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Aus vs. Von Posted by on Jul 20, 2014 in Grammar, Language, Prepositions

In German, the issue between von and aus is not a very prevalent one. But it can be confusing when learning German from English, since von and aus are both used for its English equivalent “from.” So, here is a clarification where von is used, and where aus is used in cases where they can conflict.

In general:

Aus = out of

Von = from/of

1. Location

Wir kommen vom Bahnhof (We come from the station).

Er ist von hier (He is from here).

It can be used to refer to location, that someone is coming from somewhere. It can conflict here with aus. But here, aus has more the meaning of “out of”. So:

Er kommt aus der Kirche (He is coming out of the church vs. Er kommt von der Kirche (He is coming from the church). But also: Er kommt aus Griechenland (He comes from Greece- or literally: He comes out of Greece). The same counts for Er kommt aus dem Süden (He comes out of the south/out of the south).

 

2. Time indication

Die Zeitung von heute (The news paper of today/Today’s news paper).

Aus is very rarely used in this sense, but there are certain situations where it is possible:

Eine Erinnerung aus meiner Jugend (A memory (out) of my youth).

Again, here it is a situation where the meaning is the same, but it is more a case of out of – it is out of the youth, a certain time frame. It is never used with indications of time such as heute, gestern, vorgestern.

Another way to indicate time is simply with the genitiv, where a Noun is used, instead of an adverb like heute and gestern:

Die Zeitung letzter Woche (The news paper of last week/Last week’s news paper).

Nice side note: von gestern, or even von vorgestern is also used to indicate something old-fashioned, e.g.:

CDs sind von gestern, aber Kassetten sind von vorgestern! – CDs are outdated, but cassettes are more outdated!

3. Material

Der Ring aus Gold (The ring (out) of gold/the golden ring)

Just always use aus for material. Von is possible, but it actually never used. So if you see that, it also refers to the material (e.g. Die Mauer von Beton – The wall of concrete).

 

And these are all conflicts. Just always keep the out of/from difference in mind, and you should be fine!

Please comment if there is anything unclear :-).

 

 

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About the Author:Sten

Hi! I am Sten, and I am half Dutch and half German. I was on exchange in the United States, and I really enjoyed that year! So in that sense, I kind of have three nationalities... I love all of them!


Comments:

  1. Gacheri:

    vielen dank

  2. Fernando:

    Danke! I have the same doubts when using out of/from in english 🙂

    • Sten:

      @Fernando Oh! Does the explanation here suffice for you then?

  3. Pankaj:

    Good explanation, Danke…