Life is Too Short …

Life is Too Short …

Life is Too Short …

“Life’s too short to wake up with regrets. So love the people who treat you right, forgive the ones who don’t and believe that everything happens for a reason. If you get a chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it. Nobody said it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”
Dr. Seuss

My children were big fans of Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Seuss Geisel) and loved reading his comic book style books—like ‘The Cat in the Hat’ or ‘Green Eggs and Ham’—again and again.

You might like to read some of his works online. It’s amazing just how much wisdom is hidden within many of his quirky poems.

Would you like to finish this sentence?

“Life is too short to …”

What Are The Best Types of Questions to Ask?

What Are The Best Types of Questions to Ask?

What Are The Best Types of Questions to Ask?

Which type of questions do you think has the greatest impact on people?

1. Introductory questions (“How are you?”)
2. Mirror questions (“I’m fine. How are you?)
3. Full-switch questions (ones that change the topic entirely)
4. Follow-up questions (ones that solicit more information)

If you answered 4., you are correct!

Researchers found that follow-up questions are the most powerful ones. They show your conversation partner that you’re listening, that you care about what they’re saying, and that you want to know more.

So how does it work? Here’s an example:

You: “What do you like doing in your free time?”
Your conversation partner: “I love painting.”
You: “That’s amazing. How long have you been painting and what kind of paints do you use?” 

If I ask you, “What do you like doing in your free time?”, how would you respond?

 

How to Translate German Proverbs into English

How to Translate German Proverbs into English

How to Translate German Proverbs into English

You’ve got a German proverb you would like to translate into English—something like, “Aller guten Dinge sind drei“.

You know you can’t always translate word for word. So is there any English alternative?

Go to Wikiquote and see!

Yes, we’re in luck. There is: “All good things come in threes“.

If you have a favourite German proverb, why not go over to the site now and see whether there’s an English alternative?  And if you like, you can tell me about it.

A thank you to Susan Graul for telling me about the site!

Writing Dates

Writing Dates

Writing Dates

The way people write dates often confuses me, so I presume others will feel the same.

If you see a date written like this: 09/08/2021, what do you understand?

In Britain and in much of Europe we use the day/month/year format. So the above would mean 9 August 2021.

In the US, the month comes before the day, so it would mean 8 September 2021.

(To make matters worse, in Asia most countries use the year/month/day format!)

So instead of using numerals alone, I suggest you write out the month in words. That should avoid confusion.

And even if you still see it today, in modern writing we don’t use the abbreviations 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on. But they are still spoken!

So I’m writing this post on 22 May 2021, but it will probably be posted on 1 June 2021.

3 More Words Germans Think Are English

3 More Words Germans Think Are English

3 More Words Germans Think Are English

I’ve already spoken about six English words that have made their way into the German language, but take on a completely different meaning.

Today I’d like to look at three more: messie, showmaster and city.

A desk or a room might be ‘messy’. Yes, even a person might be ‘messy’. But someone who can’t help but collect things is a ‘hoarder‘—perhaps even a ‘compulsive hoarder‘.

Germans call the famous Dutch entertainer Rudi Carrell a ‘Showmaster’. In English that would be a ‘presenter‘ or a ‘TV host‘.

A German ‘Talkmaster’ is a ‘talk show host’ and a German ‘Quizmaster’ is the ‘host of a quiz show’.

I’ve often heard people say they’re going into the ‘City’, meaning they’re going into the central district. In English we have towns (like Heinsberg, Gummersbach, Goslar) and cities (like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg), and town and city ‘centres‘.

Yes, we native speakers of English who have been living in Germany for a long time will probably understand you (we might even be making the same mistakes!). But other native speakers might be confused.

The Biggest Mistake

The Biggest Mistake

The Biggest Mistake

The biggest mistake is to try avoiding making mistakes.

Does this sound strange to your ears?

Of course, we don’t like making mistakes and getting things wrong, do we?

However, nobody is perfect, and some mistakes are to be expected and are understandable.

Making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn and to grow.

If we never step out of our comfort zone and make mistakes, we’ll never learn new things.

It’s good to be reminded from time to time!