From "Guten Tag" to "übermorgen"
One of the first expressions that every beginner in German learns is "Guten Tag!" literally, "Good day!" But not all "day" expressions in German are as straight forward as that. Some English vocabulary that contains the word "day"such as the "day before yesterday"doesn't contain "Tag" in German: vorgestern.
We already have an lesson about the dangers of Taking Things Too Literally, and this "Day by Day" article also relates to the fact that you can't assume that an English expression will translate literally into or from German. Just consider the following "day" expressions:
- as clear as day = augenfällig, sonnenklar
- call it a day = Feierabend machen
- daylight saving time = die Sommerzeit
- day after tomorrow = übermorgen
- that'll be the day = das möchte ich einmal erleben
- those were the days = das waren noch Zeiten
- today = heute
Of course, many "day" expressions do contain some form of "Tag": tagaus, tagein (day in and day out), täglich (daily), bis zum heutigen Tag (to this day), etc.
See the next page for a detailed glossary of "day" expressions in German. You may be surprised, as I was, to discover just how many of these expressions there are! Then you can try our two "day" quizzes.
MORE > Guide to German Idioms