I am looking for a way to say: "Yesterday I went running".

I tried to translate it like this:

Ich bin gestern laufen gegangen

But I am not sure this is correct and right.

I am sure I could say "Ich bin gestern spazieren gegangen" or "Ich bin gestern zu Fuß gegangen", so I thought that maybe also my translation could work.

I thought I might be forcing a translation from English to German. I never heard my translation before and I was just used to hear spazieren gegangen or einkaufen gegangen. I thought this structure might just work with these verbs.

In English I could also say "I went playing with my friends", but still I am not quiet sure I can say that in that way in German: "Ich bin mit meinen Freunden spielen gegangen". Right?

Could you clarify if this is possible? When and with which verbs can I use this sentence structure?

I am also confused because in Italian I could use it with almost any verb. Basically just changing the infinite verb with another.


Sono andato a dormire, mangiare, suonare....

Literally translated as: "Ich bin schlafen, essen, spielen gegangen".

What is allowed in German and what would be wrong?


1 Answer 1


Your translation is correct. You could also say: *Ich war gestern laufen* or replace *laufen* by *joggen*, to avoid possible confusion, especially in the southern German region, where *gehen* and *laufen* are often used as synonyms.

EDIT: you can always say Ich bin [irgend wann] [mit irgend jemandem] [irgend etwas tun] gegangen. That is correct german.

  • But what if he is a runner, not a jogger?
    – Carsten S
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 10:14
  • 1
    Then, @CarstenSchultz, he should of course use the word that best describes his activity :-)
    – Burki
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 10:19
  • And I agree that it can be wise to use less exact words to ease understanding when talking to non-runners.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Mar 11, 2015 at 10:21
  • 1
    I would say that in the southern German region there is actually a clear difference between gehen and laufen (the latter always meaning running). It is rather in the middle and north of Germany where people use laufen and mean to walk.
    – Matt L.
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 12:41

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.