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Der Familienstand

The German noun der Familienstand may be translated as "family status," "marital status," or "civil status." The different categories parallel the English usages of "single," "married," "divorced," and "widowed." You may have to state your status when you fill out job applications or write your work resumé, but there are also some options available when doing so, as we'll discuss below.


Ich bin 36 Jahre alt und ledig.

I am 36 years old and single.

Caption 32, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

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A person who is single is unverheiratet (unmarried). And while ledig translates as "single," it's not to be confused with the adjective/adverb einzeln, which may be translated as "singly" or "individually."



Annemarie ist verheiratet und hat zwei Kinder.

Annemarie is married and has two children.

Caption 24, Deutsch mit Eylin: Die Familie

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For the difference between verheiratet (sein) and geheiratet (haben), see this Yabla lesson.


Ulla lebt in Frankfurt und ist von ihrem Mann geschieden.

Ulla lives in Frankfurt and is divorced from her husband.

Captions 38-39, Deutsch mit Eylin: Die Familie

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The process of divorce is called die Scheidung (the divorce).


Der verwitwete Mann zog in ein Altersheim.
The widowed man moved into a nursing home.


A widow is called eine Witwe, and a widower ein Witwer.


If you happen to be divorced (geschieden) or widowed (verwitwet), it's perfectly permissible to write on a German job application or resumé that you are single (ledig). For official governmental documents, however, it's best to write geschieden or verwitwet, as your precise status may have legal implications.


To recapitulate:


Der Familienstand besagt, ob man ledig, verheiratet, geschieden oder verwitwet ist.

Your marital status indicates whether you are single, married, divorced, or widowed.

Captions 54-55, Deutsch mit Eylin: Personalien und Namen

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Further Learning
Read this page about Familienstand and job applications in German. You can also go to Yabla German and search for the above terms that you have learned to see them used in a variety of different contexts.

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