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Spend vs. Spenden - Tricky False Friends in German and English

There are many false friends in German and English. "False friends" (or "false cognates") are pairs of words that are often similar in spelling but with a significantly different meaning. The last four parts dealt with "Gift" in German, the English also and its meaning in German, the English "bald" vs. the German "bald", and finally on the difference between “brand” vs ”Brand”. Today, we look at "spend" vs. "spenden".

Whereas the English word "to spend" can be used as "spending time (in German: Zeit verbringen) or spending money (Geld ausgeben), the German verb "spenden" means to donate. As you can imagine, many of my students have been very generous in the past.

E.g. Ich verbringe viel Zeit mit Unterrichten (I spend a lot of time teaching)

Ich gebe viel Geld für gute Lebensmittel aus (I spend a lot of money on good groceries)

Wir sollten mehr Geld für gute Zwecke spenden (We should donate more money to good causes)

All clear? Then read up about other confusing German words and the infamous German grammar. On our blog, you will find posts on many topics in German grammar that will help you to progress more quickly in German- from adjective endings in German, the four German cases, pronouns, prepositions to German syntax. We also teach you helpful German words and phrases for your next trip to Germany, list the ten most useful German verbs to get your German off the ground, give you tips on how to avoid the 5 most common grammatical mistakes in German, tell you how to translate English word busy into German, review of the language apps Duolingo, Memrise, Babbel, and Busuu, explain the difference between language levels A1, A2, B1, B2 etc., list the best online resources to learn German, give you an estimate of how long it takes to learn German, and we compare the most popular online dictionaries Linguee,, dict.leo and Collins. So check out our blog and let us know what you think. Find out more about our German lessons, small German classes, and new online German courses here.

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