1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. gern and gerne


gern and gerne

What rule decides whether "gern" is written with or without an "-e"?

April 4, 2013



You can use whichever you like. There's absolutely no difference in meaning or style.


Thank you christian. I am quite amazed. It must be the only word in the German language that is not subject to a rule. I will relish the freedom to decide each time I use it. Ned.


You're right, christian. But some older speakers might disagree. When I was still in primary school my German teacher used to mark me "gern" as an error. For her "gerne" was the only correct one. (And that's only about 15 years ago. Wow. When I write it like that I feel really old.)

According to Zwiebelfisch (http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/zwiebelfisch/zwiebelfisch-abc-gerne-gern-a-323744.html) "gerne" is the older version, but nowadays both are used without any difference in meaning or style.


It's older as in hundreds of years older. Dropping the "e" is not a recent development. Your primary school teacher was wrong to mark "gern" as a mistake.

Here's the Duden entry from 1980:

gern, (seltener:) gerne <Adverb>



So maybe her teacher taught it wrong to her too... =/


I'm going to move this to the German discussion where it'll be more appreciated :)


In my day, "gern" or "gerne" meant gladly. "Ich trinke gern" would be literally "I gladly drink" but that was marked wrong.


My new German dictionary also has that as a translation. I assume it's the closest literal translation, but few people would these days say it that way, although I don't think it's unheard of or archaic. More someone being a bit deliberately flamboyant with their language.


On a similar vein, What is the difference in using "Es ist ganz nah" versus "sehr Nähe?


"Es ist sehr Nähe" is ungrammatical. You yould say "Es ist sehr nah" which would mean pretty much the same as 'Es ist ganz nah'.


Adding to Wataya: es ist in der unmittelbaren Nähe = it is in the closest neighbourhood. I know that is not good English but the German shows you that " Nähe" is a noun which cannot be used as an adverb.


So is that similar to the difference between gut and gute? And lang and lange (eg Sie hat lang Haare vs. how long/Vie lange haben wir fahren?)


No, this is something completely different. 'lang Haare' is ungrammatical. 'lang' is an adjective. 'gern/gerne' is an adverb. Adjectives are declined according to case, gender, number and preceding article. Adverbs don't change. Usually, there is only one form of an adverb. 'Gern/gerne' is an exception in this regard.

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