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Is there a difference between the verbs "bieten" and "anbieten" in sense "to offer"?

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To be able to answer your question we need to know why you had the impression these two distinct verbs are not different. – Takkat Dec 7 '12 at 7:31
What did your research tell you? – Em1 Dec 7 '12 at 7:49
up vote 6 down vote accepted

There are some typical uses where one fits much more than the other: For example one would say:

Diese (Arbeits-)Stelle bietet ihnen die Möglichkeit, sich persönlich weiterzuentwickeln (This job offers you the opportunity for personal development)

IMO nobody would say "anbieten" in this context. Another case would be such context like offering a seat or refreshments:

Darf ich ihnen eine Tasse Kaffee anbieten? (Would you like a cup of coffee?/May I offer you a cup of coffee?)

Here only "anbieten" fits (I don't know the exact reason, just that I would register "bieten" as odd).

As other answers already stated, there are areas where both are fine.

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Ich biete Hilfe an.

That means offer help, with using anbieten. Theoretically, you could say the following, too:

Ich biete Hilfe.

But you can say the following:

Ich biete 30€ bei der Auktion.

Here you can't use anbieten, because here, the meaning isn't offer.

In general, you can use bieten every time you can use anbieten, but not the other way round.

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The meaning of bieten can also be bid, grant which is not given with anbieten.

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This answer gives only a very narrow view about what bieten and anbieten mean; which are their shared meanings and which meanings are different. – Em1 Dec 7 '12 at 7:54

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