When buying pills in the Apotheke, and I wanna ask for pills only for the night, do I have to use "zu" or "für"?

Another example: When going to the butcher and I wanna buy meat for soup.

How will I ask? Fleisch zur Suppe oder Fleisch für Suppe?

I have a lot of other examples, hope you got the idea.

  • 2
    für die Nacht is correct. Jul 14, 2018 at 13:05
  • 3
    @Thomas: Das ist Blödsinn. Du kaufst auch kein Schlauchboot für den Urlaub und kein Brot für's Wochenende? Du magst es so halten - die Sprachgemeinschaft hält es anders. Man kaufst sogar Pillen für die Kopfschmerzen, obwohl gegen die Kopfschmerzen auch richtig ist. Jul 14, 2018 at 22:31
  • 6
    To me für die Nacht sounds more natural. One would also say für den Tag, but zum Tag sounds strange.
    – RHa
    Jul 14, 2018 at 22:31
  • 3
    There is a subtle difference between Fleisch für die Suppe and Fleisch zur Suppe: The former would be used if the soup is made from the meat, whereas the latter sounds as if the meat is eaten alongside with the soup (or if it is added to the soup after the soup was prepared).
    – RHa
    Jul 14, 2018 at 22:35
  • 3
    @Tomas: zur Nacht sounds wrong. It is as if you buy them to be applied with the night, not for the duration of the night. Für die Nacht is korrekt. Jul 15, 2018 at 0:08

2 Answers 2


zu and für are quite tricky. A lot of times when you would think "for" fits it would be "zu". For example:

For example : zum Beispiel 😀

For the birthday : zum Gebursttag

For sale : zu verkaufen (pay attention that here a verb is used after zu, that's why verkaufen is with a small V)

In your example -

Why zu is correct, and not für is in my opinion depends on the object, if the pills are intended for the night or not. In this case the night won't receive the pills. They are intended for you.

so gramatically I think für die Nacht is possible, but I would use zu.

Regarding the 2nd example -

Für works here, again because of the explanation above

  • Der Satz der mit "Why zu" beginnt ist unverständliches Kauderwelsch. Und inhaltlich wird nicht klar, wieso "für die Nacht" möglich ist, Du aber "zu" benutzen würdest. "Für den Geburtstag" ist übrigens auch nicht falsch. "Fleisch für Suppe" ist auch keine Frage - ich wäre interessiert den ganzen Satz zu lesen. Ich würde ja fragen "Haben Sie Suppenfleisch?", oder "Haben Sie Fleisch für eine Suppe?" Jul 14, 2018 at 22:38

It is clearly

Fleisch für Suppe

especially if you want to cook it together. "Fleisch zur Suppe" you wouldn't tell the butcher. "Zu" would more likely be used if it's served together, like potatoes or cabbage with the meat.

"Zur Nacht" is also more for use before the night starts, not to do something during the night, like pills would. "Ein Trunk zur Nacht" would be a drink before you go to sleep or you can have a light and small meal "zur Nacht".

To ask for pills that are used in the night, because the have side effects that affect driving or work you would ask for pills "für nachts". "Zur Nacht" doesn't express this correctly, unless it is a regional way used most likely in the North of Germany. I haven't seen this use in the described context though.

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