No matter how good your English (or German) is, there are some things that trip up (confuse) even the best non-native speaker. This week we’re bringing a bit of fun to the Bespeaking blog… can you translate these everyday English phrases correctly*? Try out this English phrases quiz, and see how many you get right!

*brought to you by “The List.” If you know, you know!

Mir geht’s gut/ Es geht mir gut

a) Me goes it good / It goes me good.

b) I’m good.

c) I’m doing fine / I’m alright / I’m well.

d) B and C

If someone asks how you’re doing, there are a few ways to say that you’re doing well, but you can’t say good. Good is an adjective while well is an adverb! No doubt (something is certain) you’ll still hear native speakers saying good, even though it’s technically wrong, but it doesn’t make it okay. (Don’t correct them, though…they hate that!)

Answer: C

Ist hier noch frei?

a) Is anyone sitting here?

b) Is this seat taken?

c) Is here still free?

d) A and B

There are some options with this one.  If you’re looking for a free spot on a train, use either one of these. In English, we assume (think right away) that someone could be sitting there or that the seat is already occupied, not that the seat could be free. Just a different way of approaching the same situation.

Answer: D

Komm gut nach Hause!

a) Get home safely.

b) Drive /walk / bike safely.

c) Come good home.

d) A and B

I hear C pretty often from my German friends, but the correct way to say it is with answer A and B. Just change the verb to fit the situation.

Answer: D

Schön, dass Du da bist!

a) Nice that you’re here.

b) I’m glad you’re here.

c) It’s nice, that you here are.

d) B and C

While it might be nice that they’re there, the best way to translate this everyday English phrase is that you’re glad someone is there (well, you would say “here” when you are there, not “there” if you are there…I hope that makes sense!)

Answer: B

Achtung!

a) Attention!

b) Careful!

c) Watch out!

d) B and C

This is one I hear a lot, too. While yes, achtung literally means attention, if someone’s about to walk into the street when a car is coming (and you have time to be grammatically correct), the best way to translate it is by saying “Careful!” or “Watch out!”

Answer: D

Was ist los?

a) What’s wrong?

b) What’s going on?

c) What’s the matter?

d) A and C

“Was ist los mit Dir mein Schatz? Aha.” I think of Trio’s Da Da Da every time I hear this phrase! Haha!

You would only say this it if you were worried about someone. It’s not a general salutation (greeting).

Answer: D

Schönen Feierabend!

a) Nice party evening!

b) Have a good free evening!

c) Have a good evening!

d) Enjoy your after work time!

If you want to wish someone a schönen Feierabend, go with answer C for the best translation. We just don’t usually mention the aspect of the work being over and now the time being “free”, in English. Have a good night, evening, or afternoon all works for us. Easy, right?

Answer: C

Danke im Voraus.

a) Thanks in advance.

b) Thanks ahead of time.

c) Thanks in the future.

d) A and B

If you want to thank someone for something they might do in the future, answer A is your best option. We tend (usually) to use this in business when asking for someone to do something and we want to thank them before they’ve actually done it. Be careful, though, as it can sound a little pushy (just like it can in German, but that directness is usually expected and accepted).

Answer: A

Ich bin unterwegs.

a) I am underway.

b) (I’m) on the way.

c) I’m coming!

d) A and B

When telling someone that you’re on your way to them, the best way to do so is by saying translation B. You’ll then be on your way to true fluency!

Answer: B

Gute Besserung!

a) Good bettering!

b) Good health!

c) Feel better!

d) Get well soon!

If someone’s feeling under the weather, use phrase C, then tell them to get some rest, go to bed, eat some chicken soup…whatever motherly/fatherly advice seems appropriate (right).

Answer: C

How many did you get right in our English phrases quiz? Share your results with us in the comments below and look for everyday English phrases quiz, Part Two next week! In the meantime, check out some past blogs about learning English, some fun homophones, or some other great English idioms.


Did you like this blog? Share it with others! Let us know what YOU think!

Check out these other popular blogs: Taboo words in English7 Synonyms for Being Drunk7 American English Slang Words, or these Sports Idioms used in English!

Erin Duffin lives in Hamburg, is an English teacher, blogger, and yoga instructor. She thinks that taking an English phrases quiz is a great way to improve your language skills!

Looking for more phrases, ways to use English every day, or get the conversation started? Sign up for our newsletter or check out the website!