Schwer oder Schwierig?

How do you say in German: It’s difficult to say?
– Es ist schwer zu sagen…
– Es ist schwierig zu sagen…

Danke schön!

Actually, both of them would be correct, but in this case, I’d prefer “schwer”.
I’ll give some examples:
– I can’t reply. It’s difficult to assess it.
Ich kann das nicht beantworten. Es ist schwierig, das einzuschätzen.
– I can’t reply. It’s hard to assess it.
Ich kann das nicht beantworten. Es ist schwer, das einzuschätzen.
– I’m too weighty for my age.
Ich bin zu schwer für mein Alter.
– The packet it too heavy to bear.
Das Paket ist zu schwer zum tragen.
– It was a very serious accident/crime.
Es war ein sehr schwerer Unfall/ein sehr schweres Verbrechen.
– I’ve got a bad cold.
Ich habe eine schwere Erkältung.

Result: The word “difficult” is either translated with “schwer” or “schwierig”, but the word “schwer” has more translations than only “difficult”:
– as weight(iness)
– as heaviness
– as wickedness

I hope I could help.


Excellent explanation, indeed.
Any way, your question had me thinking about the difference in use of both ‘schwer’ and ‘schwierig’ for a good while, but without reaching a completely satisfactory explanation. So please take the following as an attempt to illustrate the subject:

In contexts as implied in your example it is more likely to replace ‘schwierig’ by ‘schwer’ than the other way round. But this can’t be generalized. Furthermore, ‘schwierig’ is more frequently used to refer to the intricate nature of a certain matter, while ‘schwer’ is used to cover the circumstances related to that matter, too. Just take the example: ‘His lectures were difficult/hard to follow.’ would be in German ‘Es war schwierig, seine Vorlesungen zu verstehen.’ – because of the complexity of the topic they were about, while the translation ‘Seine Vorlesungen waren schwer zu verstehen.’ would also indicate the poor acoustic or the noise in the room.

Again, please remember this is an example for illustration but not to be generalized. The concrete use of ‘schwer’ und ‘schwierig’ largely depends (as usual) on the context and the additional information comprised.

Have a nice weekend.

source :


~ by buburkacangijopakeketanitem on April 7, 2008.

One Response to “Schwer oder Schwierig?”

  1. siap untuk posting lagi…

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