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I've been trying for some time to figure out the locational adverbs but no success. There are so many and I am not sure which I should use.

Let's take 'up', 'above' ones for example.

What is the difference between:

  • droben/daroben
  • oben
  • über
  • hinauf/herauf
  • ober
  • oberhalb
  • aufwärts
  • herüber/hinüber
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  • Forget about droben/daroben. It's not in contemporary use. And herüber/hinüber actually does not fit into this list. It's like "over here" or "over there", respectively.
    – Em1
    Mar 25, 2014 at 15:50
  • @Em1 Mit droben/daroben hast du Recht. Aber bei herüber/hinüber wäre ich mir nicht so sicher. „Come on up!“ könnte vielleicht auch „Komm rüber!“ bedeuten.
    – Toscho
    Mar 25, 2014 at 19:12
  • yourdailygerman.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/… ... it doesn't cover all of the ones you mentioned but it might give you some useful background/foundation
    – Emanuel
    Mar 25, 2014 at 19:55

1 Answer 1

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droben/daroben Very old combination of da and oben. It means a concrete oben.

oben means "in some elevated place", for example one of the higher shelves of a cupboard, the management or even heaven. It need not mean the highest place.

über is mostly used as a preposition, not as an adverb and then not as a locality adverb. The adverb über means "more than" or "the rest".

hinauf/herauf means a process that results in a specified, higher place than before. It thus gives a direction.

ober as a single word only used in Austria and there as a preposition having the same meaning as oberhalb. As a prefix ober- is also used in other varieties of German meaning "superiour/elevated".

oberhalb is a preposition meaning "above"="higher or more elevated than something else"

aufwärts means "upwards".

hinüber/herüber means a process that results in a specified place geographically different from the starting place with the connotation of crossing something.

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  • Don't forget that ober (and its opposite unter) is used as an adjective in standard German (i.e. not only in Austria), for instance "Im oberen Fach"
    – Em1
    Mar 25, 2014 at 16:01
  • @Em1 Du meinst sicherlich das Adjektiv obere. duden.de/rechtschreibung/obere_Adjektiv_obere
    – Toscho
    Mar 25, 2014 at 18:53
  • Thank you for the very useful summary. A couple of small questions. - Does this mean oberhalb and über are synonyms (a preposition meaning above smth)? - aufwärts should be the same as nach oben? - If I am staying up on the stairs and talking to someone below for example. I can say 'Komm zu mir herauf.' Can I also say 'Komm zu mir oben (her).' `
    – vlatkovr
    Mar 25, 2014 at 19:35
  • oberhalb and über (in its generic meaning) are synonyms. Beware, that über is often used for prepositional objects of verbs. -- aufwärts means the same as nach oben, but only in an unspecified manner (If you want to make your crush join you in your upstairs room, you can say "Gehen wir nach oben?" but not "Gehen wir aufwärts?"). -- You cannot say "Komm zu mir oben (her)!" as oben is a place adverb, not a direction adverb as herauf.
    – Toscho
    Mar 26, 2014 at 15:25

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