Similarities between English and German

Similarities between English and German

English and German are two of the most widely spoken languages in the world, with over 1.5 billion people speaking English and over 100 million speaking German as their native language. Despite being distinct languages, English and German share a common ancestry, as they belong to the West Germanic language family. So German is one of the languages which is similar to English. As a result, many similarities between English and German can make it easier for speakers of one language to learn the other. In this blog, we will explore some similarities between English and German. Join German classes in Chennai to explore more about the German language.


One of the most striking similarities between English and German is the large number of cognates shared by both languages. Cognates are words that have a similar origin and meaning in both languages. For example, the English word “house” is “Haus” in German, and the English word “book” is “Buch” in German. Other common cognates include “table” (Tisch), “water” (Wasser), and “father” (Vater). More examples of these include

  • Universität (German) – University (English)
  • Musik (German) – Music (English)
  • Familie (German) – Family (English)
  • Restaurant (German) – Restaurant (English)
  • Information (German) – Information (English)
  • Telefon (German) – Telephone (English)
  • Computer (German) – Computer (English)
  • Kamera (German) – Camera (English)
  • Auto (German) – Auto (English)

Some many false cognates or words look or sound similar in both languages but have different meanings. These false cognates can be tricky for language learners, so it’s essential to learn them carefully. For example, the German word “Gift” means “poison,” but it looks and sounds similar to the English word “gift,” which means “present.”

This makes it the most similar language to English. This similarity can make it easier for English speakers to learn German, as they will recognize many words and be able to make educated guesses about their meaning without having to learn them from scratch. Similarly, German speakers can use their knowledge of English cognates to help them learn English vocabulary.


English and German use the Latin alphabet, comprising 26 letters. However, German has a few additional letters, namely “ä”, “ö”, and “ü” which are pronounced as distinct vowel sounds. In English, these sounds are represented by combining two vowels, such as “ae” or “eu”. Additionally, German uses the letter “ß”, which is called “Eszett” or “scharfes S” and represents a double “s” sound.

The pronunciation of some of the letters can differ slightly between German and English, but the letters themselves are the same. For example, the letter “w” is pronounced differently in German (like the English “v”), and the letter “j” is pronounced differently in German (like the English “y”), but the letters themselves are the same.

Due to the alphabet of the German language being similar to the English alphabet’s letters and the sounds they stand for, speakers of one language may find it simpler to learn the other due to this similarity. Check out the German language course online to get more insights into the German language.

Sentence Structure

English and German also share a similar sentence structure. Both languages have a subject-verb-object (SVO) word order, meaning that a sentence’s subject comes first, followed by the verb and then the object. For example, in English, we would say, “I eat an apple”, while in German, we would say “Ich esse einen Apfel”. Both sentences follow the SVO word order. They also incorporate the similar use of articles (definite and indefinite) before nouns.

For example: “Der Hund” (The dog) and “Ein Haus” (A house). Preposition; Both languages use prepositions to indicate relationships between words in a sentence. For example: “Ich gehe in den Park.” (I am going to the park.). Both German and English have similar verb tenses, such as past, present, and future. However, German has more complex verb tenses and forms that can take some getting used to.

This similarity can make it easier for English speakers to learn German sentence structure, as they will already be familiar with the basic word order. Similarly, German speakers can use their knowledge of English sentence structure to help them learn English grammar, making translating German to English easier for people.

Modal Verbs

Another similarity between English and German is the use of modal verbs, which are auxiliary verbs that express possibility, ability, permission, or obligation. In English, the modal verbs are “can”, “could”, “may”, “might”, “shall”, “should”, “will”, “would”, and “must”. In German, the modal verbs are “können”, “müssen”, “dürfen”, “sollen”, “wollen”, and “mögen”. Both languages use modal verbs to convey similar meanings.

Because German and English are so similar, it may be more straightforward for speakers of one language to learn the modal verbs of the other because they are already familiar with the fundamental ideas.


English and German also share a common vocabulary in many areas, including technology, science, and business. Many words in these fields have been borrowed from English and integrated into German, and vice versa. For example, the English word “computer” is the same in German, and the German word “Kindergarten” is now used in English to refer to a preschool.

This similarity can make it easier for speakers of one language to learn vocabulary in specific fields, as they will recognize many words and concepts that are similar or identical in both languages. To follow more on the German language vocabulary, join the German Language course in Coimbatore.


While English and German have some similarities in grammar, there are also significant differences. German is known for its complex system of noun genders, which includes masculine, feminine, and neuter. Nouns in German are assigned a gender based on a set of rules, and the gender of a noun can affect the form of adjectives and articles accompanying it.

Another significant difference between English to German is the case system. German has four cases: nominative, accusative, dative, and genitive. Each case indicates the function of a noun in a sentence and affects the form of articles, adjectives, and pronouns. These differences can challenge speakers of one language to try to learn the other, as they will need to learn new grammar rules and concepts.


English and German also have some pronunciation differences, despite sharing similar sounds. For example, English has the “th” sound, which does not exist in German. On the other hand, German has the umlaut sounds (ä, ö, ü), which do not exist in English. Additionally, German has a more complex system of vowel sounds, with long and short versions of the same vowel represented by different letters or combinations of letters. For example, the German word “fünf” (five) has a long “ü” sound, while the word “Hund” (dog) has a short “u” sound. Sometimes with the different forms of the same language, it may sound different with the exact spellings. These differences can pose a challenge for speakers of one language trying to learn the pronunciation of the other, as they will need to learn new sounds and how to produce them correctly.

End Summary

In conclusion, English and German share many similarities due to their common ancestry as West Germanic languages. The cognates, alphabet, sentence structure, modal verbs, and vocabulary, in particular, can make it simpler for speakers of one language to acquire the other. However, there are also significant differences in grammar and pronunciation that can pose a challenge for learners. Nonetheless, with dedication and practice, speakers of both languages can become proficient in English and German. To get more help with German language, join German classes in Bangalore and learn to speak German fluently.

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