German phrase of the day: Das ist nicht ohne

James Jackson
James Jackson - [email protected]
German phrase of the day: Das ist nicht ohne
Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

This seemingly incomplete phrase can be a real help in describing the country's bureaucratic hurdles.


Though this might sound like a sentence which has not been finished, “das ist nicht ohne” can be a very useful expression in Germany, particularly when dealing with the bureaucracy or any other challenge in everyday life.

If you ask someone how their appointment at the Ausländerbehörde (foreigners' office) went and they say “es/das war nicht ohne”, that’s not a good thing.

This slang phrase, which literally just means “not without” could be translated as “not without its problems”.

It effectively means that something shouldn’t be underestimated. It could be difficult, problematic, risky or even dangerous, but is a good way to avoid details and simply emphasize that the situation is any or all of these things.

So if you have a therapist you can tell them your mental health is “nicht ohne.” Of course, finding a therapist in Germany “ist nicht ohne” as well.

Read more: How hard is it to find an English speaking therapist in Germany

The verb is always used in conjunction with the verb “sein”. So if you want to warn something about a future task that won’t be easy to manage, you can say “es wird nicht ohne sein.”


In fact, some may have warned us the same about the citizenship reforms.

READ MORE: Explained: What's next for Germany's citizenship reforms

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