Last week’s blog post was our most popular ever! Thanks for that! Here is Part Two of “The List” of English idioms you should know to help you translate your thoughts and understand what is being said to you. Good luck!

Check out these ten more common German everyday phrases in English. Can you get them all right?


a) Genuine?

b) Real?

c) Really?

d) B or C

While you can use echt in German to talk about the reality of something (for example, echtes Leder instead of Kunststoff), when echt is phrased as a question, the best is, “Really?”

Answer: C

Wie bitte?

a) Come again?

b) How please?

c) What? (said politely)

d) A and C

This is a good one to learn for when you start talking to native speakers, as they might speak too quickly for you to catch (understand) everything. Carry answer D in your back pocket (remember it) and you’ll be ready to ask people to repeat themselves like a pro.

Answer: D

Expert tip: By asking someone to repeat what they have said, even if you have understood them, it gives you a little time to think about how you want to respond!

“Geht es so?” “Ja, Geht so.”

a) How’s it going? It’s going.

b) Goes it so? Goes so.

c) Are you okay?

d) Would you like a bag?

This one still makes me laugh. If you’re in the area of Stuttgart, this question comes up when you are at the cashier making a purchase in a shop. If you didn’t put a shopping bag on the band or aren’t carrying one with you already, the staff member will ask you, “Geht es so?” What they are really asking is if you would like a bag or if you’ll take it with you without packing it.

Answer: D

Alles klar.

a) Everything clear.

b) Alright.

c) Ok.

d) B and C

Alles klar can be tricky to translate into English properly, as it has a few different meanings, but if you’re looking for a catch all (a phrase that can be used in many different situations) to use for alles klar, answer D is where you should look.

Answer: D

Das passt mir gut.

a) That goes me good.

b) That passes well for me.

c) That works for me.

d) That fits me well.

This phrase we use in English every day and is a necessary one to have, especially if you’re making plans. When you finally agree when and where to meet someone, or when scheduling a lesson, respond with answer C.

Answer: C

(Sehr) gerne!

a) Very gladly!

b) I’d love to!

c) Sure, of course!

d) B and C

You can use this in combination with question 5 above. If someone invites you for a coffee, for example, you can respond with answer B if it’s an invitation you’d like to accept. Also, if someone has asked you to do something for them (bring them a glass of water, or help them move a box), you can respond (answer) this way.

Answer: B

Wünsch Dir was!

a) Wish you something!

b) Wish you what!

c) Have a good one!

d) A and B

If you are from Stuttgart, you know this phrase!  This is another good English idiom you should know because we use it every day! In the States, it can be quite common to say this in stores or restaurants to cashiers or waiters, so make sure you have answer C on hand. “Take care” also works if you’re looking for something shorter.

Answer: C

Und selber?

a) And yourself?

b) And self?

c) And you?

d) A and C

Everyone likes talking about themselves, so why not give them the offer to do so? This way while they are talking, as with Wie bitte? from question 2, you have an opportunity (chance) to think about what you would like to say next to add to the conversation. Anyway, answer D is your best bet to ask someone how they are doing.

Answer: D

Mir ist warm/kalt.

a) Me is warm/cold.

b) I’m warm/cold.

c) Is it warm/cold in here?

d) None of the above.

Remind me to tell you sometime about my dad’s story asking a waiter in Munich if he was “feeling warm.” This definitely one of the top English idioms you should know, because you’ll use it all the time! If you want the right translation, go with answer B.

Answer: B

Expert Tip: learn the new phrase and don’t translate it directly from your language (because it normally means something completely different if you do!). We wrote a whole post about it here.

, oder?/, gell?/, nicht wahr?

a) (tag question)?

b) right?

c) no?

d) All of the above

I love this phrase in German because it’s so regional, innit? Just like in English! If you’re looking for confirmation (proof that something is right) that what you said was right with a bit of regional flare, go with answer D. They all work!

Answer: D

How did you do with these idioms you should know? Share how many you got right in the comments below, and don’t forget to take a look at last week’s edition! If you like what you’ve read, check out some past blogs like The Joys of German Directness and Is English vocabulary hard? and please share with others you think would like them, too!

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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 knows that these English idioms you should know will come in handy if you’re learning English!

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