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5 Common Mistakes made by German Learners

Mistakes are a natural part of learning a language, in fact it is important to make mistakes so that you can learn from them. However, here are some common mistakes that we think you should take note of.

“Ich bin heiß.” and “Ich bin kalt.”

This is a very common mistake amongst learners. While “heiß” and “kalt” are the correct words for hot and cold, using them with “ich bin” means that you are a hot or cold person. If you want to say how you feel in the moment, you’d say:

Mir ist heiß.=I am feeling hot.

Mir ist kalt.=I am feeling cold.

Halb zwei

Beware! When Germans say “halb…” they mean one hour earlier than English speakers think. The Germans think of half to the hour not half past the hour. Therefore “halb zwei” is half to two which is half one.

Freund und Freundin

Both of these words can mean either a platonic or romantic relationship. If you use “mein/meine” (my) with “Freund/Freundin”, Germans may assume you are talking about your significant other. To avoid this if you want to say a friend, use the expressions “ein Freund von mir”~a friend of mine (m), “eine Freundin von mir”~a friend of mine (f), “mein bester Freund”~my best friend (m), “meine beste Freundin”~my best friend (f) or name them eg. “meine Freundin Grace”~my friend Grace.

Verb in the Second Position

In most simple sentences in German the verb will be in the second position. This means that if you start the sentence with a day etc. the verb will still come in the second position and the subject will then follow it.

Ich bin gut

When somebody asks you “Wie geht es dir?” please don’t say “Ich bin gut.”. This is wrong because as you can see from the question it involves a dative with the personal pronoun. Therefore you reply with “Mir geht’s gut.”


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