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Talking about the Future in German

Like in English, there is more than one way to construct sentences about the future in German. This week, we’ll take a look at the two options for this. 

Sometimes, you may notice that what at first glance looks like the present tense in German is translated with either the present continuous, a "going to" + infinitive construction, or the "will"-future in English. When you see this, it’s best to look at the whole sentence, where you will likely find clues that tell you that the action isn't actually occurring yet and will take place momentarily or in the near or distant future. Even though there are sentences that use the present tense with future meaning in English (an example would be "They arrive this evening"), it is much less common. Have a look at the following examples: 

 

Und jetzt gehen wir in die Werbung. 

And now we'll go to commercial. 

Caption 22, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte: Bayern

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Wenn es so weitergeht, dann können wir bald Schlitten fahren.

If it continues like this, we'll soon be able to go sledding.

Caption 28, Deutsch mit Eylin: Das Wetter

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Im Zoo waren wir gestern, heute gehen wir ins Schwimmbad.

We were at the zoo yesterday. Today we're going to the swimming pool.

Caption 14, Sabine erzählt Witze: Die Pinguine

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Heute lernen wir die Zahlen von eins bis tausend.

Today we're going to learn the numbers from one to a thousand.

Caption 5, Deutsch mit Eylin: Zahlen und die Grundrechenarten

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You may be thinking, "What about the verb werden?" Indeed, the construction werden + infinitive is also used to express something that has yet to happen, especially to emphasize the fact that it will happen in the future or express that it's still not 100% certain. 

 

Ich werde mir etwas zu essen und zu trinken aussuchen.

I'm going to choose something to eat and drink.

Caption 9, Abendessen: mit Marko

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Und keine Sorge, du wirst mich hier nie wieder sehen!

And don't worry, you'll never see me here again!

Caption 51, Heidi: Ladenverbot

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Sie wird sich Sorgen machen, wenn sie nichts von mir hört.

She will worry if she doesn't hear anything from me.

Caption 29, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Besuch

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Auf die Suppe werden wir jetzt noch die Croutons und die angebratenen Zwiebeln draufmachen.

Now we're going to add the croutons and the fried onions to the soup.

Caption 69, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte: Hessen

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Oh, ihr werdet in einer halben Stunde noch besser verstehen.

Oh, you will understand even better in half an hour.

Caption 19, Deutschkurs in Tübingen: Verben mit Akkusativ

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Hier werden sie Tieren begegnen, die sonst nirgendwo in der Deutschen Bucht leben.

Here they will encounter animals that live nowhere else in the German Bight.

Caption 20, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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Further Learning
You will find many similar examples on Yabla to learn from. Be sure to also check out our past lesson on werden, and review how it's used in its meaning "to become" or as part of the passive voice.

ansonsten, sonst, and umsonst

The adverbs ansonsten and sonst in German are most often found in contexts where they can be translated as "else" or "otherwise." You will find that they are generally quite interchangeable, though sonst has a wider range of applications and is used more often in casual conversation.

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Ich kann zwar ein wenig Eislaufen,

I can ice-skate a little bit,

aber ansonsten bin ich auch da eher Zuschauer

but otherwise I'm also more likely the viewer

vorm Fernseher ...

in front of the television...

Caption 46, Deutsche Sporthilfe - Ball des Sports

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Ansonsten finde ich Schauspielerei wahnsinnig interessant.

Otherwise, I find acting incredibly interesting.

Caption 56, Bürger Lars Dietrich - Schlecht Englisch kann ich gut

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Hier werden sie Tieren begegnen,

Here they will encounter animals

die sonst nirgendwo in der Deutschen Bucht leben.

that live nowhere else in the German Bight.

Caption 20, Abenteuer Nordsee - Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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Brauchst du sonst noch irgendwas? Duschgel oder so?

Do you need anything else? Shower gel or something?

Caption 33, Die Wohngemeinschaft - Besuch

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Und sonst so? Was geht heute Abend?

And otherwise? What's going on tonight?

Caption 22, AnnenMayKantereit - Es geht mir gut

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The last sentence is an example in which ansonsten would sound quite odd due to the colloquial nature of the sentence. 

More importantly, you don't want to confuse ansonsten and sonst with the adjective umsonst, which can mean "for free," "for nothing," or "without reason," depending on the context. Take a look: 

 

Dass Sie nicht denken, dass in Berlin dann alles umsonst ist.

So that you don't think that in Berlin then everything is free.

Caption 41, Jonathan Johnson - Nahöstliches Essen in Berlin

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Der Freizeitpark heißt nicht umsonst Europa-Park.

The theme park is not called Europa-Park without reason.

Caption 19, Deutsche Welle - Hin und weg - Best of Europa-Park!

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Du bist für mich geboren, ich lebe nicht umsonst

You were born for me, I'm not living for nothing

Caption 4, Marius Müller-Westernhagen - Weil Ich Dich Liebe

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Further Learning
Along with umsonst, you can learn about other adjectives that are used to describe how expensive or cheap something is in this previous newsletter. There are many more examples of ansonsten and sonst used in sentences on Yabla German — just do a search on the homepage!

Nuances of wohnen and leben

In German, two verbs can be translated as "to live." Generally, students of German are taught that wohnen relates to more temporary living situations, and leben to more permanent living situations. This may seem highly subjective, and it is! Although there are sentences where only one option is correct, there are certainly sentences in which the speaker chooses a verb dependent on their perspective on the situation.

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For example, if we look at the following two sentences from the video
Berlin: Judith und die „Brezel Bar“,  we see that Judith uses both words to describe her living situation. 

 

Ich selbst wohne auch in Kreuzberg, hier um die Ecke.

I myself also live in Kreuzberg, here around the corner.

Caption 12, Berlin - Judith und die „Brezel Bar“

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Mein eigentlicher Beruf ist Buchhändlerin, aber seit ich in Berlin lebe, arbeite ich als Kellnerin und Barista in Cafés.

My actual occupation is book dealer, but since I've lived in Berlin, I've worked as a waitress and barista in cafés.

Captions 15-16, Berlin - Judith und die „Brezel Bar“

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We notice here that Judith talks about her apartment being in Kreuzberg with the verb wohnen and her life in Berlin with the verb leben. Wohnen is often used to talk about domesticity, such as inhabiting an apartment or a house. German philosopher Martin Heidegger is well-known for his text Bauen, Wohnen, Denken, which is translated as "Building, dwelling, thinking" in English. Ikea in Germany has for many years had the slogan Wohnst du noch oder lebst du schon? which highlights that occupying or sleeping in a space does not necessarily mean that you are really at home there. In German, the phrase Hast du dich eingelebt? means "Have you settled in?" also reflecting that leben has a deeper sense of permanence than simply dwelling or residing. 

 

In this sentence, Brigitta uses wohnen to express that she is staying with friends, which is obviously a temporary situation:

 

Vielen, vielen Dank, dass ich hier bei euch wohnen kann.

Many, many thanks for allowing me to stay here with you.

Caption 13, Die Wohngemeinschaft - Besuch - Part 2

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In this next sentence, it would be possible to say Ich wohne allein, but this would highlight the domestic aspect of living by oneself in an apartment or house, rather than describing a way of life. A person might also say Ich lebe gesund, for example.

 

Ich lebe allein, ich bin unabhängig und ich liebe meine Arbeit.

I live alone, I am independent and I love my work.

Caption 48, Malerei - Impressionistinnen

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And of course, not to be forgotten, leben is also the verb for "to be alive" itself!

 

Schneewittchen lebt, bei den sieben Zwergen im Wald.

Snow White is alive, with the seven dwarfs in the forest.

Caption 54, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Schneewittchen

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Further Learning
There are many examples of leben and wohnen on Yabla German. Think about your own life and which verb you would use to describe various places you have lived, or your current life and lifestyle. 

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