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Viel Erfolg und gutes Gelingen?

What is the difference between der Erfolg and das Gelingen?

I read something along the lines that being gelingend is success as in being prosperous/happy/to flourish. Erfolgreich is success related to an outcome/achieving a goal (from folgen presumably).

With that in mind and the sentence "viel Erfolg and gutes Gelingen", is it right to say that this translates to "much success and good fortune"? I feel the latter is essentially saying good luck but then again Viel Erfolg! on it's own is understood to mean good luck.

May 4, 2017



Yeah, it's basically a tautology.

Gelingen implies that you successfully executed a new or unfamiliar plan/skill, and that wasn't certain. Erfolg means that you did well.

For example, you wouldn't ask about the "Gelingen" of somebody's 100m sprint, it's a given that people can run 100m (well, usually). If you give a task involving a new skill to a small child, it would be appropriate to ask about Gelingen and Erfolg.


Thanks. So the child's "Gelingen" is through his effort/struggle in completing the task... being able to make his way through the task ahead and advance. Once achieved, it's a success/Erfolg.

Would it be more accurate to say then that Gelingen is more akin to a synonymous word of success: achievement/accomplishment?


"gutes Gelingen" = The task itself is quite difficult and there is the possibility of not reaching the goal, so you have to start all over again.

"viel Erfolg" = The focus is on the outcome, determined by skill. Most of the time in a competition or exam.

"viel Glück" = The focus is on the outcome, but skill is not so important. Like in a lottery or gamble

If you mix the terms up, like in "viel Erfolg and gutes Gelingen", you want to emphasize the outcome and the difficult way to achieve it. Like in an aptitude test.


Thanks. I believe that's why gelungen is used in the following example then:

"Denn es ist uns gelungen, zahlreiche Rechte durchzusetzen, wie zum Beispiel mehr Sicherheit am Arbeitsplatz oder Verbesserungen bei Arbeitsverträgen."

There's the notion of fighting for the rights of the employees...that it would be an accomplishment. I gather that erfolgreich would not be suitable instead of gelungen here.


Yes, you are right. A common german sentence would be: "Wir waren bei den Verhandlungen erfolgreich und es ist uns (dadurch) endlich gelungen zahlreiche Rechte durchzusetzen."

The first part is only about the outcome of the negotiation, and the last part about the process wich includes preparation, research and negotiating. It could be even possible that it is the 3rd or 4th negotiation and finally "ist es uns gelungen".

But it is not wrong to say "Denn wir waren erfolgreich, zahlreiche Rechte durchzusetzen..." But a german ear would assume that you are talking about a shorter period of time, or that the process to reach your goal was not so important.


Thanks again. Have a lingot! I've commented on the other reply saying that Gelingen seems to be more closely related to accomplishment or achievement.. synonymous words of success but specifically implying a time/effort-consuming process. I think that you'd agree.

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