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Any words you can never remember?

Are there any German words you just never seem to remember and have to constantly look up in a dictionary? A couple of words I've always had trouble remembering include genauso, eher, and bisher.

I remember in German class, I would always have an easier time memorizing nouns and verbs. I wish I would have taken more time to work on adverbs, adjectives, and whatever type of word the above are....

September 29, 2017



Just too many. It took me a while to get to remember "abheben" and "einzahlen". Meaning "to withdraw, to deposit" respectively. I guess I still have some trouble with them, hahaha.


That reminds me of one time when I was shopping in Germany. The clerk asked me if I wanted to send something back to the States and I wanted to tell her I would take it with me - mitnehmen. I had a brain fart and used the verb "abnehmen". She gave me a blank look and I instantly remembered the correct verb. Good times. Good times.....


I like this "brain fart" - Hirnfurz - is this official language or may I use it only when I'm young?


It's official enough to be in Oxford's online dictionaries -- it's not yet in their mighty Oxford English Dictionary, but that one is always a little slow to include new terms.

Personally I consider it "official" enough for use by most people in most situations. If I'm having tea with a friend's genteel, sensitive grandmother, or going for a job interview at some formal, old-fashioned company, I wouldn't use it, but in most cases I wouldn't consider it particularly out of place.



Another word which took me forever to memorize is "sowieso". Now whenever I encounter the word, I know what it means, but I never seem to use it in a conversation.

But the word "sowie" always has me scrambling for that dictionary!!

sowie - plus, as soon as, as well as (conjunctions)

sowieso - anyway, in any case, in any event.


When I find that I have problems with the active use of a particular word, I try to find alternatives that are more plausible to me.

I can't think of many contexts in which I'd use "sowieso"; I think in most cases you can leave it out without doing much harm to the sentence. ;-) Or use "ohnehin", "unabhängig davon", "in jedem Fall", depending on context.

In many cases, it is sufficient to have the passive knowledge of a word. For your active use, you can be creative and just do without the words that are causing you problems.


Anyway, I think "sowieso" is such a fun sounding word.....

Now that I'm thinking about this - here's an interesting story. For some reason, it took me a long time to remember "ach so" - "oh, I see" - and what it meant. As I was beginning to learn American Sign Language, I noticed a sign which was being used a lot. I finally asked a CODA (child of a Deaf adult) what it meant and she explained it means "Oh, I see". So I started using said sign. A few days later, I was watching a German video and the dread "ach so" appeared and I scrambled for my German-English dictionary. For some reason, the meaning and use of "ach so" became so clear and memorable.

Yet another word I had always had trouble remembering was "niedlich" until a German friend on Facebook started using it. Then one day I saw the term "herzig". It just so happened I noticed another German (professional translator) was online and I asked him about "herzig". He explained it was like "niedlich" but in his mind, "herzig" is used when something is very endearing.

On a side note, I just love it when you native speakers explain these things which helps us in our learning.

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