05 May Is eventually in English the same as eventuell in German?
Here’s the short answer: eventually (English) and eventuell (Deutsch) don’t mean the same thing. Luckily for me, this question came up in class and I realised I had been making the same mistake my students were making – another example of a false friend.
So what’s the difference? Which word should I use, and when?
Eventually in English
In English, eventually is an adverb used to talk about something that will happen at some point, at the end of a period of time or after a series of events. When we’re not sure when something will happen, but we’re sure it will happen, we use eventually.
It cannot rain forever.
We know they are a finite resource.
I know he always does.
It was always going to leave, however there was a delay.
Notice the position of the word eventually in each sentence. We can put eventually at the beginning of the sentence (followed by a comma), in the middle of the sentence (before the verb) or at the end of the sentence.
Eventuell in German
And now to our false friend in German. It’s an adverb, so it works in the same way in a sentence, however it means something else entirely. In German, eventuell is similar to maybe, perhaps or possibly in English. So when something is eventuell in German, it might or could happen, but not necessarily.
We might have to reserve seats for our train ride.
Maybe Maria will have already eaten when she gets home at 8 o’clock.
I think 40 people will come to the party, possibly even 50.
eventuell – DE – adv.
eventually – ENG – adv.