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 – “werben”

werben-werbung-meaning-germHello everyone,

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

werben

Werben comes from the super ancient Indo-European root *uer. The core meaning of that was  to turn, to bend and a lot of words came from that like whirling, worm or the German werfen (to throw) which is basically talking about bending your arm.
Now, werben very early on shifted from the idea of turning in circles to the idea of running around and back and forth. Not much later people started adding the notion that you do all the busy running because you want to get something and so the word eventually became “to be busy in order to get something“. And very soon this took up the core notion of advertising.

  • Der Ritter wirbt um die Liebe der Prinzessin.
  • The knight courts the princess.

Literally, this means that the knight is all around the princess, being all nice, bringing her flowers, singing her songs, writing her poems, slaying her dragons and opening her gown… Continue reading

What is the difference – “wissen and kennen”

click picture for creditsHello everyone, and welcome to another German Word of the Day – What is the Difference Special. Today we’ll look at the difference between kennen and wissen A real problem… unless your mother tongue is, say, Spanish or Italian or French or Portuguese. Or Swedish or Norwegian or Finnish or Hungarian. Because all these languages have two words as well. That’s right English. Can’t give German the “Really?? Two words for one thing?“-look this time ;). Anyway, for a native speaker of English having two options for to know is really something to get used so today we’ll look a pretty straight forward way to tell them apart. And if you’re mother tongue is one of the above, you could read it anyway and share in the comments whether that would work for your language as well. Sounds good? Cool. Continue reading

Word of the Day – “der Zweifel”

zweifel-bezweifeln-verzweifHello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day, number 140… or uhm.. something. Not sure actually. I just know it’s not enough. Not even close. We need more words. Moooooore. We need to be like word eating zombies. Woooords. Oh, there’s one. Let’s eat

der Zweifel.

 Der Zweifel means the doubt. And clearly the two words aren’t related.
Or are they?
Dun dun dunnnn
They aren’t, Emanuel was sure of it. Two words that don’t even share a single letter just can’t be related. And yet, there was this weird feeling in his gut. A feeling he knew all too well. A feeling that had never wronged him. There was no doubt, he had to take a dump. And so there he sha sat in the Chamber of Tiled Walls, his mind wandering. “Zweifel. Zwei-fel. Zwei… oh my god!” Such were his thoughts. Luckily, the etymological dictionary was there, conveniently placed next to the toilet, for, as so many others, he liked to ingest while eges… gee, what am I blabbering. I’m sorry. So… the word Zweifel directly comes from the word zwei . And that does make sense. For example… Continue reading

Word of the Day – “die Decke”

decke-decken-entdecken-germHello everyone,

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

die Decke

And that means of course that we’ll cover (hint, hint) the whole  decken-family – “the Deckens”. Decke is just a nice icon for it, so that’s why I picked it.
The Deckens are probably some of the oldest words ever. Forget all those super ancient Indo European roots we see all the time. Those are like… recent. The root of  Decke dates back freaggin’ 160 million years to when it was the name of a Dinosaur… the Stegosaurus, also known as Stegstar or just Stegs. Those were just for friends though. The Stegosaurus was a cool dude who took it easy and he was widely known for his massive tile like spikes along his back that provided him with protection and extra awesome. The dinosaurs then “perished” because of “a comet”(yeah, right) but the other animals remembered them and passed on their story to mankind. Continue reading

Word of the Day – WitD – “verwirren vs. verwechseln”

verwirren-verwechseln-diffeHello everyone,

and welcome to another Word of the Day, or to be more precise a What is the difference special. And today we’ll look two words that both mean to confuse. Today, we’ll look at the difference between

verwirren and verwechseln

And since that difference isn’t a big deal at all we’ll also take a look at how to say confusing and confused because there’s a lot of …  confusion.
So… are you ready to untangle some hair, to descramble some eggs, to unravel some Debussy?…. (man… that was so clever)….
Are you ready for all this?
Cool. Continue reading