What has changed about you

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change or change?

What's the difference between to change and change? When do we say to change and when change? What to change we and what change we?

You may have asked yourself these questions before and may not have found a satisfactory answer. Can we do anything about it? We'd like to try.

The question of the difference between to change and change even native speakers find it difficult to answer.

Does this change anything for German learners?

Yes, because in most cases it doesn't really matter if you mix up the two verbs. And often it's not really wrong either. Often you can even use both verbs.
Even if some language experts believe that they can always differentiate between right and wrong, the fact that this distinction is sometimes not that easy and clear when it comes to languages.

We will therefore concentrate here on the cases in which one can either to change or change and then list some contexts in which both verbs can be used.

Is it about something else or the same thing that is just a little different?

to change

switch; replace something with something else


He changed his mind. In the past he would never have accepted something like that, but today it's fine with him. It's nice that he has a different opinion on this issue today. His opinion is different today.

If you want to achieve something with him, you should change your tone. You have to change the tone and vigorously demand what you want.

Right now you are very unhappy. But you will see, your situation will change again. Then you will be happy again.

When she got married, she changed her family name. Her name is no longer a tailor, but a Müller like her husband.

The weather should change by the weekend. After many rainy days, it should stay dry from Saturday and even sunshine can be expected.

The plane changed course for reasons unknown so far.

So there is a change taking place: what has changed or has been changed is now (significantly) different.


  • My mind has changed: I used to be against it, now I'm for it.
  • The tone has changed: at first it sounded shy and reserved, now it sounds demanding.
  • The situation will change: Now you are unhappy, but better times will come and then you will be happy again.
  • Her maiden name is Schneider. She got married and took her husband's last name. Your last name has changed.
  • The weather is changing: It's raining, but the sun will soon be shining.
  • The ship / airplane changes course: it no longer drives / flies north, but north-east.


make something different in its essence, its appearance, transform it, but it remains the same

He changed his voice so that he shouldn't be recognized.
He looks different. Maybe it's because of the glasses and the beard.
This terrible experience changed her a lot.
He wants to change the world.
This district has changed a lot.

Things have changed, but it's still the same voice, the same face, the same person, the same world, the same part of town.

This is an attempt to answer the question: change or change? So far it may be quite understandable, but if you read on, new questions may arise again.

We also use ...

to change

He won't change anymore. (1)
That doesn't change the fact that ...
It is as it is. Nothing more can be done about that. We have to settle with this.
You should change a few small things in this text. (2)
The pants don't fit me anymore. But maybe I can change it. (2)

(1) fundamentally change one's habits
(2) change, modify (by adding or deleting or changing details)


He wants to change (professionally).
I need a change.

change and change

You have changed / changed a lot.
With us, not much has actually changed / changed.

We can also use both verbs in many other contexts.

Change or change?

Change of address
Need for change
Modification date
Tailoring alterations
Amendment proposal
Change request
Timetable change
Change of law
Change of course
Name change
Change of direction
Change of route
Change of date
Constitutional amendment
Change of state

Change of consciousness
Shape change
Change in taste
Change in society
Climate change
Air change
Personality change
System change
Change process


Last but not least, there is the verb switch.
When we change something, we replace it with something of the same kind or something new that has the same function.

change the tires
Change oil
change shoes
change the underpants
change lanes
change the subject
to change school
change the place of residence
Change money

switch and change

Sometimes the verb to change also has the meaning of to change

The weather changes.
Suddenly the mood changed.

By the way: If you have not changed or changed anything in a text, then this text is unchanged. But if you have comments or more examples, we'd like to include them in this article.

To ask?

All questions and answers from the series:
Good question - questions from German class

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