is the difference between them? Are these ...
2
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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 ...
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 ...
2
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4answers
1k views

How to say “I'll work hard for the whole semester”

How can I say "I'll work hard for the whole semester" in German? Ich arbeite schwer das ganze Semester lang. Is it okay to use the adjective "lang" here? Or Ich arbeite schwer für das ganze ...
2
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2answers
192 views

“Besides the fact that…”

Gibt es einen deutschen Ausdruck, der diesen englischen entspricht? Meiner Einschätzung nach würde man sagen Außer der Tatsache, dass aber für mich klingt das ziemlich unidiomatisch.
2
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3answers
136 views

Is this sentence still used or is it outdated/archaic?

I found this sentence on Duolingo, the English and German are as follows: "Which name does it bear?" "Welchen Namen trägt es?" Is it still used and if yes, in what context? I ...
2
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2answers
238 views

What does “noch stets” mean?

What does "noch stets" mean? and is it the same as "immer noch"? Example: Der Adler hat noch stets seine Zeit verschwendet, wenn er vom Raben lernen wollte.
2
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2answers
2k views

“halten VON” vs. “halten FÜR”

Ich habe die Antwort von der Verschiedenheit von "halten von" und "halten für" nicht gefunden... Eigentlich, habe ich manche Erklärungen gelesen, aber sie haben keinen direkten Vergleich darüber ...
2
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2answers
290 views

What is the meaning of “jede Farbe steht ihm”?

I stumbled upon this phrase in a text, where someone is praising this guy's qualities, and I'm in doubt whether it means that every color fits him (about clothes) or (in a more figurative manner) that ...
2
votes
1answer
64 views

Meaning of “stehend inne”

What is the meaning of this sentence: Samson hielt noch in der Tür stehend inne. I translated the words and it is: Samson was holding on the door standing within which does not have any sense.
2
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2answers
2k views

Eines Tages, is it Genitive form?

I see stories starting with "Eines Tages,". Why is it not "Ein Tag"? Is "Eines Tages" a genitive form here? meaning "Of one day"? I am a beginner on German.
2
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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 ...
2
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3answers
118 views

In German, how to say: “when you just saw an awe-inspiring example to follow, which made you want to be just like that person”?

We were having a conversation in French about a certain businessman who visited our hospital, and I said jokingly: Je viens de le croiser dans le couloir et il a tout du homme d’affaires. Un jour, ...
2
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2answers
132 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 ...
2
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1answer
786 views

When are “gehen” and “”hingehen" most appropriately used? [closed]

What is the main difference in the way they are used ?
2
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2answers
145 views

Meaning of “an der Nase herumziehen” in Faust

Here are the first 11 verses in the "Nacht" scene, from Goethe's Faust I: FAUST Habe nun, ach! Philosophie, Juristerei und Medizin, Und leider auch Teologie Durchaus studiert, mit heißem ...
2
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1answer
398 views

How to use the expression “also echt” in conversation?

Yeah, you could just as well become the next mayor! Also echt, Felix. Why not just chill out? The literal translation would be something like "so, really ...", but I wonder if this expression follows ...
2
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0answers
115 views

What is the function of each word in “schon mal”? [closed]

What is the function of "schon" and of "mal"?
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3answers
659 views

Not the brightest light on the christmas tree

I vaguely remember a German expression that means "not the sharpest tool in the shed" that can be literally translated to "not the brightest light on the Christmas tree". Is there actually a saying ...
1
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3answers
166 views

“Seeing something in first person” in German

My girlfriend was curious how we celebrate Christmas in my homeland, so I was about to write her Wait until you come with me, and you will see it in first person. But then I thought: Is it really ...
1
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3answers
191 views

“Kaputt gehen” meaning “to become defect” in a more formal way

The expression "kaputt gehen" for the meaning "to become defect" is somewhat colloquial, and I would like to express it more formal, as in a letter to report a problem. Der Behälter ist gerade ...
1
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1answer
102 views

help me understand this sentence “DIE FISCHE SOLLEN RUHIG AUCH MAL WAS ZU LACHEN HABEN” [closed]

(it's from a comic book, that's why everything is in caps.) i'm trying to understand this sentence, however i don't quite understand in what order i should try arranging the words for it to make sense....
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 ...
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3answers
629 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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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 ...
1
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3answers
150 views

Uns wird schon was einfallen [closed]

Uns wird schon was einfallen is translated into We'll come up with something How? I can force myself to understand by (in English): uns : to us wird : will be schon : already was : ...
1
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3answers
160 views

What does »eine Anordnung einkassieren« mean?

The article “US-Justiz unter Trump. Goldene Zeiten für Privatknäste.” from Der Spiegel talks about private prisons in the USA. My question refers to the first sentence of the second paragraph (first ...