What is the difference between both expressions? from what I found online it seems like Verbindung zu means a link to the while with mit it means combination.

But still I am not sure I could use these expressions with confidence.

Is there even a more general rule behind the use of mit and zu in other contexts?


Your example varies based on the context. And there is no general rule since "zu" and "mit" (especially "zu") have different meanings if they are adverb, preposition or anything else.

If we look at

Der Gegenstand stand in Verbindung mit dem Fall.

There "Verbindung mit" means that the object was connected with the case. But another example with "mit":

In Verbindung mit Sauerstoff ist Wasserstoff gefährlich.

This expresses that oxygen is dangerous in combination with hydrogen.

And the same problem occurs with "zu":

Sie hatte eine Verbindung zu einem WLAN-Netzwerk.

This expresses (again) a connection (she was connected to a WiFi). But of course there's also another meaning:

H und O2 gingen eine Verbindung zu H2O ein.

That sentence expresses a link. And there are more example for "mit" and for "zu". But as stated at the beginning that really depends on the context and especially on the substantive.

  • Vielen Danke When the association is with an animate or an abstract concept (authority, state) which preposition is preferred? – Averroes Mar 19 '17 at 9:50
  • @Averroes Do you want an association (that would also be the German term "Assoziation") or a combination or a connection? – TeXnician Mar 19 '17 at 9:53
  • 1) his relationship with his boss is undergoing a real change. 2) Our relation to state is a matter of debate. Is there a correspondence between the use of to/with in English and zu/mit in German? Seemingly with to in English we refer to unchanging relations. – Averroes Mar 19 '17 at 10:00
  • 1) Seine Beziehung zum Chef verändert sich wesentlich. 2) Unsere Beziehung/Verbindung zum Staat ist Diskussionssache. I would not use "Verbindung" in the first case. But I don't know if there's any real rule for changing or unchanging relations in German. – TeXnician Mar 19 '17 at 10:05
  • My guess is that Verbindung mit is either used with "in", to convey the sense of in regards to, in combination with. Otherwise when no preposition precedes it. It merely means "communication with". Could you confirm that please? Many thanks – Averroes Mar 19 '17 at 10:17

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