Sie hat eine Frage zum Telefon.

Here the sentence translates to

She had a question about the telephone.

But zum (zu + dem) means "to the". Am I missing something?

1 Answer 1


Sie hat eine Frage zum Telefon.

Prepositions never match between languages, not even between closely related ones as English and German. While English about often translates as über, it translates as much as often as zu or von. These are all valid and have the same meaning:

Erzähl mir etwas über dich.

Erzähl mir etwas von dir.

Erzähl mir etwas zu dir.

The preposition needed is commanded by the verb phrase. For eine Frage haben and the meaning about, it's zu, because the phrase

Sie hat eine Frage über das Telefon.


She has a question, she's on the phone.

  • 3
    To me, the sentence «Sie hat eine Frage über das Telefon» carries as well the meaning that the question is about the phone.
    – mach
    Apr 1, 2018 at 6:48
  • "Sie hat eine Frage über das Telefon" is somewhat ambiguous. But "Ich habe darüber eine Frage" is unusual, "Ich habe dazu eine Frage" is the usual way to say "I have a question about that".
    – RHa
    Apr 1, 2018 at 11:18
  • Is then there a list of which preposition to use in which case? I know here exists a list on dative and accusative preposition but that's it. I didn't know the verb affected the preposition. Is there a list or is it something that is gained by experience. Apr 1, 2018 at 13:37
  • 1
    It's not adviseable learning the prepositions separately, you should learn them along with the verbs/verb phrases. Any good dictionary will list verbs along with the prepositions they can go with, and the different meanings.
    – Janka
    Apr 1, 2018 at 14:42

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