65 votes

How to say “by the way” (BTW) in German?

Übrigens, das ist meine Handynummer.
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59 votes

Isn't it demanding to ask for something with "Ich möchte"?

"Ich möchte" doesn't really correspond to "I want", but more to something like "I would like...". "I want" would be more something like "ich will", ...
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57 votes
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How to say “by the way” (BTW) in German?

When you want to use an abbreviation, you can use BTW, as it is known in German, too. But note, that you should use it only in a very colloquial way, like in messengers, SMS or private e-mails. Never ...
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49 votes

How to say “by the way” (BTW) in German?

There is no abbreviaton that perfectly matches "btw", but there are a few single-word-options; in decreasing order with regard on how generally they can be used to translate "btw" in my opinion: "...
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43 votes
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German equivalent of the phrase "poetic licence"

I think "poetic license" and "artistic license" are best translated as "dichterische Freiheit" and "künstlerische Freiheit". Those phrases literally mean "poetic liberty" and "artistic liberty" and ...
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  • 2,185
40 votes

Is there a German equivalent for "self defeating"?

A possibility to express "leading away from agoal instead of towards it" would be kontraproduktiv "Self defeating" literally translated is "selbstzerstörerisch", but this would not express the ...
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35 votes

Is there a German equivalent for "self defeating"?

We also have the idioms ein Eigentor schießen (colloquial) sich ins [eigene] Knie schießen (colloquial) der Schuss geht nach hinten los (colloquial) sich ins eigene Fleisch schneiden (...
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35 votes

What is the German equivalent of a rhethorical “What can I do?”?

I think there is no ideal translation in German, but some that come close: Da kann man nichts machen. or Da bin ich machtlos. would be fitting, So ist das Leben. (That's life) would work ...
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34 votes
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"Don't all shout at once" in German

The most literal translation would be Ruft nicht alle auf einmal. But I wouldn't use a verb probably. I don't know why but that would sound unnatural or at least it doesn't sound ironic or funny ...
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33 votes
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German idiomatic equivalents of 能骗就骗 (if you can cheat, then cheat)

I cannot think of a really close equivalent, because your proverb shows an attitude that is not well received - at least few people would publicly admit they feel this way. The closest one that comes ...
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30 votes
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What is the German equivalent of a rhethorical “What can I do?”?

You could say something like (Aber) was kann/soll man/ich machen/tun? See e.g. https://context.reverso.net/%C3%BCbersetzung/deutsch-englisch/Was+soll+man+machen
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30 votes
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What's the saying for when you have the exact change to pay for something?

You could say: Ich habe den Betrag/das Geld passend dabei. or short: Ich hab's passend. Passend means the amount of cash you have fits exactly what you want to pay.
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28 votes
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Looking for a German quote about politics and opinions

Es kann nicht die Aufgabe eines Politikers sein, die öffentliche Meinung abzuklopfen und dann das Populäre zu tun. Aufgabe des Politikers ist es, das Richtige zu tun und es populär zu machen. Is a ...
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27 votes

How to say “by the way” (BTW) in German?

Zwei stilistisch einwandfreie Varianten sind "übrigens" und "apropos". Übrigens, hier meine Telefonnummer Apropos, hier meine Telefonnummer. "Apropos" ist aber selten und für den Alltag ...
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27 votes

Is there a German equivalent for "self defeating"?

A similar established phrase is sich selbst im Weg stehen which means: oneself being an obstacle on the way to the target. It does not imply that you made the situation worse yourself, however. I'...
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27 votes

German idiomatic equivalents of 能骗就骗 (if you can cheat, then cheat)

There is a common German proverb from a slightly different angle: Der Ehrliche ist immer der Dumme. translating to "The honest one will always turn out to be the dumb one", or paraphrased: "Acting ...
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  • 3,012
26 votes

How do you say "to play Devil's advocate" in German?

Das lateinische Advocatus Diaboli ist ein im Deutschen durchaus geläufiger Begriff mit der gesuchten Bedeutung. Er wird zwar selten verwendet, es gibt aber immerhin einen Wikipedia-Artikel1 dazu. Die ...
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  • 13.3k
25 votes

Is there any other way to say "I don't care" in German

Plenty, with slight differences in connotation and usage possibilities. For example: (Das ist mir) Egal. $ Das ist mir einerlei. $ Mir doch egal. (Das) Ist mir gleich. $ (Das) Ist mir Wurscht/Latte/...
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  • 2,162
25 votes
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German phrase for 'suited and booted'

Probably the most literal translation, which also fits from the "temperature" is gestiefelt und gespornt (literally "booted and spurred"). This has, like the English, a military background.
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25 votes

What is the German equivalent of a rhethorical “What can I do?”?

What comes closest IMO is Was bleibt mir anderes übrig? literally "what else is left for me", as in "what alternatives do I have?".
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  • 351
21 votes
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“Is this the best you got?” in German

As always it depends on the context :) If this relates to a thing (like a set of cards during a poker game) Ist das alles, was du hast? / Mehr hast du nicht? If this relates to a skill (like ...
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  • 1,126
21 votes

German idiomatic equivalents of 能骗就骗 (if you can cheat, then cheat)

There is an idiom referring to the ten commandments. Das elfte Gebot heißt: Du sollst dich nicht erwischen lassen. The eleventh commanments reads: Thou shalt not get caught. One variation is ...
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  • 14k
20 votes

Does German have the "must we not" formation?

The sentence is understood the same way in German. And you’re right that you cannot move the nicht in the second position. Same is true if you replace must/müssen with should/sollten. Shouldn’t we ...
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  • 38.4k
19 votes
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How to tell someone politely that they have a wrong number?

Yes, it works. The most popular way to say this is: Sie haben sich verwählt. An example dialogue: Guten Tag, ich möchte bitte Jonas sprechen. Wen? Jonas? Hier wohnt kein Jonas, ich glaube, Sie ...
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  • 8,646
18 votes
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Does German have the "must we not" formation?

In your German version, there are subtle differences in meaning than in your English version. Must we not speak German? I understand the meaning as: is it not enforced or encouraged that we speak ...
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18 votes

How do you say "to play Devil's advocate" in German?

Geläufiger als der lateinische Begriff ist "Des Teufels Advokat". Dabei betont man, dass nur die Rolle eingenommen wird, und es nicht die eigentliche Meinung ist: Ich spiele hier mal des Teufels ...
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  • 2,432
17 votes

How to ask kindly in German not to bring any gifts?

Von etwas abzusehen kenne ich nur von Beerdigungen, à la von Trauerbekundungen am Grab bitten wir abzusehen. I’d just say Bitte keine Geschenke. You could add something like Eure ...
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  • 9,024
17 votes
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German idiom for "in so.'s infinite wisdom"

In seiner unendlichen Weisheit is correct and idiomatic, i.e., it is actually used by native speakers. However, there are two other idiomatic alternatives you might want to consider: In seiner nicht ...
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  • 21.5k
17 votes
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How do you say "to play Devil's advocate" in German?

For the given context I would use: Ganz provokant gefragt: Warum... (Provocatively asked: why...) Überspitzt formuliert would be an alternative. Both reduce the full sharpness by admitting it; ...
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  • 24.4k
16 votes
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German equivalent of the phrase "That reminds me"?

Das erinnert mich. does not sound plausible at all, but feels rather incomplete. When reading that, I want to ask Woran erinnert es dich? Possible phrases are Da fällt mir ein, ... Wo wir gerade ...
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