Something unknown – irgend

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Something unknown – irgend

There are some words in German that leave the learner simply puzzled. They appear all over the place one hears them but seemingly always in a different context or with other words. One of those words is “irgend”.

If you look up irgend in an English-German dictionary you’ll be given the following definitions:

irgend — adverb — at all

Then come a bunch of other irgend- words

What irgend does though is actually quite simple. It strengthens the the degree of the unknown. When it is used alone it is often preceded by “so ein” or “so etwas”. In provisory sentences it is usually introduced with the words: wenn, wo, wie, was, wer

When you read irgend then it is often good to regard the word as meaning some or something in the English way of using those words when something is not clear. Think “under some circumstances” or “somehow”.


Es ist wieder irgend so ein Vertreter an der Tür.

  • There’s some representative of sorts at the door again.

Sie hatte eine Erkältung order irgend so was.

  • She had a cold or something of the sort.

Bitte komm, wenn es dir irgend möglich ist.

  • Please come if it is at all possible for you.

Er unterstützte uns, solange er irgend konnte.

  • He supported us as long as he possibly could.

Here is a list of the most comonly used irgend words:

irgendwann – sometime, someday, somewhere down the road

Irgendwann müssen wir alle sterben.

  • We all have to die sometime.

 irgendwo – anywhere, somewhere

Sie wollten irgendwo in Italien Urlaub machen.

  • They want to go on vacation somewhere in Italy.

irgendwer* – somebody

Irgendwer gab mir neulich diesen Tipp.

  • Someone recently gave me this tip.

An irgendwem musste er seine Wut auslassen.

  • He had to release his anger on someone.

irgendwas – something

Bei der Sache ist irgendwas faul.

  • Something is not quite right.

irgendwie – anyhow, somehow, someway, kind of

Wir werden es schon irgendwie schaffen

  • Somehow we’ll do it.

Irgendwie möchte sie doch, dass ich bleibe.

  • Somehow she wants me to stay.

irgendjemand* – anybody, anyone, somebody, someone

Kann mir irgendjemand sagen, wo wir hier sind?

  • Can someone tell me where we are?

irgendetwas – anything, something

Sollte irgendetwas Auffälliges geschehen, gib uns Bescheid.

  • Let us know if anything peculiar happens.

irgendein* – any, some, anyone, somebody, someone

Wir haben es hier nicht mit irgendeiner Frau zu tun, sondern immerhin mit der First Lady.

  • We’re not talking about just any woman, but about the First Lady.

irgendwelch* – any

Gibt es irgendwelche Fragen, Vorschläge?

  • Are there any questions, ideas?

irgendwoher – from somewhere

Irgendwoher ertönte Musik

  • Music is coming from somewhere.

irgendwohin – to somewhere, to someplace

Er war bereits irgendwohin verschwunden

  • He already disappeared to someplace.

* These need to reflect their case — their endings change!

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