German Lessons


Standing in Line

We all hate it, but it's simply a part of life: Waiting in line. 

In German, the verb for "to wait" is, of course, warten:


Wenn die denkt, ich warte hier noch lange, dann hat sie sich aber getäuscht.

If she thinks I'm going to wait here a long time, then she's wrong.

Caption 18, Weihnachtsmann gesucht: Bist du verliebt?

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But when we talk about waiting in line, there are a few other applicable phrases. The first one is (für etwas) anstehen, or "to stand in line (for something)."


Beim Trampolin gibt es eine ganz schön lange Schlange zum Anstehen.

At the trampoline there is quite a long line that you have to stand in.

Caption 16, Das Fest: Open-Air in Karlsruhe

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As you can see, the word for "line" or "queue" in this sense is die Schlange, which is also the word for "snake" in German. You will also hear die Warteschlange.


Und wie ihr sehen könnt, ist dort schon eine Schlange.

And as you can see, there is already a line there.

Caption 18, Eva zeigt uns: Currywurst

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The expression Schlange stehen also means "to stand in line" or "to queue."


Die stehen richtig Schlange. Was für ein Gedränge!

They are really standing in line. What a crowd!

Caption 41, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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If you are ever trying to get in line and are uncertain about whether someone is waiting or not, you can politely ask Stehen Sie an? or Stehen Sie in der Schlange? Hopefully, it won't be long before you hear one of these magical phrases:


Äh, der Nächste, bitte. 

Uh, next, please. 

Caption 37, Mensch Markus: Der Lottogewinner

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Und was darf's sein?

And what would you like?

Caption 48, Großstadtrevier: St. Pauli rettet HSV

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Los, jetzt bist du dran.

Go ahead, now it's your turn.

Caption 45, Die Pfefferkörner: Alles auf Anfang

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Was hättest du denn gern?

So what would you like?

Caption 5, Nicos Weg: Ich bin neu hier

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You may also hear Bekommen Sie schon?, which is a bit like "Have you already been helped/served?" or just a simple Bitteschön! 


Further Learning
Visualize yourself trying to get in line at a bank, bakery, or doctor's office. How would you ask where the line begins, who is waiting, and who is already being helped? You can also go on German Yabla and see the ways the phrases are being used by native German speakers.

Expressing "Anyway" in German

There are several ways to express "anyway" in German, depending on the function that the word is supposed to have. There are four main words to know, but you'd be surprised at which words can take on a similar meaning. 

Let's start with examples in which "anyway" has a confirming function, which can be expressed with ehsowieso, or ohnehin. In the following sentences, there is a match in what is going on, or something may already be the case.



Ist das aber kalt! und schwimmen kann ich sowieso nicht.

Is that ever cold! and I can't swim anyway.

Captions 35-36, Piggeldy und Frederick - Der Himmel

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Ich hab ja auch eh nichts mehr zu verlieren.

I have nothing left to lose anyway.

Caption 11, Das Lügenbüro - Die Bewerbung

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...aber da ich ohnehin lieber ein Marmeladenbrot essen möchte,

...but since I'd rather have a slice of bread with marmalade anyway,

werd' ich jetzt rübergehen zum Brot und mir eine Scheibe Brot schneiden. 

I am going go over to the bread and cut myself a slice of bread. 

Captions 5-6, Jenny beim Frühstück - Teil 2

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However, eh and sowieso can't always be used. For sentences in which "anyway" has a contradictory meaning (and could potentially be replaced with "despite that" or "nevertheless"), trotzdem is the word you're looking for. 


Die Hühner legten aber trotzdem weiter Eier

But the chickens kept laying eggs anyway,

und sogar mehr als sonst.

and even more than usual.

Captions 17-18, Cettina und Sabine - Ostern

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Hätte ich voll Angst vor, aber würde ich trotzdem machen.

I would be totally afraid of it, but I would do it anyway.

Caption 51, Free Birds - Interview mit Nora Tschirner & Rick Kavanian

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There is then also a conversational "anyway," which various words in German provide in particular contexts. As you will notice right away, these words are not always or even usually translated as "anyway," but the equivalent phrase uses it to express the intended meaning. 


Gut. Und wo befindet sich Bayern überhaupt?

Good. And where is Bavaria located anyway?

Caption 10, Bundesländer und ihre Rezepte - Bayern

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Wer braucht schon Hollywood?

Who needs Hollywood anyway?

Caption 1, Berlinale - Schauspieler Jürgen Vogel

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Wie alt ist er denn?

How old is he anyway?

Caption 8, Ein Herz für Tiere - Tierschutzhof und Border Collie

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Na, jedenfalls, arbeiten wir mit sechs Kameras.

Well, anyway, we'll be working with six cameras.

Caption 34, Otto Waalkes - Hier kommt Otto!

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Na ja, wie auch immer, also, wie Sie das mit der Kerze hingekriegt haben, das war... fantastisch.

Well, anyway, so, however you did that with the candle, that was... fantastic.

Caption 13, Weihnachtsmann gesucht - Bist du verliebt?

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Further Learning
You can find many examples of sowieso, eh, ohnehin, and trotzdem being used on Yabla German. When you see one, consider why the chosen word is being used. When you find yourself using the word "anyway," you can consider which German word would fit the particular meaning you are conveying.

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