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üblich vs gängig ? what is the difference ?

Like the title says, "üblich" and "gängig" both mean common. Are they completely interchangeable ?


March 28, 2020

5 Kommentare


Both terms are synonymous in terms of content. The grammatical application is different.

üblich can be used as predicate nouns. Z.B. Das ist so üblich / das war damals üblich / das ist nicht üblich / in Afrika ist das ganz üblich usw.

gängig, on the other hand, only works as an adjective, the sentence Das ist so gängig cannot be heard in this way.

But you can say: "Das ist die gängige Methode", and that means about the same as "Das ist die übliche Methode".


ok, thanks for your answer

[deaktivierter User]

    "Gängig" focusses on societal/group habits and to some degree also means it is the prefered choice of doing something, e.g.: - "die gängige Meinung" --> the most popular opinion in a group/of society - "gängige Musik" --> popular music - "die gängige Kleidergrösse" --> the most popular clothing size (here "gängig" can also describe the most bought clothing size)

    Whereas "üblich" is more of a neutral observation. It highlights what is common/traditional in society or defines something as a habit of a person: - "Sie kommt, wie üblich, zu spät." --> She is running late, as usual. - "Es ist üblich, sich die Hand zu geben" --> It is normal to shake hands.

    TL;DR: "üblich" for habits/traditions, "gängig" for trends/social preferences.


    really detailed answer, much appreciated.


    In technical contexts, "gängig" can also mean "easily movable. "Die Steuerung ist wieder gängig. This is what a mechanic might say after repairing a jammed steering wheel.

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