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German fast vs. English fast - Tricky False Friends in German and English

The German adjective “fast“ and the English “fast” are so-called false friends (or false cognates) because even though they may look like twins their meanings have no connection whatsoever. The last eight entries in our blog series revealed that there is no relation between the German blenden and the English blend, the difference between become and bekommen, thesurprising meaning of a German Gift, English also and its meaning in German, the English "bald" vs. the German "bald", the difference between “brand” vs ”Brand”, showed that "spenden" in German is not what you might think it is, and explained why schmuck wouldn't be considered as an insult by a German native speaker. In this post, I will explain the difference in meaning between the two adjectives “fast”.

When German speakers say “fast”, they mean that they “almost” completed an action or task, whereas the English fast would be “schnell” in German.

Hast du die Aufgabe schon beendet? “Fast!”

(Did you complete the assignment? Almost!)

Bist du schon mit der Arbeit fertig? Nein, aber fast.

(Are you done with work? No, but almost)

Viele Männer mögen schnelle Autos

(Many men like fast cars)

Schnell, schnell bitte!Ich brauche Ihre Hilfe!

(Fast, fast please! I need your help!)

Are you interested to learn more about the German language? Then check out our German Language Blog ”Auf Deutsch, bitte!” We have blog posts on topics ranging from the most beautiful German words, when to use the ß, we explain the difference between besuchen and besichtigen and kennen vs. wissen, give you tips on how to avoid the most common mistakes in German and how to quickly improve your German, We also have posts suitable language learners more generally, such as a comparison between online dictionaries like Linguee,, dict.leo and Collins, and a review of the apps Duolingo, Memrise, Babbel, Busuu, and Quizlet. So check out our blog.

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