Giving instructions in German

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Giving instructions

In instructions and recipes, we can use the imperative, man or the infinitive for the different steps.

Nimm die Zutaten und gib sie in eine Schüssel.

Take the ingredients and place them in a bowl.

Man nimmt eine Gurke und schneidet sie in Würfel.

Take (literally: “one takes”) a cucumber and cut (literally: “cuts”) it into cubes.

Nach 10 Minuten den Topf vom Herd nehmen.

After 10 minutes, take the pan off the stove (literally “to take”).

The most common of these is with an infinitive, which always goes at the end of a sentence.

Erst die Breite messen, die Mitte bestimmen und dann das Loch bohren.

First measure the width, determine the center and then drill the hole.

Mindestabstand zur Wasserleitung beachten!

Note the minimum distance to the water pipe!

Erst die Verpackung entfernen!

First remove the packaging!

An infinitive can also be used like this as a concise way to make a request or to convey a prohibition on signs.

Hier keine Fahrräder abstellen!

Do not leave bikes here!

Vorne einsteigen!

Board from the front!

Nicht hinauslehnen!

Do not lean out!

Links stehen, rechts gehen!

Stand to the left, pass on the right!

Bei Feuer Scheibe einschlagen und Knopf drücken!

In the event of fire, break the window and press the button!


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