False friends

False friends sind Wörter in zwei Sprachen, die eine Ähnlichkeit aufweisen, allerdings unterschiedliche Bedeutungen haben. Die Beispiele beziehen sich auf fatal, gültig und oldtimer.

Beispiel I: fatal
You mean: fatal (Das Hochwasser hat fatale Folgen für die Anwohner.)
You should say: disastrous (The flood has disastrous consequences for the residents.)
You should not say: fatal
Why not?: fatal = tödlich

False friend: sympathetic

Sympathetic – (adjective) feeling compassionate or sorry for someone’s situation (German: teilnahmsvoll)
Does NOT mean: sympathisch, or likeable
Example: “She felt sympathetic towards him when she heard he lost his job.”
in this sentence, sympathetic means she feels sorry for him, not that she is likeable.


False friend: irritated

Irritated – (adjective) annoyed, angered (German: gereizt)
Does NOT mean: irritiert, or confused
Example: “I was irritated because of the heavy traffic.”
à in this sentence, irritated refers to how they feel (annoyed, not confused).

False friend: sensible

Sensible – (adjective) rational, having good sense (German: sinnvoll)
Does NOT mean: sensibel, or sensitive
Example: “He’s a sensible guy; he usually makes the right choices.”
à in this sentence, sensible means he’s smart or practical, not that he’s sensitive.


False friend: eventual

Eventual/eventually – (adjective/adverb) happening later, ultimate. (German: schließlich)
Does NOT mean: eventuell, or maybe
Example: “I will eventually move to Germany”
à in this sentence, eventually means later, not maybe

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