chirlu
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When to use "bezahlen" and when "zahlen"?
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40 votes

In many cases, zahlen and bezahlen mean the same and may be used interchangeably: Sie haben die Miete noch nicht gezahlt/bezahlt. Das Museum hat zwei Millionen für das Bild gezahlt/bezahlt. ...

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

Absolutely; an adult is still someone’s Kind in exactly the same way as in English. Just two examples I quickly found via a web search: Vor allem diese sonderbare Hilflosigkeit, wenn die eigenen ...

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Deutsche Wörter mit allen deutschen Sonderbuchstaben
26 votes

Ein Übergrößengeschäft ist ein Laden, der sich auf Kleidung oder Schuhe in Übergrößen spezialisiert hat.

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Warum schreibt man „nämlich“ nicht mit stummem „h“?
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25 votes

Eines der wichtigsten Prinzipien der deutschen Orthographie ist es, die einander entsprechenden Teile von verwandten Wörtern möglichst gleich zu schreiben (Stammprinzip). Nämlich wird also so ...

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Wie liest man das Zeichen „§“ vor?
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20 votes

Das Zeichen § wird „Paragraph“ (auch „Paragraf“) gelesen, §§ steht für den Plural „Paragraphen“. Lesebeispiele: nach § 263 StGB: „nach Paragraph zweihundertdreiundsechzig Es-Te-Ge-Be“ bzw. „nach ...

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Was ist das alte Wort für Cousine?
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18 votes

Das weibliche Gegenstück ist Base. Es wird gelegentlich noch verwendet, aber Kusine (oder Cousine, in der ursprünglichen französischen Schreibung) ist heute der übliche Ausdruck.

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"Ja, verb ich." - which verbs work?
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18 votes

It appears to me that this form is possible whenever there is an implied object (or, for sein, a complement) that could take the first position: Willst du ein Bier? – Ja, (das) will ich. Siehst ...

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Numbering cases
17 votes

The traditional order (in German grammar) is this one: nominative genitive dative accusative If cases are referred to by number, then this will be the basis (i.e. “4. Fall” = “Wenfall” = accusative)....

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How should we apologize in German?
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17 votes

Both Entschuldigung (which is a noun; it is an abbreviated form of ich bitte um Entschuldigung) and entschuldigen Sie can be used in a similar way to es tut mir leid; unlike it, they can also be used ...

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Are "ä", "ö" and "ü" considered as rhyming with other non-umlauted vowels?
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16 votes

There are perfect rhymes and imperfect rhymes, with varying degrees of imperfection. (The German terms are reiner Reim and unreiner Reim, respectively.) In German, two words rhyme perfectly if they ...

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Are there German words that get pronounced differently based on whether they are capitalized?
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16 votes

Yes, there are: Weg [veːk], weg [vɛk]. It is, however, not the capitalization itself that affects pronunciation; it just so happens that one of the words is a noun and therefore capitalized.

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Why Mitternacht, not Mittnacht
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15 votes

The word Mitternacht is some centuries younger than Mittwoch and Mittag. Mitternacht derives from 14th century phrases such as vor mitter nahte (‘before middle night’), where mitter is an adjective in ...

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Is there a word for “hey” or “oi”?
15 votes

The usual word for that is he (often with a lengthened e and then spelt hee, heee, heeeeee or similar): He, kannst du mir sagen, wie spät es ist? Heee, was machen Sie denn da? There are also ...

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When, if at all, should I add an e to the end of a noun in the dative case?
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15 votes

The -e dative ending is heavily obsolescent. It is almost no longer used in living language. However, as is often the case (different examples), some phrases that were coined when the old -e ending ...

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"Das ist kein Thema" - What does it mean?
15 votes

The basic meaning is "This is no topic requiring further discussion". It can be used in many contexts, such as to avert expressions of gratitude, or to acknowledge a request. Similar phrases ...

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Difference in pronunciation "Seiten" vs "Saiten"
15 votes

Both words are pronounced the same (in standard German): [ˈzaɪ̯tn̩], singular [ˈzaɪ̯tə]; source: Duden-Aussprachewörterbuch (3rd ed., 1990). German orthography has a tendency to separate homophones ...

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Why is it "den zwei Autos" and not "die zwei Autos"?
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15 votes

The preposition zwischen governs dative, not accusative, when describing a position. It is accusative for a movement: Sie stellt sich zwischen die Autos. Jetzt steht sie zwischen den Autos. This ...

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Pronunciation of the surname Ruhle
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14 votes

If the original form of the name was Ruhle without an umlaut, its German pronunciation would be very similar to the word ruler in non-rhotic accents of English (which include Australian English), i.e. ...

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Why is it “des Lesens” instead of “der Lesen” for the Genitiv of Lesen
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14 votes

It seems you mixed up several concepts. There is a feminine word die Lese (meaning the process of collecting, usually grapes for making wine). Its genitive plural is indeed der Lesen. There is a ...

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Warum wird in diesem Satz der männliche Artikel für ein weibliches Nomen verwendet („der Idee“ anstatt „die Idee“)?
14 votes

Nein, Idee ist ein Femininum. Aber auch im Femininum kommt die Artikelform der vor, und zwar im Genitiv und im Dativ Singular: Die Ursprünge der Idee (Gen. Sg.)/der Ideen (Gen. Pl.) sind nicht mehr ...

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What word did the Germans use for "Buchstabe" before print was invented?
14 votes

Simple answer: Buchstabe. In ancient times, runes (the first letters in use for most Germanic languages) were carved into thin wood, often beech wood (German Buche). The German words Buchstabe and ...

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Servus mitanand?
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14 votes

The general meaning is "Hi, everybody!". Servus is a greeting that is common in Austria and Bavaria (see A strange greeting! Servos? for more details); the other word is a dialectal form of ...

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When to use "sein" and "haben" for verbs that allow both auxiliary verbs?
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13 votes

Most of these verbs can be used either as transitive or intransitive verbs, with different meaning. When used as transitive verbs, they form the perfect with haben. Ich bin nach Hause gefahren. Ich ...

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Grammatik von „zu meiner Reisen“?
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13 votes

Bei Reisen handelt es sich in diesem Fall um eine alte Dativform von Reise. In moderner Sprache würde es also zu meiner Reise heißen. In älterer Literatur sind derartige Formen nicht besonders selten,...

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Is putting an adverbial after the non-finite verb okay?
13 votes

Neither sentence is wrong. German word order is rather flexible, and while there is a tendency to have the second part of a split verb at the end, it isn't always the case. Possible reasons for ...

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How to tell someone politely that they have a wrong number?
12 votes

Yes, you can say so, but it is a bit formal. The most common way to phrase it is with verwählen: Sie haben sich verwählt. Both phrases are very blunt, though, and in essence tell the caller that ...

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Which relative pronoun to use when referring to an entire sentence?
12 votes

A relative clause that does not refer to a particular noun from the superordinate clause, but to the superordinate clause as a whole, is introduced with was: Er wiegt 100 Kilo, was zu viel ist. ...

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Pronunciation of "gucken"
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12 votes

It is a bit confusing. Originally, the verb is gucken, pronounced with a g as is to be expected from the spelling. However, in northern German dialects, there is an unrelated verb kieken with about ...

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Gender of "Weisen" in "Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen"
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12 votes

Die Weisen is plural here (which means that the gender can't be determined). The expression, which is many centuries older than the Harry Potter series, is a translation of the Latin lapis ...

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Everyday German. How to correctly order? Say, beer, pizza and ice cream
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12 votes

In this case, the implied Bier dominates, so you’ll say: Ein großes Weizen, bitte. Often, pizzas are given sort of a name in the menu, and “Pizza Salami” is a common label. For this reason, you ...

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