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  5. "Wir bieten ihm einen Kaffee …

"Wir bieten ihm einen Kaffee an."

Translation:We are offering him a coffee.

September 23, 2013



i'd like to get this straight: is 'bieten' used for formal offers, such as bids? and anbieten more.. well, i can't think of how to put it, but more general, everyday..?


Generally "bieten" means "to bid", "anbieten" means "to offer".
There are also cases where you use "bieten" for "offer", I think it's a more impersonal use then, for something that is "provided" or "featured". For example: Dieser Job bietet viele Möglichkeiten. (This job offers many possibilities.)
"Anbieten" is more like when it is directed at someone specific.

But it's really a bit difficult to distinguish between the two, I don't think it follows very strict rules. So if you don't know, try it with the difference between "bidding" and "offering" and if you used the wrong one, it's probably not fatal because they are sometimes also interchangeable, you would just prefer one or the other...

And if you don't know at all, just swallow up the "an" a little bit when you speak, then no one will know if you said it or not. ;-)


I'm going to use the last approach! Thank you.


To add to Bellatrix's answer, when bieten is used to offer something, it's done in a passive way, whereas anbieten is more active. A good example to contrast the two:

The forest offers him protection.
Der Wald bietet ihm Schutz.

The woman offers him a coffee.
Der Mann bietet ihm einen Kaffee an.


What’s the difference between bieten and anbieten?


Someone once gave me an example for bieten as, "Der Wald bietet Schutz."

I think it has to do with going out of your way to offer something, or how actively you offer. So a forest can't anbieten (it's inanimate), but you can anbieten a coffee to your friend.


In Formal English We can't say " a coffee" but a cup of coffee . So Translating ..."Wir bieten ihm einen Kaffee an" by : "We are offering him a coffee ." is absolutely wrong because the word "coffee "is an uncountable noun.we can't say coffees as a plural for coffee either . In this case, we must translate it by "We are offering him a cup of coffee".


i don't get the "an"


anbieten a separable verb, meaning it's actually two parts: an|bieten. When it's the main verb, the first part goes to the end. The same happens with other verbs like zurück|rufen (to call back) and ein|steigen (to get on e.g. a train).

When it's not the main verb, like there's an auxiliary like werden, it's used as normal:

Ich werde ihm einen Kaffee anbieten

And for perfect tense, you put the 'ge-' in between the two words:

Ich habe ihm einen Kaffee angeboten (who invented that word? Seriously, geboten?)

More examples and explanations are here:

anbieten conjugations
Wikipedia's explanation
Some other examples on BBC Bitesize


Difference between "anbieten" and "bieten"?


"We serve him a coffee." was marked wrong. Why?


Serving someone something and offering them something are two different things.


"Serve" was accepted and even suggested as an answer for anbieten in a previous sentence, "Dieses Hotel bietet kein Mittagessen an." - "The hotel does not serve lunch." So why not here?


Different contexts. Serve in the context of a hotel or an establishment in a general sense is a synonym for offer. As in:

The hotel does not offer lunch.
Das Hotel bietet kein Mittagessen.

But that's different from offering someone something directly, in this case. German has the distinction between bieten and an|bieten.


I found this article how to recognize the difference between anbieten and bieten. Hope it is helpfull:



Two sentences ago, Duo said anbieten means "to serve", and it does not accept, "We are serving him a coffee". In fact, Leo.org lists "to serve someone something" as a translation for "jemandem etwas anbieten."


If anbieten were reflexive, wouldn't this sentence then be, 'Wir bieten uns ihm einen Kaffee an?'


I'm unsure why this sentence is in the Reflexive Verbs lesson?


could use "a coffee" in English?


Yes. People from certain regions might say it sounds odd, but it's very common and widespread in general. "I'm going to go grab a coffee before work", for example.


Would the past version of this be 'Wir haben ihm einen Kaffee geboten? Just want to make sure Im getting this right..


Almost. It would be,

Wir haben ihm einen Kaffee angeboten.


Since it has shown up before; is there a reason that this can't be translated: "We offer him one coffee. (My guess is that you would then probably have written it "ein" without the declension?)


"We offer him one coffee" is indeed a valid translation of "Wir bieten ihm einen Kaffee an." In spoken German, you would place emphasis on "einen" to show that the quantity is important, causing "einen" to carry a meaning more like "one" than "a". Regardless of which meaning you are trying to convey, the declension is required and cannot be left out.


I got this correct but the english said "They will be back in an hour" even though it obviously should be "We are offering him a coffee".


Why not "We're serving him coffee"


The stress is wrong, Kaffee is short and the stress is on the first syllable


Why not "one coffee"?


From this site: https://german.yabla.com/lesson-Bieten-versus-Anbieten-522

"There is, however, a rule of thumb that can help you remember the main difference between the two: anbieten is the specific process or act of making an offer, whereas bieten is a general state or condition, that is, a standing offer or a feature."


What is the "an" at the end of the sentence: Wir bieten ihm einen kaffee an ?


The "an" is the prefix part of "anbieten" which is a seperable verb and German moves this prefix part to the end of the sentence.


Danke. Das ist hilfreich.


Is it equally correct to say, "Wir bieten ihm Kaffee an"? In English it sounds odd to my ear to hear "... offer him A coffee." Waiters in the US offer you "coffee", not "a coffee". What about other beverages? Would it also be "Wir bieten ihm ein Wasser/Tee an" und "eine Milch"?

In Germany, is it more common to hear the cashier at McDonald's ask if you want "Kaffee", or "einen Kaffee"?

If someone comes to my house and I bring out a plate of cookies, I ask "Would you like a cookie?" even though I mean they are welcome to take as many as they want. What would you most likely hear in Germany?

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