Prove and prüfen
Which of the following sentences uses the word “prove” correctly?
- One of our main responsibilities here is to prove the machines, to see if they are still running correctly or if there has been some damage.
- The lawyer tried to prove that his client was innocent, but the jury had already made its decision.
If you think sentence two “The lawyer tried to prove that his client was innocent…” is the correct use of prove, you are right. Prove and prüfen are false friends!
To prove something means to establish that it is true.
Here is another example for you:
- Can you prove that you sent that email last week? Do you still have a copy of it, or did you send a copy to anyone else? That would really help.
How would you express the German word “prüfen”? Try using the words “check” or “test.” Here are some examples:
- We need someone to check the levels of the participants for the new French courses.
- Perhaps we should check if it would be possible for two teams to work on this project together. That would save a lot of time.
- These tablets have already been tested by Quality Control.
- Just relax – this device is only going to test your night vision. I promise it won’t hurt at all.