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can somebody explain the difference between "auf" and "für"

let's say i want to say i will wait for you so it would be

"ich werde auf dich warten"

but why can't i use "für" to explain that you are the person i am waiting for

from my understanding you use "für" before nouns and "auf" for objects is that correct ?

thanks for the answer

2 years ago


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Prepositions are frequently semi-arbitrary utility words that rarely map directly between languages.

It's auf because it's auf. In English, it's for because it's for.

If it helps at all, the phrasing "We're waiting on so-and-so" also exists and is more directly comparable to the German usage.

Trying to figure out the logic behind using a particular preposition is a good way to develop a headache.

Reply2 years ago


Ît's just a fixed phrase, "auf etwas/jemanden warten" versus "to wait for something/someone". It has nothing to do with nouns and objects (which are often nouns as well btw).

"Ich warte für dich." might be used if you wait instead of someone else... Like keeping their place in a queue while they go to the bathroom. Using it with the meaning of "I wait for you." would be bad style.

I don't know whether there really is a rule about "für" and "auf", they are very different if you don't translate English sentences literally.

It's just like "to look for something" which would be "nach etwas suchen" in German. You have to learn the phrases as a whole and you'll be fine.

Reply2 years ago


well thanks for the answer i'm guessing i have to get used to them so if it feels unnatural i sould use the other

Reply2 years ago