Category Archives: german and english

Same words in German and English

Author: Jadranka Bokan

German is a difficult language, many would say. However, if you have a good motivation and prepare yourself properly for the learning process, you will benefit in every way. 

Before you start learning German, you should know that you already know some German words without actually being aware of it. We thank that to the fact that German and English are similar in many ways because they originate from one and the same language.

There are the same or very similar words in English and German. The beginning of the journey called Learning German should start with these words.

German and English are like siblings (Pixabay)

Hobby, Flip-flops, Baby, Taxi, T-Shirt, Tourist, Computer, E-Mail and Sweatshirt are the words which sound exactly the same both in German and English. Maus (mouse), Haus (house) and Foto (photo) sound the same both in English and German, but we are writing them, as you can see, slightly differently. On the other hand, we write Park, Reporter, Zoo, Ring, Ball, Name, Radio, Hotel, fair, information and Bus exactly the same in German and English, but we are pronouncing them slightly differently.

Telefon (telephone), Delfin (dolphin), Lampe (lamp) and Krokodil (crocodile) are very similar, they just defer slightly in writing and pronunciation. trainieren (to train) and studieren (to study) are also very similar words, while the German word Handy has a completely different meaning from the same English word and means cell phone/mobile phone.

Check out these free dictionaries where you can hear pronunciation by clicking on the speakers icon.

Learning foreign language is a journey (Pixabay)

Apart from the same words in German and English, there are other significant examples that English and German are similar. Just take a look at: Vater (father), Bruder (brother), Milch (milk), Freund (friend), Buch (book), Garten (garden).

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The connection between German and English is maybe not so obvious in Apfel (apple), tanzen (dance), denken (think), hoffen (to hope), helfen (to help), Herz (heart), Käse (cheese), zehn (ten), besser (better), essen (to eat), Wasser (water), Tochter (daughter). If you wish, you can find out in which way these words in German and English are related and see many other examples with detailed explanations of similarities between German and English.

Continue your learning journey and check out these basic rules of German pronunciation.

“False friends” in English and German

False friends are words which sound and look similar in German and English, but they have totally different meaning which can cause serious confusion. There are also some different usages of the same thing in these languages which can also lead to making some most mistakes. Here are some of them:

I am a teacher (with the indefinite article) = Ich bin / Lehrer (without the article)

Tina’s brother and Tinas Bruder (there’s no apostrophe in German)

“bekommen” (=to get) and “to become” (=werden)

“wer” (=who) and “where” (=wo?)

“das Gift” (=poison) and “gift” (=Geschenk)

“die Billion” (=million millions) and “billion” (=Milliarde)

“die Art” (=sort, kind, type) and “art” (=Kunst)

“der Strom” (=electricity) and “storm” (=Gewitter)

“weil” (=because) and “while” (=während)

“das Handy” (=mobile phone) and “handy” (=handlich)

“der Rock” (=skirt) and “rock” (=Rock Musik).

“der Student” (=someone who studies at the university) and “student” (=Schüler, Student)

“der Chef” (=boss) and “chef” (=Koch)

“fast” (=almost) and “fast” (=schnell)

“das Gymnasium” (=high school) and “gym” (=Sporthalle)

I was born “in 1979.” and Ich bin”(im Jahre) 1979″ (not: in 1979) geboren

“also” (=thus) and “also” (=auch): dieses Problem dauert seit 5 Jahren. Das ist also ein grosses problem; he teaches German and he also sings in a choir.

Some nouns have only the plural form in English, however, they are regular singular nouns in German: “die Hose ist…” (pants are…), “die Brille ist…” (glasses are…), “die Schere ist…” (scissors are…)


To find out which are the “true friends” in English and German, see below.

German – English similarities

Author Jadranka Bokan

German and English were earlier one and the same language before they became two separate languages. Since they were one and the same language back then, there are some similarities between them. Some of them are not that obvious, but after you hear the explanation what it’s all about, things become much clearer.

Here is how those similarities look like in detail:

German pf, ff and f sometimes change to p in English as in reif (ripe). Other examples: Pfeife (pipe), Apfel (apple), hoffen (hope), offen (open), Pfeffer (pepper), Pfennig (penny), helfen (help), Bischoff (bishop), Pflanze (plant), Griff (grip), Pfanne (pan), pflücken (pluck), Pflaster (plaster).

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German z, tz, s and ss sometimes change to t in English as in beißen (bite). The same applies to: Wasser (water), sitzen (sit), Fuß (foot), besser (better), Katze (cat), Kessel (kettle), Glitzer (glitter), Salz (salt), Herz (heart), Zinn (tin).

Another topic that also might be interesting for you: SAME words in English and German

German ch and ck sometimes change to k in English, such as in backen: to bake. Other examples: Buch (book), machen (make), Milch (milk), nackt (naked), wachen (wake), Storch (stork), Elch (elk), Koch (cook), brechen (break), Schneeflocken (snowflake).

German k sometimes stays k in English or changes to hard c or ch as in Käse (cheese). The same thing with: Kapitän (captain), Kammer (chamber), Keller (cellar), kommen (come), Karte (card), Karpfen (carp), Katakombe (catacomb), Kinn (chin), Kapelle (chapel).

German sch changes sometimes to ch or sh or s in English as in Kutsche (coach). Other examples: scharf (sharp), Scheck (cheque), scheu (shy), Schlamm (slime), Schwein (swine), Fisch (fish), Schimpanse (chimpanzee), schlau (sly), Schnee (snow), Busch (bush).

German z sometimes changes to a soft c in English as in zirca (circa). Same thing with: Zirkus (circus), produzieren (produce), Medizin (medicine), zylindrisch (cylindrical), Polizei (police), Zivilisation (civilisation), Spezifizierung (specification), sozial (social), tanzen (dance).

German d or t will sometimes change to th in English as in Dieb (thief). The same applies to: dann (then), Ding (thing), Durst (thirst), Tausend (thousand), baden (bath), denken (think), Wetter (weather), Bruder (brother), Feder (feather), denken (think).

German t may also change to d in English as in Tochter (daughter). Other examples: reiten (ride), Garten (garden), trinken (drink), tauchen (dunk), unter (under), Bett (bed), Diamant (diamond), Tropfen (drop), schattig (shady), hart (hard), Brot (bread), tief (deep).

Be cautious! Here goes to false friends in German and English

German b sometimes remains b in English or changes to f or v as in Biber (beaver). Same thing with: Kalb (calf), Weib (wife), Weber (weaver), halb (half), Rabe (raven), Fieber (fiver), Grab (grave), haben (have), eben (even), sieben (seven).

German -ig, -lich, -isch and -ität change sometimes to -(l)y, -al, -ic or -ful in English as in sonnig (sunny). Other examples: romantisch (romantic), mütterlich (motherly), musikalisch (musical), hoffentlich (hopefully), hungrig (hungry), Pfennig (penny), Qualität (quality), Spezialität (speciality), freundlich (friendly).

*The featured image (far above, at the top of the page) can be purchased here.