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Bis Morgen vs. Bis zum Wochenende

The title above is translated as "by tomorrow vs. by the weekend". In German the first "by" is translated as "bis" but the second "by" is translated as "bis zu".

Could someone bring some more examples for both cases and possibly also give some explanation, why the "zu" is sometimes added and sometimes not?

April 15, 2018



Be careful "bis morgen" means "until tomorrow" or "See you tomorrow" or even within a sentence in context "by tomorrow" but "bis zum Morgen" would mean "until morning".''




Thanks for the reply, but it's not the answer what I'm looking for. I'll try to explain my question a little better.

If you must finish some work by a certain time, then the prepositions for "tomorrow" and "the weekend" are the same in English, but different in German:

  • I must finish the work by tomorrow = ich muss die Arbeit bis morgen erledigen.

  • I must finish the work by the weekend = ich muss die Arbeit bis zu dem Wochenende erledigen.

I would like to get help in understanding the difference in German. Why is "zu" sometimes used?


Tomorrow is special. Tomorrow looks just like morning, but morning is capitalized as it is a noun while tomorrow is considered an adverb. Which you would have found out in the first link that I provided you.

If I must finish the work by tomorrow, then I have until tomorrow to finish the work, which means that I can finish working up until tomorrow, so I can work up to the deadline. “bis zu” (up to) is a set prepositional phrase for this purpose used for morning and weekend. Now time starts with a number “bis 5 Uhr”, “bis nächste Woche”, “bis Ende Mai”, “bis nächsten Montag”, but “finished by next summer” uses “bis zum nächsten Sommer”. Like “bis morgen”, there is “bis heute”.


So, “bis” can mean “until”, “till”, “to”, “up”, “by”, “through”, “before”, “so”, “until after”, “up till”, “since”, “as far as”

“By” does not always translate to “bis” http://dictionary.reverso.net/english-german/by

Interestingly “By land and by water” becomes “zu Land und zu Wasser”

So, you need to recognize that prepositions are often tied to verbs and are usually set expressions which don’t translate word for word. You must learn what the expressions are in the other language.
For example, in English we “look at”, “listen to” , “count on”, etc. Look these up in a dictionary as each expression uses different prepositions in German.


Thanks for the addional clarification. So far the list goes as follows:

  • by tomorrow = bis morgen;
  • by (the) morning = bis zum Morgen
  • by the weekend = bis zum Wochenende;
  • by 5 o'clock = bis 5 Uhr

Based on these 4 examples above it seems that if the German word describing the deadline is without an article then "bis" is good enough. But if the word uses a definite article (das Morgen, das Wochenende), then "bis zu" is used. Could this be a general rule or am I totally lost? Are the following correct?

  • bis Juli;
  • bis zum 1. Juli;
  • bis nächste Woche;
  • bis zum Jahresschluss;


Zu becomes “zum” because there is an article. I wouldn’t make up rules though about “bis zu” which translates better to “up to” . Adverbs don’t use “bis zu”. I bet this works with nouns, but maybe not with an adjective in front of it.
“by the first of July” uses different prepositions, but again this could have been because of the verbs that were used in the examples. “vor dem 1. Juli”

Now, we need a German to step in, because we have reached all that I actually know.

Oh, I found another link which is helpful answered by a German: https://forum.wordreference.com/threads/bis-bis-zu.2326600/

There is also this discussion which states that maybe bis when used as a preposition without another preposition is only followed by nouns without an article. https://www.duolingo.com/comment/16637934/German-Preposition-Bis


Ok, thanks for your replies!


I have no idea, it makes no sense to me

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