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Frame Elements

Frame Element descriptions (on hover):

The Ingestibles are the entities that are being consumed by the Ingestor.

Am Abend hat Ingestor Bärenhunger und frisst Ingestibles(large quantity? e.g. eine ganze Pizza - a whole pizza). In the evening has Ingestor bear-hunger(i.e. is hungry as a bear) and devours(“eat” for animals) Ingestibles.

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Examples
Grammar Notes
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Alternate Forms
See All Information
das Abendessen noun dinner

Details:

dinner, lit. 'evening meal'

This word is used like English "dinner," with one notable exception; phrases like "Abendessen essen" are avoided and can sound repetitious. Thus the phrase "zu Abend essen" can be used to talk about eating dinner.

Example Sentences:

  1. Das Abendessen war sehr gut.
  2. David und Lola hören Musik beim Abendessen.
  3. Zum Abendessen hatte Lola ein Steak und Kartoffelsalat.
  4. Nachdem sie zurück nach Hause gekommen sind, haben Lola und David zu Abend gegessen.
  1. Dinner was very good.
  2. David and Lola listen to music at dinner.
  3. For dinner Lola had a steak and potato salad.
  4. After they came back home, Lola and David ate dinner.

Grammar:

What’s “for” Breakfast?

The preposition “zu” is used to express that something was eaten for a particular meal (e.g. “for breakfast,” “for lunch,” “for dinner”). Because all the meal terms are the same gender (neuter), “zum” is appropriate for each (e.g. “zum Frühstück,” or “zum Abendessen”).

Eating Food: "Essen essen"

Talking about eating can be a little tricky in German. Because the word for “to eat” is so closely related to the words for "food," "lunch," and "dinner," it can sound redundant to use it with these words in a sentence (describing eating meals or eating ethnic foods).

Wir essen mexikanisch. *Wir essen mexikanisches Essen. (redundant)

Ihr esst zu Mittag. *Ihr esst Mittagessen. (redundant)

To avoid this, different expressions are used to talk about eating particular meals. Note, however, that because the word for breakfast is unrelated to "essen," the two can be used together, although there is a separate verb for "to breakfast." For ethnic foods, the adjective is used (without the word for "food," "Essen"). These alternate constructions are included in the lexical entries for the meal terms; to see how they are used, go to the word's description page and find the examples section.

to eat breakfastfrühstücken, Frühstück essen
to eat lunchzu Mittag essen
to eat dinnerzu Abend essen
to eat Indian foodindisch essen

What Happened "at" Dinner?

In the Eating and Drinking frame, the preposition "bei," is used for English "at." Typically, "bei" is used to talk about something that happened during a meal (e.g. "Beim Mittagessen haben wir viel gesprochen"). As above, the same contraction ("beim") is used with each meal term (e.g. "beim Frühstück").

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR hat INGESTIBLES zum Abendessen.
  2. INGESTOR isst zu Abend.
  1. INGESTOR has INGESTIBLES for dinner.
  2. INGESTOR eats dinner.

Details:

dinner, lit. 'evening meal'

This word is used like English "dinner," with one notable exception; phrases like "Abendessen essen" are avoided and can sound repetitious. Thus the phrase "zu Abend essen" can be used to talk about eating dinner.

Alternate Forms:

die Abendessen (pl.), zu Abend essen (to eat dinner)
das Essen noun food

Details:

food, meal

Used similarly to English "food." This lexical unit could play the role of Ingestibles, but is not necessarily used with the frame elements from Eating and Drinking.

Example Sentences:

1. Das Essen in Deutschland ist ausgezeichnet.

2. Das Essen schmeckt mir gut.

1. The food in Germany is outstanding.

2. The food tastes good to me.

Grammar:

Eating Food: "Essen essen"

Talking about eating can be a little tricky in German. Because the word for “to eat” is so closely related to the words for "food," "lunch," and "dinner," it can sound redundant to use it with these words in a sentence (describing eating meals or eating ethnic foods).

Wir essen mexikanisch. *Wir essen mexikanisches Essen. (redundant)

Ihr esst zu Mittag. *Ihr esst Mittagessen. (redundant)

To avoid this, different expressions are used to talk about eating particular meals. Note, however, that because the word for breakfast is unrelated to "essen," the two can be used together, although there is a separate verb for "to breakfast." For ethnic foods, the adjective is used (without the word for "food," "Essen"). These alternate constructions are included in the lexical entries for the meal terms; to see how they are used, go to the word's description page and find the examples section.

to eat breakfastfrühstücken, Frühstück essen
to eat lunchzu Mittag essen
to eat dinnerzu Abend essen
to eat Indian foodindisch essen

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst Essen.
  1. INGESTOR eats food.

Details:

food, meal

Used similarly to English "food." This lexical unit could play the role of Ingestibles, but is not necessarily used with the frame elements from Eating and Drinking.

Alternate Forms:

die Essen (pl.) (meals)
das Frühstück noun breakfast

Details:

breakfast, lit. 'early piece'

This word is used like English "breakfast." There is a related verb, "frühstücken" ("to breakfast"), which can be used interchangeably with the phrase "Frühstück essen" ("to eat breakfast").

Example Sentences:

  1. Das Frühstück war lecker.
  2. Die Amerikaner essen Eier und Speck zum Frühstück.
  3. Peter liest die Zeitung beim Frühstück.
  4. Viele Studenten essen kein Frühstück.
  1. The breakfast was tasty.
  2. The Americans eat eggs and bacon for breakfast.
  3. Peter reads the newspaper at breakfast.
  4. Many students eat no breakfast.

Grammar:

What’s “for” Breakfast?

The preposition “zu” is used to express that something was eaten for a particular meal (e.g. “for breakfast,” “for lunch,” “for dinner”). Because all the meal terms are the same gender (neuter), “zum” is appropriate for each (e.g. “zum Frühstück,” or “zum Abendessen”).

Eating Food: "Essen essen"

Talking about eating can be a little tricky in German. Because the word for “to eat” is so closely related to the words for "food," "lunch," and "dinner," it can sound redundant to use it with these words in a sentence (describing eating meals or eating ethnic foods).

Wir essen mexikanisch. *Wir essen mexikanisches Essen. (redundant)

Ihr esst zu Mittag. *Ihr esst Mittagessen. (redundant)

To avoid this, different expressions are used to talk about eating particular meals. Note, however, that because the word for breakfast is unrelated to "essen," the two can be used together, although there is a separate verb for "to breakfast." For ethnic foods, the adjective is used (without the word for "food," "Essen"). These alternate constructions are included in the lexical entries for the meal terms; to see how they are used, go to the word's description page and find the examples section.

to eat breakfastfrühstücken, Frühstück essen
to eat lunchzu Mittag essen
to eat dinnerzu Abend essen
to eat Indian foodindisch essen

What Happened "at" Dinner?

In the Eating and Drinking frame, the preposition "bei," is used for English "at." Typically, "bei" is used to talk about something that happened during a meal (e.g. "Beim Mittagessen haben wir viel gesprochen"). As above, the same contraction ("beim") is used with each meal term (e.g. "beim Frühstück").

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst Frühstück.
  2. INGESTOR isst/hat INGESTIBLES zum Frühstück.
  1. INGESTOR eats breakfast.
  2. INGESTOR eats/has INGESTIBLES for breakfast.

Details:

breakfast, lit. 'early piece'

This word is used like English "breakfast." There is a related verb, "frühstücken" ("to breakfast"), which can be used interchangeably with the phrase "Frühstück essen" ("to eat breakfast").

Alternate Forms:

die Frühstücke (pl.)
das Futter noun food

Details:

food, chow (ugs.)

Although "Futter" is best translated as "food," this term applies specifically to animals. In a very informal setting (e.g. among friends) you might hear it used to refer to human food (like English slop or chow), but the term used most often for that is "Essen." You definitely do not want to use "Futter" to refer to a meal someone just prepared for you (as it would be quite rude!).

This term can fill the role of Ingestibles.

Example Sentences:

1. Das Futter für Katzen ist teuer.

2. Stefans Hund ist alt und braucht besonderes Futter.

1. The food for cats is expensive.

2. Stefan's dog is old and needs special food.

Grammar:

Man vs. Beast

There is a notable difference in the way German and English categorize acts of eating. For German speakers, the kind of Ingestor involved (either animal or human) determines which words are used to describe the act. When English speakers describe eating, however, they are free to use any of the words in this frame, whether the Ingestor is an animal or a human. 

Because this difference exists in German, speakers can liken humans to animals by using the animal word to describe an act performed by a human. Various effects result from this type of usage, as seen in the table below. For a more detailed discussion of these meaning differences, see the description for each word.

English Word for human Ingestor Word for animal Ingestor Meaning of animal word when applied to a human Ingestor
eat essen fressen devour, scarf, wolf down (eating in the manner of an animal)
drink trinken saufen booze, guzzle, swig (implies that alcohol is the Ingestibles)
food das Essen das Futter slop, grub, chow (a not very proper slang term for "food")

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst Futter.
  1. INGESTOR eats food.

Details:

food, chow (ugs.)

Although "Futter" is best translated as "food," this term applies specifically to animals. In a very informal setting (e.g. among friends) you might hear it used to refer to human food (like English slop or chow), but the term used most often for that is "Essen." You definitely do not want to use "Futter" to refer to a meal someone just prepared for you (as it would be quite rude!).

This term can fill the role of Ingestibles.

Alternate Forms:

Futter - only used in singular
das Gericht noun dish, food

Details:

dish (of food)

Used to refer to a particular kind of prepared food, such as Spätzle (a kind of German dumplings made of pasta), or Rösti (a swiss specialty similar to hashbrowns). This word is used more frequently than its synonym "die Speise," and only appears as "das Hauptgericht" ("main dish"), not with "vor-" or "nach-" (which combine with "Speise" to make "appetizer" and "dessert").

Example Sentences:

  1. Ulis Oma macht dieses Gericht am Weihnachten.
  2. Mein Lieblingsgericht ist Currywurst.
  3. Zum Abendessen heute haben wir drei Gerichte: ein Fleischgericht, Hähnchenbrust mit Zitronensoße, und zwei Gemüsegerichte, grüne Bohnen und Spargel.
  1. Uli's Grandma makes this dish on Christmas.
  2. My favorite dish is Currywurst.
  3. For dinner today, we are having three dishes: a meat dish, chicken breast with lemon sauce, and two vegetable dishes, green beans and asparagus.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst/macht ein Gericht.
  1. INGESTOR eats/makes a dish.

Details:

dish (of food)

Used to refer to a particular kind of prepared food, such as Spätzle (a kind of German dumplings made of pasta), or Rösti (a swiss specialty similar to hashbrowns). This word is used more frequently than its synonym "die Speise," and only appears as "das Hauptgericht" ("main dish"), not with "vor-" or "nach-" (which combine with "Speise" to make "appetizer" and "dessert").

Alternate Forms:

die Gerichte (pl.)
das Mahl noun meal

Details:

meal

This LU is used like its English equivalent, and sometimes realizes the Ingestibles frame element. It sounds a little more old-fashioned than "Mahlzeit," but is still in use, particularly for holiday meals (Festmahle).

Example Sentences:

  1. Lea und Klaus haben das Mahl zubereitet.
  2. Leon isst mehrere Mahle am Tag.
  1. Lea and Klaus prepared the meal.
  2. Leon eats several meals a day.

Grammar:

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst das Mahl.
  1. INGESTOR eats meal.

Details:

meal

This LU is used like its English equivalent, and sometimes realizes the Ingestibles frame element. It sounds a little more old-fashioned than "Mahlzeit," but is still in use, particularly for holiday meals (Festmahle).

Alternate Forms:

die Mahle/Mähler (pl.)
das Mittagessen noun lunch

Details:

lunch, lit. 'midday food'

This word is used like English "lunch," with one notable exception; phrases like "Mittagessen essen" are avoided and can sound repetitious. Thus the phrase "zu Mittag essen" can be used to talk about eating lunch.

Example Sentences:

  1. Moritz hatte einen Hamburger, Pommes, und Salat zum Mittagessen.
  2. Selten essen die Studenten zu Mittag.
  3. Mein Mittagessen war sehr lecker.
  4. Carla macht ihre Hausaufgaben beim Mittagessen.
  1. Moritz had a hamburger, fries, and salad for lunch.
  2. The students rarely eat lunch.
  3. My lunch was very tasty.
  4. Carla does her homework at lunch.

Grammar:

What’s “for” Breakfast?

The preposition “zu” is used to express that something was eaten for a particular meal (e.g. “for breakfast,” “for lunch,” “for dinner”). Because all the meal terms are the same gender (neuter), “zum” is appropriate for each (e.g. “zum Frühstück,” or “zum Abendessen”).

Eating Food: "Essen essen"

Talking about eating can be a little tricky in German. Because the word for “to eat” is so closely related to the words for "food," "lunch," and "dinner," it can sound redundant to use it with these words in a sentence (describing eating meals or eating ethnic foods).

Wir essen mexikanisch. *Wir essen mexikanisches Essen. (redundant)

Ihr esst zu Mittag. *Ihr esst Mittagessen. (redundant)

To avoid this, different expressions are used to talk about eating particular meals. Note, however, that because the word for breakfast is unrelated to "essen," the two can be used together, although there is a separate verb for "to breakfast." For ethnic foods, the adjective is used (without the word for "food," "Essen"). These alternate constructions are included in the lexical entries for the meal terms; to see how they are used, go to the word's description page and find the examples section.

to eat breakfastfrühstücken, Frühstück essen
to eat lunchzu Mittag essen
to eat dinnerzu Abend essen
to eat Indian foodindisch essen

What Happened "at" Dinner?

In the Eating and Drinking frame, the preposition "bei," is used for English "at." Typically, "bei" is used to talk about something that happened during a meal (e.g. "Beim Mittagessen haben wir viel gesprochen"). As above, the same contraction ("beim") is used with each meal term (e.g. "beim Frühstück").

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR hat INGESTIBLES zum Mittagessen.
  2. INGESTOR isst zu Mittag.
  1. INGESTOR has INGESTIBLES for lunch.
  2. INGESTOR eats lunch.

Details:

lunch, lit. 'midday food'

This word is used like English "lunch," with one notable exception; phrases like "Mittagessen essen" are avoided and can sound repetitious. Thus the phrase "zu Mittag essen" can be used to talk about eating lunch.

Alternate Forms:

die Mittagessen (pl.)
der Imbiss noun snack

Details:

snack, light meal

Prettymuch anything you eat between meals can be considered an "Imbiss."

*Note that this term is sometimes used to refer to places that serve snacks (snack bars, fast food).

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich kaufe mir einen Imbiss.
  2. Nach der Arbeit hat Hermann einen kleinen Imbiss.
  1. I'm buying myself a snack.
  2. After work, Hermann has a little snack.

Grammar:

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst INGESTIBLES zum Imbiss.
  1. INGESTOR eats INGESTIBLES for a snack.

Details:

snack, light meal

Prettymuch anything you eat between meals can be considered an "Imbiss."

*Note that this term is sometimes used to refer to places that serve snacks (snack bars, fast food).

Alternate Forms:

die Imbisse (pl.)
die Mahlzeit noun meal

Details:

meal, lit. 'mealtime'

This term is used like its English counterpart, and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

*In some regions, "Mahlzeit!" can even be used as a greeting (e.g. Austria).

Example Sentences:

  1. Sophia isst nur eine Mahlzeit am Tag.
  2. Ich esse drei Mahlzeiten am Tag.
  1. Sophia eats only one meal a day.
  2. I eat three meals a day.

Grammar:

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst die Mahlzeit.
  1. INGESTOR eats the meal.

Details:

meal, lit. 'mealtime'

This term is used like its English counterpart, and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

*In some regions, "Mahlzeit!" can even be used as a greeting (e.g. Austria).

Alternate Forms:

die Mahlzeiten (pl.)
die Nahrung noun nourishment, food, diet

Details:

food, diet

Nahrung can be used in the sense of diet (from a nutritional point of view) or food and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

Example Sentences:

  1. Anna isst gesunde Nahrung.
  2. Er muss seine Nahrung umstellen.
  1. Anna eats healthy food.
  2. He has to change his diet.

Grammar:

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst die Nahrung.
  1. INGESTOR eats the food.

Details:

food, diet

Nahrung can be used in the sense of diet (from a nutritional point of view) or food and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

Alternate Forms:

die Nahrungen (pl.)
die Speise noun food, dish

Details:

food, dish

This term is used like its English counterparts, and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

Speise is often used to describe dishes : Vorspeise (appetizer), Hauptspeise (main course), and Nachspeise (dessert).

Example Sentences:

  1. Wolfgang liebt diese Speise.
  2. Die Kinder lieben Omas Speisen.
  1. Wolfgang loves this dish.
  2. The children love gradndma's dishes.

Grammar:

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst die Speise.
  1. INGESTOR eats the dish.

Details:

food, dish

This term is used like its English counterparts, and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

Speise is often used to describe dishes : Vorspeise (appetizer), Hauptspeise (main course), and Nachspeise (dessert).

Alternate Forms:

die Speisen (pl.)
essen verb eat

Details:

This verb is used to talk about people eating, like the English verb "eat." In contrast to English, however, German uses a different verb to describe animals eating (see the entry for "fressen").

"Essen" is also irregular, and undergoes a stem vowel change in some present tense conjugations. Visit Grimm Grammar (http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/vi_01.html) for more information (including a chart of conjugations).

Example Sentences:

  1. Petra isst Pizza.
  2. Freunde essen Kuchen.
  1. Petra eats pizza.
  2. Friends eat cake.

Grammar:

Man vs. Beast

There is a notable difference in the way German and English categorize acts of eating. For German speakers, the kind of Ingestor involved (either animal or human) determines which words are used to describe the act. When English speakers describe eating, however, they are free to use any of the words in this frame, whether the Ingestor is an animal or a human. 

Because this difference exists in German, speakers can liken humans to animals by using the animal word to describe an act performed by a human. Various effects result from this type of usage, as seen in the table below. For a more detailed discussion of these meaning differences, see the description for each word.

English Word for human Ingestor Word for animal Ingestor Meaning of animal word when applied to a human Ingestor
eat essen fressen devour, scarf, wolf down (eating in the manner of an animal)
drink trinken saufen booze, guzzle, swig (implies that alcohol is the Ingestibles)
food das Essen das Futter slop, grub, chow (a not very proper slang term for "food")

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst INGESTIBLES.
  1. INGESTOR eats INGESTIBLES.

Details:

This verb is used to talk about people eating, like the English verb "eat." In contrast to English, however, German uses a different verb to describe animals eating (see the entry for "fressen").

"Essen" is also irregular, and undergoes a stem vowel change in some present tense conjugations. Visit Grimm Grammar (http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/vi_01.html) for more information (including a chart of conjugations).

Alternate Forms:

er isst, hat gegessen, aß
fressen verb eat

Details:

This verb is used to talk about animals eating, like the English verb "eat." In contrast to English, however, German uses a different verb to describe people eating (see the entry for "essen").

"Fressen" can be used for people as well when their eating style is compared to animals; usually it is a fairly degrading context. 

Example Sentences:

  1. Der Hund frisst das Futter.
  2. Sie fressen wie die Schweine.
  1. The dog eats the food.
  2. They eat like pigs.

Grammar:

Man vs. Beast

There is a notable difference in the way German and English categorize acts of eating. For German speakers, the kind of Ingestor involved (either animal or human) determines which words are used to describe the act. When English speakers describe eating, however, they are free to use any of the words in this frame, whether the Ingestor is an animal or a human. 

Because this difference exists in German, speakers can liken humans to animals by using the animal word to describe an act performed by a human. Various effects result from this type of usage, as seen in the table below. For a more detailed discussion of these meaning differences, see the description for each word.

English Word for human Ingestor Word for animal Ingestor Meaning of animal word when applied to a human Ingestor
eat essen fressen devour, scarf, wolf down (eating in the manner of an animal)
drink trinken saufen booze, guzzle, swig (implies that alcohol is the Ingestibles)
food das Essen das Futter slop, grub, chow (a not very proper slang term for "food")

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR frisst INGESTIBLES.
  1. INGESTOR eats INGESTIBLES.

Details:

This verb is used to talk about animals eating, like the English verb "eat." In contrast to English, however, German uses a different verb to describe people eating (see the entry for "essen").

"Fressen" can be used for people as well when their eating style is compared to animals; usually it is a fairly degrading context. 

Alternate Forms:

er frisst, hat gefressen, fraß
frühstücken verb eat breakfast

Details:

Used like the English "eat breakfast". Be careful, frühstücken is NOT a seperable prefix verb! 

Example Sentences:

  1. Er frühstückt jeden Morgen ein Ei.
  2. Ich frühstücke nie.
  1. He eats an egg for breakfast every morning.
  2. I never eat breakfast.

Grammar:

Eating Food: "Essen essen"

Talking about eating can be a little tricky in German. Because the word for “to eat” is so closely related to the words for "food," "lunch," and "dinner," it can sound redundant to use it with these words in a sentence (describing eating meals or eating ethnic foods).

Wir essen mexikanisch. *Wir essen mexikanisches Essen. (redundant)

Ihr esst zu Mittag. *Ihr esst Mittagessen. (redundant)

To avoid this, different expressions are used to talk about eating particular meals. Note, however, that because the word for breakfast is unrelated to "essen," the two can be used together, although there is a separate verb for "to breakfast." For ethnic foods, the adjective is used (without the word for "food," "Essen"). These alternate constructions are included in the lexical entries for the meal terms; to see how they are used, go to the word's description page and find the examples section.

to eat breakfastfrühstücken, Frühstück essen
to eat lunchzu Mittag essen
to eat dinnerzu Abend essen
to eat Indian foodindisch essen

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR frühstückt.
  1. INGESTOR eats breakfast.

Details:

Used like the English "eat breakfast". Be careful, frühstücken is NOT a seperable prefix verb! 

Alternate Forms:

er frühstückt, hat gefrühstückt, frühstückte
naschen verb snack

Details:

Used like the English counterpart "to snack". "Naschen" is most commonly used for sweets, may also be used for salty foods, though.

Example Sentences:

  1. Die Kinder naschen viel.
  2. Er naschte zu viel Schokolade.
  1. The children snack a lot.
  2. He snacked too much chocolate.

Grammar:

Man vs. Beast

There is a notable difference in the way German and English categorize acts of eating. For German speakers, the kind of Ingestor involved (either animal or human) determines which words are used to describe the act. When English speakers describe eating, however, they are free to use any of the words in this frame, whether the Ingestor is an animal or a human. 

Because this difference exists in German, speakers can liken humans to animals by using the animal word to describe an act performed by a human. Various effects result from this type of usage, as seen in the table below. For a more detailed discussion of these meaning differences, see the description for each word.

English Word for human Ingestor Word for animal Ingestor Meaning of animal word when applied to a human Ingestor
eat essen fressen devour, scarf, wolf down (eating in the manner of an animal)
drink trinken saufen booze, guzzle, swig (implies that alcohol is the Ingestibles)
food das Essen das Futter slop, grub, chow (a not very proper slang term for "food")

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR nascht INGESTIBLES.
  1. INGESTOR snacks INGESTIBLES.

Details:

Used like the English counterpart "to snack". "Naschen" is most commonly used for sweets, may also be used for salty foods, though.

Alternate Forms:

er nascht, hat genascht, naschte
speisen verb dine

Details:

"Speisen" is used to describe a more "high end" way of eating; very similar to the English "to dine". It implies that the food is either served in a very fashionable manner, at a fancy restaurant and/or is very expensive.

Example Sentences:

  1. Lena speist in einem Restaurant.
  2. Ich hasse allein zu speisen.
  1. Lena dines in a restaurant.
  2. I hate to dine alone.

Grammar:

Man vs. Beast

There is a notable difference in the way German and English categorize acts of eating. For German speakers, the kind of Ingestor involved (either animal or human) determines which words are used to describe the act. When English speakers describe eating, however, they are free to use any of the words in this frame, whether the Ingestor is an animal or a human. 

Because this difference exists in German, speakers can liken humans to animals by using the animal word to describe an act performed by a human. Various effects result from this type of usage, as seen in the table below. For a more detailed discussion of these meaning differences, see the description for each word.

English Word for human Ingestor Word for animal Ingestor Meaning of animal word when applied to a human Ingestor
eat essen fressen devour, scarf, wolf down (eating in the manner of an animal)
drink trinken saufen booze, guzzle, swig (implies that alcohol is the Ingestibles)
food das Essen das Futter slop, grub, chow (a not very proper slang term for "food")

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR speist.
  1. INGESTOR dines.

Details:

"Speisen" is used to describe a more "high end" way of eating; very similar to the English "to dine". It implies that the food is either served in a very fashionable manner, at a fancy restaurant and/or is very expensive.

Alternate Forms:

er speist, hat gespeist, speiste
Details
Examples
Grammar Notes
Sentence Templates
Alternate Forms
See All Information
das Abendessen noun dinner

Details:

dinner, lit. 'evening meal'

This word is used like English "dinner," with one notable exception; phrases like "Abendessen essen" are avoided and can sound repetitious. Thus the phrase "zu Abend essen" can be used to talk about eating dinner.

Example Sentences:

  1. Das Abendessen war sehr gut.
  2. David und Lola hören Musik beim Abendessen.
  3. Zum Abendessen hatte Lola ein Steak und Kartoffelsalat.
  4. Nachdem sie zurück nach Hause gekommen sind, haben Lola und David zu Abend gegessen.
  1. Dinner was very good.
  2. David and Lola listen to music at dinner.
  3. For dinner Lola had a steak and potato salad.
  4. After they came back home, Lola and David ate dinner.

Grammar:

What’s “for” Breakfast?

The preposition “zu” is used to express that something was eaten for a particular meal (e.g. “for breakfast,” “for lunch,” “for dinner”). Because all the meal terms are the same gender (neuter), “zum” is appropriate for each (e.g. “zum Frühstück,” or “zum Abendessen”).

Eating Food: "Essen essen"

Talking about eating can be a little tricky in German. Because the word for “to eat” is so closely related to the words for "food," "lunch," and "dinner," it can sound redundant to use it with these words in a sentence (describing eating meals or eating ethnic foods).

Wir essen mexikanisch. *Wir essen mexikanisches Essen. (redundant)

Ihr esst zu Mittag. *Ihr esst Mittagessen. (redundant)

To avoid this, different expressions are used to talk about eating particular meals. Note, however, that because the word for breakfast is unrelated to "essen," the two can be used together, although there is a separate verb for "to breakfast." For ethnic foods, the adjective is used (without the word for "food," "Essen"). These alternate constructions are included in the lexical entries for the meal terms; to see how they are used, go to the word's description page and find the examples section.

to eat breakfastfrühstücken, Frühstück essen
to eat lunchzu Mittag essen
to eat dinnerzu Abend essen
to eat Indian foodindisch essen

What Happened "at" Dinner?

In the Eating and Drinking frame, the preposition "bei," is used for English "at." Typically, "bei" is used to talk about something that happened during a meal (e.g. "Beim Mittagessen haben wir viel gesprochen"). As above, the same contraction ("beim") is used with each meal term (e.g. "beim Frühstück").

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR hat INGESTIBLES zum Abendessen.
  2. INGESTOR isst zu Abend.
  1. INGESTOR has INGESTIBLES for dinner.
  2. INGESTOR eats dinner.

Details:

dinner, lit. 'evening meal'

This word is used like English "dinner," with one notable exception; phrases like "Abendessen essen" are avoided and can sound repetitious. Thus the phrase "zu Abend essen" can be used to talk about eating dinner.

Alternate Forms:

die Abendessen (pl.), zu Abend essen (to eat dinner)
das Essen noun food

Details:

food, meal

Used similarly to English "food." This lexical unit could play the role of Ingestibles, but is not necessarily used with the frame elements from Eating and Drinking.

Example Sentences:

1. Das Essen in Deutschland ist ausgezeichnet.

2. Das Essen schmeckt mir gut.

1. The food in Germany is outstanding.

2. The food tastes good to me.

Grammar:

Eating Food: "Essen essen"

Talking about eating can be a little tricky in German. Because the word for “to eat” is so closely related to the words for "food," "lunch," and "dinner," it can sound redundant to use it with these words in a sentence (describing eating meals or eating ethnic foods).

Wir essen mexikanisch. *Wir essen mexikanisches Essen. (redundant)

Ihr esst zu Mittag. *Ihr esst Mittagessen. (redundant)

To avoid this, different expressions are used to talk about eating particular meals. Note, however, that because the word for breakfast is unrelated to "essen," the two can be used together, although there is a separate verb for "to breakfast." For ethnic foods, the adjective is used (without the word for "food," "Essen"). These alternate constructions are included in the lexical entries for the meal terms; to see how they are used, go to the word's description page and find the examples section.

to eat breakfastfrühstücken, Frühstück essen
to eat lunchzu Mittag essen
to eat dinnerzu Abend essen
to eat Indian foodindisch essen

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst Essen.
  1. INGESTOR eats food.

Details:

food, meal

Used similarly to English "food." This lexical unit could play the role of Ingestibles, but is not necessarily used with the frame elements from Eating and Drinking.

Alternate Forms:

die Essen (pl.) (meals)
das Frühstück noun breakfast

Details:

breakfast, lit. 'early piece'

This word is used like English "breakfast." There is a related verb, "frühstücken" ("to breakfast"), which can be used interchangeably with the phrase "Frühstück essen" ("to eat breakfast").

Example Sentences:

  1. Das Frühstück war lecker.
  2. Die Amerikaner essen Eier und Speck zum Frühstück.
  3. Peter liest die Zeitung beim Frühstück.
  4. Viele Studenten essen kein Frühstück.
  1. The breakfast was tasty.
  2. The Americans eat eggs and bacon for breakfast.
  3. Peter reads the newspaper at breakfast.
  4. Many students eat no breakfast.

Grammar:

What’s “for” Breakfast?

The preposition “zu” is used to express that something was eaten for a particular meal (e.g. “for breakfast,” “for lunch,” “for dinner”). Because all the meal terms are the same gender (neuter), “zum” is appropriate for each (e.g. “zum Frühstück,” or “zum Abendessen”).

Eating Food: "Essen essen"

Talking about eating can be a little tricky in German. Because the word for “to eat” is so closely related to the words for "food," "lunch," and "dinner," it can sound redundant to use it with these words in a sentence (describing eating meals or eating ethnic foods).

Wir essen mexikanisch. *Wir essen mexikanisches Essen. (redundant)

Ihr esst zu Mittag. *Ihr esst Mittagessen. (redundant)

To avoid this, different expressions are used to talk about eating particular meals. Note, however, that because the word for breakfast is unrelated to "essen," the two can be used together, although there is a separate verb for "to breakfast." For ethnic foods, the adjective is used (without the word for "food," "Essen"). These alternate constructions are included in the lexical entries for the meal terms; to see how they are used, go to the word's description page and find the examples section.

to eat breakfastfrühstücken, Frühstück essen
to eat lunchzu Mittag essen
to eat dinnerzu Abend essen
to eat Indian foodindisch essen

What Happened "at" Dinner?

In the Eating and Drinking frame, the preposition "bei," is used for English "at." Typically, "bei" is used to talk about something that happened during a meal (e.g. "Beim Mittagessen haben wir viel gesprochen"). As above, the same contraction ("beim") is used with each meal term (e.g. "beim Frühstück").

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst Frühstück.
  2. INGESTOR isst/hat INGESTIBLES zum Frühstück.
  1. INGESTOR eats breakfast.
  2. INGESTOR eats/has INGESTIBLES for breakfast.

Details:

breakfast, lit. 'early piece'

This word is used like English "breakfast." There is a related verb, "frühstücken" ("to breakfast"), which can be used interchangeably with the phrase "Frühstück essen" ("to eat breakfast").

Alternate Forms:

die Frühstücke (pl.)
das Futter noun food

Details:

food, chow (ugs.)

Although "Futter" is best translated as "food," this term applies specifically to animals. In a very informal setting (e.g. among friends) you might hear it used to refer to human food (like English slop or chow), but the term used most often for that is "Essen." You definitely do not want to use "Futter" to refer to a meal someone just prepared for you (as it would be quite rude!).

This term can fill the role of Ingestibles.

Example Sentences:

1. Das Futter für Katzen ist teuer.

2. Stefans Hund ist alt und braucht besonderes Futter.

1. The food for cats is expensive.

2. Stefan's dog is old and needs special food.

Grammar:

Man vs. Beast

There is a notable difference in the way German and English categorize acts of eating. For German speakers, the kind of Ingestor involved (either animal or human) determines which words are used to describe the act. When English speakers describe eating, however, they are free to use any of the words in this frame, whether the Ingestor is an animal or a human. 

Because this difference exists in German, speakers can liken humans to animals by using the animal word to describe an act performed by a human. Various effects result from this type of usage, as seen in the table below. For a more detailed discussion of these meaning differences, see the description for each word.

English Word for human Ingestor Word for animal Ingestor Meaning of animal word when applied to a human Ingestor
eat essen fressen devour, scarf, wolf down (eating in the manner of an animal)
drink trinken saufen booze, guzzle, swig (implies that alcohol is the Ingestibles)
food das Essen das Futter slop, grub, chow (a not very proper slang term for "food")

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst Futter.
  1. INGESTOR eats food.

Details:

food, chow (ugs.)

Although "Futter" is best translated as "food," this term applies specifically to animals. In a very informal setting (e.g. among friends) you might hear it used to refer to human food (like English slop or chow), but the term used most often for that is "Essen." You definitely do not want to use "Futter" to refer to a meal someone just prepared for you (as it would be quite rude!).

This term can fill the role of Ingestibles.

Alternate Forms:

Futter - only used in singular
das Gericht noun dish, food

Details:

dish (of food)

Used to refer to a particular kind of prepared food, such as Spätzle (a kind of German dumplings made of pasta), or Rösti (a swiss specialty similar to hashbrowns). This word is used more frequently than its synonym "die Speise," and only appears as "das Hauptgericht" ("main dish"), not with "vor-" or "nach-" (which combine with "Speise" to make "appetizer" and "dessert").

Example Sentences:

  1. Ulis Oma macht dieses Gericht am Weihnachten.
  2. Mein Lieblingsgericht ist Currywurst.
  3. Zum Abendessen heute haben wir drei Gerichte: ein Fleischgericht, Hähnchenbrust mit Zitronensoße, und zwei Gemüsegerichte, grüne Bohnen und Spargel.
  1. Uli's Grandma makes this dish on Christmas.
  2. My favorite dish is Currywurst.
  3. For dinner today, we are having three dishes: a meat dish, chicken breast with lemon sauce, and two vegetable dishes, green beans and asparagus.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst/macht ein Gericht.
  1. INGESTOR eats/makes a dish.

Details:

dish (of food)

Used to refer to a particular kind of prepared food, such as Spätzle (a kind of German dumplings made of pasta), or Rösti (a swiss specialty similar to hashbrowns). This word is used more frequently than its synonym "die Speise," and only appears as "das Hauptgericht" ("main dish"), not with "vor-" or "nach-" (which combine with "Speise" to make "appetizer" and "dessert").

Alternate Forms:

die Gerichte (pl.)
das Mahl noun meal

Details:

meal

This LU is used like its English equivalent, and sometimes realizes the Ingestibles frame element. It sounds a little more old-fashioned than "Mahlzeit," but is still in use, particularly for holiday meals (Festmahle).

Example Sentences:

  1. Lea und Klaus haben das Mahl zubereitet.
  2. Leon isst mehrere Mahle am Tag.
  1. Lea and Klaus prepared the meal.
  2. Leon eats several meals a day.

Grammar:

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst das Mahl.
  1. INGESTOR eats meal.

Details:

meal

This LU is used like its English equivalent, and sometimes realizes the Ingestibles frame element. It sounds a little more old-fashioned than "Mahlzeit," but is still in use, particularly for holiday meals (Festmahle).

Alternate Forms:

die Mahle/Mähler (pl.)
das Mittagessen noun lunch

Details:

lunch, lit. 'midday food'

This word is used like English "lunch," with one notable exception; phrases like "Mittagessen essen" are avoided and can sound repetitious. Thus the phrase "zu Mittag essen" can be used to talk about eating lunch.

Example Sentences:

  1. Moritz hatte einen Hamburger, Pommes, und Salat zum Mittagessen.
  2. Selten essen die Studenten zu Mittag.
  3. Mein Mittagessen war sehr lecker.
  4. Carla macht ihre Hausaufgaben beim Mittagessen.
  1. Moritz had a hamburger, fries, and salad for lunch.
  2. The students rarely eat lunch.
  3. My lunch was very tasty.
  4. Carla does her homework at lunch.

Grammar:

What’s “for” Breakfast?

The preposition “zu” is used to express that something was eaten for a particular meal (e.g. “for breakfast,” “for lunch,” “for dinner”). Because all the meal terms are the same gender (neuter), “zum” is appropriate for each (e.g. “zum Frühstück,” or “zum Abendessen”).

Eating Food: "Essen essen"

Talking about eating can be a little tricky in German. Because the word for “to eat” is so closely related to the words for "food," "lunch," and "dinner," it can sound redundant to use it with these words in a sentence (describing eating meals or eating ethnic foods).

Wir essen mexikanisch. *Wir essen mexikanisches Essen. (redundant)

Ihr esst zu Mittag. *Ihr esst Mittagessen. (redundant)

To avoid this, different expressions are used to talk about eating particular meals. Note, however, that because the word for breakfast is unrelated to "essen," the two can be used together, although there is a separate verb for "to breakfast." For ethnic foods, the adjective is used (without the word for "food," "Essen"). These alternate constructions are included in the lexical entries for the meal terms; to see how they are used, go to the word's description page and find the examples section.

to eat breakfastfrühstücken, Frühstück essen
to eat lunchzu Mittag essen
to eat dinnerzu Abend essen
to eat Indian foodindisch essen

What Happened "at" Dinner?

In the Eating and Drinking frame, the preposition "bei," is used for English "at." Typically, "bei" is used to talk about something that happened during a meal (e.g. "Beim Mittagessen haben wir viel gesprochen"). As above, the same contraction ("beim") is used with each meal term (e.g. "beim Frühstück").

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR hat INGESTIBLES zum Mittagessen.
  2. INGESTOR isst zu Mittag.
  1. INGESTOR has INGESTIBLES for lunch.
  2. INGESTOR eats lunch.

Details:

lunch, lit. 'midday food'

This word is used like English "lunch," with one notable exception; phrases like "Mittagessen essen" are avoided and can sound repetitious. Thus the phrase "zu Mittag essen" can be used to talk about eating lunch.

Alternate Forms:

die Mittagessen (pl.)
der Imbiss noun snack

Details:

snack, light meal

Prettymuch anything you eat between meals can be considered an "Imbiss."

*Note that this term is sometimes used to refer to places that serve snacks (snack bars, fast food).

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich kaufe mir einen Imbiss.
  2. Nach der Arbeit hat Hermann einen kleinen Imbiss.
  1. I'm buying myself a snack.
  2. After work, Hermann has a little snack.

Grammar:

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst INGESTIBLES zum Imbiss.
  1. INGESTOR eats INGESTIBLES for a snack.

Details:

snack, light meal

Prettymuch anything you eat between meals can be considered an "Imbiss."

*Note that this term is sometimes used to refer to places that serve snacks (snack bars, fast food).

Alternate Forms:

die Imbisse (pl.)
die Mahlzeit noun meal

Details:

meal, lit. 'mealtime'

This term is used like its English counterpart, and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

*In some regions, "Mahlzeit!" can even be used as a greeting (e.g. Austria).

Example Sentences:

  1. Sophia isst nur eine Mahlzeit am Tag.
  2. Ich esse drei Mahlzeiten am Tag.
  1. Sophia eats only one meal a day.
  2. I eat three meals a day.

Grammar:

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst die Mahlzeit.
  1. INGESTOR eats the meal.

Details:

meal, lit. 'mealtime'

This term is used like its English counterpart, and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

*In some regions, "Mahlzeit!" can even be used as a greeting (e.g. Austria).

Alternate Forms:

die Mahlzeiten (pl.)
die Nahrung noun nourishment, food, diet

Details:

food, diet

Nahrung can be used in the sense of diet (from a nutritional point of view) or food and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

Example Sentences:

  1. Anna isst gesunde Nahrung.
  2. Er muss seine Nahrung umstellen.
  1. Anna eats healthy food.
  2. He has to change his diet.

Grammar:

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst die Nahrung.
  1. INGESTOR eats the food.

Details:

food, diet

Nahrung can be used in the sense of diet (from a nutritional point of view) or food and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

Alternate Forms:

die Nahrungen (pl.)
die Speise noun food, dish

Details:

food, dish

This term is used like its English counterparts, and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

Speise is often used to describe dishes : Vorspeise (appetizer), Hauptspeise (main course), and Nachspeise (dessert).

Example Sentences:

  1. Wolfgang liebt diese Speise.
  2. Die Kinder lieben Omas Speisen.
  1. Wolfgang loves this dish.
  2. The children love gradndma's dishes.

Grammar:

Der, die, das

Remember that all nouns have a specific gender; they are either masculine, feminine or neuter. It is very important to know the gender of every single noun to master the rather complex case system in German.
In German, as in English, you can either have a direct (der, die das - the) or indirect (ein, eine, ein -a) article preceding a noun. The tables below will help you review how articles change based on gender and cases.

 

 MasculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativederdiedasdie
Accusativedendiedasdie
Dativedemderdemden
Genitivedesderdesder

 

 MaculineFeminineNeuterPlural (all genders)
Nominativeeineineein  --
Accusativeeineneineeine  --
Dativeeinemeinereinem  --
Genitiveeineseinereines  --

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst die Speise.
  1. INGESTOR eats the dish.

Details:

food, dish

This term is used like its English counterparts, and can sometimes fill the role of Ingestibles.

Speise is often used to describe dishes : Vorspeise (appetizer), Hauptspeise (main course), and Nachspeise (dessert).

Alternate Forms:

die Speisen (pl.)
essen verb eat

Details:

This verb is used to talk about people eating, like the English verb "eat." In contrast to English, however, German uses a different verb to describe animals eating (see the entry for "fressen").

"Essen" is also irregular, and undergoes a stem vowel change in some present tense conjugations. Visit Grimm Grammar (http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/vi_01.html) for more information (including a chart of conjugations).

Example Sentences:

  1. Petra isst Pizza.
  2. Freunde essen Kuchen.
  1. Petra eats pizza.
  2. Friends eat cake.

Grammar:

Man vs. Beast

There is a notable difference in the way German and English categorize acts of eating. For German speakers, the kind of Ingestor involved (either animal or human) determines which words are used to describe the act. When English speakers describe eating, however, they are free to use any of the words in this frame, whether the Ingestor is an animal or a human. 

Because this difference exists in German, speakers can liken humans to animals by using the animal word to describe an act performed by a human. Various effects result from this type of usage, as seen in the table below. For a more detailed discussion of these meaning differences, see the description for each word.

English Word for human Ingestor Word for animal Ingestor Meaning of animal word when applied to a human Ingestor
eat essen fressen devour, scarf, wolf down (eating in the manner of an animal)
drink trinken saufen booze, guzzle, swig (implies that alcohol is the Ingestibles)
food das Essen das Futter slop, grub, chow (a not very proper slang term for "food")

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR isst INGESTIBLES.
  1. INGESTOR eats INGESTIBLES.

Details:

This verb is used to talk about people eating, like the English verb "eat." In contrast to English, however, German uses a different verb to describe animals eating (see the entry for "fressen").

"Essen" is also irregular, and undergoes a stem vowel change in some present tense conjugations. Visit Grimm Grammar (http://coerll.utexas.edu/gg/gr/vi_01.html) for more information (including a chart of conjugations).

Alternate Forms:

er isst, hat gegessen, aß
fressen verb eat

Details:

This verb is used to talk about animals eating, like the English verb "eat." In contrast to English, however, German uses a different verb to describe people eating (see the entry for "essen").

"Fressen" can be used for people as well when their eating style is compared to animals; usually it is a fairly degrading context. 

Example Sentences:

  1. Der Hund frisst das Futter.
  2. Sie fressen wie die Schweine.
  1. The dog eats the food.
  2. They eat like pigs.

Grammar:

Man vs. Beast

There is a notable difference in the way German and English categorize acts of eating. For German speakers, the kind of Ingestor involved (either animal or human) determines which words are used to describe the act. When English speakers describe eating, however, they are free to use any of the words in this frame, whether the Ingestor is an animal or a human. 

Because this difference exists in German, speakers can liken humans to animals by using the animal word to describe an act performed by a human. Various effects result from this type of usage, as seen in the table below. For a more detailed discussion of these meaning differences, see the description for each word.

English Word for human Ingestor Word for animal Ingestor Meaning of animal word when applied to a human Ingestor
eat essen fressen devour, scarf, wolf down (eating in the manner of an animal)
drink trinken saufen booze, guzzle, swig (implies that alcohol is the Ingestibles)
food das Essen das Futter slop, grub, chow (a not very proper slang term for "food")

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR frisst INGESTIBLES.
  1. INGESTOR eats INGESTIBLES.

Details:

This verb is used to talk about animals eating, like the English verb "eat." In contrast to English, however, German uses a different verb to describe people eating (see the entry for "essen").

"Fressen" can be used for people as well when their eating style is compared to animals; usually it is a fairly degrading context. 

Alternate Forms:

er frisst, hat gefressen, fraß
frühstücken verb eat breakfast

Details:

Used like the English "eat breakfast". Be careful, frühstücken is NOT a seperable prefix verb! 

Example Sentences:

  1. Er frühstückt jeden Morgen ein Ei.
  2. Ich frühstücke nie.
  1. He eats an egg for breakfast every morning.
  2. I never eat breakfast.

Grammar:

Eating Food: "Essen essen"

Talking about eating can be a little tricky in German. Because the word for “to eat” is so closely related to the words for "food," "lunch," and "dinner," it can sound redundant to use it with these words in a sentence (describing eating meals or eating ethnic foods).

Wir essen mexikanisch. *Wir essen mexikanisches Essen. (redundant)

Ihr esst zu Mittag. *Ihr esst Mittagessen. (redundant)

To avoid this, different expressions are used to talk about eating particular meals. Note, however, that because the word for breakfast is unrelated to "essen," the two can be used together, although there is a separate verb for "to breakfast." For ethnic foods, the adjective is used (without the word for "food," "Essen"). These alternate constructions are included in the lexical entries for the meal terms; to see how they are used, go to the word's description page and find the examples section.

to eat breakfastfrühstücken, Frühstück essen
to eat lunchzu Mittag essen
to eat dinnerzu Abend essen
to eat Indian foodindisch essen

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR frühstückt.
  1. INGESTOR eats breakfast.

Details:

Used like the English "eat breakfast". Be careful, frühstücken is NOT a seperable prefix verb! 

Alternate Forms:

er frühstückt, hat gefrühstückt, frühstückte
naschen verb snack

Details:

Used like the English counterpart "to snack". "Naschen" is most commonly used for sweets, may also be used for salty foods, though.

Example Sentences:

  1. Die Kinder naschen viel.
  2. Er naschte zu viel Schokolade.
  1. The children snack a lot.
  2. He snacked too much chocolate.

Grammar:

Man vs. Beast

There is a notable difference in the way German and English categorize acts of eating. For German speakers, the kind of Ingestor involved (either animal or human) determines which words are used to describe the act. When English speakers describe eating, however, they are free to use any of the words in this frame, whether the Ingestor is an animal or a human. 

Because this difference exists in German, speakers can liken humans to animals by using the animal word to describe an act performed by a human. Various effects result from this type of usage, as seen in the table below. For a more detailed discussion of these meaning differences, see the description for each word.

English Word for human Ingestor Word for animal Ingestor Meaning of animal word when applied to a human Ingestor
eat essen fressen devour, scarf, wolf down (eating in the manner of an animal)
drink trinken saufen booze, guzzle, swig (implies that alcohol is the Ingestibles)
food das Essen das Futter slop, grub, chow (a not very proper slang term for "food")

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR nascht INGESTIBLES.
  1. INGESTOR snacks INGESTIBLES.

Details:

Used like the English counterpart "to snack". "Naschen" is most commonly used for sweets, may also be used for salty foods, though.

Alternate Forms:

er nascht, hat genascht, naschte
speisen verb dine

Details:

"Speisen" is used to describe a more "high end" way of eating; very similar to the English "to dine". It implies that the food is either served in a very fashionable manner, at a fancy restaurant and/or is very expensive.

Example Sentences:

  1. Lena speist in einem Restaurant.
  2. Ich hasse allein zu speisen.
  1. Lena dines in a restaurant.
  2. I hate to dine alone.

Grammar:

Man vs. Beast

There is a notable difference in the way German and English categorize acts of eating. For German speakers, the kind of Ingestor involved (either animal or human) determines which words are used to describe the act. When English speakers describe eating, however, they are free to use any of the words in this frame, whether the Ingestor is an animal or a human. 

Because this difference exists in German, speakers can liken humans to animals by using the animal word to describe an act performed by a human. Various effects result from this type of usage, as seen in the table below. For a more detailed discussion of these meaning differences, see the description for each word.

English Word for human Ingestor Word for animal Ingestor Meaning of animal word when applied to a human Ingestor
eat essen fressen devour, scarf, wolf down (eating in the manner of an animal)
drink trinken saufen booze, guzzle, swig (implies that alcohol is the Ingestibles)
food das Essen das Futter slop, grub, chow (a not very proper slang term for "food")

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR speist.
  1. INGESTOR dines.

Details:

"Speisen" is used to describe a more "high end" way of eating; very similar to the English "to dine". It implies that the food is either served in a very fashionable manner, at a fancy restaurant and/or is very expensive.

Alternate Forms:

er speist, hat gespeist, speiste