Fernseher oder Fernsehen? Auf dem Internet or Im Internet?

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Fernseher oder Fernsehen? Auf dem Internet or Im Internet?

It’s Olympics (Olympiade, die) time again and many of you are watching your country’s best athletes give it there all in London. Unless you’ve been fortunate enough to get a ticket (Ticket, das) to one of the many events in London, you’re probably watching the competition (Wettkampf, der) on your television (Fernsehgerät, das) or online (online).

This brings up the question of the use of television (Fernseher, der) and internet (Internet, das) in everyday German conversation. Remember when we looked at the many different forms of German words? If you’ve been learning or using German for quite some time, you’ve surely encountered both Fernseher and Fernsehen. Which do you use? Is it auf dem Internet or im Internet? Let’s find out.

Fernseher, der:

This word actually has English origins. It is the literal translation television with an -er ending to turn it into a noun.


  1. The device for watching television.
  2. A person watching television.

Other synonyms for the device named Fernseher in German are:

High-GermanFernsehapparat, Fernsehempfänger, Fernsehgerät, Flimmerkiste, Glotze, Mattscheibe, Patschenkino, Röhre, TV

Form of the word:

Nominativder Fernseherdie Fernseher
Akkusativden Fernseherdie Fernseher
Dativdem Fernseherden Fernsehern
Genitivdes Fernsehersder Fernseher


Adjective collocations with Fernseher

Verb collocations with Fernseher


Definition 1:

  • ein tragbarer Fernseher (a portable television)
  • Der Fernseher läuft. (The TV is on.)
  • Markus schaltet den Fernseher ein. (Markus is turning on the TV.)
  • Saskia schaltet den Fernseher aus. (Saskia is turning the TV off.)
  • Die Kinder sitzen vor dem Fernseher. Sie sehen fern. (The children are sitting in front of the television. They are watching TV.)

Definition 2:

  • Millionen von Fernsehern verfolgten das Pokalendspiel. (Millions of television viewers followed the final game of the tournament.)

Now that is the word Fernseher with an r. But you probably see the word Fernsehen more. And don’t people say im Fernsehen? But above the dative doesn’t have the word morph the r to an n. So what’s going on?

Fernsehen, das:

While der Fernseher is the device used to watch television, we generally talk about the media of television and in German that is Fernsehen (verb turned into a noun so it’s das). The good thing is that there is no plural, so you don’t need to learn that.


1.a.Pictures and sound that are generally transferred with the use of wireless techology to appear on a receiving and viewing device (Fernseher).
1.b. A form of mass communication
2. A specific channel as part of the general concept of television
3.a. A program on television
3.b. All programs on television
4. colloquial expression for the television device (Fernsehgerät)

Form of the word:

Nominativdas Fernsehen
Akkusativdas Fernsehen
Dativdem Fernsehen
Genitivdes Fernsehens


Adjective collocations with Fernsehen

Verb collocations with Fernsehen


Definition 1a:

  • Die Technik des digitalen Fernsehens entwickelt sich ständig. (The technology behind digital television is continually developing.)

Definition 1b:

  • Damals gab es noch kein Fernsehen. (Back then there was no television.)

Definition 2:

  • Das Fernsehen brachte ein Interview mit dem Minister. (There was an interview with the minister on television.)
  • Sie arbeitet beim Fernsehen. (She works in television.)
  • Der olympische Marathonlauf kommt heute im Fernsehen. (The Olympic marathon event is on television today.)

Definition 3a.

  • Der Minister tritt im Fernsehen auf. (The minister appeared on television.)

Definition 3b.

  • HBO macht unterhaltsames, anspruchsvolles Fernsehen. (HBO produces entertaining and sophisticated television programs.)

Definition 4.

  • Wir haben kein Fernsehen. (We don’t have a television.) (better here would be Fernseher, unless you have the device, but you don’t get any channels.)

**Look at the prepositions used in the examples: on televsion = im Fernsehen, works in television = arbeitet beim Fernsehen.

So there we have the words Fernseher and Fernsehen clarified. What about Internet? Some of you are watching the Olympics on the internet or at least checking scores and results there. Well this is simpler.

Internet, das:

There is just internet but the prepositions we use with Internet might be a little tricky.


  1. A world wide network of computers and computer networks in which special services like e-mail, the web, and telephone are offered. The short form is das Net.

Form of the word:

Nominativdas Internetdas Net
Akkusativdas Internetdas Net
Dativdem Internetdem Net
Genitivdes Internetsdes Nets


Adjective collocations with Internet

Verb collocations with Internet


  • Ich habe keinen Anschluss ans Internet. (I don’t have a connection to the internet.)
  • Marathon Sprachen stellt Informationen ins Internet. (Marathon Sprachen puts information on the web.)
  • Ab sofort können Sie uns im Internet erreichen. (Starting now you can reach us on the internet.)
  • Florian sucht ein Hotel im Internet. (Florian is looking for a hotel on the internet.)
  • Die Kinder surfen gern im Internet und meine Frau kauft im Internet ein. (The kids like to surf the web and my wife shops on the web.)
  • Matthias sucht die Ergebnisse des Ruderns im Internet. (Matthias is looking for the rowing results on the net.)

As you can see the preposition for the internet is not on (auf/an) but in (akkusativ = ins, dativ = im). The ans in example 1 was for “connection to the internet”.

What do you want do you need clarification on? Let us know and follow us on facebook and twitter for more learning tips and clarification. Want to learn even faster? Consider taking a course with us if you live in or around Zurich.

  1. Periannan ChandrasekaranPeriannan Chandrasekaran08-07-2012

    Thank you very much for this. Just a few days I came across a German test that used “im Fernsehen” and got tripped. The example sentences also use many important words that are now better known to me thanks to this context.

  2. BrentBrent05-09-2013

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