The meaning of “von … her…”

von-da-her-pictureHello everyone,

and welcome to our German word of the Day.
And it is finally time again for another Episode of one of the least known mini series ever – “Married and in Love.”
And the word couple we’ll look at today is

von… her

 

Such a cute couple.
In fact, they are so cute that more and more people are using them although it does sound rather basic, even a bit childish. von… her is everywhere and it’ll make you sound much more native if you use it, too. So let’s take a look.

The first part is von. The most common translations are from or of and its core idea is a notion of origin or starting point. And that can be an actual location, as well as a source of origin or a point in time…

  • Ich komme von der Arbeit.
  • I come from work.
  • Ich habe das Buch von dir.
  • I have the book from you.
  • Ich arbeite von früh bis spät.
  • I work from early till late (lit.)
  • I work from dawn till dusk.

 

And it can also be an abstract source of material… dream material in this case…

  • Ich träume von einem gefügigen, pinken Pony.
  • I’m dreaming of a pliable, pink pony.

No idea why I keep having this dream. It just stands there, all pink and says “Yes Sire!”
I’ll ask my therapist about it, I guess.

Anyway, the second part of our word couple is her. We’ve actually talked about that one in a separate article (I’ll leave the link below) but in a nutshell, it is a directional here. So it is a “here” that asnwers the question “Where are you going?”.
W
hile hier would be an answer to “Where are you?”.

  • Meine Freundin kommt diese Woche her.
  • My girlfriend is going to come here this week. (her destination)
  • Meine Freundin ist diese Woche hier.
  • My girlfriend is here this week. (her location)

Yeah, German is really pedantic when it comes to location, you know.
Anyway, so if we take von… her literally, we get like from… to here.
And sometimes, it’s actually used that way.

  • Nachmittags von Osten her aufkommender Regen… (common weather forecast phrasing)
  • In the afternoon, approaching rain from the east…
  • Der Fisch stinkt vom Kopf her. (proverb)
  • The fish rots from the head down.

But the use that makes von … her so incredibly common is not so much about a location. It’s more about a perspective.

von… her – perspective

Imagine you have an object. Depending on where you stand, from where you look at it, you’ll see different angles, different parts. And in a more abstract sense, you’d see different aspects of something when you look at it from different points of view.
That’s pretty much what von… her is used for.
For example… you want to tell your friends about this new bar.
Your overall judgment might be “It’s cool.” but that’s made up of many aspects – the prices, the vibe, the quality of drinks, the staff, the toilets, the music or the sauna.
Anyway, picking out single perspectives like these is EXACTLY what people do with von… her.

  • “Wie ist die Bar so?”
    “Also vom Preis her ein bisschen teuer, aber die Qualität ist gut und die Atmosphäre ist echt angenehm.”
  • “So, how’s the bar?”
    “Well, price-wise it is a little expansive… but they have good quality and the vibe is really nice.”

Basically, the von blah her phrase is just a shortened version of this

  • Vom Preis her gesehen…
  • Seen from the price-prespective…

And people do say the gesehen, too, sometimes. But it’s more common without it.
Here are some more nice examples that show the variety of contexts people use the phrasing in.

  • Regen im Paradies, nicht nur vom Wetter her (customer review for a mediocre hotel/vacation in Spain)
  • Rain on the parade, not only from the sky.
  • Welches Land mögt ihr am meisten, nur vom Essen her. (some discussion board)
  • Which country do you like best, only food-wise.
  • Vom Feeling her hatte ich ein gutes Gefühl
    (A German soccer player did say that verbatim in a TV interview
    It’ll never be forgotten)
  • Feeling-wise I had a good feeling.
  • Der neue VW ist vom Design her keine Überraschung.
  • The new VW is no surprise design-wise.
  • Beide Waschmaschinen unterscheiden sich von der Bedienung her fast gar nicht.
  • When it comes to operating them, both washing machines have little to no difference.

And just to give you an idea of how common von… her actually is,here a few numbers for how many hits you can find on Google.

  • “vom Geschmack her” – 1,2 million
  • “Vom Aussehen/Design her” – 3,3 million
  • “Vom Preis her” – 3,7 million
  • “Von der Idee her” – 4 million

And just for comparison – the phrase “sie war” has 3,2 million hits. So von… her is REALLY common. People use it every chance they get and sometimes the results are pretty damn ugly.
Like here, where a simple “Gute Idee” would have sounded much better…

  • Von der Idee her okay, aber schlecht umgesetzt.
  • Good idea but implemented poorly.

Or how about this redundancy fest…

  • Vom Geschmack her lecker.
  • Taste-wise it was very tasty.

I know it sounds hard to believe but people really say that and write that. Here’s a screenshot of a review for a nut mix.


I mean come on. The headline alone is a disaster.
And there’s even worse. Sometimes people cram an entire sentence in between von and her.

  • Von wie sie singt her finde ich sie besser als Rhianna.
  • Seen from how she sings… (lit.)
  • When it comes to singing I like her better than Rhianna.

This sounds super schoolyard-colloquial, though. I think I might be guilty of using that sometimes, but you absolutely shouldn’t.
Cool.

Now, you might be wondering if there are less colloquial alternative for von … her. And yes, there are. One is also a “sandwich”-phrase: was… angeht.

  • Was den Geschmack angeht...
  • Vom Geschmack her…

This is the German counterparted to to concern, but we’ve talked about it in a separate article, so I’ll just leave the link below and you can check it out if you want to know more.
And if you ever want to sound really formal, you can use bezüglich. Which literally is something like “with relation to”

  • Bezüglich des Geschmacks…
  • With regard to /in terms of taste…

But this does sound fairly stiff AND you need to use the Genitive, so this is nothing for daily conversation.
Hey, I just realized something… genitive often sounds stiff. So maybe we should call it…

Genistiff

Come on, guys. That was kind of funny, you could at least snicker a bit.
Well… I guess not.
Anyway, we’re almost done here, but before we wrap this up, there’s another thing we need to talk about. Some of you might have guessed it… the da-word-version.

using “von daher”

We’ve learned that von [X] her basically says that [X] is kind of our angle or perspective. Sometimes, that point of view has already been established in a conversation. So all we need is to point at it. And that’s where the pointer da comes in.

  • Ich muss morgen früh raus... von daher weiß ich nicht, ob ich heute lange mache.
  • I have to get up early tomorrow… so I don’t know if I’ll stay up late today.

The point of view I am taking is the fact that I have to get up early. And looking from that angle, I don’t know if I’ll stay out for long.
Here’s another example.

  • Ich hab’ vorhin schon auf Arbeit gegessen, von daher bin ich satt.
  • I’ve already eaten at work, so I’m full.

As you can see, I used so as a translation. , von daher actually leans toward expressing a reason. A more literal translation that so would be in the light of that or even based on that but those sound much more formal than the every day von daher. So really captures it pretty nicely.
And just like with so, sometimes people won’t even continue… they just say the fact and then they say von daher and that’s it. The consequence is left up to context.

  • “Kommst du zu meiner Party?”
    “Naja, mein Ex-Freund kommt halt auch… von daher…”
    “Verstehe.”
  • “Are you coming to my party?”
    “Well, thing is my ex-boyfriend will be there too… so… ”
    “I see.”

Cool.
So now we know how to use von … her… and von daher I’d say, that it for today :).
Uh, that rhymes. This was our look at the meaning and use of von … her. It is handy sometimes, totally out of place other times but people love the hell out of it. Or as you could say in German, if you really want to push the limits

  • Von wie doll sie es mögen her lieben die Leute es.

That made little sense :). But I hope the rest of the article did.
If you need something to fix the phrase in your head then check out
this
don’t know if that is only funny when you’re a native speaker but it made me chuckle .
If you want to recap and check how much you remember about what you’ve learned, you can take the little quiz I have prepared for you.
And of course, as always, if you have any questions or suggestion just leave me a comment.
I hope you liked it and see you next time.

“von … her” is a really common construction in everyday German.
Do you know what it means and how to use it?

Further reading:

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