German word of the day: Stimmt

German word of the day: Stimmt
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
If you want to show you are engaged in conversation in German, this is a great term to have up your sleeve while you are still getting to grips with the language.

Stimmt is often used to affirm a statement. It means ‘agreed’ or ‘that’s right’ so it is very useful in conversational German to show that you are attentive and following along with a discussion. 

As a verb, stimmen has a seemingly unending list of meanings, and you might be surprised to see it crop up almost everywhere, from political campaigns to music lessons.

READ ALSO: 10 ways of speaking German you’ll only ever pick up on the street

When used to show agreement, stimmen means to be true, but it can also mean to vote in an election, to tune (an instrument), and to add up. 

You will most likely hear this word used on its own as a response, or in short phrases like das stimmt (that’s right) and stimmt das? (is that right?). It also features in the very useful phrase stimmt so, which you can say to waiting staff in cafés and restaurants to let them know they can keep the change when paying the bill. 

There are jokes that genau (simply meaning ‘exactly’) is one of the most overused words in Germany, particularly by those who are not overly confident with their ability to form more complicated ideas in German, but stimmt certainly gives it a run for its money.

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It is a good way to keep a conversation going, even if you are not completely sure what’s being said. 

Though stimmt is quite colloquial and would not be found too often in written German, it would not be uncommon to hear it in formal conversation. The word really is so versatile that it can be used in almost every setting, from the most casual interaction with friends to a high-stakes business meeting. 

Examples 

Wir sollten auf jeden Fall so früh wie möglich losfahren, wenn wir nicht im Stau stehen wollen. – Stimmt.

In any case, we should leave as early as we can to avoid traffic. – Agreed!

Wenn das wirklich stimmt, dann ist Holland in Not! (idiomatic)

If that’s really true, then we’re in trouble!


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