Frame description

A person, the Cognizer, thinks about a Topic over a period of time. What is thought about may be a course of action that the person might take, or something more general. 

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Frame Elements

Frame Element descriptions (on hover):

The person doing the mental activity (i.e. thinking). This frame element is typically the grammatical subject.

The subject of the Cognizer’s thoughts (i.e. what the Cognizer is thinking about).

Details
Examples
Grammar Notes
Sentence Templates
Alternate Forms
See All Information
das Denken noun thought

Details:

thought, thinking

"Das Denken" is the nominal form of the verb "denken." It denotes thought in the general sense, and is not used to describe individual "thoughts" (see der Gedanke). Some common collocations are: "abstraktes Denken" ("abstract thought"), "westliches Denken" ("western thought"), and "logisches Denken" ("logical thought").

Example Sentences:

  1. Auf dem Test stehen Aufgaben zum logischen Denken.
  2. Forscher versuchen, Computern das Denken beizubringen.
  3. In ihrer Rede erklärte Merkel ihr außenpolitisches Denken.
  4. Wie Lesen unser Denken beeinflussen kann, zeigt dieser Artikel von D. Casasanto.
  1. On the test there are tasks about logical thinking.
  2. Researchers are trying to teach thought to computers.
  3. In her speech, Merkel explained her foreign policy thinking.
  4. How reading can influence our thought, shows this article from D. Casasanto.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. [COGNIZERs Denken]
  1. [COGNIZER's thought]

Details:

thought, thinking

"Das Denken" is the nominal form of the verb "denken." It denotes thought in the general sense, and is not used to describe individual "thoughts" (see der Gedanke). Some common collocations are: "abstraktes Denken" ("abstract thought"), "westliches Denken" ("western thought"), and "logisches Denken" ("logical thought").

denken (an) verb to think (about)

Details:

to think (about)

This verb is used very much like its English equivalent, and the two are related etymologically. Just as in English, this verb has different senses that evoke different Thinking frames. In the Pondering frame, this verb conveys thinking as a mental activity; as described in the frame description, the Cognizer thinks about a Topic for some length of time.

To express a Topic with this verb, use the preposition "an" with the accusative case.

Example Sentences:

  1. Michael denkt oft an seine Kindheit.
  2. Sonja war so nervös, sie konnte nicht klar denken.
  3. Erst denken, dann reden!
  4. Und sofort dachte ich an Leon.
  5. Er mußte an die Zeit denken, als er mit Freunden im Sommer durch Europa gereist war.
  6. Sie dachte an nichts. 
  7. Viele junge Genossen dachten karrieristisch.
  1. Michael thinks often about his childhood.
  2. Sonja was so nervous, she could not think clearly.
  3. Think before you speak! (Lit. First think, then speak)
  4. And immediately I thought about Leon.
  5. He had to think about the time when he had travelled with friends in the summer through Europe.
  6. She thought about nothing.
  7. Many young comrades thought career-mindedly.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. COGNIZER denkt.
  2. COGNIZER an TOPIC.
  1. COGNIZER thinks.
  2. COGNIZER thinks about TOPIC.

Details:

to think (about)

This verb is used very much like its English equivalent, and the two are related etymologically. Just as in English, this verb has different senses that evoke different Thinking frames. In the Pondering frame, this verb conveys thinking as a mental activity; as described in the frame description, the Cognizer thinks about a Topic for some length of time.

To express a Topic with this verb, use the preposition "an" with the accusative case.

Alternate Forms:

(er) denkt, dachte, hat gedacht
der Gedanke noun thought, idea

Details:

thought, idea

In contrast to "das Denken" ("thought," "thinking"), "der Gedanke" refers to individual thoughts. It is a weak noun, which means that when it is in a case, it gets an extra "n" as in: "Ich bin auf einen Gedanken gekommen" ("I came to a thought/idea"). For more on weak nouns, see Grimm Grammar.

There are several options for encoding a TOPIC: the preposition "an" in the accusative case, an infinitive clause, or a dependent clause with "dass" ("that"). See examples and sentence templates for more information.

This noun also appears in the Thinking: Opinion frame.

Example Sentences:

  1. Klaus hat oft negative Gedanken.
  2. Bei dem Gedanken an den Krieg beginnt sie zu weinen.
  3. Er wollte diesen Gedanken nicht denken.
  4. Ein Gedanke geht mir durch den Kopf.
  5. Unsere Gedanken sind heute bei Eduard Gutknecht.
  6. Sami war in Gedanken verloren.
  7. Die Gedanken, mit denen man aus der Ausstellung geht, hat der Kritiker zusammengefasst.
  8. Der junge Mann ist auf den Gedanken gekommen, eine Bank zu überfallen.
  9. Ihm kommt der Gedanke, dass seine Musik das Baby wecken könnte.
  1. Klaus has often negative thoughts.
  2. At the thought of the war she begins to cry.
  3. He didn't want to think these thoughts.
  4. A thought goes through my head.
  5. Our thoughts are today with Eduard Gutknecht.
  6. Sami was in thoughts lost.
  7. The thoughts, with which one out of the exhibit goes, summarized the critic.
  8. The young man came to the idea to rob a bank.
  9. To him comes the thought that his music could wake the baby.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. [COGNIZERs Gedanke]
  2. [der Gedanke an TOPIC.accusative]
  3. [bei dem Gedanken an TOPIC.accusative]
  4. [COGNIZERs Gedanken sind bei TOPIC.person]
  5. COGNIZER kommt auf den Gedanken, TOPIC.Infinitivsatz.
  6. Der Gedanke kommt COGNIZER.dative, dass...
  1. [COGNIZER's thought]
  2. [the thought of TOPIC]
  3. [at the thought of TOPIC]
  4. [COGNIZER's thoughts are with TOPIC.person]
  5. COGNIZER comes to the thought/idea, TOPIC.infinitive_clause.
  6. The thought comes to COGNIZER, that...

Details:

thought, idea

In contrast to "das Denken" ("thought," "thinking"), "der Gedanke" refers to individual thoughts. It is a weak noun, which means that when it is in a case, it gets an extra "n" as in: "Ich bin auf einen Gedanken gekommen" ("I came to a thought/idea"). For more on weak nouns, see Grimm Grammar.

There are several options for encoding a TOPIC: the preposition "an" in the accusative case, an infinitive clause, or a dependent clause with "dass" ("that"). See examples and sentence templates for more information.

This noun also appears in the Thinking: Opinion frame.

Alternate Forms:

die Gedanken (pl.); den/dem Gedanken (akk./dat.), des Gedankens (gen.)
die Idee noun idea

Details:

idea

Used similarly to English "idea," often in combination with "zu" ("to"), as in "er hatte die Idee, das Geld früher als geplant zu nehmen" ("he had the idea to take the money earlier than planned"). See Grimm Grammar for details on infinitive clauses. 

This noun also appears in the Thinking: Awareness frame, where its meaning concerns the Cognizer's ideas about (i.e. understanding of) the world.

Example Sentences:

  1. Er hat eine Idee, vielleicht die originellste seines Lebens.
  2. Sascha kommt plötzlich auf die Idee zu verreisen.
  3. Wie, um alles in der Welt, waren wir auf so eine Idee gekommen?
  4. Mir kommt plötzlich eine Idee!
  5. Du bringst mich auf eine Idee.
  6. Die Idee von Gründern, viele private Kunden zu erreichen, hat sich oftmals als eher schwierig und teuer erwiesen.
  1. He has an idea, maybe the most original of his life.
  2. Sascha comes suddenly to the idea to travel.
  3. How, in all the world, had we come to such an idea?
  4. To me comes suddenly an idea!
  5. You gave me an idea. (Lit. You brought me to an idea.)
  6. The idea of the founders, many private customers to reach, had proved itself ofen as rather difficult and expensive.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. COGNIZER hat eine Idee.
  2. COGNIZER kommt auf die Idee, TOPIC.Infinitivsatz.
  3. [COGNIZERs Idee]
  4. [Idee über TOPIC]
  1. COGNIZER has an idea.
  2. COGNIZER gets the idea, TOPIC.infinitive_clause.
  3. [COGNIZER's idea]
  4. [Idea about TOPIC]

Details:

idea

Used similarly to English "idea," often in combination with "zu" ("to"), as in "er hatte die Idee, das Geld früher als geplant zu nehmen" ("he had the idea to take the money earlier than planned"). See Grimm Grammar for details on infinitive clauses. 

This noun also appears in the Thinking: Awareness frame, where its meaning concerns the Cognizer's ideas about (i.e. understanding of) the world.

Alternate Forms:

die Ideen (pl.)
nachdenken (über) verb to reflect (on), to ponder, to contemplate, to consider

Details:

to reflect (on), to ponder, to contemplate, to consider

This verb entails a deeper kind of thinking than "denken." This is the kind of thinking conveyed in phrases such as "thought-provoking" ("zum Nachdenken anregend") or "it really makes you think" ("es bringt einen zum Nachdenken"). 

English has many potential translation equivalents for "nachdenken," including simply "to think."

Example Sentences:

  1. Er denkt nicht viel nach.
  2. Bevor ich eine Entscheidung treffe, muss ich ein bisschen nachdenken.
  3. Ich weiß es nicht; darüber habe ich noch nicht nachgedacht.
  4. Der CSU-Chef hat die CDU aufgefordert, über eine Zusammenarbeit mit den Grünen nachzudenken.
  5. Je länger er über die Jacke nachdachte, desto unwohler fühlte er sich.
  6. Niemand würde über seinen Tod nachdenken.
  1. He doesn't think deeply much.
  2. Before I make a decision, I must reflect a little.
  3. I don't know that; I have not yet reflected on that.
  4. The CSU-leader challenged the CDU to consider a collaboration with the Green party.
  5. The longer he thought about the jacket, the more uneasy he felt.
  6. No one would contemplate his death.

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. COGNIZER denkt nach.
  2. COGNIZER denkt über TOPIC nach.
  1. COGNIZER reflects.
  2. COGNIZER reflects on TOPIC.

Details:

to reflect (on), to ponder, to contemplate, to consider

This verb entails a deeper kind of thinking than "denken." This is the kind of thinking conveyed in phrases such as "thought-provoking" ("zum Nachdenken anregend") or "it really makes you think" ("es bringt einen zum Nachdenken"). 

English has many potential translation equivalents for "nachdenken," including simply "to think."

Alternate Forms:

(er) denkt nach, dachte nach, hat nachgedacht
sich fragen verb to wonder

Details:

to wonder, lit. to ask oneself

This verb is used with an accusative reflexive pronoun, as in "ich frage mich, warum du da bist" ("I wonder why you are here"). The meaning of this verb is similar to "überlegen" ("to think over"), and similarly, "sich fragen" is often used with a dependent clause introduced by a question word (see examples 1 and 4-6).

Example Sentences:

  1. Jenna fragt sich, was morgen passiert.
  2. "Und was hat er bloß?" wird sie sich fragen.
  3. Das frag' ich mich auch.
  4. Obwohl sie sich fragte, was es da noch zu besprechen gab.
  5. Und im Zeitalter der unmittelbaren Kommunikation kann man sich fragen, ob Realismus moralisch ist.
  6. Aber man darf sich fragen, warum sollte ein Bankier so viel Geld durch sein Institut laufen lassen, ohne irgendetwas daran zu verdienen.
  1. Jenna wonders, what will happen tomorrow.
  2. "And just what does he have?" will she wonder.
  3. That I wonder also.
  4. Although she wondered what there was there to discuss.
  5. And in the time period of direct communication one can wonder whether realism is moral.
  6. But one may wonder, why should a banker let so much money through his institute run, without earning something from it.

Grammar:

Reflexive Verbs and Pronouns

Verbs that are used reflexively often carry a reciprocal meaning or the meaning that the subject is performing the action of the verb on themself, although some abstract verbs are used reflexively without such meanings. In any case, the reflexive pronouns and word order are the same. As a general rule, the reflexive pronoun should appear just after the subject, although the V2 rule trumps this one, so in a basic sentence, you will find: subject, verb, reflexive (e.g. Er verliebt sich in Melanie, "He is falling in love with Melanie"). For further examples, consult the Examples sections of reflexive verbs. Click here for further explanation.

NominativAkkusativDativ
ichmichmir
dudichdir
er/sie/essichsich
wirunsuns
ihreucheuch
sie/Siesichsich

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. COGNIZER fragt sich, ob/warum/wer/wann/usw...
  2. TOPIC fragt sich COGNIZER.
  1. COGNIZER wonders, whether/why/who/when/etc...
  2. COGNIZER wonders TOPIC.

Details:

to wonder, lit. to ask oneself

This verb is used with an accusative reflexive pronoun, as in "ich frage mich, warum du da bist" ("I wonder why you are here"). The meaning of this verb is similar to "überlegen" ("to think over"), and similarly, "sich fragen" is often used with a dependent clause introduced by a question word (see examples 1 and 4-6).

Alternate Forms:

(er) fragt sich, hat sich gefragt, fragte sich
sich Gedanken machen (über) multi-word expression to contemplate, to think over, to give thought (to)

Details:

to contemplate, to think over, to give thought to, lit. to make oneself thoughts

 This expression is very similar in meaning to "überlegen" ("to think over") and "nachdenken" ("to reflect," "to contemplate"), but can also be used in way that is closer to "sich Sorgen machen" ("to worry"), as in "Wir machen uns keine Gedanken, wie viele Punkte sie haben" ("We aren't worried about how many points they have").

This expression can be used with the Cognizer only, or with the Topic expressed in either a prepositional phrase (with "über" or "um" meaning "about") or in a whole dependent clause. The dependent clause can be an infinitive clause (where English would use use -ing), as in "Ich mache mir Gedanken, ein Auto zu kaufen" ("I'm giving thought to buying a car"). Alternatively, the dependent clause can be introduced with a question word (but watch that word order!).

Example Sentences:

  1. Joachim macht sich Gedanken.
  2. Die Firma macht sich keine Gedanken über die Balance zwischen Nachfrage und Angebot.
  3. Ich habe mir schon Gedanken gemacht, ein neues Projekt anzufangen.
  4. Man muss sich Gedanken machen, aber man darf sich nicht verrückt machen lassen.
  5. Ich mache mir konkret Gedanken, wie wir die Belastung verteilen können.
  6. Darüber machen wir uns Gedanken.
  7. Über manche Dinge sollte man sich einfach nicht zu viele Gedanken machen.
  8. Der Italiener macht sich aber Gedanken um neue Ausfälle.
  1. Joachim is contemplating/worrying.
  2. The firm is not thinking about the balance between demand and supply.
  3. I contemplated starting a new project.
  4. One must contemplate, but one may not let oneself be made crazy.
  5. I am concretely thinking over how we can spread the burden.
  6. To that we are giving thought.
  7. About some things should one simply not too much thought give.
  8. The Italian however, is giving thought to new losses.

Grammar:

Reflexive Verbs and Pronouns

Verbs that are used reflexively often carry a reciprocal meaning or the meaning that the subject is performing the action of the verb on themself, although some abstract verbs are used reflexively without such meanings. In any case, the reflexive pronouns and word order are the same. As a general rule, the reflexive pronoun should appear just after the subject, although the V2 rule trumps this one, so in a basic sentence, you will find: subject, verb, reflexive (e.g. Er verliebt sich in Melanie, "He is falling in love with Melanie"). For further examples, consult the Examples sections of reflexive verbs. Click here for further explanation.

NominativAkkusativDativ
ichmichmir
dudichdir
er/sie/essichsich
wirunsuns
ihreucheuch
sie/Siesichsich

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. COGNIZER macht sich Gedanken.
  2. COGNIZER macht sich Gedanken über TOPIC.
  3. COGNIZER macht sich Gedanken, wie/wer/warum/usw...TOPIC.
  4. COGNIZER macht sich Gedanken, TOPIC.Infinitivsatz.
  5. COGNIZER macht sich Gedanken um TOPIC.
  1. COGNIZER contemplates.
  2. COGNIZER gives thought to TOPIC.
  3. COGNIZER gives thought to how/who/why/etc...TOPIC.
  4. COGNIZER contemplates TOPIC.-ing_clause.
  5. COGNIZER gives thought to TOPIC.

Details:

to contemplate, to think over, to give thought to, lit. to make oneself thoughts

 This expression is very similar in meaning to "überlegen" ("to think over") and "nachdenken" ("to reflect," "to contemplate"), but can also be used in way that is closer to "sich Sorgen machen" ("to worry"), as in "Wir machen uns keine Gedanken, wie viele Punkte sie haben" ("We aren't worried about how many points they have").

This expression can be used with the Cognizer only, or with the Topic expressed in either a prepositional phrase (with "über" or "um" meaning "about") or in a whole dependent clause. The dependent clause can be an infinitive clause (where English would use use -ing), as in "Ich mache mir Gedanken, ein Auto zu kaufen" ("I'm giving thought to buying a car"). Alternatively, the dependent clause can be introduced with a question word (but watch that word order!).

Alternate Forms:

(er) macht sich Gedanken, hat sich Gedanken gemacht, machte sich Gedanken
überlegen verb to think over, to contemplate, to consider, to wonder

Details:

to think over, to consider, to wonder, to think about

Like its near synonym, "nachdenken," this verb indicates a deeper kind of thinking. "Überlegen" has a slight connotation of reasoning or figuring out, while "nachdenken" focuses on contemplation, reflection, or analysis.

To express a Topic of contemplation, "überlegen" can be used with a dependent clause headed by a question word (as in sentence template 3). This configuration can also be used to express that a Cognizer is wondering about a Topic. Whether this meaning is intended is only discernable from context.

This verb can also be used with a reflexive pronoun in the dative case, as in "das überlege ich mir" ("that I'll think over"). The difference in meaning between "überlegen" and "sich überlegen" is negligible, but dictionaries typically characterize "überlegen" as an activity like thinking something through before coming to a decision, while they describe "sich überlegen" as something more akin to thinking through in the sense of calculating. 

Example Sentences:

  1. Celia überlegt, noch ein Jahr in Deutschland zu bleiben.
  2. Lass mich kurz überlegen.
  3. Der Arzt überlegt eine bessere Lösung.
  4. Ich habe es mir überlegt, und ich habe mich entschlossen, nicht mitzumachen.
  5. Gunnar überlegt sich, warum er an der Universität nicht angenommen wurde.
  6. Ich überlegte kurz, ob ich mein Glas heben sollte.
  1. Celia is considering staying in Germany for another year.
  2. Let me think it over for a while.
  3. The doctor is considering a better solution.
  4. I considered it, and I decided not to participate.
  5. Gunnar wonders why he wasn't accepted at the university.
  6. I think over quickly, whether I should raise my glass.

Grammar:

Reflexive Verbs and Pronouns

Verbs that are used reflexively often carry a reciprocal meaning or the meaning that the subject is performing the action of the verb on themself, although some abstract verbs are used reflexively without such meanings. In any case, the reflexive pronouns and word order are the same. As a general rule, the reflexive pronoun should appear just after the subject, although the V2 rule trumps this one, so in a basic sentence, you will find: subject, verb, reflexive (e.g. Er verliebt sich in Melanie, "He is falling in love with Melanie"). For further examples, consult the Examples sections of reflexive verbs. Click here for further explanation.

NominativAkkusativDativ
ichmichmir
dudichdir
er/sie/essichsich
wirunsuns
ihreucheuch
sie/Siesichsich

Templates with Frame Elements:

  1. COGNIZER überlegt.
  2. COGNIZER contemplates TOPIC.
  3. COGNIZER überlegt, TOPIC.Infinitivsatz.
  4. COGNIZER überlegt sich, was/wie/ob/warum...
  1. COGNIZER contemplates.
  2. COGNIZER contemplates TOPIC.
  3. COGNIZER contemplates TOPIC.-ing_clause.
  4. COGNIZER considers, what/how/whether/why...

Details:

to think over, to consider, to wonder, to think about

Like its near synonym, "nachdenken," this verb indicates a deeper kind of thinking. "Überlegen" has a slight connotation of reasoning or figuring out, while "nachdenken" focuses on contemplation, reflection, or analysis.

To express a Topic of contemplation, "überlegen" can be used with a dependent clause headed by a question word (as in sentence template 3). This configuration can also be used to express that a Cognizer is wondering about a Topic. Whether this meaning is intended is only discernable from context.

This verb can also be used with a reflexive pronoun in the dative case, as in "das überlege ich mir" ("that I'll think over"). The difference in meaning between "überlegen" and "sich überlegen" is negligible, but dictionaries typically characterize "überlegen" as an activity like thinking something through before coming to a decision, while they describe "sich überlegen" as something more akin to thinking through in the sense of calculating. 

Alternate Forms:

(er) überlegt, überlegte, hat überlegt