How to Say You're Giving a Gift in German

by Expath Language School

The most important tip: don't say "gift"!

Schenken

The English language seems to lack a verb dedicated simply to the act of giving someone a gift, although the words “to donate”, “to present” and “to bestow” come close.

In German, however, the verb schenken is used quite commonly to indicate giving a gift. Once you memorize that word, the noun for “gift” is easy to remember: it is Geschenk (n.).

Don't Get Confused

Important note: The German word Gift (n.), on the other hand, means “poison”! So if you can't remember the German word for “gift”, this is one time that the English substitute won't help.

Examples

Ich schenke dir zum Geburtstag 50 Euro. I am giving you 50 euros for your birthday.
Er hat mir ein Pferd geschenkt. He gave me a horse (as a gift).
Das ist ein tolles Geschenk! That’s a great gift/present!
Er hat mir ein Gift geschenkt. He gave me a poison (as a present).

Related Words

Relatedly, the word for “to give away” is verschenken. Somewhat more distantly related, the word einschenken is used express pouring someone a drink.

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