Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the difference between umher and um?

  1. Ich gehe um den Park.
  2. Ich gehe im Park umher.
share|improve this question
add comment

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

These are different words: gehen (to go, to walk) and umhergehen (to perambulate). You are either walking around the park, or walking around in the park.

share|improve this answer
1  
Perambulate? Why not simply to stroll? I'm strolling in/through the park. –  Em1 Dec 10 '13 at 9:46
    
Slightly different register, I think. But I'm really fine with either. –  Ingmar Dec 10 '13 at 9:54
add comment

Ich gehe um den Park.

is a short form for

Ich gehe um den Park herum".

So you are searching the difference between "ich gehe herum" (Verb: "herumgehen") and "ich gehe umher" (Verb: "umhergehen").

The Duden says both mean the same

Herumgehen - Duden

Umhergehen - Duden

but there is some difference between them.

When you use "herumgehen" you have to differ if you walk around a certain point (um den Park herum). In this case, "herumgehen" means to walk around something. If not, it means the same as "umhergehen": to walk aimlessly around (Im Park herum).

So, your sentences mean the following:

  1. Ich gehe um den Park : I'm walking around (outside of) the Park.
  2. Ich gehe im Park umher: I'm (aimlessly) walking inside of the Park.
share|improve this answer
1  
Good answer. A very clear explanation of the difference. –  Em1 Dec 10 '13 at 9:55
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

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.