Most people reading this blog are probably familiar with the German word for “please,” which is bitte. Well, this simple word actually comes from the verb bitten.
Okay. So, if bitte means “please,” then the verb bitten probably means “to please,” right?
But, this is a common mistake that Germans make when writing emails and requests. So, instead of translating “Ich bitte dich…” to something like “I am asking you…” (with “ask” as the proper translation of bitten in this instance), Germans sometimes accidentally start of an email with “I please you…”
And when you are getting such an email from a coworker, all you can think is, “Please don’t.“
And like all mistranslations that the German boyfriend and I see quite often, this one has now become a normal part of our conversations with each other.
“Marco, I please you to help me make dinner.”
“Hey Courtney, I please you to bring me the ketchup.”
Hopefully we don’t accidentally use this one in front of guests, because they could get the wrong idea.