auf
1.
open
(In context of open stores or doors it's by far more common that "offen" in daily life, but it doesn't work well for figurative things like an open mind.)
Value:
Opposite: zu
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2.
on, on top of
(It's a two way preposition, so it takes Accusative or Dative. The translation can vary based on the context but the core theme is "on, onto")
Value:
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3.
"a sense of targeting"
(In many fixed combinations with a verb, that's the idea it expresses.)
Value:
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German Prepositions Explained - "auf"

A fun and thorough look at the word "auf". We'll learn when to use it for location, what it means as a prefix and we'll talk about the common combos, like "warten auf".

Vocab:

auf, aufgehen, aufmachen, aufgehen, warten auf, stehen auf, aufhaben


German Prepositions Explained - "Auf 2"

We'll talk about all the verbs that take "auf" as a preposition and we'll see if there's some logic somewhere. Also: a few really common phrases with "drauf"

Vocab:

warten auf, freuen auf, achten auf, drauf, drauf sein, drauf kommen, ...


Locations and Prepositions in German - The Quiz

Word Family

The core theme of this root was

(up) from under, going above

So basically a motion from down below to up above.
Some English sources (etymonline.com) mention two separate roots for similar themes here, but according to the German source I am using (DWDS.de), this root is the origin of both, syllables that are about “under” and syllables that are about “over”.

  • hypo- (“under”)
  • sub- (“under, below”)
  • super- (“above”)
  • sur- (“above”)
  • hyper- (“over”)
  • up- (“upward”)

There are countless verbs and words with these prefixes, of course, including some that are not immediately obvious as prefix words:

  • succeed (“come after”)
  • supply (“fill from below”)
  • suffice (“put under”)
  • suffer (“to bear a weight, be under pressure”)
  • source, surge (“spring from below”)
  • substance (“what something stands on”)

Besides those, the root is also the origin of words like up, often and open.
The idea of open comes from the notion of being out in the open, being exposed, which you’re also are when you go upward.

 

 

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