https://www.duolingo.com/Karlsenski

What's the difference between aufmachen/zumachen and öffnen/schließen?

I know that they both essentially mean to open/to close, but if they're different words then I'm sure they don't mean exactly the same thing.

August 25, 2017

17 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/Heike333145

I think that "aufmachen/zumachen" is more colloquial than "öffnen/schließen".

For example, a sign would say: "Bitte schließen Sie die Tür."

A mother would say to her son: "Mach doch bitte die Tür zu!"

August 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/BiggusGulpicus

When I visited my great Aunt in Koeln I accidentally opened a sauna and heard from the depths a very loud and angry "MACH DIE TUER ZU!"

August 27, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN

Das ist lustig.

August 28, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Karlsenski

Thanks for the explanation!

August 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Wendy-Werner

Bitte :)

August 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN

Heike, correct me if I am wrong. It sounds like Bitte schließen Sie die Tür is akin to "Please close the door." whereas Mach doch bitte die Tür zu! is more akin to "Shut the door!". Can you explain why you say "doch", does it imply that it isn't the first time this request was made? So maybe another translation for Mach doch bitte die Tür zu implies "how many times do I have to tell you, shut the door!". Or, maybe a better translation: "Yet, I have to tell you (again) to close the door!".

August 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/GeoSchribs

I think die Heike is right. 'Doch' with 'bitte' implies more: do me that favour - tu mir doch bitte den Gefallen. "How many times do I have to tell you, shut the door!" may be 'doch endlich': Mach doch endlich (mal) die Tür zu! Wie oft muss ich das (denn) noch sagen?

August 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN

Thanks GeoSchribs, have a Lingot.

August 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Heike333145

Can you explain why you say "doch", does it imply that it isn't the first time this request was made? So maybe another translation for Mach doch bitte die Tür zu implies "how many times do I have to tell you, shut the door!". Or, maybe a better translation: "Yet, I have to tell you (again) to close the door!".

This "doch" is just there for the flow of the sentence. Without it, the sentence would not sound quite natural; it would even sound harsh. It can be used for the first request, although normally, I'd be inclined to use a question for the first request:

"Hugo, könntest du bitte die Tür zumachen?"

As explained by GeoSchribs, "doch" in combination with other elements ("endlich") etc can express a certain impatience and/or aggression, but this is not the case in my sentence. Here, it is rather a softener.

"Mach bitte die Tür zu" sounds harsher to me than "Mach doch bitte die Tür zu".

It is perhaps important to note that "doch" is totally unstressed. When I speak the sentence, I put the greatest stress on "mach", a little less stress on "bitte" and again stress on "Tür".

These German flavoring particles are difficult to explain. In many cases, it's best to leave them untranslated and incorporate their "natural sound" in other parts of the speech.

August 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN

Thanks Heike, very good answer and I understood it and it makes great sense. Thanks again for taking your time to provide a thoughtful response.

August 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Wendy-Werner

There really isn't any difference between the two phrases. (This is from my man in Germany)

August 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/slamRN

Wendy-Werner - Is he German-born and from what part of the country?

August 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Wendy-Werner

Yes, he is from Germany, born and raised. He lives in Dortmund. I started learning from him over 6 years ago, and have continued learning more with Duolingo. He knows high German.

August 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Wendy-Werner

I am in daily contact with a man in Germany, and I just asked him what the difference was. He said that öffnen/schließen are the formal terms for these phrases. I hope that helps :)

August 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Karlsenski

Yes it did. Thanks!

August 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Wendy-Werner

You're welcome :)

August 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/NikitaB-H

Aufmachen/zumachen are verbs that are (often) used for opening/closing of windows or doors. For example, you'd say, please open the door - kannst du bitte die Tür aufmachen OR can you close the door - kannst du bitte die Tür zumachen or zu.

Öffnen/schließen is generic for stuff like packets. For example, bitte die Tüte öffnen. The shop is unfortunately closed - Das Geschäft ist leider geschlossen.

November 6, 2017
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