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

Updated: Dec 28, 2023

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. 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)







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