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German phrase of the day: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen

Anyone struggling with learning German (or any big skill) could use this popular piece of reassurance.

German phrase of the day: Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen
This funny saying has many uses for encouragement. Photo credit: Francesco Ungaro / Unsplash + Nicolas Raymond / flickr

Why do I need to know this?

If you’re getting down on yourself for not doing something you are still learning just right – be it playing the piano or speaking German – you can gently comfort yourself with this phrase. Or you can confidently cite it to reassure your perfectionist friend or family member that they are indeed making great strides towards their goal.

What does it mean?

Literally translated as “There is still no master which has fallen from the sky,” the expression gets the idea across that no one is born – or comes pummeling down from the heavens – as an expert at something.

Rather they become a Meister (or at least halfway decent) through continuous hard work and discipline. 

READ ALSO: 12 colourful German expressions that will add swagger to your language skills

The saying is similar to the also widely used “Übung macht den Meister” (Practice makes the master) or the English version: Practice makes perfect. 

Not surprisingly, Germans – who pride themselves on industriously reaching their goals – have several other equivalent sayings. They include “Ohne Fleiß kein Preis” (There’s no prize without hard work) and “Von nichts kommt nichts” (Nothing comes out of nothing).

Where does it come from?

The popular phrase can be traced back to the Latin “Nemo magister natus”, or no one is born a master. Another version is “Nemo nascitur artifex” or no one is born an artist. This explains why so many languages have similar expressions.

What are some examples of how it’s used?

Sei nicht so streng mit dir selbst. Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. No one is born perfect. 

Mein Trainer sagte, es sei noch kein perfekter Schwimmer vom Himmel gefallen.

My coach said that no one is born a perfect swimmer.

READ ALSO: Six German expressions to entice your Wanderlust

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German phrase of the day: Auf jeden Fall

You will hear this simple but useful phrase a lot in everyday German conversation, and once you understand its meaning, you’ll find yourself saying it too.  

German phrase of the day: Auf jeden Fall

Why do I need to know auf jeden Fall?

Because it’s a commonly used phrase which will come in handy when you need to confirm something or stress its importance.

What does it mean? 

Auf jeden Fall directly translates to “in any case” or “in any event,” and can be used in this way. But, in spoken German, it’s most commonly used as a way of saying “definitely” or “absolutely”. 

The phrase is often used as a very clear affirmation of a statement or question, to show that there is no doubt about the answer. 

Saying auf jeden Fall can also be an easy and clear way to indicate your participation in upcoming events, whether meetings with colleagues or grabbing a beer on your Feierabend with friends. 

You can use it either in a sentence or on its own as a response to a question.

Colloquially, it can also be shortened to auf Jeden, which some might even abbreviate to ‘fjeden when speaking. 

If you want to vary your vocab, however, you can try using definitive (“definitely”) or mit Sicherheit (“for certain”) instead, as both have a similar meaning. And once you master auf jeden Fall, you will also grasp the meaning of its opposite, auf keinen Fall (“in no case,” “definitely not”), which can come in handy as well.

READ ALSO: 12 colourful German expressions that’ll add swagger to your language skills

Use it like this: 

Kommst du heute mit uns ins Kino? Ja, auf jeden Fall!

Are you coming with us to the movies today? Yes, definitely! 

Meinst du, wir sollten es ihm sagen? Auf jeden Fall.

Do you think we should tell him? Yes, absolutely.

Ob du müde bist oder nicht, musst du auf jeden Fall kommen. 

Tired or not, you must come in any case.