Spoken German Bits – “stehen auf”

stehen-auf-steh-drauf-meaniHello everyone,

and welcome to another episode of Spoken German Bits – the series where we look at all the stuff that people use in real life but that you won’t find in the standard textbook and teaching materials.
“So basically the cool stuff?”
Yeah, the cool stuff :).
Today, we’ll learn a really fly phrase that I’d bet my butt you’ll want to use right away. Ladies and gents, get ready for:

stehen auf

 

Wow. That’s … uhm… kind of underwhelming.
Yup, combining stehen and auf isn’t exactly an outburst of creativity like, say, jumping and shark.


Stehen auf has a normal day job as to stand/be on (top of), be it in the turbo literal sense of location or for some more figurative uses like writing “on” a paper or sometimes for some sort of settings.

So what’s so rad about it? Well, stehen auf is a super mega common informal way to express liking. Yes, another one. Besides mögen and gern and gefallen. Who would have thought that the dour Germans have so many words for liking :).
So, auf etwas/jemanden stehen is a quite casual, informal way to express that you like something or someone.
It’s pretty similar to mögen but it doesn’t work so well for serious emotions. And I feel like stehen auf sounds a little more greedy, or lusty at times. Like… you wanna have it. You don’t just appreciate it for what it is. But hey… I know we all stehen auf examples, so let’s do some :).

And of course it also works with the da-word, d(a)rauf.

And it also works for people.

And in that context it’s usually about THAT liking. You can say the following to your crush, but not to your best friend… well, except if you have a crush on your best friend.

Now, those of you who are currently in the “case phase” (the phase when you worry about getting the cases right and try to make sense of all of them”)  might be wondering “Wait, why dich and not dir.” A very good question that brings us to the secret of how to make everyone stehen auf you.
Nah kidding, I mean this:

The grammar of stehen auf

The normal use works with Dative. And Dative actually makes sense, because  stehen is stationary and that is connected to Dative. Still, the colloquial, abstract use works with Accusative. And this is actually a general trend of a general trend in German. Here they are back to back.

The Dative covers the literal, location related meaning; the Accusative is used for the abstract combo of verb and preposition. And I can imagine that’s quite confusing for learners.  But luckily it makes sense… or we can make it make sense. Get ready for some mind bending:
Liking does have some overlap with wanting. And wanting something or someone has a fair bit of direction in it. You have a goal, and even if just on a very abstract level, you’re “moving” toward it. And stehen auf with Accusative kind of captures this “directed” mind.

He wants her, he desires her, his mind is bent on her, his soul is directed toward her. Damn Steve, that’s creepy… no wonder she thought about getting a restraining order.
But seriously, we can think of this Accusative as capturing the “directed-ness”, that is part of wanting and liking.
And if that doesn’t make sense to you, then I got another option, which is also a theory as to where stehen auf actually comes from.  There’s a similar phrasing to stehen auf: fliegen auf. It means the same but I think it’s a bit older and definitely somewhat out of fashion today. What’s cool about it is that the Accusative makes perfect sense there because fliegen is a directed movement, and that is connected with Accusative.
Just think of a flock of seagulls darting down on an open bag of potato chips someone left at the beach. They “fly on top of it” because they dig that stuff.
This fliegen auf might have inspired stehen auf and people just kept the case.
Wow, that was a lot of case talk :).
Let’s wrap this up then with something lighter… a word play. There’s a woman who has written a book about how to get healthy and strong feet. And now guess what it’s title could be….

Starke Füße – da steh ich drauf.

 

(so just mark it to read it, or click the link)

German humor… just gotta steh auf it.
Sometimes. When you can actually find some.
Anyway, that’s it for today. This was our look at the phrase stehen auf, which is a colloquial way to express liking. And which is SUPER MEGA COMMON.
What about you? Have you heard this phrasing in daily life? Do you use it? Were you confused by it at first? And what do you stehen auf? Leave a comment with your example and see if you used it correctly. And of course if you have any questions about any of this, let’s clear that up in the comments, too.
I’m out for now. I hope you had fun.
Bis nächstes Mal.

for members :)

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Paolo
Paolo

something I’ve heard a few times:
“Was steht drauf, was steckt [oder ist] drin?”
in relation to a possible mismatch between product ingredients and what’s written on the label

Aoin D

Ich steh drauf, wenn ein Plan zusammen kommt.

Aoin D

Das sollte übrigens aus das A-Team sein. Auf Englisch die Zeile war “I love it when a plan comes together”, jedoch ich habe gerade erfahren, dass auf Deutsch war es “Ich liebe es, wenn ein Plan funktioniert”.

Loro
Loro

My guess would have been that it came from voting by standing.

Paul C.
Paul C.

Great new post! Can I make a suggestion for a future topic? Could you make one on imperative and command sentences with German verbs? This is something that I still struggle with, especially using the “du” form of separable prefix verbs, and especially if they are reflexive! It gets confusing. I have a 2 year old daughter and am constantly telling her what to do of course, and would like to command her politely in German, but want to make sure what I say is correct. Danke sehr.

BieneMaya
BieneMaya

Dear Emanuel, why is auf not at the end of the sentence, like all other neat separable prefixes, but is immediately after the verb stem? Needless to say, this is confusing

Carles
Carles

Could it be somehow related to “stand for”? After all “to stand for someone” is to support him, or endorse him, which kind of implies you like him.

margit
margit

Ich steh auf das Meer!
Ich steh auf Sonne!
Ich steh nicht so auf Regen. Im mein urlaub hat es die meisten Tage geregnet. Wenn es Regnet hatte ich schlecht Laune.

Aformanek
Aformanek

Ich stehe auf deinen Blog!

Darf ich nicht sagen daß ich DICH aufstehe wenn ich meine nur daß Sie hammer sind?

(And is that an ok use of hammer?)

Danke!

person243
person243

“Die Welt liegt uns zu Füßen, denn wir steh’n drauf, wir geh’n drauf…”

I don’t know how long it took me until I understood that this songtext was meant literally. I mean in figurative sense the translation would be: “The world is at our feet (everybody adores us), because we like/dig it, we are dying…” and literally: “The world is at our feet, because we stand on it, we walk on it.”

Anyway, I don’t know whether it is important to point out but I still thought it funny. You can either say: “Darauf steh’ ich.” or “Da steh’ ich drauf.” which mean basically the same, but the second uses an aditional “da” but shortens the “darauf” to “drauf”. The first would not work with just “drauf”(at least not in this order) and the second not with “darauf”. And you would also not be able to substitute “da” with something like “hier” or “dort” or “es” or “das”. Only “da”. You could probably say: “Hierauf stehe ich.” although that does not fit the tone, so it would be understood more literally.
What I wanted to say, this phrase does not leave much room for experimentation. Either you have a grammatical object: “Ich stehe auf [object].” or you use the forms: “Ich stehe d(a)rauf, …” or even: “Ich steh’ da drauf, …” But it is probably safest to use “drauf” only with the additional “da” and if you have a “da” already it can only be “drauf” not “darauf”.
I think I wrote too much.

Jimmy Cao
Jimmy Cao

This post is hilarious. Especially the kebab smell conversation.

Angie
Angie

“You’ve often had a dark beer recently, didn’t you?” – doesn’t really work
“Just lately, you have drunk more dark beer haven’t you?” spoken emphasis on the ‘have’.

Angie
Angie

I’m glad that you’re using the words that people use in real life, but sometimes I’m finding it a tad unnerving that I can find no ‘back-up’ translation. Sometimes when I do find a translation, it is completely different, and I often wonder if your usage is quite a lot down to regional dialect? which is ok of course, but would that help me speak the street speak in my region..will I be understood, and by heck they do have regional speak, just a few miles apart and it’s a whole different spoken language!.
But still, my choice of learning is with you, and bugger the consequences.

Guy
Guy

Can u explain the difference between drauf and Darauf?

Joel
Joel

My german friends say that using “stehen auf” and “fliegen auf” to tell someone directly that you like them is considered really vulgar and inappropriate. Can it have different cultural meanings depending on which parts of Germany you are from?

Angie
Angie

“I guess you’re mostly referring to little bits in the dialogues I’m using… what exactly do you mean by backup translation. Maybe I can add something like that in the future…”

it is the dialogues, and I do take note of your dialogues because that is the ‘street’ German language, (more so than the textbook stuff, because I am not looking to take an exam, nor employment. I’m semi-retired with a holiday home) and sometimes your dialogue does not translate by Google/Bing etc, they come up with translations so out there/random and nothing to do with what/how you have said it.
I don’t believe you should now translate your dialogue too! But when I come across something you’ve said and I can’t fathom it, I’ll ask…
Thanks for being so friendly and your reply is appreciated. :)

Angie
Angie

Just to say though, don’t be thinking you should change the way you’re teaching, or the use of your dialogue. If I were to do this site in my spoken language, even half of my country folk would not understand me, and I’d probably be locked up if some of my spoken dialogue were translated on the net! ;)

Angie
Angie

“Who would have thought that the dour Germans have so many words for liking”, – ‘dour’ is too strong a word, Germans are not dour, ‘staid’ would be better.

Stehen auf is a common, informal way to express liking : so, if I think of it as, ‘I can stand for that’ / ‘I can’t stand for that’ – it works for me, because we use these sayings, in conection with like/dislike.

I can stand a little rain – Esther Phillips 1975

I can’t stand the rain – Ann Peebles 1974 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5Rjo_imHDE

berlingrabers
berlingrabers

– ‘dour’ is too strong a word, Germans are not dour, ‘staid’ would be better.

Have you spent much time in Berlin? ;)

Angie
Angie

“Wenn ihr darauf steht, unfreundlich behandelt …
If you can stand being treated unfriendly…..

“Ja Mann, da steh ich grad voll drauf.”
Yeah mate, I can actually stand that stuff at the moment

“Komm schon, da stehst du doch drauf.”
Come on..I know you can stand it

berlingrabers
berlingrabers

You used it in some of the translations of your examples, but I’d say “be into something/someone” is THE go-to way to understand “auf etw./jmdn. stehen” – it would work in almost all your examples and really has the same sort of register and tone, at least in American usage.

Anonymous
Anonymous

– If you like being treated unfriendly …

Can you be “treated unfriendly”? “Unfriendly” is an adjective, which makes me want to stick another “-ly” on the end … “being treated unfriendly-ly”. But that looks awful, so I’d probably go with “in an unfriendly manner”, or I’d avoid the problem with “brusquely”.