German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I was talking with my partner about when he would be arriving home and when our guest would be arriving. I didn't know the word for "arrive" and Google translate didn't provide much enlightenment. I settled for "Wann wirst du zu Hause gekommen?" and "Sie wird um 6:00 ankommen" but I have no idea why.

share|improve this question
I think Google translate gets it just fine...… – Emanuel Aug 25 '14 at 21:24
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Ankommen vs Eintreffen

There is a difference between ankommen and eintreffen. The former one is much more generic, you can also "ankommen/arrive" at a certain state of mind. If the journey was stressful and long, the host will often say to the eintreffenden (arriving) guests:

"Kommt (or formal: Kommen Sie) erst mal an!"

in the sense of taking off the jacket and shoes, drop your luggage etc. before starting the dinner or other activities.

Eintreffen is (always?) the very short moment of arrive at a location/scene.

Ankommen can be used synonymously, but is also an activity on its own.

Ankommen vs Kommen

In situations like the one that you described (arriving at home at a certain time) it doesn't matter which one you use. In other situation ankommen again means the arrival and kommen can mean the whole travel, too.

For instance, you have to cancel an appointment today:

Ich komme heute nicht mehr. / I won't visit (you) today.

For instance, you will be arriving tomorrow instead of today, because you missed the last leg of your flight:

Ich komme heute nicht mehr an. / I won't be arriving today.

share|improve this answer

Wann wirst du zu Hause ankommen?

is just fine for asking someone when the person will arrive at his/her home.

If you live with your partner, you can also say

Wann wirst du nach Hause kommen?

or a bit more informal

Wann wirst du heimkommen?

to ask her when she will come home.

Wann wirst du zu Hause eintreffen?

is fine, but I would consider it a bit too formal for asking your partner.

Sie wird um 6 Uhr heimkommen.
Sie wird um 6 Uhr nach Hause kommen.
Sie wird um 6 Uhr (zu Hause) ankommen.
Sie wird um 6 Uhr (zu Hause) eintreffen.

are all fine as statements (sorted from informal to formal).

share|improve this answer

"ankommen" and "eintreffen" are quite the same in the meaning of arriving at a destination or place. So both are fine with both sentences:

Wann wirst du zu Hause ankommen?
Wann wirst du zu Hause eintreffen?
Sie wird um 6:00 Uhr ankommen.
Sie wird um 6:00 Uhr eintreffen.

share|improve this answer

Here are the meanings of the three German words in English:

kommen - come
ankommen - arrive
eintreffen - entering a house, a room. etc.

share|improve this answer
I don't agree with "eintreffen" being only for entering. People eintreffen at Unglücksorten every day – Emanuel Aug 25 '14 at 21:25

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.