i think german logo

German False Friends: Beware of these words!

german false friends

Learning a new language is challenging, especially when you are also trying to get used to a new culture, traditions, and habits. When you are learning German there are some words that seem similar in English but have completely different meanings.

German and English: natural language friends

These words are called “false friends” and they can cause a lot of people problems because they come up so often in everyday speech. These false friends can be tricky because they look the same and have very similar meanings.

It is only by looking at the rest of the sentence or paragraph that you can see whether their meaning is different or not. As with any other word, it is important to always check the context and ensure that you understand before using these words as part of your vocabulary on a regular basis.

german cognates and false friends

German cognates and false friends

The German language contains a number of cognates (words that are pronounced the same but have different meanings) and false friends (words that sound similar but have different meanings) which can cause confusion for learners. Some words that appear to be cognates or false friends in fact have different meanings.

In addition, there are a number of difficulties that learners may encounter when learning German. These include: It is important to note that these are only a few of the many possible difficulties that learners may encounter while learning German.

As such, it is advised that you approach your German studies with a beginner’s mindset. In addition, if you are having difficulty understanding something, don’t be afraid to ask for help from other people who are studying the same material as you.

14 German false friends to watch for

  1. der Chef (boss) – chef (der Küchenchef)
    Heute war unser Chef gar nicht im Büro.
    (Today our boss wasn’t in the office.)
  2. der Rock (skirt) – rock (der Fels)
    Meine Tochter hat sich einen neuen Rock gekauft.
    (My daughter bought a new skirt for herself.)
  3. die Taste (key [piano/computer]) – taste (der Geschmack)
    Du musst diese Taste drücken.
    (You have to hit this key.)
  4. der Rat (advice, council) – rat (die Ratte)
    Ich brauche deinen Rat.
    (I need your advice.)
  5. die Wand (wall) – wand (der Zauberstab)
    Stell doch den Stuhl gegen die Wand.)
    (Go ahead and put the chair against the wall.)
  6. das Bad (bath) – bad (schlecht)
    ein Zimmer mit Bad
    (a room with bath)
  7.  Die Hochschule
    What it looks like: high school
    What it means: college/university
  8. Die Fabrik
    What it looks like: fabric
    What it means: factory
  9. Der See
    What it looks like: sea
    What it means: tranquil lake
  10. winken
    What it looks like: to wink
    What it means: to wave
  11. bekommen
    What it looks like: to become
    What it means: to receive/get
  12. Der Brand
    What it looks like: brand
    What it means: fire (n.)
  13. Der Mist
    What it looks like: mist
    What it means: rubbish; oh crap!
  14. die Rente (pension) – rent (die Miete)
    Mein Vater geht in Rente.
    (My dad’s retiring.)

Words with similar sounds but different meanings

There are some pairs of words that sound extremely similar but actually have completely different meanings. The following words are examples of this: Häuslich vs. Hässlich – Häuslich means cozy and Hässlich means ugly.

These words are easy to mix up, especially with a simple letter change. Kostbar vs. Kosten – Kostbar means valuable and Kosten means to cost. Mögen vs. Mogen – Mögen means to like and Mogen means to be able to. Nachbar vs. Nachricht – Nachbar means neighbor and Nachricht means message.

Verdienst vs. Verdenken – Verdienst means accomplishment and Verdenken means to misjudge. Wonne vs. Wunder – Wonne means delight and Wunder means wonder.

german false friends warning

Warning! false friends

It is beneficial to use cognates when learning a language that is as similar to English as German. But be wary of false friends to avoid making a bad impression.

Your German will sound much more fluent if you learn and remember what false friends are.

Related Posts

12 useful German music terms to know

Do you have trouble remembering the entire musical dictionary? Here is a comprehensive guide to German music terms and symbols. German music terms Learning German can be

German comprehensible input

If you have experienced a learning language block, you might want to find better techniques. Learn what comprehensible input is for German language. German comprehensible

How to speak German fluently

Do you want to know how to speak German fluently? Well then, keep reading! Tips to speak German fluently One of the biggest difficulties for

How to learn German fast?

Are you looking for ways to learn German? If so, you may want to learn on this blog how to learn German fast, easily, and

How to practice speaking German ‍

In this blog post, we will give you the most effective tips to practice speaking German. Effective tips to practice speaking German If you’ve been

5 easy ways to learn German free

You should be aware of the resources accessible for free German learning. Here are the easy ways to learn German for free. Here are the

How to focus on studying?

Are you struggling to learn German or learn a foreign language? Here are the best tips on how to focus on studying. How to focus

Best nootropics for verbal fluency

Looking for a new way to learn German fast? Here are the best nootropics for verbal fluency and what you need to know. Knowing the

How to learn languages

If you want to speak a foreign language, you might be wondering where you can get the best tips on how to learn languages. Read

The fastest way to learn German

Do you want to learn German fast? If so, there’s no time to waste. Fastest way to learn German There are many great ways to

Do language apps work?

Language apps may help you learn fast if you have the right resource. Make sure to choose the effective ones! Language apps for language learners

Best Apps to learn German

Learning a new language can seem like an overwhelming task at first. So here are the best apps to learn German that might help you.

Learning German with podcasts

Looking for some new techniques to learn German? Learning German with podcasts! Here are the best options for you. Learning German with podcasts: Top options

How to learn German?

How to learn German? There are various methods for learning a new language. You will learn various methods and techniques to become as fluent in

Learn German while you sleep

Do you want to learn German while you sleep? Do you think it is hard or impossible? Here are some tips that might help you.

The German Alphabet

Learn the German alphabet and make it the stepping stone to mastering the German language faster and easier. Read this article to learn more. The

News in Slow German alternatives‍

If you are currently learning German, this post is for you. We’ll give you the best News in Slow German alternatives. News in Slow German

The best Babbel German alternatives

In this blog post, you will find the best Babbel German alternatives. It will help you learn the language faster! Babbel German alternatives: our top

Rocket German Review

For the majority of English speakers, learning German is challenging. Here’s the Rocket German Review that might help you in your German language learning. Rocket

Fluent Forever review

Are you using different apps and programs in learning the German language? Here’s the perfect blog for you about the Fluent Forever review. Learn more.

LanguaTalk review

On the online learning platform LanguaTalk, you can study foreign languages at your convenience. Here’s the LanguaTalk review that may be useful for you. What

Babbel vs Duolingo: differences

Numerous individuals use software and apps to learn new languages. These days, two well-known online resources for language learning include Babbel and Duolingo. They both

Babbel German review

Do you want to know the Babbel German review covering each crucial feature? Many people turn to Babbel when they want to learn German. Because Babbel

The best German Crash Courses

Are you planning on moving to Germany soon? Perhaps you just want to expand your knowledge of different cultures. Whatever your reasons may be, taking

5 Incredible German courses online

Are you looking for an easier and more accessible way of learning German? In this post, I’ll share 5 incredible German courses online for learning

Basic German words for beginners

Do you want to learn German but aren’t sure where to start? You can start speaking German right away by learning and combining the basic

Basic German lessons for beginners

Basic German language lessons can help beginners. Learning with an instructor allows you to gain confidence in public speaking and improve your pronunciation. Let’s go

Learn German Online: 5 Wonderful Ways

Are you a German learner who is struggling to find effective ways to master the language? Learn German online and find wonderful ways to study

Beginner German Tips

If you’re just learning German, you’ll find some advice in this article. Learning German is challenging and hard. We’ll discuss the advantages of learning this

Why learn German?

Are you working with a German company? Or are you conversing with your friend in German? Whatever the reason is, you must know the reasons

Is German more complicated than English?

It might be challenging to learn a new language. It’s complexity depends on many factors. Is German more complicated than English? Is German more complicated

Is German Easy to Learn?

How great would it be to travel to Germany and interact with locals? Do you want to learn their language? Is German easy to learn?

Is German the most beautiful Language?

There is nothing more unique than the German language. Does this imply that German is the most beautiful language in the world? What makes German