Questions tagged [idiomaticity]

For questions about the what is the most natural or common way to say something.

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13 votes
6 answers
91k views

Is there an equivalent in German to "I hope this message finds you well"

In English, these two variants can be said in a letter/message: I hope this message finds you well. I hope this message finds you in good times. In trying to translate, I skipped the first as my ...
5 votes
10 answers
3k views

What is the best way to say "a large number of [noun]" in German?

In my current project I want to translate the phrase "a large number of tents are set up." This is part of the text of a video game, specifically the narration. But looking at dict.cc, I see ...
1 vote
1 answer
112 views

Is it considered bad stylistically to end a German sentence with a clause without a verb?

In my current translation project I have several sentences which end with a clause without a verb. I would like to do this in the corresponding German as a way to be concise and avoid putting too many ...
2 votes
2 answers
114 views

How can I say "lying in a heap" in German?

In my current translation project I have the phrase "there appears to be something lying in a heap," referring to a rope ladder which is sitting on the ground at a certain point in an ...
1 vote
2 answers
95 views

Idiomatic informal writing to formal acquaintance? [closed]

With my limited knowledge of Deutsch, I'm attempting to write a "get well soon" greeting card to a native German speaker from Frankfurt. Below is what I wrote as a first draft, but I have ...
2 votes
4 answers
889 views

non-binary/gender independence in formal greetings

One formal greeting is: "sehr geehrte Damen und Herren", however this greeting implicitly excludes those who don't identify as either male or female. My question is if there is a standard ...
3 votes
5 answers
1k views

Here comes the sun auf Deutsch?

There's a song sung by a Slovenian band with German lyrics where I don't believe they've got the German quite right. They're wanting to say "Here comes the sun" just like the old Beatles ...
0 votes
2 answers
197 views

Vati und Mutti? Still used?

I saw this discussion of Vati and Mutti. But I didn't see a resolution of whether they are still in use. One comment said they're used, others disagreed. One even said it's ironic negative to say ...
4 votes
0 answers
67 views

How to express the idea of an object "stripped" of everything but the object itself, e.g. a stripped van or bed [closed]

I'm a native german speaker, but I'm struggling to find a usable translation for "stripped van". Is there german idiom similiar to the english stripped, in the sense of strip past tense: ...
0 votes
1 answer
196 views

Idiomatic way to express sentiment of "I thought you'd never ask!"

In English, sometimes people exclaim, "I thought you'd never ask!" if they had hoped the other person would express interest in something particular, but said expression was late in coming. ...
1 vote
1 answer
207 views

Answering Wo wohnst du?

If the answer I want to give is I live near X metro station. I would answer by saying Ich wohne neben dem U-Bahn Station X. I have only learned a few accusative, dative and two-way prepositions so ...
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Difference between two possibilities for a warning label

The tripmeter on my car must not be reset when the vehicle is moving; otherwise it may break. I am wondering what an appropriate warning label for this quirk of German engineering would read, in ...
7 votes
5 answers
2k views

no days off : translation?

In short: What would be the idiomatic German equivalent of "no days off!" if it means "you have to work/exercise every day"? Is there anything better than "Kein Tag ohne ...
10 votes
3 answers
5k views

Yiddish phrase for "turn out the lights and go to sleep"

My mother grew up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, at a time when the neighborhood was largely inhabited by Yiddish-speaking Jews. This led to the amusing situation of her Irish-born grandparents, and a ...
7 votes
1 answer
275 views

German idioms like "Draining the swamp"

Are there any (incriminating) idioms in German similar to "Draining the swamp", which is American for "weed out all the bad guys"? Besides similar phrases, is this idiom itself ...
6 votes
1 answer
692 views

Best way to say 'to move up' as in 'reschedule for an earlier point in time'

Let's say I would like to reschedule an appointment, but to make it sooner, rather than later. I would like to know the most natural way a German speaker would say this. I'm familiar with "...
3 votes
2 answers
131 views

Übersetzung eines russischen Idioms, Wortlaut "Wo kam er auf meinen Kopf her?"

Ich tu mich schwer eine gute Übersetzung für ein Idiom zu finden. Im Wortlaut heißt es: Woher kam er auf meinen Kopf? Der Sinn dahinter ist in etwa "Wo kam er bloß her, jetzt muss ich mich mit ...
11 votes
7 answers
3k views

German proper name or funny paraphrase for a slightly stupid dragon (Zmey Gorynych)

I’m trying to translate a sci-fi novel from Russian to German as a new hobby. Sometimes there are expressions which allude to cultural references which do not exist in German. In general, the novel’s ...
1 vote
1 answer
918 views

Is there a German phrase literally resembling "you can eat it" that means "food is good"?

Someone had told me that when asked "how's your food?" in Germany people sometimes responded with something along the lines of the German equivalent to "you can eat it", to mean ...
11 votes
1 answer
8k views

Are websites “Auf deutsch” or “In deutsch”

If I have a website and want to offer options for translation, should the option for translating it to German be “Auf deutsch” or “In deutsch”? Most websites just say Deutsch or German, but our ...
-2 votes
1 answer
374 views

Is "sich um … handeln" or "umgehen" correct?

I checked the dictionary and I came across texts in the books and I have also seen examples, wherein people used sich handlen um for handling problems, dealing with problems, or to cope up with it. ...
2 votes
3 answers
7k views

The most general word order in German

I am facing these two sentences: Dann geht er ins Wohnzimmer. The word order is: Verb, subject, … Clearly, the sentence is not a question. The other sentence is: Er macht den Fernseher an. ...
1 vote
3 answers
203 views

The correct usage of "to charge/debit somebody's credit card"

I have recently had confusion on how to correctly express the term "to charge/debit somebody's account/credit card" in German. I have always known "belasten" as the correct term ...
4 votes
5 answers
232 views

"If you kinda want something, you kinda get the results" auf Deutsch

"If you kinda want something, then you will kinda get the results you want." Ich habe einige Ideen, zum Beispiel: Wenn du es nur halbherzig willst, dann erzielst du auch nur halbherzige ...
12 votes
2 answers
966 views

Werden Regeln gebogen oder gebeugt?

Kürzlich schrieb hier jemand: „[…] Stefan Zweig is bending the rules to his purposes […]“ Als ich daraufhin die Frage gestellt hatte, welche Regeln Zweig denn gebogen haben soll, hat man mich ...
1 vote
2 answers
258 views

Why is "while speaking" translated "beim Sprechen"?

Can someone explain this sentence to me and why it works, and write the explanation in English? Sophie Newman drückte beim Sprechen den Finger auf ihren Bluetooth-Ohrstöpsel. Obviously, to me, I ...
2 votes
1 answer
141 views

"Schmiedeeffekt" auf Deutsch

Ich übersetze für einen Blog einen Text aus dem Ukrainischen ins Deutsche und habe aber eine Herausforderung mit der Übersetzung des Ausdrucks "Schmiedeeffekt". Der vollständige, übersetzte ...
2 votes
2 answers
226 views

Choosing “die Würstchen warm” “over “die warmen Würstchen”

I have seen that in both German and English, adjectives can appear before and after the noun. Example: (1) Er isst die warmen Würstchen. – attributive use of adjective (my version) (2) Er isst die ...
2 votes
1 answer
188 views

How to use "gebären"?

gebären = to give birth Sie gebar ein Baby. (She gave birth to a baby.) When we talk about non-living things, can we still use the verb gebären in a figurative way? Die Stadt gebar eine neue Kultur....
1 vote
1 answer
59 views

Verbesserung in Prozent als Bereich für mehrere Fälle angeben

Ich möchte ausdrücken, dass eine Methode in der Lage ist in fünf betrachteten Fällen ein besseres Ergebnis zu liefern, welches in einem Bereich zwischen 1 % und 14 % liegt (also z.B. 1 %, 4 %, 6 %, 10 ...
4 votes
1 answer
100 views

Kasus beim 'wie'

Ich habe in Thomas Bernhards Roman Korrektur das Folgende gesehen. An ihr hing Roithamer mit der ganzen Liebe, die einem Menschen wie er möglich ist ... Meine Frage ist nun, ob das 'er' das einzige ...
3 votes
1 answer
231 views

Seeing a man about a dog: idiomatic approaches to avoiding personal explanations

There is an expression in (British) English along the lines of I have to go and see a man about a dog. It is the thing you might say, for example, when leaving a gathering of friends at the pub and ...
0 votes
1 answer
135 views

Why does ‘Geh mal schnell’ have no ‘e’ in this example?

The Goethe Institut A1 wordlist has, as the example of usage for die Bäckerei, the following sentence: Ich geh mal schnell zur Bäckerei. Why geh, or is the whole sentence merely a rendition of ...
2 votes
2 answers
161 views

Could I use "Ich mag mit meinen Mitschülern sein" instead of "Ich bin gerne mit meinen Klassenkameraden zusammen"?

Could I use "Ich mag mit meinen Mitschülern sein" instead of "Ich unternehme gerne was mit meinen Mitschülern zusammen"? They both sound the same and seem grammatically correct. ...
7 votes
4 answers
11k views

What if someone says "Ich bin" as a self-introduction?

If someone who doesn't really know German says Ich bin [name] instead of Ich heiße ... to introduce him/herself, is this an error in German and how odd does it sound?
3 votes
4 answers
974 views

How to say "I can't believe what I am looking at/seeing?"

There are many areas of the German language I struggle with due to the uncertainty of expressing certain nuances of the actual sentiment of the sentence I am trying to express. One of the biggest is ...
3 votes
2 answers
1k views

question with 'wie lange/wie viel...'

I have a question on how to correctly say 'how long is it until.../ how many days till.../ how many days are left till...' in German and which one is more common. For example should I say how many ...
1 vote
5 answers
1k views

"Im Konflikt sein" vs "im Konflikt stehen"

Wann sagt man "im Konflikt sein" und wann "im Konflikt stehen"? Beispiele aus dem Netz: Kann man mit einer ganzen Gruppe im Konflikt sein? Kann man im Konflikt mit jemanden sein, ...
-2 votes
2 answers
124 views

Ein Märchen zum Kind vs Ein Märchen dem Kind (erzählen)

Ich habe im Internet gelesen, dass man manchmal den Ausdruck ein Märchen zum Kind erzählen verwendet anstatt ein Märchen dem Kind erzählen. Gibt es einen Unterschied in Bezug auf die Beudetung ...
2 votes
1 answer
87 views

Jumps up and down

As an English-speaker I would be tempted to translate "Jack jumps up and down" into Jack springt auf und ab, but the English use of "up and down" seems idiomatic and my literal translation might be ...
1 vote
2 answers
294 views

Idiomatic for “I suppose”, “I imagine”, “I guess”

I'm having trouble finding a good idiomatic German phrase for "I suppose that...", "I imagine that...", "I guess that..." as the typical start of a statement that is ...
15 votes
4 answers
5k views

What is the German equivalent of the proverb 水清ければ魚棲まず (if the water is clear, fish won't live there)?

The proverb's meaning is that just as fish prefer muddy waters and avoid clear streams, people generally do not associate with those who are too ideal in terms of ethics, manners, and habits. In other ...
2 votes
3 answers
5k views

Unterschied zwischen "künftig" und "in der Zukunft"

Sicher können diese beide Ausdrücke als Synonyme verwendet werden. Ich überlege aber, ob es eine bestimmte unterschiedliche Nuance zwischen beiden gibt. (1) Man sagt, dass in der Zukunft das ...
1 vote
1 answer
216 views

Translation of phrase from Ohio German

I know this is a stretch, but my father grew up Amish in mid-northeastern Ohio, and he tried to repeat a phrase to me that he said he couldn't quite translate to English, as we were comparing words ...
8 votes
4 answers
3k views

What is the German equivalent of 干物女 (dried fish woman)?

Literally meaning dried fish woman, the popular slang 干物女 is used to call a woman in her twenties or older who, as nicely summarized in Wikipedia, has many of the following traits: メールの返事が極端に遅い、短い (...
1 vote
4 answers
866 views

What does "mir wurde ganz heiß" mean here?

I ran into the text below and I wonder the following: (1) Is the expression mir wurde heiß und kalt an idiom? I mean, is it a somewhat common way to express when something gives you the chills or ...
4 votes
2 answers
967 views

ein Problem angehen vs. an ein Problem herangehen

+Laut Wörterbuch könnte man sagen, dass ANGEHEN und HERANGEHEN als Synonyme verwendet werden können. Es scheint aber, dass ANGEHEN ein größeres semantisches Feld hat. In den folgenden Sätzen, zum ...
12 votes
5 answers
3k views

Warum heißt es »mein Lebtag« und nicht »meinen Lebtag«?

Beschreibung und Beispiele Der Ausdruck Lebtag wird in der Redewendung »mein / dein / ihr… Lebtag [nicht]« verwendet, um auszudrücken, dass etwas das ganze Leben lang oder bisher noch nie der Fall ...
4 votes
4 answers
3k views

Nachfolgend vs folgend

Im ersten Augenblick scheint es, dass die folgenden Ausdrücke synonym sind, gibt es aber irgendwelche Unterschiede zwischen den beiden? (a) In der nachfolgenden Arbeit (...) (b) In der ...
5 votes
1 answer
210 views

Sich damit beschäftigen vs. sich widmen

Laut bilingualen Deutsch-Englisch-Wörterbüchern bedeuten sich damit beschäftigen und sich widmen + Dat. fast das Gleiche. Ich bin mir aber nicht sicher, ob die folgenden Sätze die gleiche Bedeutung ...