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Expressing Emotions in German with Vor and Aus

Updated: May 7

In German, the prepositions "vor" and "aus" can both be used to express states or emotions, but they convey slightly different nuances depending on the context. Let's delve into their differences with examples and English translations.



  1. "Vor":

    • Usage: "Vor" often expresses emotions or states that are internal or felt within oneself and that result in an unconscious bodily reaction.

    • Examples:

      • "Sie war vor Erschöpfung eingeschlafen." (She had fallen asleep from exhaustion.)

      • "Ich habe vor Schreck das Glas fallen lassen." (I I dropped the glass from shock.)

      • "Vor Aufregung konnten sie nicht einschlafen." (They couldn't fall asleep from excitement.)


  • English Translation: In these examples, "vor" is translated as "of" or "before," indicating an emotional or mental state in anticipation of something.


  1. "Aus":

    • Usage: On the other hand, "aus" typically denotes emotions or states that emanate from or are expressed outwardly and are the result of a conscious action.

    • Examples:

      • "Sie lachte aus Freude." (She laughed out of joy.)

      • "Er weinte aus Trauer." (He cried out of sadness.)

      • "Die Entscheidung wurde aus Mut getroffen." (The decision was made out of courage.)


  • English Translation: Here, "aus" is translated as "out of" or "from," indicating that the emotion or state is expressed outwardly or stems from a particular source.


In Summary:

  • "Vor" typically denotes internal emotions or states, often related to anticipation or fear.

  • "Aus" indicates emotions or states that are expressed outwardly or stem from a particular source.


Even though "vor" is technically a two-way preposition (Wechselpräposition) in German and "aus" is a dative preposition, when expressing emotions or states both prepositions are used without article. Understanding the nuances of these prepositions is essential for accurately conveying emotions and states in German, ensuring effective communication in various contexts.


In related posts you can learn about the most common words to express emotions in German,

the difference between aus and von, seit and vor in German, bei vs. mit, nach vs. zu, and von and ab. And if you found this blog post helpful, please leave me a like or comment as it helps other German learners to find it. Vielen Dank!

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