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This one is really hard to explain, even for a native speaker. Therefore, I've taken examples from the German dictionary:
1a) to change something by adding, editing or deleting details, to modify a coat/a text, to change a course ("Das Flugzeug ändert seinen Kurs"), "Daran ist nichts zu ändern" (there's nothing you can do about it)
1b) to replace something with something else, to change its form, to change an opinion/view/tone, "you can't change old people" ("Alte Menschen kann man nicht ändern")
2) the weather/the situation changes (das Wetter/die Situation ändert sich)
1) to change the core or appearance, to remodel something (e.g. to change the world = die Welt verändern), "the beard changes his look significantly" ("Der Bart verändert sein Aussehen deutlich")
2) his facial expression changed abruptly (seine Miene/sein Ausdruck veränderte sich schlagartig), hardly anything's changed (es hat sich kaum etwas verändert), "you've changed!" ("Du hast dich aber verändert!"), ...
Sometimes they can be used interchangeably, and sometimes you just have to be able to 'feel' which one to use.
So, ändert would be more individual, physical kinds of changes, whereas verändert would be more...conceptual...? Vielleicht?
Hmmm, okay, so when Duolingo uses the sample sentence "Das ändert Alles," would that be referring to, say, changing the color of the paint in a room? "That changes everything, that makes the whole room look different." And could one then say "Das verändert Alles" if one were referring to learning that a movie or book has a deeper message? "That changes everything, I see this (book or movie) in a whole different light now."
So are you essentially saying that in German where "änderen" is used, where in English you could but wouldn't really use "to change".
So basically one could just say:
änderen = to differ/to modify/to alter
ich änderne es = I differ/modify/alter it
verändern = to change/to transform
ich verändere es = I change/transform it
I notice that in phrase "Das Wetter ändert sich", änderen is used reflexively because of sich. Does this only work with a reflexive component?
So could one then elaborate on my the earlier post above, and add like :
sich änderen = to change
Es ändert sich = It changes/It is changing
I would say that "verändern" refers to change or "alter the physical state of something" and wechseln is more like "trade" or "switch". Es häng von der Benutzung ab. Zum Beispiel:
Ich werde mein Geld in Dollars wechseln: I will exchange my money into dollars
Du hast dich sehr verändert : You have changed a lot
Wir wollen das Thema wechseln: We want to change the subject
Disclaimer: Neither english nor german is my native language, so maybe I'm wrong. If that's the case, then I'm sorry. I would appreciate a german or an american correcting this
Well, you can usually tell from context. And if you can't, the word "Ehefrau"/"Ehefrauen" is used to make sure it's about wives, not women in general.
"Meine Frau" = my wife (whenever "Frau" is used with a possessive pronoun, it is supposed to mean wife)
"Die Frau" = if no other context given, this just means "the woman"
"Seine Frau/Die Frau von ihm" = his wife (possessive pronoun again)
"Frauen verändern die Welt" = this is about women in general, because nothing indicates that this is about wives
"Ehefrauen verändern die Welt" = now this means "wives change the world"