1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. have some fun with words! - u…

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cherrie807171

have some fun with words! - umfahren

http://www.visualstatements.net/visuals/visualstatements/#(categoryId:'225',language:'29',searchWord:umfahren)

is a funny thing about the German word "umfahren".

It is just a joke, pls do not be encouraged. You do not spell them the same way: The thing, which knocks you down, is spelled as UMfahren, the thing, which goes around is pronounced umFAHREN. And it is an abbreviation (oh yes, the bad news, a valid one): The thing, which goes around is for HERUM-fahren. 'herum' is something like circle around. Shortened to "um", and then yes, if you read it, then in very, very rare cases, you do not know if it is - or the opposite.

You know what? Say "niederstoßen" instead. It is more common.

Cherrie

February 16, 2018

14 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Vabelie

Hey, diese Seite ist toll! Danke sehr :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/gmbka

When you use "niederstossen" in the sense of "umfahren" you have to add "mit dem Auto" or any other vehicle. "Umfahren" always implies the use of a vehicle.

"Herumfahren" means to drive around aimlessly.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cherrie807171

I would prefer "niederstoßen" before "umfahren" in doubt. The differences are more felt, than grammer. I rather would prefer niederstoßen for a person and umfahren for a thing. E.g. "Mister Minit wurde gestern früh von einem PKW niedergestoßen." or "Der alte Mann hat das Verkehrsschild einfach umgefahren!" but you can say as well (although I would not prefer): Mister Minit wurde von einem PKW umgefahren. and Der alte Mann hat ein Schild niedergefahren (hier vielleicht 'überfahren') It is a question of feeling and personal style.

And yes, "herumfahren" means to drive around aimlessly. But as well, it means 'um etwas herumfahren'.

E.g.: Der alte Mann ist um das Verkehrschild herum gefahren. Diesen Verkehrsstau wollen wir umfahren!

herumfahren means a lot of things: https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/herumfahren

No, this is not because German is hard. English words mean a lot of things as well. It took me decades of learning both languages (today I cannot speak neither of them any more, forgot my German and did not make it in English) to find out, that something like a matching translation of vocabulaies does not exist.

Gutes Gelingen! Cherrie


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie973350

I disagree. You would never say "Er wurde von einem PKW niedergestoßen". Niederstoßen always requires a person, not a thing like a car, to do it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie973350

I'm always puzzled about all the things we never think about when it comes to our own language. Thanks a lot for the input.

If I may add some aspects/corrections:

The spelling is exactly the same, just the accentuation is different.

Also I wouldn't agree, that umFAHren is an abbreviation. You say "etwas umFAHren" or "um etwas heRUMfahren".

Last but not least: niederstoßen is slightly different than UMfahren. The latter one involves "fahren" so you need to drive a car or ride a bike.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie973350

Btw

Ich umfahre das Hindernis. (I drive around the obstacle.)

Ich fahre das Hindernis um. (I run the obstacle over.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cherrie807171

exactly. Or: Ich fahre um das HIndernis herum (I drive around it)

Do not worry "herum" means alway 'around'.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max.Em

Niederstoßen is really uncommon, it sounds very formal. Umfahren in this sense is very colloquial instead. A bit more common and formal is niederfahren.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie973350

How about umstoßen? ;))


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max.Em

Also possible. Sounds more like you accidentally hit a vase. Like umwerfen, but slightly more formal.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hannibal-Barkas

wouldn't use it. Umstossen means to topple something, not to run over it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marie973350

Just mentioned it, because it is the forth possible combination of nieder/um with stoßen/fahren


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cherrie807171

about: "niederstoßen" formal / common: I agree with formal, but not with uncommon. I expect it to read it in newspapers, accident reports or legal textes. I never wish anybody to be involved in an accident with persons insured in a German speaking country. But if he is, he shall understand the police protocol.

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