German Lessons


German Expressions of Frequency

In addition to adverbs of indefinite frequency, such as oft or häufig, and adverbs of definite frequency, such as täglich or morgens, there are also expressions for talking about how often something occurs. In English, we often say that something happens "once a month" or "every other week." How do we express this in German? 


You likely know the phrase jeden Tag, or "every day." But do you know how to say "every other day"?


Dazu gehört auch, dass den Jungvögeln jeden zweiten Tag ein Tisch mit Knochen gedeckt wird.

This also means that every other day, a table is set with bones for the young birds.

Caption 29, Die letzten Paradiese - Die Schönheit der Alpen 1

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You can say jede zweite Woche for "every other week," but generally something happening at particular intervals will be expressed with alle and not jede zweite. Take a look:


Die Bergbahn fährt alle zwanzig Minuten hoch zum Königstuhl

The mountain railway goes up to the Königstuhl every twenty minutes

und alle zehn Minuten zurück runter in die Innenstadt.

and back down to the city center every ten minutes.

Captions 12-13, Jenny zeigt uns - Das Heidelberger Schloss

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Bei warmen Temperaturen gebären sie

In warm temperatures, they give birth to

alle acht bis zehn Tage dreißig bis vierzig Jungtiere.

thirty to forty young every eight to ten days.

Caption 14, Abenteuer Nordsee - Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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Wir finden hier alle vier Wochen eine Schildkröte.

We find a turtle here every four weeks.

Caption 42, Ausgrabungen - Auf den Spuren der Dinosaurier

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Das Projekt „Lunch Beat“ besteht in Hamburg seit dem vergangenen Sommer

The project "Lunch Beat" has existed in Hamburg since last summer

und findet in unregelmäßigen Abständen alle zwei bis drei Monate statt.

and takes place at irregular intervals every two to three months.

Captions 9-10, Lunch Beat - Tanzen in der Mittagspause

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To more specifically state that something happens "once" in a particular time interval, we can use the word einmal in + dative.


Das tue ich für gewöhnlich einmal in der Woche.

I typically do it once a week.

Caption 2, Wäsche waschen - mit Eva

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Einmal in der Woche trainiert Astrid Bittner-Utsch Frauen und Männer,

Once a week, Astrid Bittner-Utsch trains women and men

die ihrem Traumberuf ein Stück näher kommen wollen.

who want to get a little bit closer to their dream profession.

Captions 9-10, Auf dem Laufsteg - Modelcollege in Wiesbaden

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Leon, wieso? -Einmal im Jahr gibt es diese Mathe-Olympiade.

Leon, why? -Once a year, the Math Olympics take place.

Caption 20, Die Pfefferkörner - Gerüchteküche

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Further Learning
Based on what you see above, how do you express "once a month"? What about "every five days" or "every five years"? Can you find another way to say "every other day"? For more practice, you can go to Yabla German to look for more examples, or translate some basic sentences about your current routine into German. 

Auch, sogar, selbst: The Adverb "Even" in German

Auch im zweiten Drittel ließen die Löwen nicht locker.

Even in the second third of the game, the Löwen did not relax.

Caption 25, Eishockey - Löwen Frankfurt - EC Bad Nauheim

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You are likely used to auch meaning "also," but did you know that it can mean "even" as well? There are three words for the adverb "even" that are essentially interchangeable in German: auch, selbst, and sogar. They are often combined with wenn. Below we see that auch wenn means "even if" and sometimes "even though":


Auch wenn es mir mein Herz zerreißt

Even if it tears my heart up

Caption 5, Beatrice Egli - Irgendwann

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Doch auch wenn im Film viel Basketball gespielt wird:

But even though a lot of basketball is played in the movie,

Ein Sportfilm soll es dennoch nicht werden.

it is not intended to be a sports movie.

Captions 45-46, Dreharbeiten - zum Film „Playoff“

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In a previous lesson, we wrote about how the word selbst is used in the context of a person having made or done something themselves. However, in certain contexts, it is placed in front of the subject and means "even" as well:


Doch selbst bei Temperaturen wie im Kühlschrank...

But even at temperatures like in the refrigerator...

Caption 31, Alpenseen - Kühle Schönheiten

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Selbst ausgewachsen werden diese Tintenfische gerade mal zwanzig Zentimeter groß.

Even fully grown, these squid will only become twenty centimeters long.

Caption 28, Abenteuer Nordsee - Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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The dual meaning of selbst means that it cannot be used in every sentence, because it would cause confusion. You have likely heard sogar more often:


In Berlin treten die besten von ihnen sogar in Wettkämpfen gegeneinander an.

In Berlin, the best of them even enter into competitions against one another.

Caption 34, Currywurst - Berlins schärfstes Stück

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Er kann sogar den Airbus A dreihundertachtzig drücken und ziehen.

It can even push and pull an Airbus A three hundred eighty.

Caption 18, Frankfurter Flughafen - Flugzeugschlepper

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Further Learning
For further examples, just do a simple search, as there are many on Yabla German!
See if you can also find examples of noch, which can also be translated as "even" when it augments an adjective. 

Using wohl

This week, we'll take a look at the word wohl and its different usages in German. 


The word wohl by itself is used to create a tone of assumption or affirmation in a sentence, meaning "indeed," "likely," "probably," or "apparently." Understanding the exact level of certainty or affirmation involved will require looking at the verb tenses and other context clues in the sentence. 


Und das wird wohl auch erst mal so bleiben.

And it will first also likely stay like that.

Caption 19, Andreas Bourani - Startet durch

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Am Ende hat es dann doch wohl gepasst.

In the end it did indeed, fit well.

Caption 65, Clueso - ist endlich erwachsen

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Relatedly, the phrase jawohl means "yes, indeed":


Ich finde, hier ist es besser. Jawohl!

I think it's better here. Indeed!


At the same time, the word wohl also refers to well-being. We often see the verb sich wohlfühlen, which means to feel "well," "happy," or "comfortable." 


Die Rote Meerbarbe ... fühlt sich seitdem in der Nordsee wohl.

The red mullet ... since then, has felt just fine in the North Sea.

Captions 22-23, Abenteuer Nordsee - Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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Alle fühlen sich hier wohl, ist aber nicht ganz meine Musik.

Everyone's feeling comfortable here, but it's not really my type of music.

Caption 38, Deutsche Sporthilfe - Ball des Sports

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As you may have guessed, this meaning of wohl relates to the phrase zum Wohl, which is often used in toasts. 


Wenn wir anstoßen, sagen wir „zum Wohl“ oder einfach nur „prost“.

When we clink glasses, we say "to health!" or simply just "cheers!"

Caption 18, Tisch decken - mit Eva

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Further Learning
Look for more examples with the word wohl on Yabla German and see if you can integrate it into a sentence the next time you converse or write sentences in German. What do you think the words das Wohlfühlhotel, der Wohlfühleffekt, die Wohlfühloase, der Wohlfühlort or der Wohlfühlanzug might mean?

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