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Zum vs für (the overlooked question)

So as the title states......i wanted to know the difference between "zum" and "für" when they come in the meaning of "for". Z.B. : Dieses Geld is fürs Essen. Dieses Geld is zum Essen. Is there a real difference between the two sentences? When zu means "for"? Another quick question: can "durch" mean "due to"?

If someone can answer these questions it would be really appreciated. Thanks in advance ^^ .

February 1, 2018



"Dieses Geld ist für Essen" means that you are supposed to buy food with it.

"Dieses Geld ist zum Essen" means that you can eat the money itself.


Tyvm I can understand the general idea....but could you give me a rule or something so that I can know when to use für and zum?


I'll try, though it is a little difficult to formulate rules for your native language.

I think that when something is meant for a person or object you use "für".

  • Die Süßigkeiten sind für die Kinder (The sweets are for the children)

  • Das Bild ist für die Ausstellung (The picture is for the exhibition)

Whenever you are supposed to do something, you use "zum"

  • Das Essen ist nicht zum Spielen gedacht (The food is not for playing)

  • Ich habe viele Bücher zum Lernen (I have lots of books for learning)


So in other words für is for nouns and zum for gerunds?

And in "Dieses Geld ist fürs Essen" ....essen here is considered as a noun whose meaning is "food"?

While in "Dieses Geld ist zum Essen" essen here is a gerund whose meaning is "eating"?

Did i get it right? Correct me if iam wrong

So how could u interpret "zum beispiel" "zum geburstag" and I saw this sentence on a blog a while ago " Dieser Stift ist nicht zum verkauf" (where verkauf is a noun here)


Again I'm just guessing here.

I think you are right about the gerund part. I can't find a counterexample.

As far as the second part is concerned, I feel like it needs to be something more tangiable.

Your birthday-example gives me a hard time.

Ich kaufe etwas zum Geburtstag (to be given as a present)

Ich kaufe etwas für den Geburtstag (for the party)


durch can mean due to. Probably best if someone else answers your other question...


Hmm so maybe an example would really help )


Durch das neue Gesetz wurden die Reichen noch reicher. (Due to the new law the rich became even richer)

Durch ihre Krankheit musste sie zuhause bleiben. (Due to her illness she had to stay at home)

In these examples you could also use "bedingt durch" instead of "durch", which sounds a lot more formal.


Funny how a preposition in German can mean zillions of things :) Ty for the answer.....so no real difference between wegen and durch other than that wegen is followed by genitiv?

I was just wondering whether in these examples can "due to" replaced by "through", for ex. : "Through her illness she had to stay at home" Would that give the same meaning and sound correct? What do you think?


Yes, you could use wegen+Genitiv. I find no difference in meaning.

I would probably go with "because of" in English.

  • 124

Funny how a preposition in German can mean zillions of things :)

Well, not just in German. For instance, the Oxford English Dictionary lists over 70 distinct prepositional senses for the English word "for".



Yea but it's odd how a german preposition can mean zillions of things....and each meaning has a different core idea I mean.....so hard to guess the meaning and we just need to learn them.

  • 1623

I see fürs being used seldomly. What exactly is the meaning of fürs and how is it different than für. Is it perhaps an archaic usage in some expressions?


Für das => fürs

Für Essen: for food

Fürs Essen: for a specific meal

  • 1623

Wow, I don't think I could have figured that out myself; thanks.

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