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The confusing sentence(Sie hören sich ein Konzert an.)

So let's get straight to the point, What is the difference between those four sentences: -(Sie hören sich ein Konzert an.) -(Sie hören ein Konzert an.) -(Sie hören sich ein Konzert.) -(Sie hören ein Konzert .)

And if the difference that "an" makes is that it indicates the "listening" state instead of the "hearing" state, then what is the difference between "zu" and "an". For example , the diffence between those two scentences : -(Die Eltern hören zu.) -(Die Eltern hören an.)

April 3, 2018



sich anhören = to listen to something

anhören - to listen in a formal way, e.g. in court (I think it is "to hear a case" in English)

zuhören = to listen (attentively)

hören = to hear

Sie hören sich ein Konzert an - They are listening to a concert.

Sie hören ein Konzert an - not used in this way

Sie hören sich ein Konzert - wrong (as in "they are hearing themselves a concert")

Sie hören ein Konzert - They are hearing a concert.


This may be too specific but would there be a difference between listening to music on the computer for background music while doing something else and listening to an online lecture on the computer? Is it the goal of the listening or, is it the setting that dictates the difference in word choice?


the 3. one is incomplete. in this stucture you can not go without the 'an' in the end (which would make it the same as the 1.). the others (1. 2. 4.) are all correct and have all more or less the same meaning.


There is a difference between hoeren (to hear) und anhoeren (in the non-judicial sense, to listen). To hear may be unintentional, to listen is with intent. Where I live we have concerts in a park in the summer. When I happen to walk by I hear (hoeren) a concert, but hundreds of people are sitting on their blankets and folding chairs listening (anhoeren).


wrong if you want to emphasize what you really are listening you say ich höre zu. anhören does not always mean you wanted to listen. if someone annoyed you with boring stories for the whole day you would afterwards say "ich musste mir den Tag diese blöden Geschichten anhören". and if you were not interested from the start you surely did not intentionaly listen, right? if you listen to musik at home you would say ich höre Musik not ich höre musik an.( it would be correct but no one says it). for a concert both is used in the same way (in reality). i (as a german) would rather say ich höre ein Konzert than ich höre ein Konzert an. i would only say ich höre ein Konzert an if i wanted to sound more formal.


I as a German do the opposite: ich hoere ein Konzert an (aufmerksam) waehrend ich den Verkehrslaerm nur hoere.

Fortunately we Germans are not all the same. :-)


i guessed you are a german but i was not completely sure (because of the oe instead of ö) :-)


You can't say, "Ich höre dem Konzert zu", though, so "Ich höre [mir] das Konzert an" is the attentive version, just like gmbka explained.

"zuhören" only works with persons (including animals and an orchestra / a band) and - slightly less well, I think - sounds ("Ich höre der Musik / dem Gesang / dem Regen / dem Ticken der Uhr zu" = "I listen to the music / the singing / the rain / the tick of the clock"), but not "a concert", "a play", "a symphony", "a song", "the clock".

"Ich höre dem Musiker zu" would indeed be more attentive than "Ich höre [mir] den Musiker an" (this sounds more like I'm enduring it [like you said: "Do I have to listen to that [nonsense / rudeness]?"], or he's auditioning for me); and, as gmbka said, "Ich höre den Musiker" is just "I am hearing the musician" (whether I want it or not).


of course you can say ich höre dem Konzert zu. it is NOT limited to persons. but no one wanted to use it in this context.

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