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Fallen vs. Gefallen

Let's discuss two German verbs today: fallen and gefallen

 

The verb fallen can be variously translated as "to fall," "to drop," "to decline," "to decrease" or "to sink" (as in prices decrease or sink), "to slip" (as in standards slip), and even "to score" (as when a goal is scored in football). 

BANNER PLACEHOLDER

Im Herbst sind die Blätter rot und orange.

In autumn, the leaves are red and orange.

Im Winter fallen sie herunter.

In winter, they fall down.

Captions 44-45, Deutsch mit Eylin - Pronomen

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OK, jetzt gebe ich euch andere Verben,

OK, now I'll give you other verbs

die in diese Kategorie fallen, ja?

that fall into this category, yes?

Caption 1, Deutschkurs in Tübingen - Verben der 2. Kategorie

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Doch wenn dann immer mehr Tore fallen...

Indeed, if then more and more goals are scored...

Caption 32, Frauenfußball-WM - Der Bundespräsident am Ball

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Bevor wir fallenfallen wir lieber auf

Before we fall, we prefer to be noticed

Caption 23, Heino - Neue Volkslieder

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Note that the second instance of fallen in this last example is actually part of the separable verb auffallen, "to be noticed."

 

The verb gefallen may be translated, according to context, as "to oblige," "to delight," "to be pleasing," "to appeal" (to someone), "to be to (someone's) liking," or "to meet with (someone's) approval." 

 

Wir hoffen, euch hat dieses Video gefallen

We hope you enjoyed this video

und ihr hattet Spaß beim Zuschauen.

and had fun watching.

Gebt uns doch einen Daumen nach oben, wenn's euch gefallen hat.

Give us a thumbs up if you liked it.

Captions 75-76, Playmobil - Skispringen mit Familie Hauser

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Das gefällt mir richtig, richtig gut.

I really, really like it.

Caption 5, Auto-Bild-TV - Tops & Flops der IAA

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„Der Film gefällt dem Zuschauer“. -Super.

"The viewer likes the film." -Super.

Caption 6, Deutschkurs in Tübingen - Verben der 3. Kategorie

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Note that the subject of gefallen is dative: Mir gefällt der Film or Der Film gefällt mir. It would be an easy mistake to misunderstand the last one to mean "the film likes me!" 

 

You also have to be careful not to mix up the verb gefallen — a past participle of fallen — with the noun der Gefallen ("a favor"). There is also the adjective gefallen, which is from the verb fallen and may be translated as "fell down" or in a military sense "to be killed in action," in the same euphemistic sense that a soldier "falls" in battle. 

 

Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and read the related lessons Falling, dropping, and slipping and The verb gelingen. Then watch the Yabla video Deutschkurs in Tübingen, where the teacher and students go in-depth into the verb gefallen.

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