German Prefix Verbs Explained – “zustehen”

Hallo und wie geht’s German learners,

so guess whaaaaat: someone is having his birthday today (November 6th)! Your’s truly. The most bestest, beer drinkingest German ‘splainer on the web… uh, I mean radio. This is a radio show, don’t let all the reading deceive yo… oh god, this intro sucks.
Almost as much as prefix verbs – German’s acne. You think you got ’em all but then over night ‘popopopopop‘ and there they are. A whole bunch of new ones. So annoying.
The we’ll pop open

zustehen

 

By itself is pretty clear, but when you look at it back to back with its spin offs zuständig and der Zustand, it’s definitely rife for a quick squeeze.
So let’s wash our hands and get to work.

Zu can add two ideas to a verb: the idea of closed and the idea of toward. In case of zustehen we’re looking at the latter. Taken literally, it means “to stand to(ward)”. And that’s rather close to the actual meaning: the idea that something is rightfully yours/ should be yours by right.

Note that it’s NOT just the synonym for to belong. The focus really is on the fact the “rightful” part. Now, some of you might be like “Hey wait, isn’t that basically like being entitled?” And technically it is. Except for one thing… tone. Zustehen just doesn’t sound entitled ;).

  • I only take what I am entitled to.

I bet some people would have quite the gut reaction when they hear this sentence…  like “Ugh. Millennials!!”.
But okay, millennials really do suck.
Wait… oh my god, they’re flocking toward Twitter. Hey, hey come back I was being ironic. Come on guys, cut me some birthday slack. I’m entitled to it. Sounds pretty weird, right? Well, with zustehen it would sound perfectly fine and everyone would be feel sympathetic.
Anyway, let’s look at a few more examples to get a feel  for the verb.

And that’s it. This is the ONLY meaning of the verb zustehen.
Now let’s turn to the adjective zuständig. Based on what we’ve learned about the verb, it could mean something like belonging to. That would be consistent. But we all know what German has to say about consistent:
“Not my job.”
Or in proper bureaucratic German:

“Dafür bin ich nicht zuständig.

Zuständig means something like responsible, in charge. So it actually IS about “standing toward” but this time it is us “standing toward” a thing.
What’s important to note is that zuständig is focused on assigned responsibilities and duties, not about guilt or who’s to blame. Like… let’s say you go to the toilet and when you get back there’s a pile of horse poo on your desk. If you want to know who did it you’d ask this:

If you say

that sounds like you’re asking who’s in charge of dealing with poo on desks.  So yeah, maybe think of zuständig as a mix of responsible and charged with.
But let’s just look at some examples.

Hey Elon, Elon… where’s my paycheck? For the ad? Why isn’t it here yet??
“It’s coming, man.  You will get what’s rightfully yours. At hyperspeed.”
Sweet, thanks.
The sky was covered with gray clouds, the metal jetty with leaves; yellow, red, green. But most of them a dirty brown. A strong wind blew fine rain drizzle over the land. The duck sitting on riverside fluffed up a bit more. “Ahhhh November. Time for red wine.” it said to itself and turned back to the article. “What a weird transition.” the duck thought as the article turned toward the noun der Zustand.
When you look it up in a dictionary, you’ll find the state, the condition or shape. But these two can mean all kinds of things, and it’s better to remember and grasp the core idea of der Zustand, which is basically the “how something is at a certain time”. So it is NOT condition in the sense of “If A then B” for example.
Does it tie in with the other idea we’ve had? Well, I can’t really see any connection at least. And I’m usually a good connection see-er.
Still, it does make sense on its own right. The state, der Zustand of something is “how it stands”… more or less :).  
Anyway, der Zustand is a pretty common noun and you can find it in a variety of contexts.

And of course there are also lots of compounds with it.

And which state of matter is it?!?! It’s a gas.
What’s that you say? Boiling point of water is 100 degrees Celsius?! Well, that was BEFORE global warming!!! Now 98 is warmer. Check you facts, duuuuh.
Oh speaking of duh… I think, we’re duh-ne here.
Ugh… these jokes. The cringe.
But yea… normally, we’d have to look at the r-version still, but verbs with zu as a prefix don’t have and r-version. So yeah, that’s it.
This was our look at zustehen, zuständig and der Zustand.
As always, if you have any questions or suggestions, just leave me a comment.
I hope you liked it and see you next time.

for members :)

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RuthE
RuthE

Alles gut zu der Saison des Geburtstags! Zwei oder vier Wochen Geburtstagsprivilegien! (Did I make that word up? :-D )

Vielen Dank! Ich begreife jetzt den Unterschied zwischen “verantwortlich” und ” zuständig”.

Auf Englisch, kann man nur “skim” den Text. Ich kenne keine “skim-read”.

Ano Menschkind Königin
Ano Menschkind Königin

Alles gute zum Geburtstag, Emanuel! Hoffe dass dein Tag reif mit Kuchen, Geschenke, Bier & liebe wird ^•^

Herzlichen Danke für alles dass du hier für uns machst & ich hoffe dass ich dich irgendwo treffen kann

uila
uila

Der Zustand deiner Chemie ist so schlecht wie deiner Physik. Wasser ist ein Molekül, kein Element. Trotzdem danke!

aoind
aoind

Ja genau – nimm das Emanuel! Wasser ist eine chemische Verbindung. Zurück zur Schule mit dir!

Tom
Tom

All das Beste zum Geburtstag!

Steapenhyll
Steapenhyll

For your example, “Who only skim-read the book halfway has no right to label it boring,” I would say instead “Those who only skim-read the book halfway have no right to label it boring.”

Goce
Goce

Na, Wünsche für einen echt tollen Geburtstag werden hier geschickt!!

Goce
Goce

.. und für die eventuelle Korrektur dazu noch :)

formaneka
formaneka

Herzlichen Gruss zum Geburtstag! Dir ist ein nette Tag zustaendig : )

billkamm
billkamm

I think a good literal translation for verantwortlich that makes sense is “answerable”. That sounds a lot more formal than “responsible”, but I think if someone only thinks of verantwortlich as “answerable” then they won’t confuse it with zuständig.

RuthE
RuthE

That sounds like a good strategy with these two words, Billkamm. “Answerable (for)” does sound to me too like it refers to an individual and their specific actions, rather than responsibilities.

Anna
Anna

No “answerable” is used in speech , for example : He is so arrogant, he thinks he is answerable to no-one.

Francesca Greenoak
Francesca Greenoak

Answerable to is used quite commonly in English English.

Francesca Greenoak
Francesca Greenoak

…and answerable for. For example, ‘If something happens , I won’t be answerable for my actions’.

Hosze
Hosze

Happy Birthday!
and thank you for your sharing!

so, may i ask
if i turn this question to a sentence
Steht mir Weihnachtsgeld gesetzlich zu?---》
Weihnachtsgeld steht mir gesetzlich zu. or Mir steht Weihnachtsgeld gesetzlich zu ?
Danke

ninita
ninita

Feliz cumpleaños… atrasado…by the way I’m a chemist and H2O is NOT an element, but a chemical compound (Verbindung?)
H and O are elements. Just a little chemistry…

Sockrancher
Sockrancher

Haha dass ist ja lustig – ich hab gerade die Titelseite der ADAC Zeitschrift gelesen, darauf steht „Was tun nach einen Unfall? Wie Sie Ärger vermieden und was Ihnen zusteht‟ und hab mich gedacht: Hmm – How to avoid trouble and what’s your condition :-)
Danke dass du mich beigebracht hast

person243
person243

Hi, alles Gute nachträglich, Emanuel.
When I read about “zustehen”, I automatically thought about “Und da steh’ ich zu.” = “And I stand by that.” But that is, as it dawned to me. not the same verb but the construction “zu etwas/jemanden stehen” = “to stand by sth./someone”.
Connected to “Zustand”, I think “zustande kommen” is a noteworthy “little” verb. Or maybe they are not connected at all. It is used, if something is in the end finalized afterall. Like a contract, it might took long and wasn’t easy but in the end there was a result. “Der Vertrag ist zustande gekommen.” = “The contract was concluded.” (I cannot find a good word by word translation, sorry.) In the negated sense, it is used when something did not work out. It then has a very neutral tone as to refrain from blaming anybody.
The brother to this verb would be “zustande bringen” = “to make sth. work”. That is often used pejoratively. “Gut, dass du auch mal was zustande bringst.” = “Good, that you finally get your stuff together/do sth. of value.”

aoind
aoind

Quality titbits there! Thanks :-)

Balan
Balan

Greetings everyone!
My name is Balan and I am from Romania (yeah I know, not a great country to be from/in, but I will change that soon hopefully ^^ ). I began studying the German language a while ago and, just recently, I found your amazing website. It answers to the hardest questions about this enigmatic language which I was not able to find anywhere in a such compact and well structured form.

Due to the fact that I do not have a bank card yet, I had no immediate way of paying for membership and I sent the site’s admin an e-mail asking for a free account.

I want to thank you all who contribute to this community and made this possible for everyone to have access to this amazing study material. I already learned a lot from the few posts I was able to read before and I am sure that from now on, I will learn so much more.

Thank you all!

tbhatti
tbhatti

happy birthday! my wife and daughter were both born on Nov 6th ;) In fact my daughter was born last week ;)

Sierra
Sierra

I’m THE MOST retarded learner so bear with my question: In one example you wrote “….gutem Zustand”, so I am guessing “Zustand” is the I.D object (because the ‘couch’ is the D.O.) and the ‘der’ changed to ‘dem’ and then someone decided to ‘compress’ the words from ‘gut dem Zustand” to gutem Zustand”. Is this correct or am I totally rewriting German?

Oh, and HBD!!!

Haseo
Haseo

Hey was für ein Zufall.. ich bin auch ein Skorpio, nur erst 15 Tage nach deinem Geburtstag. (also heute ^^). Glücklicher verspäteter Geburtstag!