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What's the difference between "rein" and "herein", "raus" and "heraus"?

  • 1762

Could you please explain it, in which cases do I need to use "rein" and in which ones - "herein"? The same with "(he)raus" :) Vielen Dank im Voraus.

November 10, 2015



"hin" means away from the speaker towards some other place.

"her" means towards the speaker.

So "hinein" and "hinaus" means away from the speaker and towards the inside/outside.

And "herein" and "heraus" means towards the speaker and towards the inside/outside.

Imagine that you are inside a house. Someone knocks on the door. You say, "Komm herein!" (her = to me, -ein = towards the inside). After a while, your guest leaves. Er geht hinaus. (hin = away from you, -aus = towards the outside)

Now imagine that you are waiting outside the a hospital. Your friends has to go inside. "Er geht hinein." (hin = away from you; -ein = towards the inside.) After a while, he comes back out again. "Er kommt wieder heraus." (her = towards you; -aus = towards the outside)

"rein" and "raus" are colloquial abbreviations. They are originally from "herein" and "heraus" but can also be used in the sense of "hinein" and "hinaus". So you could invite your guest with "Komm rein!" and send them back out with "geh bitte wieder raus".

So "rein" has the same meaning as either "herein" or "hinein", and "raus" has the same meaning as either "heraus" or "hinaus".

(There are also forms 'nein and 'naus but they are dialectal/regional.)


Yep, Bavaria says: nei, nauf.
For the words hinauf and herauf (up) the hin-/her- thing is the same as mentioned by mizinamo (short/colloquial: rauf; Bavarian also knows "nauf").


Austria (at least eastern region):

Or something like that. Writing stuff one only always says is weird.

  • 1762

Vielen Dank!


And also runter for herunter, hinunter, and rüber for herüber, hinüber.

  • 1762

Oh, was fuer eine grossartige Erklaerung! Vielen Dank fuer deine Hilfe!!! 5 Lingots. Viel Glueck! :)


V­ielen Dank


That's a great answer! Thank you so much for that amazing explanation.


Can you explain the difference between herab and runter? I know you can use herab in situations like, der Apfel fiel vom Baum herab. You can use herunter in a situation like, der Apfel fiel ins Gras herunter.. Another example is, er kommt die Treppe herunter.. I think the difference is that herab is used if something is hanging from something but I can say that for sure.


If a child is playing in the backyard outside of the house, then his parents called him to go inside. will it be 'hinein' or 'herein'? (My best guess is 'herein') Das Kind will herein gehen


Where are the parents?

If they are inside the house, then the child has to come "inside, towards them" (herein).

If they are outside the house as well, then the child has to go "inside, away from them" (hinein).

In practice, the parents would probably simply use rein, though, which (at least where I'm from) is the same for either case -- and then Komm rein! or Geh rein!, as appropriate, depending on whether the child is to approach the parents (come) or move away from the parents (go) in order to enter the house.



Seems like it is not that simple.

From Reverso:

heraus da! inf get or come out of there!

It seems to me that using heraus in the imperative replaces the direction of movement relative to the speaker. Instead it is the direction of movement relative to the speakers intentions.

Duo says that the following is correct.

Heraus aus meinem Haus! = Get out of my house!


I couldn't have stated it better, @northernguy; "hin" and "her" are defined with respect to the the "direction of movement relative to the speakers intentions", whatever those intentions might be. If I might take it further, certain verbs or sentences might have a internal logic that defines what this "intented", sometimes abstract place is.

Granted @mizinamo, the use of the full "heraus" in utterances such us "Heraus aus meinem Haus!" appears seldom in conversation. But it has no grammar deficiency. In any case, if your logic were to stand true, i.e. that movement away from the speaker requires "hin", where is it in this sentence? The "intended" place is the speaker's house, and yet the movement is away from the speaker. How do you reconcile? Simple: by that movement relative to the speaker does not play a role.

The reference point is determined by the speaker's intention (or by the sentence's internal intention).


I would interpret both of those as somebody (improperly) generalising the double-meaning "raus" back to the full form "heraus"; using "heraus" for "towards the outside and away from me" sounds wrong.

Like somebody trying to sound educated by using the full version of the word rather than the colloquial shortened version, and ending up sounding uneducated because they picked the wrong full version.



Would you mind explaining "woher" and "wohin" in this same context? Is there a way for me to generalize the understanding of the implied direction of "her" and "hin" in all these cases or must i simply remember the words for how they're used?

In my mind "hin" is consistent both in "wohin", as well as in "hinaus" and "hinein", because in either usage one is either asking about a destination or commanding/requesting a destination to go to, and in both cases the destination is away from the speaker.

My confusion comes from "her" being used to ask about origin but also to command/request one to come towards the speaker. For example, "woher" is used as "where from", implying a question about origin, while "Kommst du herein" is used as a command to say "Come (to the) inside". So in the first case the request for information is directed towards a place away from the speaker (though the movement was towards the speaker), while in the second case the command/request is to come to the speaker.

I hope my question isn't too complicated.

Thanks for any explanation you may offer.


Perhaps it would help to consider "Woher kommst du?" as something like "(Von) wo kommst du her?", i.e. "from which place is that that you come towards me?" -- which emphasises the common ground of "her = towards the speaker".

To me at least, it feels fairly consistent; hin is always about "away from the speaker", her always about "towards the speaker".

The confusing bit might arise because "woher, wohin" don't ask about the same point of the journey: one asks about the origin, the other about the destination.


Woher means where from and wohin means where to. Woher would be used more with where are you from (to the speaker) and wohin would be used with where are you going (away from the speaker).


yeah, i understand that. Did you read the full question?


The request for information was in fact away from the speaker, but who the question was implied for was not moving away from the speaker, because they were moving from that place towards the speaker like mizinamo explained.


Thanks a lot. This one comment cleared all my doubts related to the Directions lesson. Can you please put the above text in the introduction part of the Directions lesson as well?


Isn't it technically ein and aus (In and out) not rein and raus?


ein and aus do exist (e.g. sie gingen ein und aus), but are not that common, in my experience.

rein and raus, which almost certainly come from herein and heraus, are much more common.

The full forms herein, hinein, heraus, hinaus are also heard.

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