German phrase of the day: Die Qual der Wahl

Shannon Chaffers
Shannon Chaffers
German phrase of the day: Die Qual der Wahl
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

This turn of phrase will come in handy when you are presented with a series of stellar options, but you can only choose one.


Why you should know it:

If you ever find yourself overwhelmed by the array of possibilities at your disposal you can use this phrase to capture your quandary. Plus, it’s just fun to say. 

What it means:

Die Qual der Wahl translates directly to “the torture of choice” in English. But it’s more analogous to the phrase “spoiled for choice,” meant to convey the predicament that comes with having too many good options to choose from. 

Like its English equivalent, the phrase has also taken on a sarcastic meaning in German pop culture. For example, the 2012 comedy film “The Campaign,” starring Will Ferrel and Zach Galifanakis as two hapless congressional candidates, is ironically titled “Qual der Wahl” in the German version.

READ ALSO: 10 must-see films and series to improve your German

Use it like this:

Wenn es um schöne Städte in Deutschland geht, hast du die Qual der Wahl!

When it comes to pretty cities in Germany, you’re spoiled for choice!

Ich habe die Qual der Wahl: Ich kann in den Urlaub nach Italien, Spanien oder Frankreich fahren. 

I’m spoiled for choice: I can go to Italy, Spain, or France for vacation.

Soll ich früh aufstehen oder lange aufbleiben, um meine Arbeit zu beenden? Ich habe wirklich die Qual der Wahl.

Should I wake up early or stay up late to finish my work? I really am spoiled for choice.





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