A few days ago I bought on the internet a train ticket. The process is as following: you order and pay on the website and you receive an order number, then you must go to a physical ticket counter at a railway station with your order number, and they will print your actual paper ticket.

I did so, and had the following conversation with the person at the counter:

 Ich habe eine Fahrkarte im Internet eingekauft, und ich habe die Bestellnummer.

And it looked more or less like the other person could follow me. I continued:

Können Sie sie bitte drücken?

At this point the employee looked completely lost. I don't know if it was because my pronunciation was bad, or because my sentence did not make sense. After a few seconds she corrected me, with something that probably was:

Oh... ausdrücken ?

I confirmed and the transaction went on smoothly.

So I am puzzled and have a few questions.

Was my sentence correct? Are there regional variants? (This happened in Switzerland, but the employee looked young and educated, so I'd assume she had no problems at all in understanding proper Hochdeutsch).

Do you think the initial lack of comprehension was due to my pronunciation or to grammar/vocabulary?

What is the difference between drücken and ausdrücken? I thought the former would be appropriate, because within computer programs the act of printing a document is called drücken.

  • 2
    the act of printing is not called "drücken" (--> "to press"), but "drucken" (no umlaut). Also probably the answer was "ausrucken", which is "print out". "ausdrücken" on the other hand means "express".
    – Vogel612
    Feb 11, 2014 at 16:10
  • 4
    Voting to close, because this question seems to be about a simple confusion of similarly spelled words.
    – Vogel612
    Feb 11, 2014 at 16:11
  • 1
    the problem is, then the original question has no point, as they mean exactly the same. It's just that 'ausdrucken' has included the preposition 'aus' and has become a separable verb. the meaning is the same, they just minimally differ in use.
    – Vogel612
    Feb 11, 2014 at 16:17
  • 2
    Exactly. and that is the problem.
    – Vogel612
    Feb 11, 2014 at 16:28
  • 1
    @Vogel612: I suppose you mean "ausdrucken", not "ausrucken".
    – persson
    Feb 11, 2014 at 17:39

1 Answer 1


There is "drucken" and "drücken". The latter means "to push, to hug, to squeeze" while the former means "to print". So the girl was confused because you asked her to hug the ticket. Then she probably said "ausdrucken" which you understood to be "ausdrücken". The pronunciations of the words are very close, objectively.

As for "drucken" and "ausdrucken" the version without "aus" focuses a little more on the fact that you're printing something while the "aus" adds the idea that you're printing something out from a device... much like "to print out"

Die Zeitung wird gedruckt.

Das Pdf wird ausgedruckt.

  • Side note: Ein Ticket ziehen (to pull) is what we may do at a ticket machine.
    – Takkat
    Feb 11, 2014 at 22:30

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