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What is the difference between "herbei" and "her"? Is it right we say "herbei" is more formal?

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Herbei is the long-form of "her" and can be used as a synonym. You can say "Kommt alle her!" just as "Kommt alle herbei!". Herbei sounds a bit old-fashioned or formal though, I would expect it to be used in theater or so.

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1

The adverb of herbei is not very frequently used, it means "from there to here".

But of all occurrences I found on a quick glance, in more than 80% of the cases it was the separated particle of the verbs

  • herbeiführen
  • herbeilaufen
  • herbeizitieren

Espcially herbeiführen has such a special meaning, that replacement by herführen is impossible.

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