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Wort der Woche: The German verb finden

This is the first in a new series of weekly posts that will closely examine some of the most commonly used words in German. Vocabulary words are chosen from the top 1000 words in German (as determined by Tschirner and Jones’ excellent Frequency Dictionary of the German Language). Wort der Woche will present lots of information about these German words and a full range of the ways they are commonly used. Information about frequency, common usages and derivations, and typical word combinations is derived from a variety of reliable, well-documented sources.

Wort der Woche - the German verb finden

The first word in the Wort der Woche series is: finden (verb) to find The verb finden is the 110th most common word in German and is in the top 20 most commonly used verbs. Knowing its forms and most common usages will be helpful in using and understanding German.

Grammar of finden

Principle parts: finden (infinitive), fand (simple past stem), gefunden (past participle)

Wort der Woche - the German verb finden

Meaning and usage of finden

TippFor communication purposes you need only be able to produce the present tense and perfect tense forms of this verb. You may hear others use the simple past form occasionally and you may see it in written form; in both of these cases it will be enough to recognize the verb.
Remember that the present and perfect tenses are each equivalent to several English forms:
English equivalents of the German verb finden
The verb finden is in many ways very similar to the English verb to find. At the same time, the German finden is used in ways unknown to English find. Here are the general categories of meaning.

(1) to find (either as a result of searching or by chance); to discover, come across.

Here is where the verb overlaps largely with its English counterpart.

Gestern habe ich ein Portmonnaie gefunden.
Yesterday I found a wallet.

So etwas findet man nicht mehr.
You can find anything like that anymore.

Hier findest du Hilfe.
You will find help here.


• (eine) Arbeit/eine Stelle/einen Job findento find work/a job

Er hat in Berlin eine Arbeit gefunden.
He found a job in Berlin.

• eine Lösung/Lösungen/eine Antwort/Antworten finden to find a solution/solutions/an answer/answers

Finden wir eine Lösung für dieses Problem.
Let’s find a solution to this problem.

Ich muss eine Antwort auf diese Frage finden.
I have to find an answer to this question.

• einen Weg finden to find a way (both literally and figuratively)

Hänsel und Gretel fanden ihren Weg nach Hause.
Hansel and Gretel found their way home.

Wissenschaftler haben einen Weg gefunden, synthetisches Blut herzustellen.
Scientists have found a way of producing synthetic blood.

• Zeit finden to find time

Ich habe die Zeit dazu einfach nicht gefunden.
I just didn’t find the time for it.

SYNONYMS: to find accidentallytreffen auf (+ acc.), stoßen auf (+ acc.), auf•findenentdecken discoverbegegnen (+ dat.) encounter,  vor•finden to come uponauf•spüren uncover

(2) to discover, perceive (something about somebody or something) after a period of consideration; to judge, perceive, feel, think, believe (a certain way about someone or something)

In this meaning, the verb finden is used to express an opinion about somebody or something.

Wie findest du diese Frisur?
What do you think about/How do you like this hairstyle?

Ich habe die Aufgabe schwer/leicht/nützlich/gut gefunden.
I found the assignment difficult/easy/useful/good.

Finden Sie nicht? / Findest du nicht? / Findet ihr nicht?
Don’t you think so?, Don’t you agree?

Ich finde, wir sollten gehen.
I think we should leave.

Ich finde, dass er den Erfolg verdient hat.
I believe that he earned his success.

SYNONYMS: glauben, meinenhalten für (+acc.)

(3) to obtain, attain, acquire, reach, meet with (something)

The verb finden is used in a number of common idioms with specific noun direct objects.

• Anklang finden (bei [+dat.]) to be popular (among/with), to find an echo, strike a chord (with)

Zeitarbeit findet immer größeren Anklang.
Part-time work is becoming more and more popular.

Die Idee hat bei Politikern wenig Anklang gefunden.
The idea did not gain much popularity among politicians.

• Anwendung finden to be applicable, apply [literally: to find an application or use]

Die Ergebnisse werden in vielen Bereichen Anwendung finden.
The results will be applicable in many fields.

Anwendung findet dieses Prinzip in der Werbung. This principle applies to advertising.

Beachtung finden to attract attention, interest; to be recognized

Das Buch fand Beachtung in international renommierten Zeitschriften.
The book was recognized in internationally acclaimed periodicals.

Diese Arbeit findet Beachtung auf höchster politischer Ebene.
This work has attracted interest at the highest political level.

• ein Ende finden to end, come to a close – kein Ende finden to go on and onnot end

Erst um Mitternacht soll die Veranstaltung ein Ende finden.
The event is not supposed to end until midnight.

Der Streit hat noch kein Ende gefunden.
The argument has still not ended.

• Gehör finden to be heard, be listened to, to get a hearing

Unsere Interessen müssen Gehör finden.
Our interests must be heard.

Die Forderung hat bislang kaum Gehör gefunden.
The demand has barely been heard.

• Nachahmer finden to be imitated, find emulators

Das Münchener Oktoberfest hat überall Nachahmer gefunden.
The Oktoberfest in Munich has has found imitators everywhere.

• den Tod finden to meet with death, to die

Dort haben rund 10.000 Soldaten den Tod gefunden.
Around 10,000 soldiers died there.

• Unterstützung finden to attract or gain support

Dieser Vorschlag hat breite Unterstützung gefunden.
This suggestion attracted broad support.

Keine Gruppe wird genügend Unterstützung finden.
No group will attract enough support.

• Zustimmung finden (bei [+dat.]) to meet with approval or acceptance, win approval (from/among)

Diese Initiative findet quer durch die Gesellschaft Zustimmung.
The initiative meets with widespread acceptance at all levels of society.

Dieses Gesetz hätte nicht meine Zustimmung gefunden.
This law would not have won my approval.

Other common idioms and expressions
Mastering German Vocabulary The book Mastering German Vocabulary introduces over 5000 words thematically and with sample sentences.

finden an (+ dat.) to see (something) in a person/thing

Was findet sie an ihm?
What does she see in him?

• sich finden to be found, turn up

Es fand sich kein signifikanter Unterschied.
No significant difference was found.

Es wird sich alles finden. (IDIOM) It will all work out.

Top verbs that use finden as a root, in order of frequency

sich befinden, befand, befunden (515) to be located; to feel (a certain way)
stattfinden, fand statt, stattgefunden (599) to take place 
empfinden, empfand, empfunden (1137) to perceive 
erfinden, erfand, erfunden (2410) to invent 
heraus•finden, fand heraus, herausgefunden (2467) to find out

* Word frequency information is from Erwin Tschirner and Randall Jones’ Frequency Dictionary of the German Language.

Want to test what you have learned? Take this quiz on the German verb finden. Did you find this post useful? What other words would you like to see covered in the Wort der Woche series? Put in your two cents in the comments below!

Posted in German Language, Vocabulary Tagged with: ,
2 comments on “Wort der Woche: The German verb finden
  1. Jenny Sayell says:

    Thanks for all your hard work. This will be really useful for me.

    • Dear Germanprofessor, today late in the evening I visited your website for the first time… it is simply marvellous,gorgeous, I am enthusiastic … bin einfach begeistert!! I was looking for a system of teaching from the standpoint of frequency of words. Now at midnight I must drag (pull?) myself away. Best wishes and thanks for your gigantic work!

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