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denken vs. meinen

What is the difference in meaning between these two verbs when they both mean "to think"?
(I am fully aware that "meinen" also means "to mean"; however, I'm only interested in the semantic distinction between these two verbs when they're taken to mean "to think." When I say "I think that..." can I use both these verbs without any semantic difference whatsoever?)

For learning: German
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    "denken" is a process. You can think about something: über etwas nachdenken.
    When you say "ich denke, dass ...", you signify that you are not finshed thinking. It's a temporary extract of your thoughts, not the ultimate conclusion.

    "Meinen" refers to "die Meinung", "the opinion". You finished thinking and came to a conclusion from a personal point of view.

    In everyday speech people tend to use those two as synonyms.

    I don't know if that is an official definition, but when I use "meinen" it's usually more vague, like when you try to remember something. "Ich denke wir sollten gehen." vs. "Ich meine das Haus war blau (, bin mir aber nicht sicher)."
    Hi Patrick,
    In my opinion, there is a difference.
    meinen = in my opinion, .... / in my view = ich bin der Meinung dass.... = ich drücke meine aktuelle Einschätzung eines Sachverhaltes / einer Situation /einer Lage aus.
    denken = I am thinking about something / I am figuring out something = ich denke (gerade) über etwas nach = ich überlege mir etwas (und komme dann hoffentlich zu einem vernünftigen Ergebnis.
    Kind regards,

    "Meinung" also refers to the opinion columns in new-papers. I don't think they use a definitive article in that instance. It just reads "Meinung".

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