What is the difference in usage or meaning between the two verbs großziehen and aufwachsen?

To me they both are basically the same and I don´t have any idea about what the difference could be.

Are these sentences correct..?

Wir sind zusammen aufgewachsen.
Wir haben zusammen großgezogen.
Meine Mutter hat uns alleine aufgewachsen/großgezogen.

  • 3
    I have the impression that this question could easily be answered by a dictionary? – Burki May 22 '15 at 14:16
  • So far as I understood they both mean "grow up". So my sentences translated should all mean in the same way : -"we grew up together -my mother grew us up alone Is this right? or the sentence have somehow a difference connotation? – E.V. May 22 '15 at 14:20
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    People grow up, their parents raise them. You can't use the verbs interchangeably, neither in English nor in German. – chirlu May 22 '15 at 14:24
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    @chirlu .. well, in English it is actually done though I guess it's regional google.de/… – Emanuel May 22 '15 at 19:26
  • großziehen versus aufwachsen. This seems pretty obvious to me. Voting to close. – Jan May 23 '15 at 13:47

»Aufwachsen« is what everybody does automatically. There even is no way to evade it. A child's body gets bigger and bigger, and unwillingly the child is learning good and bad habits. »Aufwachsen« is what also happens if the rest of the world leaves you alone in the wild.

»Großziehen« is what others (parents, teachers) try to do to make you a better person. Literally it means »make big by pulling/tugging up«, like when you would try to pull on gras to make it grow faster.

So »großziehen« is nothing that the growing person itself does. It is what others do to guide the growing person into the right direction. »Aufwachsen« is what the growing person does itself, or lets better say: what automatically happens to this person without being able to be influenced by him/her.

The term »aufwachsen« can only be used for humans (children). Maybe you can also find a context where you can use this word for kittens, puppies and other pets. But you can't use this word for plants. When you want to talk about the automatic process of getting bigger at plants and animals, then »wachsen« is the better choice.

But »großziehen« can also be used if humans try to influence the development of animals and even plants. When you train a puppy to learn lots of tricks and to be your faithful companion, then you might use »großziehen«. And when you try to grow some rare and sensitive plant, that is hard to grow, and often fails, so that it can be grown only with big efforts, then you also could use »großziehen«.

Now for your examples:

Wir sind zusammen aufgewachsen.

This is correct. It means: »We grew up together«. You are talking about that part of development, that happens automatically. You are not talking about any guidance during this process.

Wir haben zusammen großgezogen.  

Wrong. »Großziehen« is a transitive verb. You must tell who (or what) you are growing. This would be a correct version:

Wir haben unsere Kinder zusammen großgezogen.

Parents of grown up children could say this sentence, and it means: »We grew up our children together«.

Meine Mutter hat uns alleine aufgewachsen.

Wrong. »Aufwachsen« it not a transitive verb. You can not aufwachsen something. »Aufwachsen« is nothing that can be done to or on somebody.

Meine Mutter hat uns alleine großgezogen.

This is correct. When you talk about the process of guiding somebody who is developing, then you use »großziehen«. This sentence means: »My mother has grown us alone«.


No, those verbs are not the same and they are not interchangeable.

Großziehen would be translated as 'to raise (someone)', while aufwachsen is translated as to grow up.


Wir sind zusammen aufgewachsen

is correct, as well as

Meine Mutter hat uns alleine großgezogen.

The other two are lexically wrong.


What the other answerers have written is correct. I just want to add that from a perspective of grammar, aufwachsen is intransitive, and means to rise or to grow, while aufziehen is transitive, and means to raise. The confusion might arise from the fact that in English to grow can be used both transitive and intransitive.

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