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German Grammar: Gerne und lieber
Gerne and lieber
Germans usually have more words than most languages. There is literally a word for everything imaginable.
These are some of our favorite examples:
Fernweh: this untranslatable word could be considered the opposite of homesickness. Literally, "distance pain". It is used to express that desperate yearning for the freedom and adventure of travel.
Futterneid: it does not matter how long you study the restaurant menu, when the food arrives everybody else's dishes will look better than your own.
The Germans have a word for it. Literally, "food envy". Do you know that feeling?
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It is important to understand that every language has its peculiarities and words can be used quite differently from language to language. For example, when Germans talk about their hobbies, they like to use the word gern or gerne (English: "gladly").
Here, is how it can be used:
Ich wohne gerne in Paris.
I like living in Paris.
(Literally: I live gladly in Paris.)
Sie arbeitet gerne hier.
She likes working here.
(Literally: I work gladly here.)
Simply add gerne (or gern) after your verb to say you enjoy doing something.
Here is how to express that you prefer doing something (rather than something else):
Ich wohne lieber in Paris als in Rom.
I prefer living in Paris to living in Rome.
(Literally: I live gladlier in Paris than in Rome.)
Sie arbeitet lieber hier als dort.
She prefers working here rather than there.
(Literally: She works gladlier here than there.)
Use lieber just as you would use gerne (after the verb).
Only use it if you are comparing two or more things!
Ich lieber Deutsch als Französisch.
Ah, thank you for reminding me! That's one of the most common mistakes. Neither gern(e) nor lieber are verbs, you need a verb plus those words to make a correct sentence!
Ich lernelieber Deutsch als Französisch.
There you are, much better!
Gern(e) and lieber are adverbs that modify the way you do something ⇒ adverbs of manner.
Lieber is the comparative of gern(e), like "better" is the comparative of "good". That's why we only use lieber for comparisons.