I have read the following statement in a German book:

Ich stehe vom Frühstück auf.

I couldn’t understand the purpose of using von here, not even the whole meaning. Is it to mean: “I wake up for the breakfast”? Or “I complete the breakfast”?


»Aufstehen« is a separable verb that means »to stand up« or »to get up«. You use it whenever you change your position form not-standing (i.e. laying, sitting, ...) to standing.

Ich wachte auf und bin gleich darauf aufgestanden.
I woke up and immediately got up.

See: »Aufwachen« (to wake up) is not the same as »aufstehen« (to get up). You can wake up and stay laying in bed for hours without getting up.

Tom saß bis 9:00 Uhr auf seinem Koffer und stand erst auf als der Zug ankam.
Tom sat on his suitcase until 9:00 o'clock and stood up when the train arrived.

Anna stand vom Frühstück auf.
Anna stood up from breakfast.

Having breakfast is something you normally do sitting. So when you have finished breakfast and then stand up, you stand up from breakfast.

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  • Then "von" is used with "aufstehen" always to mean "of". – ultrasmart Feb 27 '16 at 23:38

Hubert provided a nice overview over the meaning of aufstehen. Once you understood that, it should be easier to understand the meaning the preposition vom conveys: You are getting up from the breakfast (so you are leaving the table).

The verb aufstehen is the same regardless of whether you’re getting up from the table or getting out of bed (or getting up off the floor/settee). Only the preposition is able to show at which part of the movement the breakfast actually was and therefore where you are going.

Ich stehe zum Frühstück auf.

This sentence is not as idiomatic as the other (I probably wouldn’t say it) but it would be understood as getting up from something to go to get/eat breakfast.

Ich stehe im Frühstück auf.

This sentence is rather weird if a human says it, but a fly that got stuck in your jam could have finally managed to get up and then say that it is now getting up inside the breakfast (on the table).

Ich stehe vom Frühstück auf.

This is the usual case; you are leaving (von) the breakfast. So you are leaving the table.

More options are possible but probably even less likely than the unlikely one in the middle, so I am omitting them here.

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