Questions tagged [word-usage]

Wortgebrauch - Questions on usages in German language.

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83
votes
8answers
37k views

How to use “doch”

I know "doch" is used to contradict a negative statement: A: Das ist nicht wahr. B: Doch! It's a great word for this usage and some languages really lack this word. But, I found it hard to ...
70
votes
8answers
378k views

What is the difference in usage between “vielen Dank” and “Danke schön”?

I know that they are both essentially polite and mean Thanks a lot, Many thanks etc. but I’ve always wondered if there is a specific difference between the two. Is there a specific context or ...
49
votes
4answers
83k views

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen den Fragewörtern “wieso”, “weshalb” und “warum”?

Wo liegt der Unterschied zwischen den Fragewörtern "wieso", "weshalb" und "warum"? Ist er regional, gibt es subtile Unterschiede in den Bedeutungen, oder gibt es noch einen anderen Grund für die ...
43
votes
5answers
11k views

What is the difference in usage between “Möhre” and “Karotte”?

I've been doing a bit of German practice and encountered the words Möhre and Karotte. Supposedly, they both mean carrot, but I can’t see where these would differ in usage. Any ideas?
42
votes
4answers
48k views

How to use “hier”, “dort” and “da” properly in German?

In English "here" and "there" are typical pairs to indicate space and distance. The same is true of Hungarian ("itt" and "ott"). But in German it's a bit different: I have seen "da" many times in ...
35
votes
1answer
3k views

Are “Kinder” still their parents’ “Kinder” when they grow up?

In English, child can mean a young person, but it can also mean something like “offspring” or ”progeny”—i.e., it can denote the relationship that one has with one’s parents. For example, it is ...
30
votes
4answers
12k views

How to refer to a woman based on her age?

For example, you wouldn’t use girl for a 40 years old woman or kid for a 20 years old woman (unless you’re far older). Fräulein for single woman between what ages? What is the age range for Mädchen?...
28
votes
6answers
12k views

Do people actually use the word “kaputt” in conversation?

Related: Is something "kaputt" just broken or completely ruined? Do people actually use the word "kaputt" in conversation, or would this be a strange thing to say? For example, if I ...
26
votes
8answers
6k views

What are the differences between “Kunststoff” and “Plastik”?

When I googled for it, some people say it's formal vs colloquial, some others say there is no difference between the two. Some say Kunststoff is more general. That made me confused. In addition, is ...
26
votes
1answer
3k views

Why the switch from “ihr” to “Sie” in the following speech from Band of Brothers?

Near the end of the TV mini-series Band of Brothers about World War II, a short speech is given by a German general to his subordinates. In the speech, he uses ihr (and related pronouns euch and euer)....
25
votes
6answers
16k views

The term “Mahlzeit”

I recently started working in a place in Berlin, Germany, and though my German is OK I guess, there's a common term that I don't understand. It's Mahlzeit. When people leave from work around lunch ...
24
votes
6answers
7k views

What's »Aldää« in »Ey jo, was geht, Aldää?«

As I was looking up the word ey in dict.cc, I noticed a rather interesting colloquial expression: Ey jo, was geht, Aldää? [ugs.] = Whazzup? [coll.] What does Aldää mean above? I could not find the ...
24
votes
7answers
18k views

What time does “Vormittag” start and end?

This morning I read someone's message (written at 7am) saying that he likes "den frühen Vormittag". In my opinion 7am in the morning isn't Vormittag yet. Is there a definition for the time span ...
24
votes
3answers
2k views

Spricht man über ein Mädchen/eine Frau mittels „sie“ oder „es“?

Diese Frage wurde auch hier (auf Englisch) beantwortet: Can ‘sie’ be used to refer to ‘Mädchen’? Wenn man über ein Mädchen oder über eine Frau spricht, spricht man dann von ihm oder von ihr? ...
24
votes
2answers
23k views

What is the difference between “nun” and “jetzt”?

This question also has an answer here (in German): Wo liegt der Unterschied zwischen "nun" und "jetzt"? I hear nun and jetzt used a lot but I've not been able to pick out what ...
24
votes
3answers
14k views

When to use “beziehungsweise”

Beziehungsweise: a) (stilistisch unschön) [oder] vielmehr, besser/genauer gesagt – sinnv: oder Er war mit ihm bekannt bzw. befreundet b) und im anderen Fall Die Fünf- und Zweipfenningstücke ...
24
votes
2answers
25k views

Menschen vs Leute

Is the same to say Menschen and Leute? When are they exchangeable? I've heard that if you know the people you use one of this words, but I don't know which. (And I don't know if what I've heard is ...
24
votes
5answers
25k views

What is the difference between “ändern” and “verändern”?

I'm still confused about the difference between ändern and verändern. I have read something about ändern only being used with small changes and verändern when something changes totally. But where ...
23
votes
2answers
2k views

Warum klingt “treffen uns um 8” richtig und “treffen uns um 20” falsch?

Zeitangaben, bei denen die Stunde größer als 12 ist, funktionieren nur mit angehängtem "Uhr": "Wir treffen uns um 23 Uhr." vs. "Wir treffen uns um 11." - "Morgens?" - "Nein, nachts!" Obwohl die 24-...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

Is “montäglich” commonly used?

Both Duden Universalwörterbuch and Wahrig Deutsches Wörterbuch contain the word "montäglich", meaning "happening regularly on Mondays". But my German professor says he has never heard of this word. ...
22
votes
4answers
40k views

What are differences between “fließend” and “verhandlungssicher”?

Filling in a questionnaire, in different languages, after picking a language up, you get 4 options : Basiswissen fließend verhandlungssicher Muttersprache So, how are "fließend" and "...
22
votes
8answers
3k views

Would a computer use ‘du’ or ‘Sie’ for the user?

Would a computer use du or Sie for the user? Example: “You have unsaved changes.”
22
votes
6answers
17k views

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen einer Sage und einer Legende?

Ich habe bisher die Wörter Sage und Legende synonym verwendet. Es gibt zwar Dinge die ich so nenne, und andere Dinge, die ich wieder anders nenne (bspw. würde ich nie die Niebelungenlegende sagen), ...
22
votes
2answers
38k views

What's the difference between “können” and “könnten”?

I'd like to know when it's appropriate to use "können" and when "könnten", are they completely interchangeable? Is it like the difference between "can" and "could" in English? Können Sie mir bitte ...
22
votes
5answers
8k views

Names and total number of floors in buildings: what is correct?

I'm learning German and we've just looked into the topic "Wohnung", including numbering floors in a building. For example, let's imagine a house: ------------------------------- | dritter Stock, ...
22
votes
1answer
17k views

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen “authentifizieren” und “authentisieren”?

Es gibt die beiden Verben authentifizieren und authentisieren, die beide mit dem Begriff "authentisch" verwandt sind. In Dokumenten bestimmter Fachbereiche, zum Beispiel in der EDV, findet man beide ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

Is “sitt” really a German word?

Some people use "sitt" to indicate that they are no longer thirsty. It is used in the same way as "satt" if you're no longer hungry. I've also read that this is an artificial word that people are ...
21
votes
6answers
16k views

Do Germans use “Okay” or “OK” to agree to a request or confirm that they’ve understood?

For example, in English: P1: Can you keep this suitcase for me for an hour? P2: Okay. Or in the case of confirmation of information processed by the receiving person of the dialogue: P1: I ...
20
votes
1answer
8k views

Is ‘hallöchen’ appropriate between a professor and a student?

Can a teacher greet his students with hallöchen? May I use this word to say hello to my German boss when he comes to our office? I see it’s informal but I would like to ask about the communicative ...
20
votes
6answers
5k views

“Schwer” oder “schwierig”?

Ich habe beide Varianten gelesen: Ungarisch ist schwer und (vielleicht öfter) Ungarisch ist schwierig. Gibt es da einen Unterschied in der Bedeutung? Wenn nicht, ist die Form schwierig ...
19
votes
8answers
2k views

How are we polite without using “bitte”?

When asking someone for a favour it is considered rude to omit "please" in English. This seems not to be the case in German. In a shop or a restaurant I can frequently hear: "Was bekommen Sie?" - "...
19
votes
8answers
13k views

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen “sinnfrei” und “sinnlos”?

Der Duden definiert "sinnfrei" als "völlig ohne Sinn" und "sinnlos" als "ohne Vernunft, ohne erkennbaren Sinn". Was ist der Unterschied zwischen diesen beiden Wörtern?
19
votes
5answers
547 views

How is the familiar “You” (Du) used in online conversations?

I remain fairly fluent in German from my experience living in Germany back in the 70's and 80's. However, the use of familiar "Du" among relative strangers online surprised me when I recently read ...
19
votes
5answers
9k views

Is there a difference between “anschalten” and “einschalten”

Is there a difference between anschalten and einschalten? If I turn on the TV, oven, heat, start the car etc., can either verb be used?
19
votes
4answers
60k views

When to use “gibt es” and “es gibt”, respectively?

Being new to German, I am not properly affiliated with the correct grammatical use of gibt es and es gibt. All I know is that they both mean there is in English. So in what scenarios do I use each one ...
18
votes
11answers
4k views

How to express “fizzle out” in German

I'm am struggling with the right way to express, "to fizzle out", in German. Let me give some example sentences: We were very good friends at first, but over the years, our friendship fizzled out. ...
18
votes
4answers
20k views

Usage of “zwar”

Can anyone explain how the word zwar is generally used? I see it a lot and it doesn't seem like it usually translates very well into English, if at all. Here's an example sentence: Frage: Hat man ...
18
votes
1answer
3k views

What is a “Schnorrbrief”?

I received a letter addressed to the previous tenant and I asked her if she wants me to forward it to her. In the end she told me it is just some Schnorrbrief from Uganda. Do you have any idea what ...
18
votes
1answer
8k views

“Ab” vs “seit” for time periods

I have a problem understanding the exact difference between ab and seit when talking about the beginning of a time period. Can someone explain it? I was corrected recently when I said: Seit dem ...
18
votes
4answers
31k views

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen “worden” und “geworden”

Laut canoonet.eu ist das Partizip von werden entweder worden oder geworden. Gibt es einen Unterschied zwischen den beiden? Kann man immer geworden benutzen, oder gibt es Fälle, in denen geworden ...
18
votes
3answers
386 views

Was ist zu verstehen unter einer “Vollziehung der Ehe in der Marienkapelle der Hofburg”?

Dieser Satz stammt aus Alfred Kohlers "Ferdinand I., 1503–1564. Fürst, König und Kaiser": Nachdem dann am 12. Juli zu Füssen der Kaiser seinen Heiratsvertrag mit Anna für null und nichtig erklärt ...
18
votes
4answers
17k views

Is there any difference between “laufen” and “rennen”?

This question also has an answer here (in German): Wann benutzt man “laufen” und wann “rennen”? I can’t quite grasp the difference between laufen and rennen. I know they both mean running. In ...
17
votes
10answers
25k views

German word for a specific situation in an image

I know the word Pechsträhne (streak of bad luck) or maybe even Pechvogel (unlucky person) would fit the case, or even Schwein gehabt! if he survives (or Schadenfreude for what some observers may feel) ...
17
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I grammatically understand “Wir über uns”?

A lot of German-language web sites have a section called "Wir über uns." Here's an example: Credit Suisse - Wir über uns To me this seems redundant; I would think "Über uns" is sufficient. That ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Making sense of the construct “Ich bin der Auffassung”

I understand that “Ich bin der Auffassung” means something like “I believe” or “I think”. However, I do not understand how this makes sense grammatically, because when you literally translate it, it ...
17
votes
2answers
3k views

“To tell” in German

I’ve come across the following verbs: erzählen, verraten, and sagen, which all mean ‘to tell’. What’s the difference between them?
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is “blauäugig” used with a negative connotation?

Still today the cliche of a German is being tall, blond and blue-eyed. Surprisingly the expression "blauäugig" is most often used with an obvious negative connotation: Professor Otmar Issing, der ...
17
votes
4answers
43k views

Difference between responding to “danke” with “bitte” versus “gerne”

I hear native German speakers respond to a danke with bitte as often as with gerne. Is there a semantic difference between the two of them? Or a usage rule behind the choice? Is one more polite than ...
17
votes
2answers
32k views

“So” in German - meanings and usages

Does "so" have similar usage and meaning in English and German? so ein schönes Lied! das tut uns [ja] so leid! so? Das wäre aber sonderbar du darfst nehmen, so viel wie du willst. ...
16
votes
6answers
7k views

Do Germans use “madame” often?

Do Germans use "madame" often to address non-married or a married woman? Or do they use Frau more often? Confused why being called 'madame' by Germans. I am not French.

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