Offen / Geöffnet


Castellano/Spanish (Argentina)
What is the difference between offen and geöffnet, and when should I use each one?

(I've heard: 'Die geschäfte sind offen' and 'Die geschäfte sind geöffnet')

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  • mannibreuckmann

    Senior Member
    Auf den ersten Blick scheinen die Wörter synonym verwendet zu werden.

    Es gibt aber doch einen Unterschied, der sich aus den Eigenschaften Adjektiv (offen) und Partizip (geöffnet - von öffnen) ergibt.

    "Geöffnet" setzt meiner Meinung nach einen Agens voraus, der öffnen kann. Das Ergebnis wäre "offen". "Geöffnet" kann also immer durch "offen" ersetzt werden.

    Unkehrt geht das nicht. Dinge können offen sein, ohne dass es einen zugehörigen Agens gibt.

    Deshalb kann aus einer "offenen Frage" keine "geöffnete Frage" werden.


    Senior Member
    German;southern tendencies
    offen is an ordinary adjective meaning open.
    geöffnet is the past participle of öffnen (to open) and literally means "opened" ("open as the result of the opening action").
    The are often interchangeable.
    (I've heard: 'Die Geschäfte sind offen' and 'Die Geschäfte sind geöffnet')
    Both are correct and have the same meaing here. offen is generally perceived to be more colloquial than geöffnet.
    Unkehrt geht das nicht. Dinge können offen sein, ohne dass es einen zugehörigen Agens gibt.

    Deshalb kann aus einer "offenen Frage" keine "geöffnete Frage" werden.
    Good point!


    German (Germany)
    In principle, German offen/geöffnet is the same as English open/opened. Living in a French speaking area, I know from experience that speakers of Romance languages often have problems understanding the difference between open and opened in English too. But unless you tell me the contrary, I’ll assume you understand the difference in English.

    In English the shops are *opened would be wrong. The reason why you can say in German die Geschäfte sind geöffnet is because German has, contrary to English, two different passive voice forms: One (called Vorgangspassiv) describes the action performed on an object: die Geschäfte werden geöffnet. This means that the shops are in the process of being opened. The other (called Zustandspassiv) describes state of an object created by an action having been performed on it: die Geschäfte sind geöffnet. Hence the Zustandspassiv expresses the same thing as die Geschäfte sind offen and hence, the two can be used interchangeably. This is of course not possible, as mannibreuckmann wrote correctly, if the openness of an object is a property which it possessed since inception and which is not the result of a past action, as in his example die Frage ist offen where it is indeed not possible to say die Frage ist *geöffnet.


    Senior Member
    If you compare to "geschlossen", this is both the contrary to "offen" and "geöffnet".

    The form "zu" is only available as adverb, not as adjective - except in coll. language where you could say in some regions or sociolects: "die zue Tür".

    Actually this means for "offen" and "geöffnet" that we can remember where it comes from, but in many contexts they are synonyms (der Laden ist offen/geöffnet).

    In other context only one of them is correct (offene Rede) or they have indeed different meanings: (Offene Tür, geöffnete Tür).

    It is not possible to say die Frage ist *geöffnet. But you can say: "Die Rednerliste ist eröffnet." "Eröffnet" means basically the same as "geöffnet" but is the only idiomatic form here. "Rednerliste" and "eröffnet" are friends.
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