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The German Phrase ‘Es Passt’ Posted by on Feb 26, 2019 in Language

Guten Tag! In my last post I talked about the phrase ‘Es steht dir (gut)’, the German way of saying ‘It (really) suits you’. A question people often have when they learn this phrase is: What is the difference between saying ‘Es steht dir’ (it suits you) and a similar phrase, ‘Es passt dir’ (it fits you)? So today we’re going to look at the phrase Es passt dir.

In simple terms, when saying ‘es passt’ you are saying ‘it fits’. You can say it fits, or you can say it fits me/you, etc.

Es passt.
It fits.

Es passt mir.
It fits me.

Passt (dir) das Kleid?
Does the dress fit (you)?

Ja, es passt (mir).
Yes, it fits (me).

Image via Pixabay

Of course, there is a difference between saying something fits and something suits a person. If you’re saying something fits, you’re talking about size, length etc. But if you’re saying it suits them, you’re talking about the style, how it looks on them, etc. Here is how you’d say both in German:

Die Schuhe passen dir.
The shoes fit you.

Die Schuhe stehen dir.
The shoes suit you.

(For more on how to say something suits a person, see this blog post here.)

Image via Pixabay

However, if instead of ‘es passt dir’ you were to say ‘es passt zu dir’, adding in the ‘zu’, you would then be changing the meaning of the phrase to ‘it suits you’!

Die Schuhe passen zu dir.
The shoes suit you (‘the shoes fit to you’).

That gives it the same meaning as:

Die Schuhe stehen dir.
The shoes suit you.

So look out for the little word ‘zu’.

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Image via Pixabay

There is also a context in which ‘es passt’ means ‘it is convenient’, and that is if you were to say, for example:

Wir gehen um 10 Uhr. Passt (dir) das?
We’re going at 10 o’clock. Is that convenient (for you)?

Ja, es passt (mir).
Yes, that suits me/is convenient (for me).

Here is another example:

Wir machen es nur, wenn es dir passt!
We will only do it if it suits you!

It is also acceptable to simply ask ‘Passt?’/reply ‘Passt!’ rather than say the whole phrase. This more casual approach makes ‘passt’ translate more to ‘OK’ or ‘fine by me’:

Wir gehen um 10 Uhr. Passt?
We’re going at 10 o’clock. OK?

Ja, passt.
Yes, fine by me.

So you can use passen in this way to ask if a situation, time, place (etc.) suits a person. Note that you couldn’t use ‘es steht dir’ to ask if a time, place, or situation would suit a person. This phrase is only to say something ‘suits’ a person in the sense that it looks good on them.

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Then there is the phrase ‘Passt schon’. Literally this means ‘Fits already’. Huh? What this little phrase actually means is ‘it’s OK’, ‘no worries’ or ‘it’s all good’. You would say it when paying your bill in a restaurant, for example, to signal to the waiter that they can keep the change. There are a whole host of ways you can use ‘Passt schon’ which I will cover in a separate blog post.

For now, I hope this has been helpful!

Bis bald (see you soon)!

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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 love writing about German language and culture. I also work as a group fitness instructor.


Comments:

  1. Bonnie Xie:

    Vielen Dank für die hilfreiche Lektion.

  2. Bonnie Xie:

    Vielen Dank für die gute Erklärung.

  3. Bonnie Xie:

    Sehr gut! Danke schön.

  4. Bonnie Xie:

    Sehr gut! Danke schön. I didn’t duplicate any comment.

  5. Dr. Kurt Fiedler:

    sehr gut zusammengestellt zum Lernen! Dr. Fiedler