Questions tagged [idiomaticity]

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

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1 answer
60 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
241 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
643 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 "...
0 votes
4 answers
273 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
2 answers
127 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
209 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 ...
10 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
217 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
4 answers
6k 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
135 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
223 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
737 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
231 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
115 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
195 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
179 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....
13 votes
4 answers
65k 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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
58 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
98 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
223 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
117 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
154 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
9k 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
645 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
886 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
121 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
82 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
233 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
4k 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
197 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
584 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
595 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
2k 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
2k 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
161 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
69 views

Relativsatz innerhalb eines Präpositionalobjektes

Ich habe das folgende Präpositionalobjekt bei einem Artikel gefunden: über die damit verbundenen Erfolgschancen und Risiken nachdenken. Ich weiß, dass solche Konstrunktionen nicht selten zu finden ...
1 vote
3 answers
3k views

Aus diesem Grund vs. aus diesem Anlass

Es scheint mir, dass die folgende Sätze die gleiche Bedeutung haben. Jedoch glaube ich, dass es eine Nuance des Unterschiedes zwischen den zwei Sätzen geben könnte und ich kann sie leider nicht ...
4 votes
2 answers
183 views

How to express the following phrase "I don't like to do something"?

I have found several choices to express this phrase like "ungern etw machen", "nicht gern etw machen", "es nicht mögen, etw zu tun". Which choice of these sounds the most ...
3 votes
1 answer
344 views

"in a 4:1:3 ratio" in German

I'd say: Die drei Ingredienzien müssen im Verhältnis von 4:1:3 vermischt werden. ... to express the idea of: Mix them in the ratio of 4:1:3. --- {numbers following the word "ratio"} {or}: ...
10 votes
7 answers
9k views

German equivalent of “It works”

In English there is an idiom: It works. Or more likely: That/It works for me. I think that the following is wrong, as arbeiten seems rather literal, but would it be a correct translation? ...
2 votes
4 answers
685 views

How to understand the phrase “auf dieses Leben”?

Ich habe diesen Satz in Deutschland gehört: Auf dieses Leben. Kann man das so alleine verwenden? I have heard this term in German. Does it make sense when it stands alone? It seems to ...
1 vote
2 answers
171 views

Does it make sense to use the term "beide zusammen" in poetry?

I just learned from an answer to this question that one should not use a construction like "beide zusammen" in normal conversation because it is awkward. But some years ago, I attempted a German ...
5 votes
4 answers
17k views

How to say "Sorry that I am late"?

I would like to know how to express “Sorry that I am late” in German. What would be the best and most common way to say that? Would any of the following be right? Entschuldigung / Entschuldigen Sie,...