I often come across following two types of usage of sich freuen, i.e.,

  1. Ich freue mich darauf, …
  2. Ich freue mich darüber, …

Both are used in the sense of “I am delighted about/over it” or in case of a longer sentence in the sense of “I am looking forward to …” My question is how one determines whether one should use darauf or darüber in the above sentences, are there any specific rules one should keep in mind?

  • 2
    This is actually a dictionary question! Aug 23, 2016 at 9:09
  • A similar question is discussed here
    – Pollitzer
    Mar 19, 2017 at 7:37

3 Answers 3


Simply speaking, the two phrases have two slightly different meanings. Whereas one might be delighted about a gift they have (already) received (from the present point to a point in the past), if you anticipate an event, such as going to your favourite concert next week, you will use sich darauf freuen instead of sich darüber freuen.

Here are some examples:

Ich freue mich schon darauf. I am already excited about it (future event)
Er freut sich so darauf. He is so exicted/delighted/in high anticipation of it. (future event)/

And some more examples:

Danke! Ich freue mich darüber! Thank you, I am (currently) delighted about it! (present event)
Er freut sich so darüber. He is so delighted about it. (present event)
Sie hat sich so darüber gefreut. She was so delighted about it. (past event)

A little more:

Note that darüber as well as darauf are always representing a noun, and often the subject in a sentence. This way, you will say:

Ich freue mich auf das Konzert

but if the relative word, Konzert, is missing:

Ich freue mich auch darauf.


This is actually a dictionary question:

Sich freuen auf/darauf
To look forward to


Sich freuen über
To be happy/glad about smth./To rejoice over

Ich freue mich darauf is not used in the sense of I'm delighted over/about it! That would be I'm looking forward to.


The difference carries over from the respective differences of the prepositional objects the verb freuen can take. The dar- forms are merely demonstrative pronouns to avoid repeating the same noun.

Sich auf etwas freuen

This does not mean to be delighted about something. Its only meaning is to be excited about something, something necessarily being a future event.

Sich über etwas freuen

This is the phrase you are looking for for to be delighted about something.

Compare the following examples:

Ich freue mich auf das Eishockeyspiel.

Morgen ist das Eishockeyspiel. Ich freue mich darauf.

The ice hockey match is tomorrow and the speaker is looking forward to it. Note the demonstrative preposional pronoun darauf in the second example.

Ich freue mich über das Eishockeyspiel.

(It’s a little bit harder to generate a sentence wherein darüber clearly refers to the game and only the game. I expect suggestions to appear in the comments or edited in accordingly ;-))

Here, the match has happened. Something about the match was so great, that the speaker is delighted about the match as a whole.

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