Unexpected false friends to keep an eye on when learning German PART 2

false friends
Source: Winter Foto erstellt von wayhomestudio - de.freepik.com

The list of German false friends goes on and on and on. Unfortunately, there is no easier way to distinguish false friends than looking them up in the dictionary word by word. Luckily, I am here to ease up that job by offering you the clarification of the most common false friends you’ll likely bump into. For the sake of fun, try to guess what these false friends mean before reading the explanation.   

Unexpected false friends to keep an eye on when learning German PART 2


Die Art is not even closely related to the production of creative works. When describing a creative activity in the German language, die Kunst is the appropriate term you are looking for. Die Art is used when using a certain classification method and means type or kind.   


Meinung and Meaning are spelled quite similarly, but they are, in fact, false friends. While the latter indicates the definition of a term, the first one stands for an opinion. You can find this word in expressions like Meine Meinung nach or Ich bin der Meinung which are one of many German phrases used to express an opinion.    


In the German education system, das Gymnasium is one of the three secondary schools that is attended by children from grade 5 to 12 which aims to prepare pupils for university. An equivalent to this school would be the British grammar school, for instance. The other two are called Realschule and Hauptschule, designed for pupils who’d rather get be trained for a specific job and vocational education, rather than go to university. So, no. Gymnasium does not refer to a room intended for exercising. The German gym word is simply Fitnessstudio.    


One of my most beloved false friends is der Rat. I have noticed more than once that new learners automatically link the word with the animal. In reality, der Rat is far from denoting a rodent, but rather it means advice. To avoid future misunderstandings, in case you come across the phrase einen Rat geben, no one is giving you a rat, they are offering you advice.   


The correct translation here is not rent. Die Rente refers to the amount of money retired people receive or simply, pension. The appropriate word to describe the monthly installment you pay for your living space is die Miete.    


You can say that the Gymnasium is in a way one of the three types of German high schools. After graduating from high school, many German students apply to a Hochschule, which in other words represents university or college. Thus, it’s sufficed to say that in the German language connotations related to education are different from those used in English.   


Also is a frighteningly misleading word, whose wrong interpretation can make you misapprehend the whole sentence. To illustrate:    

Ich finde die Bluse hübsch. Also kaufe ich sie.= I think the blouse is pretty. So, I’ll buy it.   

Also … ich gehe. Kommst du mit? = So …. I am leaving. Are you coming with me?   

When you look at these sentences, the translation would be so or therefore. Just like the English so, the German also has a different meaning in different contexts, but it certainly does not mean tooAuch is the word you are searching for or here.   

Warte! Ich komme auch. = Wait! I am coming too. 

Check out part 1 here.


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