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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Why do we "meet" a decision in German? Warum treffen wir eine Entscheidung auf Deutsch?

"Aber zuerst muss ich noch eine wichtige Entscheidung treffen." The literal translation is: But first I have to meet an important decision.

What? Do we MEET our decisions in German?

You probably already know the verb "treffen".

A look at Google Translate confirms the translation: you can meet your friends for a coffee; you can meet your colleagues for a beer after work; there are numerous other ways to meet someone.

But it makes no sense, given the definition of the word, to say "Ich treffe eine Einscheidung" "I meet a decision." Why is a decision "met" in German?

The German word "treffen" has a number of meanings, the translation "to meet" being only one of them. "Ich treffe meine Freunde, ich treffe meine Nachbarn zufällig auf der Straße!" I meet my friends, I meet my neighbours by chance in the street!

It can also mean "to make" or "to reach"like "eine Einigung erzielen" to reach an agreement".

Often different languages use different verbs to express the same idea. In Hebrew, for example, one does not say "make a decision" (in the literal translation), but "get/get a decision". This is also different from English.

Top tip: Memorise the phrase "eine Entscheidung treffen" for "make a decision". This can help you later to remember the different definitions or uses of "treffen".

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