an•wenden: to apply (a formula or a theory; not for applying for jobs etc.)

Examples and Usage Notes Mnemonics

Examples and Usage Notes:

Anwenden is used only in the sense of applying a formula or theory. Here is what you would say for other senses of the verb “to apply”:

  • to apply to a school/for a job: sich bewerben
  • this law/rule applies to (is valid for): gelten für
  • to apply in the sense of being relevant: betreffen [which generally
    means “to affect.”]
Einsteins Theorien wurden auf die Atombombe angewendet. Einstein’s theories were applied to the atomic bomb.
Wie wendet man diese Formel/Theorie an? How does one apply this theory/formula?
Es gibt viele interessante Anwendungen für diese Theorie. There are many interesting applications for this theory.
Hast du dich um das Stipendium beworben? Did you apply for the scholarship/grant?
Das Gesetz der Schwerkraft gilt für uns alle. The law of gravity applies to us all.
Das betrifft mich nicht. That doesn’t apply to me/That doesn’t affect me.
Laut der Quantentheorie betrifft die Störung eines Atoms alle anderen Atome im Universum. According to the quantum theory, disturbing one atom affects all other atoms in the universe.


Imagine a scientist comes to you with a new theory.  You might respond “And when are you going to apply it?” “And when” sounds somewhat like “anwenden”…. You could go further and imagine the scientist is your friend Dan ==> “And when, Dan?” 🙂