Category Archives: What is the Difference

On this section we look at words that seem to be the same and yet there is a clear difference…

Word of the Day – “suchen” – prefixed

suchen-aussuchen-pictureHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we will take a look at the meaning of


But not just that. We will also look at ALL the prefix-versions of suchen that are out there. Ylläsuchen or öxersuchen are not… I mean… they don’t exist. But versuchen does. And besuchen and a few other really really common ones. And the meanings are … well… some are pretty straight forward. Other are more like a free jazz interpretation of a famous song. You really need to have your music theory down to see a connection.
So… are you ready to dig into suchen and see what we can find?

Suchen  means to search. And suchen is also related to search. At least, that’s what I thought until one of our interns gave me the results of his research for the show. Hold on, let me read it to you. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “reichen”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at the meaning of


And by meaning I mean meanings. Two to be precise. Observe:

  • Reicht ihr das Salz?
  • Is the salt enough for her?

Yes, it is. But we could add some more pronoun. Maybe a little er.

  • Reicht er ihr das Salz?

I mean… how much damage could such a small little word possibl… OH MY GOD!

  • Does he hand her the salt?

Continue reading

Word of the Day – “aufheben”

aufheben-meaning-pictureHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day. This time we’ll have a look at one of these neat little prefix verbs. Not one that has a bunch of more or less unrelated meanings. Today, we’ll look at one where all the meanings neatly tie up…. or sort of. Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to check out the meanings of


Aufheben consists of the parts auf and heben. Auf is a preposition with the core idea of on top but it is also one of those annoying mosquitoes that are buzzing around your head while you try to enjoy the view over the calm, deep lake German. Bzzzzzzz. Bzzzzzz bzzzzz. Separable prefixes. Auf as a prefix has mainly two ideas… up, which kind of ties in to the on top idea, and open which ties in to nothing.

  • “Hey what’s up?
    “As a German would say… das Fenster.”
    “That doesn’t even make sense.”

It really doesn’t. In combination with heben it’s the other auf we’re dealing with… the up one.
Now, heben alone means to lift and it is the brother of English to heave. I guess that makes sense… at least if you want to lift something heavy there is some heaving in… wait a second, I just realized something, Continue reading

What is the difference – “mindestens, wenigsten, zumindest”

Hello everyone,

mindestens-zumindest-wenigsand welcome to another Word of the Day – What is the Difference – special.
In short, that would be WotD – WitD. And in a good mood that would be Wot:D – Wit:D.
These specials are about words that seem to be synonyms but aren’t. Today we’ll talk about one of the most mysterious differences of all of them. And I’m actually not alone. Mitt is one of our sound engineers, and he’s a little microphone shy but apparently he’s lost a bet and now he has to spend one full show on air and say at least uhm… how much was it?
“I have to say at least 10 sentences. “
Haha… okay… well, at least I got some company for a change… it get’s a bit lonely sometimes, especially when we’re recording till late. So … I am glad you’re here. Do you maybe want to read out the topic?
“Sure… so.. uhm… hi guys, my names is Mitt and I’ll be your co-host for today’s show in which we’ll look at the difference between 

mindestens, wenigstens and zumindest…. 

and I actually also have trouble with those. They all mean at least, right?”
Exactly. But at least for the most part they are not really interchangeable. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “raten”

raten-meaning-imageHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day.
Have you ever asked someone else for advice? Like…  your colleague about your project, your loved one about your hair, or Mr. Alcohol about your problems? (Don’t ask him… he’s just gonna be like “Uhm… you should drink more of me”)
We all need someone to counsel us sometimes and there is one thing we don’t want that person to do… especially if we’re paying the consultant a crazillion dollars… we don’t want the person to guess.
Well… that is gonna be REALLY hard in German because we kind of use the same word for it. And that’s our topic this time.
Today we’ll have a look at the meaning of


And of course not just raten but also at Rat, and Verrat and beraten and erraten and the differences to raten and so on – basically the whole raten-family,the Ratens.  Soar ey our eady… ops, hold on, I really can’t segment today … are you ready for a whole lot of useful words and quite a few really, really cool surprises?
No, not THAT cool… Continue reading