1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Sie schreiben mit Worten."

"Sie schreiben mit Worten."

Translation:They are writing with words.

November 24, 2017



To be precise, there are two different plurals of Wort: Worte and Wörter. Wörter is the plural of word in the sense of the smallest unit of a sentence, whereas Worte is referring to sentences, quotes, short speeches or similar (Das waren große Worte/These were big words), or quotes (Die Worte des berühmten Dichters.../The words of the famous poet....).


Since this distinction doesn't exist in English, it was used as a pun by Professor Dumbledore in the first "Harry Potter" novel:

"Welcome to a new year at Hogwarts! Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"

I wonder how this was interpreted in the German translation? :)


Willkommen!<<, rief er.> Willkommen zu einem neuen Jahr in Hogwarts! Bevor wir mit unserem Bankett beginnen, möchte ich ein paar Worte sagen. Und hier sind sie: Schwachkopf! Schwabbelspeck! Krimskrams! Quiek! Danke sehr!<<

I started reading harry potter in German this week to help with reading comprehension. I had just finished this chapter


Professor Dumbledore should have said "Wörter," because his words are mere words, disconnected and unrelated. Either the professor misspoke or the German translation is wrong.


I couldn't even finish it in English!


I don't remember. The pun just doesn't work so well, but anyway, most Germans are not aware of this distinction....


That really helped with understanding the difference. Thanks for the example.


Great explanation, but it makes me even more confused why we have Worten here instead of Wörtern...


Yes, it seems you write with words (mit Wörtern), and the end result is words = Worte. If you're always writing mit Worten, then you're always quoting or plagiarizing.


Good question... It doesn't make so much sense, unless it means quotations here.


Note that dictionary = Wörterbuch, not Wortebuch, because the words defined in the dictionary are not connected words, but simply listed alphabetically.


so would Woerter be more like a morpheme? and Worte be our regular every day sense of the word? I used to use Woerter all the time before learning this tidbit here, and realize my usage comes from "Woerterbuch", which is a tool that breaks down many words. Your explanation has been helpful, thanks!


@immashootyouu Not exactly. "Walked" and "bananas" are Wörter. The word "walked" consists of 2 morphemes: "walk" and "ed." The word "bananas" also consists of 2 morphemes: "banana" and "s." "We walked to the store to buy bananas" are collectively Worte.


Wouldn't "Sie schreiben" also be formal "you write / you are writing"?


Yes, if you are using the formal form of addressing someone.


Thanks. So then, "You are writing with words" should be an acceptable translation for "Sie schreiben mit Worten.". Yes?
That was my answer, and it was rejected.


Yes, sure. Please report it ;-).


Ich schreibe mit ein Stift


Personally, I write with a pen or a pencil - und damit schreibe ich Wörter!


"You are writing with words" should be acceptable.


Yes Puett. I too thought it was rather a nonsense.


'They are writing the words' should be accepted, surely?


It's missing "mit" this way. And there is no definite article in the German sentence.

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.