ändern/verändern

gaer

Senior Member
US-English
These are extremely confusing for me. The leave me "scratching my head". :)

verändern /Vb./
1. etw. in eine andere, von der bisherigen verschiedene Form, Beschaffenheit, Zusammensetzung, Ordnung bringen, etw. umgestalten, -wandeln:

die Entdeckungen Einsteins haben unser Weltbild grundlegend verändert
während meiner Abwesenheit hat sich der Ort kaum verändert

ändern /Vb./ etw., jmdn. verändern, umgestalten: ein Kleid, etw. am Kleid ä. (umändern) (lassen);

jmd. ändert seine Absichten, Pläne; den Sinn, seinen Entschluß
daran, an der Lage läßt sich (leider) nichts ändern; ich kann es nicht ändern

I can't see a clear difference for many of these meanings. In other words, it's not clear to me where the line is.

It seems that "ändern" is simply used for "change", whereas "verändern" is used to "alter something from one thing to another". The problem is that "change" is used in all cases I can think of, in English, for meanings shown for both words.

Gaer
 
  • Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    A nice self test here.

    As a first pass, I think of ändern as to substitute (but a different to substitute than wechseln) and of verändern as to adjust.

    Jana
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Jana337 said:
    A nice self test here.

    As a first pass, I think of ändern as to substitute (but a different to substitute than wechseln) and of verändern as to adjust.

    Jana
    The test would be good if it wasn't unclear in some cases how it wants you to type or paste in the answer. :)

    I understand verändern to mean that you change something from one state to another, but it's still very fuzzy. I got most of the answer right without knowing why. Feel? Hmm…

    Gaer
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Jana337 said:
    Exactly like me. :D

    Jana

    I goofed up: Das Wetter hat sich ändert, not because I didn't have it right, but because I didn't know how to type it! It would be much better to have two answers and get to click on one or the other, right? :)

    G
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    gaer said:
    I goofed up: Das Wetter hat sich geändert, not because I didn't have it right, but because I didn't know how to type it! It would be much better to have two answers and get to click on one or the other, right? :)

    G

    I messed it up, too, but for another reason. I have some doubts about weather. I would write:

    Das Wetter ändert sich :arrow: clouds are building up, it looks like rain.

    Das Wetter verändert sich :arrow: winters are more severe than they used to be (e.g. Wetter = climate).

    Am I making an artificial distinction?

    Jana
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Jana337 said:
    I messed it up, too, but for another reason. I have some doubts about weather. I would write:

    Das Wetter ändert sich :arrow: clouds are building up, it looks like rain.

    Das Wetter verändert sich :arrow: winters are more severe than they used to be (e.g. Wetter = climate).

    Jana
    We'll have to wait for the experts to chime in, but I suspect there are cases where either word could be used, depending on the meaning and context. Which was my point in starting the thread. :)

    I have A/B tests. I like room to argue or stretch things. I'm not a black/white person. :)

    G
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    Jana337 said:
    I messed it up, too, but for another reason. I have some doubts about weather. I would write:

    Das Wetter ändert sich :arrow: clouds are building up, it looks like rain.

    Das Wetter verändert sich :arrow: winters are more severe than they used to be (e.g. Wetter = climate).

    Am I making an artificial distinction?

    Jana

    Here's my answer (from the expert :) ):

    Jana337 (but let me borrow it as my reply) said:
    Exactly like me. :D

    Jana
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    BTW, what is the correct answer for the 2nd question? I always got "Das Ergebnis ist: ... %", but never (no matter which variant I tried): "Das ist richtig".

    ...

    Ahh! I got it: Clicking on "Lösungen anzeigen" :)

    But how the hell should I know that I have to repeat the reflexive pronoun?
     

    sohc4

    Senior Member
    Germany, German
    Jana337 said:
    As a first pass, I think of ändern as to substitute (but a different to substitute than wechseln) and of verändern as to adjust.

    Jana
    I am inclined (after struggling through the test) to concur with Jana.

    Verändern is more like changing the properties of something while keeping it, whereas ändern is rather the exchange of one thing by another.

    "Wir ändern den Plan" - we replace Plan A with Plan B
    "Wir verändern den Plan" - we only adjust the details

    "Die Geheimnummer ändern" - by replacing it by another PIN
    "Die Geheimnummer verändern" - by swapping two digits

    Certainly there are other examples in which ändern and verändern may be interchangeable, as in the weather example.

    Does that make sense?

    Axl
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    whodunit said:
    BTW, what is the correct answer for the 2nd question? I always got "Das Ergebnis ist: ... %", but never (no matter which variant I tried): "Das ist richtig".

    ...

    Ahh! I got it: Clicking on "Lösungen anzeigen" :)

    But how the hell should I know that I have to repeat the reflexive pronoun?
    The little program is quirky, isn't it?

    I would suggest using "how in the world" in place of "how in the hell", because the first sounds pretty strong in English. I may have used it myself, but I shouldn't here. :)

    Gaer
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    gaer said:
    The little program is quirky, isn't it?

    I would suggest using "how in the world" in place of "how in the hell", because the first sounds pretty strong in English. I may have used it myself, but I shouldn't here. :)

    Gaer

    Yes, it is. (quirky is a funny word)

    In German, we would say "wie zum Teufel/zur Hölle/maybe: zum Kuckuck ...", and it doesn't sound that strong here, I think.
     

    Jana337

    Senior Member
    čeština
    sohc4 said:
    Certainly there are other examples in which ändern and verändern may be interchangeable, as in the weather example.

    Does that make sense?

    Axl

    Thank you for concurring with me in the general case, but, hmmm, I did not mean the ändern/verändern as interchangeable in the weather example. Would you please elaborate on it a little bit?

    Jana
     

    sohc4

    Senior Member
    Germany, German
    Jana337 said:
    Thank you for concurring with me in the general case, but, hmmm, I did not mean the ändern/verändern as interchangeable in the weather example. Would you please elaborate on it a little bit?

    Jana
    You caught me ;). Yes, you didn't mean they are interchangeable in that example, and your example was to prove that.

    I just went through the test again and at second thought, I must say that even it the examples where both ändern and verändern are acceptable, they may not be interchangeable.

    Axl
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    …nicht leicht zu ändern
    …nicht leicht zu verändern

    Would someone explain the difference here? This is another pair of words that always :arrow: make my head spin. :)

    Gaer
     

    Whodunit

    Senior Member
    Deutschland ~ Deutsch/Sächsisch
    gaer said:
    …nicht leicht zu ändern
    …nicht leicht zu verändern

    Would someone explain the difference here? This is another pair of words that always :arrow: make my head spin. :)

    Gaer

    Der erste Satz ist gebräuchlicher. :)

    Mein Versuch, es zu erklären:

    "zu ändern" --- es ist ein Abstrakt (Substantiv, was man nicht anfassen kann, z.B. Umstände), um welches es hier geht. Man kann Abstrakta ändern, aber nicht verändern.

    "zu verändern" --- es geht hier um richtige Gegenstände, wie "eine Wand". Man kann eine Wand verändern, indem sie tapeziert oder gestrichen, gefliest oder abgeputzt wird. ;)

    Ich hoffe, es klappt in den meisten Fällen. :arrow: Angaben ohne Gewehr! :)
     

    jorge_val_ribera

    Senior Member
    Español
    Whodunit said:
    Der erste Satz ist gebräuchlicher. :)

    Mein Versuch, es zu erklären:

    "zu ändern" --- es ist ein Abstrakt (Substantiv, was man nicht anfassen kann, z.B. Umstände), um welches es hier geht. Man kann Abstrakta ändern, aber nicht verändern.

    "zu verändern" --- es geht hier um richtige Gegenstände, wie "eine Wand". Man kann eine Wand verändern, indem sie tapeziert oder gestrichen, gefliest oder abgeputzt wird. ;)

    Ich hoffe, es klappt in den meisten Fällen. :arrow: Angaben ohne Gewehr! :)

    Gewehr? :confused:
     

    Hutschi

    Senior Member
    Das Problem ist, dass sich beide Wörter in sehr vielen konkreten Fällen völlig synonym verhalten. Der Unterschied ist dann höchstens gefühlsmäßig oder klanglich.

    Wenn ich etwas ändere, verändere ich es gleichzeitig - und umgekehrt.

    Nur die Betrachtungsweise unterscheidet sich gegebenenfalls.

    Hier hilft dann - manchmal - die von Whodunit angegebene Regel.

    Wenn meine Frau sagt: "Du wirst dich niemals ändern", dann meint sie das abstrakte, insbesondere das Verhalten. Bei "Du hast dich aber ganz schön verändert" meint sie dagegen eher das Aussehen. Sicher ist das aber nicht.

    Wenn ich auf "Edit" klicke und etwas zum Artikel zufüge, etwas entferne, etwas tausche - in jedem Fall habe ich ihn sowohl geändert als auch verändert.

    Bei "verändern" steht vielleicht noch der graduelle Prozess im Mittelpunkt. Aber auch das ist nicht immer sicher.

    Ich habe eine gewisse Intuition, wann ich welches der beiden Wörter verwende, sicher bin ich mir aber nicht in jedem Fall.
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Das Problem ist, dass sich beide Wörter in sehr vielen konkreten Fällen völlig synonym verhalten. Der Unterschied ist dann höchstens gefühlsmäßig oder klanglich.
    Well, since the last message was from Jana, 16th July 2005, 04:57 AM, this may be a forum record for a late response. ;)
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    New record. I need a Guinness, please. :)

    See also: http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=886522
    There was a link to this one, I answered here, because the reader there did not understand it fully.

    As far as I understand the forum, it helps: 1. the original poster, 2. all who answer, 3. readers who read it at a later time.
    Ah, Hutschi, I discovered today that someone mentioned "ändern/verändern" in that thread. So I see the connection now! ;)

    So you can have the Guinness Record, I'll settle for a Guinness Beer! :)

    Now, have we "changed the thread" or "modified" it? LOL

    Gaer
     
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