I am trying to understand the meaning of this adverb. As I so far understood it means also and therefore. Are the following examples correct? Are there other ways to use this word? Could you write me some sentences in which it would perfectly fit?

Sie singt und spielt dazu Gitarre. (meaning here "also")
Sie ist klug und dazu reich. (meaning here "therefore")

  • 3
    No, not "therefore" in the second example, but "additionally" (or again "also"). She's not rich because of her intelligence, but just additionally to her intelligence.
    – Nova
    Jan 18, 2015 at 23:09

4 Answers 4


The first sentence is ambiguous and allows two different interpretations. It seems to me that all other answers so far only considered one of those interpretations.

Your understanding is not wrong, because dazu can mean also. Some variations:

Sie singt und spielt auch Gitarre.
Sie singt und spielt dazu Gitarre.
Sie singt und spielt zudem Gitarre.
Sie singt und spielt darüber hinaus Gitarre.

The meaning is that she's able to do both singing and playing the guitar. That is covered by the Duden definition 1b.
Your example, however, is taken from Duden definition 1a, which seems here to be the more likely interpretation to many speakers. You can translate it in both senses with additionally, but the difference is that she's singling and playing the guitar at the same time.

Again, your sentence can be interpreted in both ways.

Your second example (taken from Duden defintion 1b) is unambiguous and it means being smart and also rich.

  • That is a good explanation. I had mentioned that both interpretations of the first sentence are possible, but was not clear enough about why I find one of them more likely. I think that if both 1a and 1b are possible interpretations of a sentence, they are sufficiently different, and one wants to express 1b then one would, to avoid this ambiguity, not use dazu.
    – Carsten S
    Jan 18, 2015 at 23:18

In this examples the word "dazu" has two completely different meanings:

Sie singt und spielt dazu Gitarre.


She sings and accompanies herself on guitar.

"dazu spielen" (in musical context) = "jemanden (auf einem Instrument) begleiten" = english "to accompany somebody (on an instrument)"

Sie ist klug und dazu reich.


she is smart and also rich.

Here "dazu" has the meaning of "auch" (english: "also"), but it also expresses, that the second adjective is an extra bonus to the first one. Normally it is not expected that both properties come together.

I tried to think of a sentence where "dazu" has the meaning "therefore", but I didn't find an example for this. Are you sure, that "dazu" has this meaning?


Your examples are correct, your understanding of them is not. First, dazu means zu dem (eben though it would most of the time not be grammatical to replace the former by the latter), so since the preposition zu has many uses, it is not surprising that the same is true for dazu.

The first example would be equivalent to

Sie singt und spielt zu dem Gesang Gitarre.

She sings and accompanies it by playing guitar. (It would also be possible to understand the dazu as auch as you suggest, but that is less likely to be the intended meaning.)


Ich nehme ein Stück Kuchen und dazu eine Tasse Kaffee.

would be equivalent to

Ich nehme ein Stück Kuchen und zu dem Stück Kuchen eine Tassee Kaffee.

In the second example

Sie ist schön und dazu reich.

the dazu really just means additionally.

So it means

Sie ist schön und auch reich.

but probably more specifically

Sie ist schön, aber nicht nur schön, sondern auch reich.

  • Probably the essential bit: dazu really just means additionally.
    – Stephie
    Jan 18, 2015 at 20:10
  • @Stephie I don't agree.
    – Carsten S
    Jan 18, 2015 at 20:14
  • I wouldn't say that OPs understanding in the first example was wrong. It does mean also. It means additionally (I agree with @Stephie in that matter) and you would say "spielt zudem Gitarre" rather than "spielt zu dem Gesang Gitarre". I was even about correcting your answer ("zu dem" -> "zudem", when I realized that you slightly modified OPs original sentence. – Actionally, upon further reflection OPs sentence is ambiguous. There are two difference interpretations. Being able to do both, and doing both at the same time.
    – Em1
    Jan 18, 2015 at 20:26
  • As I wrote the interpretation of the dazu in the first example as auch (or, incidentally, zudem) is possible, but I do not find it likely. I do not claim that one would actually say „Sie singt und spielt zu dem Gesang Gitarre.“, one would much more likely say „Sie singt und spielt dazu Gitarre.“ ;) I wanted to show that the da in dazu refers to the singing.
    – Carsten S
    Jan 18, 2015 at 20:32

No, you misunderstand "dazu".

1 Sie singt und spielt dazu Gitarre.

dazu: zu dem Singen spielt sie Gitarre. zu+dem (Dativ von das) wird zu "dazu". dazu: She is playing the guitar "to the" singing.

2 Sie ist klug und dazu reich,

Here dazu has the meaning also. She is wise/prudent/clever and "to the/this" being clever she is rich/wealthy. The normal expression would be with "und auch":

3 Sie ist klug und auch reich./ Sie ist nicht nur klug, sondern auch reich.

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