German Customs And Common Mistakes

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  • April 7, 2023
  • German Language
German Customs and Common Mistakes

German Customs And Common Mistakes

Germany is a wonderful country to live in, but one thing to notice here, is that there are lots of rules in 

German(just like the German language) and there are strong reasons behind these rules and laws: 

Why is it illegal to run out of fuel on the highway? 

Because of safety reasons, it is dangerous to stop your car on Highway(Autobahn) in case you run out of Fuel. 

Why are we not supposed to address the German policemen informally(with ‘du’)? 

One can be fined in such cases as it is considered to be a sign of showing disrespect towards them, or insulting them. 

Why can’t we have weird baby names in Germany? 

In Germany, you can’t name your Baby whatever you want, because there are certain things to keep in mind like the first name of the baby shouldn’t be gender Neutral. Other than that, the registrar has the right to refuse names which they think are inappropriate for kids. 

Why can’t you wash your own car in front of your House?

Due to environmental reasons. It is prohibited to prevent oil and soap getting into the water waste system. 

Why does beer have to be brewed according to beer purity 

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Beer purity Law(yep, that exists) from 1515 is still in effect in Germany. According to this law, a beer may contain only water, barley, hops and yeast. Looking to learn German in Pune? Look no further than SevenMentor’s top-rated German language training in Pune!

Having said all this, What about the other things that have no legal restrictions, but are a big cultural no-nos? 

Wishing someone in advance

– Who knew wishing someone in advance would be such a huge NO! But that’s the reality in Germany. It is considered as bad-luck. Don’t wish them in advance just because it’s a weekend and you won’t be meeting them on that day. 

Not maintaining eye contact while clinking glasses 

– Don’t raise your glasses if you are busy texting somebody or not even looking there. It’s believed in Germany that if you don’t make eye contact while clicking the glasses, it brings you seven years of bad luck. 

(*Instead of Cheers, in German we say, Prost!)

There are many such depending on the Area you live in. 

However, all these myths will be easier to understand with proper knowledge of German Culture and Knowledge. A few things to know about the German Language: 

  1. Unlike English, there is no present continuous tense in German. If you want to say,“I am eating an Apple” or “I eat an Apple”, in German, one tense will be used for both and you will have to say “Ich esse einen Apfel.” 
  2. Anybody who knows a little German already knows the types of articles and their importance in German.

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Most of the Grammatical rules are related to articles 

  1. Position of verbs in Sentences and Questions is quite important, and also a bit different than what we are used to in English. 
  2. In English, only the Proper nouns are capitalized. However, in German, all the nouns – Common, Proper, Collective etc. are capitalized. 
  3. German is a phonetic language. Meaning: German Words are almost always spelled the same way they sound(less spelling mistakes once you get the hang of it) 

The other differences in the Languages will be quite obvious, once you start

learning, however, here are a few common mistakes by beginners in A1: – In German, usually, as an answer to How are you(Wie geht es Ihnen)? We don’t literally translate “I am good” to “ich bin gut”, instead, the phrase “es geht mir gut” is used. – Difference between ‘Wo’ and ‘Wohin’ Questions 

Wo(where) is used for a place 

Wohin(where to) is used for 

movement from one place to another – Ich fahre in die Schweiz 

Most of the Country names in 

German have no Articles and we use ‘nach’ with them. But very few 

country names like ‘die Schweiz’,‘die

Türkei’ have a particular Article. In such cases – in+article is used. – Ich bin nach Berlin gefahren In German perfect tense, if there is a movement in a sentence(verbs like gehen, kommen etc), the verb ‘sein’ instead of ‘haben’ is used as a helping Verb. This can be really confusing, because in English, sentences in Perfect do not have this rule. 

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– Du hast recht 

If a person is right, say ‘Du hast recht’ 

If an answer/something is right, say ‘Es ist Richtig’ 

– Saying ‘Vielen Danke’ instead of ‘Vielen Dank’ is also a very common

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mistake(yes, the word for ‘thank you’ is ‘danke’, but with ‘vielen’ we just write ‘dank). 

– We don’t translate ‘everyday’ to “alle tag” we usually say ‘jeden Tag’ – Ind German, the word ‘also’ is used, but usually, it means ‘so’. The 

German word for also is ‘auch’. Also, präpositionen in German are a challenge for many, direct translation of prepositions from english can be disastrous.



Jahanvi Abhyankar

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