German Lessons


Promises, Secrets, and Lies

Quite a few words, phrases, and expressions related to promises, secrets, and lies have popped up in some of Yabla's recent video series. Let's look at some of these, as they can be a useful and fun addition to your vocabulary.


The basic word for a promise is das Versprechen, which stems from the verb versprechen. However, schwören can be used like "to swear" in English to indicate a promise as well:


Er erinnerte sie daran, dass man halten muss, was man verspricht.

He reminded her that you must keep what you have promised.

Caption 66, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Der Froschkönig

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Wir haben Flügel, schwören uns ewige Treue

We have wings, we swear eternal loyalty to each other

Caption 18, Andreas Bourani - Auf uns

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You may know the noun for "secret" but do you know the adjective for "top secret"?


Wie meinst du das? -Ich kenne dein Geheimnis! -Was?

How do you mean that? -I know your secret! -What?

Caption 37, Das Lügenbüro - Die Bewerbung

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Das streng geheime Papier, das in Olbrichts Panzerschrank lagert...

The top secret paper stored in Olbricht's safe...

Caption 4, Die Stunde der Offiziere - Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944

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The expression unter vier Augen means "in private" or "between the two of us":


Ich halte es sowieso für besser, mit Prinz Dietbert unter vier Augen zu sprechen.

I think it is better anyway to speak with Prince Dietbert under four eyes [in private].

Caption 33, Küss mich, Frosch - Leb wohl, kleiner Prinz

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You may know the noun die Lüge and the verb lügen, but there is also anlügen, which refers to lying to directly to a person. 


Und wir sind umgezogen, ich hab dich angelogen

And we moved, I lied to you

Caption 2, AnnenMayKantereit - Oft gefragt

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Further Learning
Practice conjugating the verbs schwören, versprechen, and lügen/anlügen. You can find more examples of these verbs used in real life situations on Yabla German

Ein Mann will nach oben

There are a number of ways to indicate that something is going "up" in German, but today let's take a look at the prepositional phrase nach oben, which can be translated into English in a number of ways, depending on the context. Let's take a look at some different interpretations of the phrase in German Yabla videos.



Vielleicht halten Sie's grad so ein bisschen nach oben.

Maybe you could hold it up a little bit.

Caption 29, Fußball - Torwandschießen - Part 2

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... dass ein unsichtbarer Faden am Kopf den ganzen Körper nach oben zieht.

... that an invisible thread on top of your head is pulling the whole body upward.

Caption 15, Flirt-Coach-Serie - Die richtige Körpersprache

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Das war ein langer Weg nach oben.

It was a long way to the top.

Caption 3, Preisverleihung - Bestes Magazin

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Nach oben sind dem Preis keine Grenzen gesetzt.

No price limits are set at the top.

Caption 13, Highend-Fashion aus dem Kloster - Ein Mönch als Maßschneider

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Als der Frosch nach oben in ihr Bett getragen werden wollte ...

When the Frog wanted to be carried upstairs to her bed ...

Caption 57, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Der Froschkönig

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In the examples above, you see nach oben used to mean "up," "upward," "to the top," "at the top," and "upstairs." Note that when you say in German that you are going upstairs, it is more common to simply say you are going nach oben than to use the more literal die Treppe hinaufgehen.


The prepositional phrase nach oben also has a number of idiomatic usages: 


Das heißt natürlich nicht, dass hier alle Leute die Nase nach oben tragen.

Of course, that doesn't mean that all the people here put their noses up [idiom, are conceited].

Caption 5, Rhein-Main-TV - Badesee Rodgau

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Die Nase nach oben tragen means "to be conceited."


Es gibt noch Potential nach oben.

There is still upward potential [room for improvement].

Caption 21, Rhein-Main-TV - Green-Region-Konferenz zur Nachhaltigkeit

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And here, Potential nach oben means there is room for improvement.


Ein Mann will nach oben is the title of a novel by Hans Fallada, whose final novel from 1947, Jeder stirbt für sich allein (English title: "Every Man Dies Alone"), became a surprise bestseller in its English translation in 2009. Ein Mann will nach oben was made into a 13-part TV film in 1978.


Ein Mann will nach oben.

A man wants to move up.

Caption 1, Mathieu Carriere - Ein Mann will nach oben

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Further Learning
Do a search for nach oben on Yabla German and see some more examples of how this phrase is used in German in a real world context! 

Tying the Knot

Summer is soon approaching, and with the arrival of June, the wedding season (die Hochzeitsaison) will be in full swing. So whether it's a friend's wedding or maybe even your own, beware: you're going to need to expand your vocabulary if there is any German involved!


No one is going to get married if a marriage proposal doesn't happen first:


Der Fluch ist gebrochen! Ich möchte dich heiraten.

The curse is broken! I want to marry you.

Die Prinzessin nahm seinen Heiratsantrag sofort an.

The Princess accepted his marriage proposal immediately.

Captions 86-88, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Der Froschkönig

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Nor would a groom (der Bräutigam) be complete without a bride, at least in a traditional wedding!


So sieht eine Massai-Braut aus.

That is what a Masai bride looks like.

Caption 50, Rat für nachhaltige Entwicklung - Mode gegen Armut

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And after the wedding comes the feast:


Es war gleichzeitig auch das Hochzeitsmahl für das junge Paar.

It was at the same time the wedding feast for the young couple.

Caption 91, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Dornröschen

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Further Learning
Look up the meaning of any marriage-related words on this list that you may not be familiar with, and see if you can find some of them used in context on Yabla:


das Bankett, das Hochzeitskleid, die Brautjungfer, der Brautschleier, das Ehepaar, der Ehering, das Eheversprechen, der Festsaal, die Feier, der Fotograf, der Gast, das Geschenk, die Heirat, die Heiratsurkunde, die Hochzeit, der Hochzeitsempfang, der Hochzeitskuchen, der Hochzeitsmarsch, die Hochzeitsreise, die Kirche, die Kirchglocken, das Konfetti, die Liebe, der Priester, die Rede, das Ringkissen, der Schmuck, die Trauung, der Trauzeuge, die Verbindung, der Zeuge


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Ich Liebe Dich (In Other Words)

Perhaps you are interested in German because you fell in love, or maybe there is that "special someone" in German class you have a bit of a crush on. We all know the basic Ich liebe dich — the Beatles even did a version of “She Loves You” in German (“Sie liebt dich”) — but how about some other ways to express your attraction for somebody?


It might not be a great idea to say you love somebody too soon, so to play it safe, let’s just say you like him or her, in which case the verb mögen is perfect:


Oh nein, niemand mag mich!

Oh no, no one likes me!

Caption 43, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Das hässliche Entlein

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Another way of expressing that you like someone is to say you “have them gladly” (gern haben) or care for them (lieb haben):


Wenn man jemanden richtig gern und lieb hat...

If you really are really fond of someone and love them...

Caption 42, Valentinstag - in Karlsruhe

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Another possibility is du gefällst mir, or if you want to make it even stronger, du gefällst mir sehr. Then the next step is falling in love, sich verlieben:


Der Prinz hatte sich verliebt.

The prince had fallen in love.

Caption 9, Märchenstunde - Das Aschenputtel

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When you are ready to make the leap, however, there is always the classic standby:


John, ich liebe dich. -Adrianne, ich liebe dich!

John, I love you. -Adrianne, I love you!

Captions 13-14, Alexander Hauff - Showreel

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Followed ideally by the grand finale:


Ich möchte dich heiraten.

I want to marry you.

Caption 86, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Der Froschkönig

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Further Learning:

How do I love thee? Rather than getting into counting the ways and all the mathematics involved, why not try getting a taste of German love poems from the 16th to the 20th centuries, including an exclusive set from German women poets? Make a vocabulary list of words you are unfamiliar with, and then search on Yabla to find the ways the words are used in other contexts.


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