The Good, the (not) Bad, and the Ugly German words - Part 3

In part 1 and part 2 we looked at some of those lovely German words which are identical or almost identical to English words. Now, in part 3 we will look at those words which look identical but have a different meaning – our ‘false friends’.

False friends alphabet:

die Art

type

bald 

soon

der Chef

boss

die Dose

tin, can

eventuell

possibly

die Fabrik

factory

das Gift

poison

das Handy

mobile phone

irritieren

to confuse

die Jalousien 

Venetian blinds

die Konkurrenz

(business) competition

die List

trick

der Mist

dung, manure

die Notiz

note

ordinär

vulgar

die Pension

guest house

die Quote

proportion

die Rate

installment

der Smoking

dinner jacket

der Unternehmer

entrepeneur (not an undertaker)

vor

in front of/ before (not for)

der Wall

embankment

das Zimmer

room (not a Zimmer frame)

You can see, it could be embarassing if you used the wrong word. I remember a student telling me many years ago that he went to stay with a German family. When he arrived he gave them a little present and said “Hier ist ein Gift für Sie!” At the time he could not understand why his host looked so worried.

Do you have a favourite ‘false friend’? Did you ever use a wrong word? Please tell us.

 

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