schreiben / niederschreiben

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by koskon, Feb 4, 2013.

  1. koskon Member

    I have met already these two words and asked my teacher where is the difference? She said these two words do not differ from meaning. Then, I asked one austrian friend and he said almost the same. I am totally confused. So, could somone explain it to me?
    Thanks in advance.
  2. Hutschi

    Hutschi Senior Member

    Dresden, Universum
    German, Germany
    both mean basically the same.
    "Schreiben" is neutral, however.
    "Etwas niederschreiben" might indicate that it is on paper. Additionally it emphasizes that there is a result.

    The usage is different.

    In some cases only one is possible.

    Ich schreibe einen Brief/ein Buch/eine Rede.

    Ich schreibe etwas nieder. (Eine Nachricht, einen Satz)

    In following context I can give you an example where the meaning is different.

    Ich schreibe eine Rede. = Ich bereite eine Rede vor, die ich zugleich aufschreibe.
    Ich schreibe die Rede nieder. = Ich schreibe eine Rede auf, die bereits gehalten wurde oder gerade gehalten wird, meist von jemand anderem. Der Text steht bereits fest.
  3. ABBA Stanza Senior Member

    Hessen, DE
    English (UK)
    Another example where the two verbs are not synonymous:

    Das Programm schreibt die Ergebnisse in eine Datei. :tick:
    Das Programm schreibt die Ergebnisse in eine Datei nieder.

  4. Kajjo

    Kajjo Senior Member

    Deutschland (Hamburg)
    Dear Koskon, to make it simple: Just use "schreiben", it is correct in almost all cases I can think of.

    "Niederschreiben" has a formal, legal, somewhat old-fashioned connotation like "to write something down" or " to put down in writing" have in English. It can only be used if the writing is used in the literal sense of making letters on paper. It is mostly used when the writing is done for record in the sense of a formal or legal document. It is also used to emphasize of first having an idea and then writing this idea down, but still carries the connotation of being old-fashioned or formal.

    I recommend to avoid "niederschreiben" if not absolutely sure it is the right context to use it. "Schreiben" is the normal word to use.

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