3 German Phrases you probably don’t know

One of the ideas behind German Words Explained was to explain the words in German that students usually neither learn in school or at university.  In addition to some words, there are some set phrases that I heard for the first time whilst I was a student in Germany.

I found them relatively complex at the time, and yet they play an important role in the German language – particularly for television viewers.  And I am obviously not alone, since I have heard from others who have lived here and who remember – sometimes fondly – these phrases as something particular to Germany.

Here are my favourites:

1. Zu Risiken und Nebenwirkungen lesen Sie die Packungbeilage und fragen Sie Ihren Arzt oder Apotheker

Box of Tablets ©iStockphoto.com/RazvanThis phrase is announced very quickly after any form of advertisement for medicine.  It warns you that to find out about any risks or side-effects you should read the documentation included in the packaging and ask either your doctor or pharmacist.

My assumption is because that if you were not told to do this, and suffered a side-effect, you could try and take the manufacturer to court because they did not warn you about them.

2. Der Rechtsweg ist ausgeschlossen

You see this on almost any form of competition.  As far as I understand this use, it means that you cannot take the organiser of a competition to court to claim the prizes.  Something similar to “the judge’s decision is final”.

3. Alle Angaben sind ohne Gewähr

Lottery Balls ©iStockphoto.com/Marina_PhThis is used most commonly when announcing the winning numbers in the lottery each week.  It is meant to protect the broadcaster in the event that either the announcer says a wrong number or the on-screen graphic is incorrect.  Image what would happen if you thought you had won but it turned out that the numbers had been wrong!

Can you think of any others?  If so, please leave a comment!


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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for AllThingsGerman.net since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


  1. In my opinion the most important phrasing for a better future for all is:

    Bankrottpolitik abwählen
    Staatsbankrott abwenden


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