Frame description

 An Ingestor consumes food or drink (Ingestibles). This may include the use of an Instrument. Sentences that describe the provision of food to others are NOT included in this frame.

Although it is common for both frame elements to appear together, not all of the lexical units in this frame allow the realization of both (e.g. Ingestibles is not typically used with "frühstücken," "to breakfast"), and some can even be used without any of the frame elements (e.g. "das Abendessen," "dinner").

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Examples
Grammar Notes
Sentence Templates
Alternate Forms

Frame Elements

Frame Element descriptions (on hover):

The Ingestor is the person eating or drinking.

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.

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.

Details
Examples
Grammar Notes
Sentence Templates
Alternate Forms
See All Information
alkoholfrei adjective alcohol free

Details:

Used like its English equivalent.

Example Sentences:

  1. Franziskaners zwei neue Biersorten sind alkoholfrei.
  2. Ich trinke nicht gern alkoholfreies Bier.
  3. Hier werden nur alkoholfreie Getränke serviert.
  1. Franziskaner's two new kinds of beer are alcohol free.
  2. I don't like to drink alcohol free beer.
  3. Here are only alcohol free drinks served.

Grammar:

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTIBLES ist alkoholfrei.
  2. [alkoholfrei- INGESTIBLES]
  1. INGESTIBLES are alcohol free.
  2. [alcohol free INGESTIBLES]

Details:

Used like its English equivalent.

alkoholisch adjective alcoholic

Details:

This adjective is used like its English equivalent (primarily to describe drinks), but in contrast to English "alcoholic," this word cannot be used as a noun for a person addicted to alcohol (that would be "der Alkoholiker" or "die Alkoholikerin").

Example Sentences:

  1. Gibt es dort alkoholische Getränke?
  2. Ich trinke nichts alkoholisches.
  3. Peters Familie macht sich Sorgen um seine alkoholischen Exzesse.
  1. Are there alcoholic drinks there?
  2. I drink nothing alcoholic.
  3. Peter's family worries about his alcoholic excesses.

Grammar:

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTIBLES sind alkoholisch.
  2. [alkoholisch- INGESTIBLES]
  1. INGESTIBLES are alcoholic.
  2. [alcoholic INGESTIBLES]

Details:

This adjective is used like its English equivalent (primarily to describe drinks), but in contrast to English "alcoholic," this word cannot be used as a noun for a person addicted to alcohol (that would be "der Alkoholiker" or "die Alkoholikerin").

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 Getränk noun drink

Details:

drink

This noun can fill the role of Ingestibles, but doesn't always. As in English, this term can be used to refer to any type of beverage.

Example Sentences:

  1. Wir haben viele Getränke: Mineralwasser, Apfelsaft, Cola, und Bier.
  2. Ich habe mein Getränk sehr langsam getrunken.
  1. We have many drinks: mineral water, apple juice, cola, and beer.
  2. I drank my drink very slowly.

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 trinkt Getränk.
  1. INGESTOR drinks beverages.

Details:

drink

This noun can fill the role of Ingestibles, but doesn't always. As in English, this term can be used to refer to any type of beverage.

Alternate Forms:

die Getränke (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
lecker adjective tasty

Details:

tasty

Used like the English counterpart. Sometimes used in the informal expression "lecker schmecker!" to say "mmm, tasty!" (lit. "tasty taster").

Example Sentences:

  1. Der Kuchen ist lecker.
  2. Der Mann isst einen leckeren Hamburger.
  3. Franks Sandwich schmeckt lecker!
  1. The cake is tasty.
  2. The man eats a tasty hamburger.
  3. Frank's sandwich tastes tasty!

Grammar:

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTIBLES sind lecker.
  2. [ein lecker- INGESTIBLES]
  1. INGESTIBLES are tasty.
  2. [a tasty INGESTIBLES]

Details:

tasty

Used like the English counterpart. Sometimes used in the informal expression "lecker schmecker!" to say "mmm, tasty!" (lit. "tasty taster").

Alternate Forms:

leckerer, am leckersten
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
satt adjective full

Details:

full

Used like its English translation. There is also a related expression, sich satt essen, which means "to eat your fill," or literally, "to eat yourself full."

Example Sentences:

  1. Ich bin satt.
  2. Lars hat sich satt gegessen.
  1. I am full.
  2. Lars ate until he was full.

Grammar:

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTOR ist satt.
  1. INGESTOR is full.

Details:

full

Used like its English translation. There is also a related expression, sich satt essen, which means "to eat your fill," or literally, "to eat yourself full."

Alternate Forms:

satter, am sattesten
saufen verb drink, guzzle, booze

Details:

Irregular: säuft (present), soff (simple past), gesoffen (past participle)

This verb describes the act of drinking, as done by animals. Alternatively, the term can be applied to a human Ingestor with the meaning that they are drinking in excess (typically alcohol).

Example Sentences:

  1. Rauchen, Saufen und schlechte Nahrung sind gefährlich fuer die Gesundheit
  2. Der Hund säuft.
  3. Sie säuft eine Flasche Wein nach der Anderen.
  1. Smoking, drinking and a bad diet are dangerous for one's health
  2. The dog drinks.
  3. She drinks/guzzles one bottle of wine after another.

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 säuft.
  2. INGESTOR säuft INGESTIBLES.
  1. INGESTOR drinks.
  2. INGESTOR drinks INGESTIBLES.

Details:

Irregular: säuft (present), soff (simple past), gesoffen (past participle)

This verb describes the act of drinking, as done by animals. Alternatively, the term can be applied to a human Ingestor with the meaning that they are drinking in excess (typically alcohol).

Alternate Forms:

er säuft, hat gesoffen, saufte
schlucken verb swallow

Details:

swallow

Used like the English counterpart.

Example Sentences:

  1. Klaus schluckt die Tablette.
  2. Bei den schlechten Nachrichten musste er erstmal schlucken.
  1. Klaus swallows the pill.
  2. Hearing these bad news, he had to swallow first.

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 schluckt INGESTIBLES.
  1. INGESTOR swallows INGESTIBLES.

Details:

swallow

Used like the English counterpart.

Alternate Forms:

er schluckt, hat geschluckt, schluckte
schmecken verb taste

Details:

taste

In German, as in English, this verb can be used with either the Ingestibles or the Ingestor as the subject. When Ingestibles fill the subject role, the Ingestor can be expressed with a dative object, as in "Es schmeckt mir gut" ("It tastes good to me"). See the grammar note below concerning dative verbs.

When "schmecken" is used with the subject Ingestibles, the word "gut" is sometimes left out (esp. when speaking informally), and it is still implied that the Ingestibles taste good. Of course, other adjectives can be inserted to indicate different tastes (e.g. schlecht, sauer, süß).

Example Sentences:

  1. Das Essen schmeckt gut.
  2. Die Mutter schmeckte den Unterschied.
  3. Die Nudeln schmecken mir sehr gut.
  4. Der Koch schmeckt die Suppe.
  5. Dem Koch schmeckt die Suppe.
  1. The food tastes good.
  2. The mother tasted the difference.
  3. The noodles taste very good to me.
  4. The cook tastes the soup.
  5. To the cook, the soup tastes [good].

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 schmeckt INGESTIBLES.
  2. INGESTIBLES schmecken (gut).
  3. INGESTIBLES schmecken INGESTOR (gut).
  1. INGESTOR tastes INGESTIBLES.
  2. INGESTIBLES tastes good.
  3. INGESTIBLES tastes to INGESTOR good.

Details:

taste

In German, as in English, this verb can be used with either the Ingestibles or the Ingestor as the subject. When Ingestibles fill the subject role, the Ingestor can be expressed with a dative object, as in "Es schmeckt mir gut" ("It tastes good to me"). See the grammar note below concerning dative verbs.

When "schmecken" is used with the subject Ingestibles, the word "gut" is sometimes left out (esp. when speaking informally), and it is still implied that the Ingestibles taste good. Of course, other adjectives can be inserted to indicate different tastes (e.g. schlecht, sauer, süß).

Alternate Forms:

er schmeckt, hat geschmeckt, schmeckte
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
trinken verb drink

Details:

Used like the English counterpart, including the implication of alcohol when no Ingestibles are specified. See examples 3 and 4.

Example Sentences:

  1. Peter trinkt Limonade.
  2. Wir trinken Bier.
  3. Wir quatschen, trinken und schauen auf die Museumsinsel.
  4. Er konnte nicht mit dem Auto nach Hause fahren, weil er getrunken hatte.
  1. Peter drinks lemonade.
  2. We drink beer.
  3. We chat, drink, and look at Museum Island.
  4. He could not with the car drive home, because he had drank.

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 trinkt INGESTIBLES.
  1. INGESTOR drinks INESTIBLES.

Details:

Used like the English counterpart, including the implication of alcohol when no Ingestibles are specified. See examples 3 and 4.

Alternate Forms:

er trinkt, hat getrunken, trank
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
Details
Examples
Grammar Notes
Sentence Templates
Alternate Forms
See All Information
alkoholfrei adjective alcohol free

Details:

Used like its English equivalent.

Example Sentences:

  1. Franziskaners zwei neue Biersorten sind alkoholfrei.
  2. Ich trinke nicht gern alkoholfreies Bier.
  3. Hier werden nur alkoholfreie Getränke serviert.
  1. Franziskaner's two new kinds of beer are alcohol free.
  2. I don't like to drink alcohol free beer.
  3. Here are only alcohol free drinks served.

Grammar:

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTIBLES ist alkoholfrei.
  2. [alkoholfrei- INGESTIBLES]
  1. INGESTIBLES are alcohol free.
  2. [alcohol free INGESTIBLES]

Details:

Used like its English equivalent.

alkoholisch adjective alcoholic

Details:

This adjective is used like its English equivalent (primarily to describe drinks), but in contrast to English "alcoholic," this word cannot be used as a noun for a person addicted to alcohol (that would be "der Alkoholiker" or "die Alkoholikerin").

Example Sentences:

  1. Gibt es dort alkoholische Getränke?
  2. Ich trinke nichts alkoholisches.
  3. Peters Familie macht sich Sorgen um seine alkoholischen Exzesse.
  1. Are there alcoholic drinks there?
  2. I drink nothing alcoholic.
  3. Peter's family worries about his alcoholic excesses.

Grammar:

Adjectives in Action

There are two main ways to use adjectives in German that parallel the ways adjectives are used in English. These usages are illustrated in the table below.

Predicate AdjectivesAttributive Adjectives
1. Sara ist arbeitslos.2. Saras arbeitsloser Mann sucht einen Job.
Sara is unemployedSara's unemployed husband is looking for a job
3. Der Kunde wurde wütend.4. Der wütende Kunde verließ den Laden.
The customer became angry.The angry customer left the store.
5. Viele deutsche Wähler sind gut informiert6. Informierte Wähler sind wichtig für eine Demokratie.
Many German voters are well informed.Informed voters are important for a democracy.

Predicate adjectives are part of a sentence's predicate, the part that states something about the subject. When used in this way, as in examples (1), (3), and (5), the adjective typically follows a verb like sein ("to be") or werden ("to become"), and appears in its most basic form. Attributive adjectives directly attribute a quality to a noun by appearing before it in the sentence; no verb comes between the adjective and the noun it describes. In attributive uses, such as (2), (4), and (6), endings are added to the adjectives. At a minimum, an attributive adjective in German gets an "e" at the end, although there are several possibilities. Adjective endings are difficult to master, so if you are in your first few years of study, the take-away here is that attributive adjectives get endings (an "e" or more), and predicate adjectives do not. If you are further in your studies or just tenaciously curious, you can learn more about adjective endings here, here and here.

Comparisons using Adjectives

In the Alternate Forms tab, you can see the comparative (e.g. gut - besser, "good" - "better") and superlative (e.g. gut - am besten, "good" - "the best") forms of an adjective. German and English are similar in their uses of comparative; both languages add an "-er" ending to make comparative forms, for example: wütend, wütender ("angry, angrier"), informiert, informierter ("informed, more informed"), etc. The main difference is that English sometimes does not allow such an ending (e.g. *stupider, *informeder, *loster), but in German, the "-er" ending is always possible, and "more" does appear with an adjective to convey the comparative meaning. There are a few more rules for German comparatives and superlatives (including some irregular forms) that you can read about here.

 

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. INGESTIBLES sind alkoholisch.
  2. [alkoholisch- INGESTIBLES]
  1. INGESTIBLES are alcoholic.
  2. [alcoholic INGESTIBLES]

Details:

This adjective is used like its English equivalent (primarily to describe drinks), but in contrast to English "alcoholic," this word cannot be used as a noun for a person addicted to alcohol (that would be "der Alkoholiker" or "die Alkoholikerin").

das Getränk noun drink

Details:

drink

This noun can fill the role of Ingestibles, but doesn't always. As in English, this term can be used to refer to any type of beverage.

Example Sentences:

  1. Wir haben viele Getränke: Mineralwasser, Apfelsaft, Cola, und Bier.
  2. Ich habe mein Getränk sehr langsam getrunken.
  1. We have many drinks: mineral water, apple juice, cola, and beer.
  2. I drank my drink very slowly.

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 trinkt Getränk.
  1. INGESTOR drinks beverages.

Details:

drink

This noun can fill the role of Ingestibles, but doesn't always. As in English, this term can be used to refer to any type of beverage.

Alternate Forms:

die Getränke (pl.)
saufen verb drink, guzzle, booze

Details:

Irregular: säuft (present), soff (simple past), gesoffen (past participle)

This verb describes the act of drinking, as done by animals. Alternatively, the term can be applied to a human Ingestor with the meaning that they are drinking in excess (typically alcohol).

Example Sentences:

  1. Rauchen, Saufen und schlechte Nahrung sind gefährlich fuer die Gesundheit
  2. Der Hund säuft.
  3. Sie säuft eine Flasche Wein nach der Anderen.
  1. Smoking, drinking and a bad diet are dangerous for one's health
  2. The dog drinks.
  3. She drinks/guzzles one bottle of wine after another.

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 säuft.
  2. INGESTOR säuft INGESTIBLES.
  1. INGESTOR drinks.
  2. INGESTOR drinks INGESTIBLES.

Details:

Irregular: säuft (present), soff (simple past), gesoffen (past participle)

This verb describes the act of drinking, as done by animals. Alternatively, the term can be applied to a human Ingestor with the meaning that they are drinking in excess (typically alcohol).

Alternate Forms:

er säuft, hat gesoffen, saufte
trinken verb drink

Details:

Used like the English counterpart, including the implication of alcohol when no Ingestibles are specified. See examples 3 and 4.

Example Sentences:

  1. Peter trinkt Limonade.
  2. Wir trinken Bier.
  3. Wir quatschen, trinken und schauen auf die Museumsinsel.
  4. Er konnte nicht mit dem Auto nach Hause fahren, weil er getrunken hatte.
  1. Peter drinks lemonade.
  2. We drink beer.
  3. We chat, drink, and look at Museum Island.
  4. He could not with the car drive home, because he had drank.

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 trinkt INGESTIBLES.
  1. INGESTOR drinks INESTIBLES.

Details:

Used like the English counterpart, including the implication of alcohol when no Ingestibles are specified. See examples 3 and 4.

Alternate Forms:

er trinkt, hat getrunken, trank