Category Archive for: ‘Word Usage’

Swearing In German

Swearing and Words of Aggression in German

The other day I went to watch Monty Python Live (mostly) in Zurich. The event was funny and all subtitled in German, which for the the majority of the people was not necessary for understanding as the Swiss that enjoy

Hitze

Heiss, Hitze, Heizen – Words for heat in German

Summer has returned to Zurich and like in so much of the world today seemed to come right after winter, though this year most of us in Northern Switzerland were left wondering, what winter? Of course with summer come the

Versuchen Vs. Probieren

Probieren vs. Versuchen – Sometimes you just need to try

A few weeks ago at our Stammtisch one of our Stammgäste was ordering a beer from the giant list of speciality brews featured at Fork and Bottle and asked, “Darf ich das Bier bitte versuchen, bevor ich es bestelle?” I

Sehen Der Erste Sinn

Die fünf Sinne Teil 2 Sehen – Seeing in German

Seeing in German should be simple, but with the verb taking so many potential prefixes (z.B. ansehen, versehen, nachsehen) and synonyms for sehen (z.B. blicken, gucken, kieken, kucken, schauen, lugen usw.) it can get a little confusing. To keep it

Toll Prima Geil

Supergeiler Artikel – Expressing enthusiasm and admiration in German

The other day my friend was walking her dog in Zurich when a man spray painting a wall along the Limmat yelled after her “geiler Arsch” (nice ass). She was shocked, and I’m surprised that the dog didn’t bite the

Damals Mal Zeit

German’s two words for time: Zeit vs. Mal

When many students start speaking German there are three words that they often confuse, and funny enough they all have to do with notions of time.

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Germans can’t “make” friends — Freundschaften entstehen

One of my first posts was on the verbs machen and fahren. In that post I stated that German speakers are makers and drivers and that when in doubt, travel is done by driving and other things that are normally

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Death in German — So sicher wie das Amen in der Kirche

Anyone who has studied German literature in the past 50 years will know the novella Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice) by Thomas Mann. For most of us, death is an uncomfortable topic because it causes reflection on our own

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dauernd vs. dauerhaft and the German suffix -haft

At our Stammtisch last week, one of our attendees, Edvin from Slovenia, asked me if I could quickly clarify the difference between some words. Thinking it would only be a few words, I said sure. He then reached into his

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Actually, there is a difference — eigentlich vs. tatsächlich

During one of my lessons the other day a student used the word eigentlich, which I was very happy to hear, as many beginners don’t use this word; however, I also had to correct him and tell him that the

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What are they asking after I buy my groceries? — German shopping vocabulary

Working with the expat community in Zurich there is a question I hear again and again and a short story that gets recounted. It goes something like this: “I was in the Migros the other day and I bought my

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Where you’re from — Using the German prepositions von and aus

During last week’s Stammtisch here in Zurich, many people were speaking about where they were from and where they had recently traveled to. It’s always great to hear about people’s background and see the plurality of different cultures that are

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