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Mann and man in German and the meaning of them

Mannomann, it’s tricky – never mix up these 2 German words!

man in German

In German, we have many words that are pronounced the same but spelled differently.

The two German words Mann and man are among these words and are often confused.

So, since the words are pronounced the same, we have to identify which word is meant based on the context in a conversation.

But first, let me explain the spelling.

What is the difference between Mann and man in German?

The difference between Mann and man in German is immediately recognizable in a written text.

Let’s start with the word Mann.

A ‘Mann‘ is a male person and the word type is a noun.

And here we already have the first difference between the words Mann and man in German, because nouns in German always have a capital initial letter.

Also, this noun has two ‘n’.

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Examples 

Der Mann und die Frau sind verheiratet.
The man and the woman are married.

Der Mann hat einen Bart.
The man has a beard.

Is man a pronoun?

Yes, the German word man is a pronoun.

More precisely, it is an indefinite pronoun. Indefinite pronouns do not refer to specific people or things. 

As you can see, it starts with a lowercase letter (except at the beginning of a sentence, where we capitalize every word).

Also, the German pronoun man only has one “n”.

What does the German word man mean?

The indefinite pronoun ‘man’ is often used when we make general statements that usually apply not only to one person but to many people.

We also use it to express rules or habits.

The meaning of man can be quite different. Usually it translates to ‘one’ or ‘you’, but not always.

Let’s look at some examples:

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Hör auf zu popeln. Das macht man nicht.
Stop picking your nose. One doesn’t do that.

Meaning

Das solltest du nicht machen.
You shouldn’t do that.

Das gehört sich nicht.
That’s not right.

 

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Wie spricht man dieses Wort aus?

Meaning

Wie wird dieses Wort im Allgemeinen ausgesprochen?
How is this word generally pronounced?

Wie sprechen (andere) Leute dieses Wort aus?
How do (other) people pronounce this word?

 

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    Darf man in diesem Gebäude rauchen?

    Meaning

    Ist es erlaubt in diesem Gebäude zu rauchen?
    Is it allowed to smoke in this building?

    Dürfen wir in diesem Gebäude rauchen?
    Are we allowed to smoke in this building?

     

    How do you conjugate the verb after the word man?

    The German pronoun man is used like a personal pronoun and the corresponding verb in the sentence is conjugated in the third person singular.

    • ich mache = I make
    • du machst = you make
    • er, sie, es, man macht = he, she, it, one makes
    • wir machen = we make
    • ihr macht = you (all) make
    • sie machen = they make

     

    • ich spreche = I speak
    • du sprichst = you speak
    • er, sie, es, man spricht = he, she, it, one speaks
    • wir sprechen = we speak
    • ihr sprecht = you (all) speak
    • sie sprechen = they speak

     

    Exercises on the meaning of man and Mann

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    Try to figure out whether to use Mann or man.

    1) Ein ___ fährt mit seinem Auto.
    1) A man is driving his car.

    2) Darf ___ hier parken?
    2) Is it allowed to park here?

    3) Maria hat einen netten ___ kennengelernt.
    3) Maria has met a nice man.

    4) Das tut ___ nicht!
    4) One doesn’t do that.

    5) Hier ist es so laut, dass ___ sein eigenes Wort nicht versteht.
    5) It’s so loud here that you can’t hear your own words.

    6) ___ nehme drei Eier. (Beschreibung in einem Rezept).
    6) Take three eggs. (Description in a recipe).

    7) In Deutschland spricht ___ Deutsch.
    7) In Germany, people speak German.

    8) Anjas ___ trinkt gerne Bier.
    8) Anja’s husband likes to drink beer.

    9) In Deutschland trinkt ___ gerne Bier.
    9) In Germany, people like to drink beer.

    10) Als Hochleistungssportler muss ___ jeden Tag trainieren.
    10) As a high-performance athlete, you have to train every day.

     

    Lösung

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    1) Ein Mann fährt mit seinem Auto.
    1) A man is driving his car.

    2) Darf man hier parken?
    2) Is it allowed to park here?

    3) Maria hat einen netten Mann kennengelernt.
    3) Maria has met a nice man.

    4) Das tut man nicht!
    4) One doesn’t do that.

    5) Hier ist es so laut, dass man sein eigenes Wort nicht versteht.
    5) It’s so loud here that you can’t hear your own words.

    6) Man nehme drei Eier. (Beschreibung in einem Rezept).
    6) Take three eggs. (Description in a recipe).

    7) In Deutschland spricht man Deutsch.
    7) In Germany, people speak German.

    8) Anjas Mann trinkt gerne Bier.
    8) Anja’s husband likes to drink beer.

    9) In Deutschland trinkt man gerne Bier.
    9) In Germany, people like to drink beer.

    10) Als Hochleistungssportler muss man jeden Tag trainieren.
    10) As a high-performance athlete, you have to train every day.

     

    What does Mannomann mean?

    Did you read the word Mannomann in my headline and wonder what it means?

    It is an exclamation of astonishment, surprise or anger. Another spelling, which is also correct, is: “Mann, o Mann”.

     

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    Examples 

    Mannomann, jetzt bin ich sauer. Kannst du nichts richtig machen?
    Man, now I’m mad. can’t you do anything right

    Mannomann ist das neblig heute!
    Boy oh boy, it’s foggy today!

    Mann, o Mann bin ich müde!
    Man, am I tired!

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