https://www.duolingo.com/Leigh409598

Von vs Aus When "From" a Place Is Intended

I came across the following sentence "Sie sind nicht von hier, oder?" in my study. I asked a couple of native German speakers why "von" is used here but not "aus,“ and if both are acceptable, but no one seems to be sure. The closest answer I could get was when we mean to say "from a physical place, " but that place is nonspecific, such as "hier" in this case, then we use von; whereas "aus" is used for a specific place. The example I was given was: "Ich bin von hier" but "Ich bin aus die USA." Could someone please confirm this for me? Thanks!

October 22, 2017

12 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/RedAngel666

Hi Leigh,

as the others wrote it's collquial speech. That is the reason no one you ask is sure. In german many 'things' in colloquial language ok but not in high german or written language.

Bist Du von hier?/Sind Sie von hier? Du bist nicht von hier?/Sie sind nicht von hier?

These are sentences are only used (and make sense) when you talk directly to another person.

So if you talking with me and I hear that you are from another part of the country (dialect). Maybe I ask you 'Du bist aber nicht von hier, oder?' Only to make sure that you are not familiar with my dialect or knowledge of the area (same in a phone call). If somebody is asking you the way you can excuse yourself when you say. 'Ich bin nicht von hier, das kann ich Ihnen leider nicht sagen'. That means you are not familiar with the area and that's the reason you can't help. You are not simply unpolite.

In common sentences/questions like where are you from or things like that you use 'aus' or 'from' "Ich bin aus Deutschland."

Does that help a little bit?

best regards Angel

October 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Leigh409598

Thanks, Angel. Just to make sure I understand correctly, you're saying in formal German, "Ich bin aus hier" should be used and "Ich bin von hier" is informal? If so, then it has nothing to do with the specificity of the location as I was told, right?

October 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RedAngel666

Hi Leigh,

no my explanation wasn't clear enough, my bad. In formal (correct) speech you say "Ich komme aus XY (Hamburg or what ever). You can't drop the location. This informal "Sind Sie von hier" is normally only used in a direct talk. "Ich bin von hier" has no further informations. So it works only in a discussion when it is clear where the participant are at the moment. That's the case when you sitting/standing in front of each other or during a phone call.

You ask me (on the street) Ich suche den Bäcker. Sind Sie von hier? Können Sie mir sagen, wo der ist? I'm looking for a bakery. Are you from here? Can you tell me where it is?

You ask me (here in the chat) Woher kommst Du? and I write "Ich bin von hier" it would be an useless and weird answer, right?

best regards Angel

ps. "Ich bin aus hier" doesn't work. "Ich bin aus XY" is correct. So if you are not sure, take the formulation with "aus" and you are on the right site of grammar. *g

October 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Leigh409598

Hmm, I think I'm getting it now. So let me rephrase my understanding: When the location is implied but not stated explicitly, such as "hier," then "von" can and should be used. If, on the other hand, the location is explicitly stated, such as "Hamburg" or whatever, then "aus" should be used. So specificity of the location does determine whether "von" or "aus" should be used when "from a place" is intended, right? That's what the native speaker whom I consulted with told me.

October 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/RedAngel666

yep, I think you've got it.^^

best regards Angel

October 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Leigh409598

Whew! Vielen Dank!

October 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/gmbka
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"So as a rule of thumb... "aus" is used to indicate origins that you can enter, that are a material and that are human made geographical entities, "von" is used for origins which cannot be entered ... like people. And then there are 1000 exceptions you'll just have to learn."

From: https://german.stackexchange.com/questions/10311/aus-vs-von-what-is-the-difference

October 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Leigh409598

Haha, I almost got a heart attack when you said there are 1000 exceptions to the rule :P. So in this particular context, "hier" is considered a geographic origin or physical location that people can enter, so "Ich bin aus hier" should be used, but "Ich bin von hier" can also be used as an exception to the rule? I actually consulted the same website you mentioned in your reply before I posted my question, but the notion of "enterable" was elusive to me because I would imagine "hier" would be enterable, and therefore "aus" should be used, at least in formal German as noted by Angel? However, as noted by Brofos below, "enterable" only refers to a construction, so since "hier" is not a construction, we can't use "aus." I think I'm getting a little dizzy here....

October 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/tu.8zPhLD72zzoZN
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I think it might be a bit more complicated then that. I think that sometimes you can use either, but some expressions prefer one or the other. See this dictionary with a lot of examples: http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-german/from

October 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/Leigh409598

Yes, most definitely! On the website you shared in your reply, I can see both "aus" and "von" can be used to indicate place of origin, and the examples include both. So I guess it is probably correct to say that both can be used and the preference has nothing to do with specificity of the location but a matter of formality. Should I be happy with this conclusion? Or should I consider Brofos' suggestion about "aus" being used only when the English word "in" is allowed? In other words, "Sie sind nicht von hier, oder?" is correct but ""Sie sind nicht aus hier, oder?" is incorrect?

October 23, 2017
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