German Language Blog

4 Ways German & English Are Similar Posted by on Oct 2, 2019 in Language

Guten Tag! Last time we looked at 4 ways German & English are different from one another. This time, I’m giving you four ways that German and English are similar to one another. Of course, there are many more things that could be said, so if you have any more ways that German and English either differ from one another or are similar to one another, feel free to leave them in the comment section for others to read.

4 Ways German & English Are Similar

image via pixabay

They are from the same language family

English and German are both Germanic languages, which stem from the Indo-European language family. The Germanic language family has several sub-categories, and both German and English are in the West Germanic sub-category.

They have the same alphabet

Both German and English use the Latin alphabet, consisting of 26 letters.The only difference is that German has an extra four: ä ö ü and ß. Read more about these four German characters in this post and this post!

There are many similar/easy to recognise words

Because they originate from the same language family (and use a lot of loanwords – see the next point for that), there are lots of words in German that are easy to take a guess at, even if you’ve never seen the word before. Here are some examples. See if you can get all of their translations right (the answers are at the bottom of this post!):


Both English and German borrow words from each other

German and English have borrowed many words from each other over the years! These are called loanwords. Here are a few examples.

German loanwords in English: Angst, wanderlust, poltergeist, kindergarten, kaputt, flak
English loanwords in German (often referred to as ‘Denglish’, or ‘Denglisch’ in German): Handy (mobile phone), Party, Baby, Shitstorm (famously used by Angela Merkel – swearing in English is not such a big deal in Germany as it is over here!).

To read more about loanwords between the languages, please click here and here.

To read the post on 4 ways German and English differ, please click here.

I hope this has been useful.

Bis bald (see you soon)!


Answers to number three:

Haus – house
Wasser – water
Bett – bed
Universität – university
Maus – mouse
Foto – photo
Bus – bus
Adresse – address
Hotel – hotel
Mutter – mother
Vater – father


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About the Author: Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze and I live in the UK. I'm half English and half German, and have been writing about German language and culture on this blog since 2014. I am also a fitness instructor & personal trainer.


  1. Medcity International Academy:

    Thanks for sharing more informations. German and English have more in common than you might think. The term false friends means words that are similar in the German and English language, but mean something different.