A little bit goes a long way

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by deltron, Feb 23, 2015.

  1. deltron Senior Member

    English (American)

    I've encountered a pretty useful English phrase that I can't find a satisfactory German translation for:

    "A little bit goes a long way"

    For context, I was cooking with a friend and wanted to explain that the curry that we were using was really potent, and that even a small amount can make the entire dish spicy. In English we would simply say "Be careful with that curry, a little bit goes a long way."

    My attempt was "Pass auf mit der Currypasta, ein kleiner bisschen hat eine sehr große Wirkung." So, that wasn't too readily understood. I've asked a few different native speakers, and they've all told me the phrase will change depending on the context (too spicy, too sweet, too salty, etc.). Do any German speakers out there have a handy Redewendung to illustrate this concept?

  2. Frieder

    Frieder Senior Member

    Weniger ist mehr, perhaps?
  3. deltron Senior Member

    English (American)
    Hi Frieder, thanks for the reply. We also have the "less is more" concept in English. We apply it mostly to fashion or design/decoration. The idea, for example, would be to wear one nice ring instead of 10 gaudy rings.

    Would it sound natural to say "Pass auf mit diesem Curry--weniger ist mehr."?
  4. ayuda?

    ayuda? Senior Member

    A few other suggestions for “a little bit goes a long way”
    From this link: http://www.linguee.com/english-german/translation/a+little+goes+a+long+way.html [a little goes a long way]
    They should be valid in this context, too:

    Wenig kann sehr viel bewirken
    eine kleine Menge genügt
    Kleine Menge, große Wirkung.
    Es reicht bloß nur ein kleinwenig/ein klein bißchen
    an die Muttersprachler?? da wenig ein langer Weg geht [Do German speakers actually use this also??]

    As for using certain words like: too salty, sweet, spicy: [I’m only sure of the one. There must be single verbs to express the others also.]
    versaltzen= to oversalt
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2015
  5. perny Senior Member

    I liked these ones from Linguee:

    - ein wenig (von) etw. reicht oft sehr weit
    - ein bisschen etw. können Wunder wirken
    - ein kleines etw./jdn ein langer Weg gehen
    - viel zu tun vermögen
    - sehr weit gehen/kommen.

    Especially this one,

    Ein Löffelchen voll Zucker viel zu tun vermag.
  6. Frieder

    Frieder Senior Member

    I really HATE this weniger ist mehr!
    Weniger can never be mehr.
    Less is always less, let's not sugarcoat it.

    I like kleine Menge, große Wirkung.

    da wenig ein langer Weg geht [Do German speakers actually use this also??]
    Definitely not. I couldn't even translate this.
    Weniger geht weiter?
    Wenig reicht weit?
    No. Definitely not.

  7. Resa Reader

    Resa Reader Senior Member

    Unfortunately, Linguee is not reliable. The phrases you find there are just a collection of translations, but nobody guarantees you that they are correct.
  8. Schlabberlatz Senior Member

    German - Germany
    Unfortunately, that is true. There are lots of translations there that have been done by computers.
    Me too. Seems to be a variation on "kleine Ursache, große Wirkung".

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