What is the difference between:

  • dringen with the following meanings: ('get through , penetrate, or go public')
  • eindringen share also some meanings with the verb Dringen 'get throw, penetrate, go public'


  1. das Gerücht drang in die Öffentlichkeit (ein) went puplic
  2. die Sonne drang durch die Wolken (ein) get through, penetrate
  3. das Wasser drang durch die Wände in den Keller (ein) get through
  4. diese Erkenntnis ist noch nicht ins politische Bewusstsein (ein)gedrungen

So please tell me in which case I should write eindringen, dringen and why?


3 Answers 3


The ein in eindringen is an in/into. That's true for a lot of verbs:

dringen (to pass a gap) — eindringen (to enter by passing a gap)

fahren (to drive) – einfahren (to enter by driving)

spritzen (to squirt) – einspritzen (to inject)

Sometimes the ein is an intensifier:

lesen (to read) — einlesen (to read until you understand a topic)

reden (to talk) — einreden (to convince someone about the untruth, to talk against an order)

stellen (to put) – einstellen (to adjust)

Sometimes the derived meanings are hard to guess:

fallen (to fall) – einfallen (to come to mind, to invade)

gehen (to go) — eingehen (to incur, to gamble, to die – plants, sometimes animals)

laufen (to run) — einlaufen (to run into, to shrink by washing – clothing)

So, to answer your question: Whenever someone or something enters something by passing a gap or leak, use eindringen, if not, dringen.

Note there's also the verb durchdringen (emphasis on first syllable, separateable) which means the same as dringen, but passing the gap against some resistance, and, to confuse you by purpose, durchdringen (emphasis on second syllable, non-separateable) which means to soak, to interfuse.


Janka already explained it fine. In my own words, I'd say: «eindringen» focuses a specific destination—though abstract locations like «the public», «daylight», or «surface» do not count as penetrated destinations (but «mind» does).

To illustrate that on your examples:

  1. «Das Gerücht drang an die Öffentlichkeit»: (an is more idiomatic) There is no specific destination, so «ein» is wrong.

  2. «Die Sonne drang durch die Wolken»: (again, no specific destination)

  3. «Das Wasser drang durch die Wände», but «Das Wasser drang in den Keller ein»:

    In the combined sentence, you may choose either «dringen» to focus on the path (through the wall and beyond) or «eindringen» to emphasize the destination.

  4. «Diese Erkenntnis ist noch nicht ins politische Bewusstsein eingedrungen»: With an explicit destination, «eindringen» is the better choice.

As a rule of thumb, «eindringen» is the better choice, when the destination is mentioned explicit (with in) or implicit. In the latter case, «ein-» is a mandatory placeholder for the omitted destination:

  • «Das Haus stand leer. Die Täter drangen bei Nacht [in das Haus] ein und entwendeten Geld und Wertgegenstände.»

  • «Die Buchsen sind mit Kappen verschlossen, damit kein Schmutz [in das Gehäuse] eindringen kann.»

«Dringen» is only suitable when there is no specific destination (neither explicit nor implicit):

  • «Wasser dringt durch die kleinste Ritze.»

  • «Die Wahrheit dringt langsam ans Tageslicht.»


Finally a native speaker gut feeling. Dringen is used when something moves with some level of force (sometimes metaphorically). Dringen is not used a lot colloquially a lot outside set phrase. E.g. Das Gerücht dringt nach aussen. Eindringen is far more widely used. Both literally and metaphorically in the sense of 'penetrate'.


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