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

What is the difference between umher and um?

  1. Ich gehe um den Park.
  2. Ich gehe im Park umher.
share|improve this question
up vote 3 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
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

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

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.