What if things didn't make sense

20 incorrectly used German terms

You write dozens of letters, emails, and messages every day. Of course, you are very familiar with the German language, have good spelling skills and write understandable business letters. But still - there are certain German words and terms that almost everyone can useused incorrectly.

German words that many people use incorrectly

We have put together an overview. Do you recognize yourself?

1. Make sense

Example sentence: "Your argument makes no sense."

This mistake was probably caused by a translation of the English phrase "it makes sense". But nothing can make sense in German. However, something can make or make sense.

Better: "Your argument doesn't make sense."

2. Apparently

Example sentence: "The alleged perpetrator apparently snatched the handbag of the old lady."

That would actually mean that he only pretended to snatch the handbag from her. Because apparently refers to a state of affairs that only appeared - and not really - occurred. When things appear to have arisen but there is no definitive evidence, the word “apparently” should be used

Correct: “The alleged perpetrator apparently snatched the handbag from the old lady.

3. Would like

Example sentence: "I would like to draw your attention to our new offer."

You read this sentence almost every day and it suggests that it is a wish. Since the speaker has already put his wish into practice, it sounds awkward.

Better: "I would be happy to refer you to our new offer."

4. Info

Example sentence: "You can find more information in the attachment to this email."

In short: Info is the abbreviation for information. But that doesn't mean that info is the abbreviation of information ...

Correct: "You can find more information in the attachment to this email."

5. Dignity

Example sentence: "I would say that ..."

That actually means that you won't say it - the subjunctive is grammatically nonsensical in this context and also weakens your statement considerably.

Better: just say it - without the subjunctive.

6. Because of you / me

Example sentence: "I was late because of the traffic jam at the Middle Ring."

The dative is the genitive his death. After because of the genitive. And your friends weren't late because of you either, but because of you.

Correct: "I was late because of the traffic jam at the Middle Ring."

7. Same thing

Example sentence: "I have the same car as my colleague."

Oh, then do you share a car with your colleague? Warning: the same is not the same.

Right: "I have the same car as my colleague."

8. New Years Eve

Example sentence: "We're celebrating New Year's Eve in London this year."

Sylvester is spelled correctly when it comes to actor Sylvester Stallone. However, the last day of the year is called New Year's Eve.

Correct: "We're celebrating New Year's Eve in London this year."

9. PIN number

Example sentence: "I forgot my PIN number."

PIN means personal identification number. Therefore, there is also a duplication here and you can simply say PIN or PIN code.

Correct: "I forgot my PIN code."

10. In no way

Example sentence: "I do not agree in any way."

In no way can not be increased, because it already means that it is impossible. Incidentally, the same applies to the unique and the optimal.

Correct: "I do not agree in any way."

11. Mirrored

Example sentence: "The image is displayed in mirror image."

The word can be found in the Duden, but the name is unclean. Strictly speaking, it is reversed.

Better: "The picture is displayed reversed."

12. Worthwhile

Example sentence: "I particularly liked the worthwhile commitment of my colleague Müller."

The word worthwhile is even in the dictionary - but it doesn't make any sense. Strictly speaking, worthwhile means “worthwhile”. So if you want to express yourself more elegantly, you should use the word rewarding instead.

Better: "I particularly liked the worthwhile commitment of my colleague Müller."

13. Worries

Example sentence: "The coach's decision caused a dispute with the players."

That is not nicely phrased - the verbs cause or lead would be more appropriate. Caring for something actually means caring for something.

Better: "The coach's decision led to an argument with the players."


Do you have any other examples of misused terms? We look forward to your comments!

14. Ungrammatical

Example sentence: "This sentence is ungrammatical."

Oh yes, it is, because the word doesn't exist. A sentence can be grammatically incorrect, but by no means “ungrammatical”.

Correct: "This sentence is grammatically incorrect."

15. To the best of my knowledge

Example sentence: "As far as I know, the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989."

In a nutshell: You can save yourself the word after - that is unnecessary and wrong. In my opinion, this also applies to the turnaround.

Better: "As far as I know, the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989."

16. "Trouble is inevitable."

Anyone who programs something, be it a video recording, software or trouble, usually does so before using it. You program the video recorder in advance so that it records a film.

So if something is preprogrammed, it is a word doubling. One does not speak of a dead corpse or a white mold.

17. "This is common practice."

Unfortunately, it is common practice for many people to misspell and pronounce this idiom. From the word's origin, “common practice” refers to means of payment that were widely used and therefore valid. In Europe, for example, the euro is common.

18. "Success came thanks to word of mouth."

It is an expression that many throw around. In fact, it doesn't make any sense at all. Here the correct term “word of mouth” and “mouth-to-mouth resuscitation” are merged.

Kleine Eselsbrücke: word of mouth is done by verbally recommending something. Since nobody says anything in the mouth to other people, it should - if at all - be word of mouth. “Word of mouth” sounds more like kissing or an ambulance - and is probably not what it is meant to be expressed.

19. "Have you not read the terms and conditions?"

Before randomly adding letters to abbreviations, you should pause for a moment and think about what the abbreviation means in full. In the case of general terms and conditions, namely “general terms and conditions” - and you have to admit that “general terms and conditions” doesn't sound elegant.

20. "He paid over 50 euros for it."

“About” is always used when it comes to spatial issues. “More than”, on the other hand, is only used for numbers. So it is correct to say: "He paid more than 50 euros for it."

Sources for these examples: