Should this sentence have a "nach" in it or is that not required (in this context) by "suchen"?

Warum sucht die Bundeswehr händeringend Personal, obwohl man dort viele Vergünstigungen bekommt, die es woanders nicht gibt?

3 Answers 3


Sie sucht ihre Brille.

Sie sucht nach ihrer Brille.

The difference between those two is extremly subtle. The latter sentence puts a bit more focus on the action rather than the object.


AFAIK, "etwas suchen" und "nach etwas suchen" makes no difference in everyday use of german. I thought of a lot of constructs with "suchen" and the sentences could all be formed with "nach" without changing the meaning. Originally, there may have been a difference, but today those are pretty much interchangable. I guess "nach etwas suchen" is more used if you search for things. In english the difference is also not really clear, "to search something" and "to search for something".

EDIT: interestingly enough, most times i would translate "etwas suchen" to "to search for sth." and "nach etwas suchen" to "to search sth."

  • 7
    “To search something” is “etwas durchsuchen/absuchen”.
    – Carsten S
    Commented Feb 28, 2019 at 7:52
  • Is this a Werbespot for the Bundeswehr? Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 14:01

You could do either of both options. You can put nach in or you can omit it. You just have to be aware of where to put it. If you say "warum nach sucht die Bundeswehr..." its terribly wrong.

If you say instead "warum sucht die Bundeswehr händeringend nach Personal..." its perfectly fine.

In this case nach is completely optional as the sentence will be understood in both versions and there is no semantic difference to my knowledge (to be proven wrong by one of the other native speakers out here).

  • 1
    Well, obviously the proposition nach generally means hinterher, to follow. In many cases, e.g. hinterher laufen and nachlaufen are interchangeable, but oddly not in this one. suchen is akin to En. seek, hide and seek (Ger. Fange Spiel or Verstecke, the difference is fleeting) so an original meaning like die Suche nach dem Flüchtling seems likely to me. However, re-search has a similar preposition re-, compare report, reknown, etc., besuchen, ersuchen, versuchen, although not nachsuchen, but as far as I know, strictly suchen nach.
    – vectory
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 8:06
  • Cp. also nachsehen, nachschauen, nachgehen, nachtragen (vs eintragen) nachfragen* ... ansuchen, Anwärter ... nach, nah, nah und fern, Nähe, in der Nähe suchen. I think a contamination of Sache were possible, cp. Saxon Saka, Germanic *sako "quarrel; charge, lawsuit; thing, Matter*, from *sakana "to quarrel, argue debate, dispute, from PIE *seh₂g- "to seek out, follow" (whence also e.g. sequence); cp further Ersuchen, Antrag, nach dem Leben trachten, Widersacher, and progress, gradus (step), process. Cp. PIE *sek- "to cut", and "cut out for it"; aussuchen ...
    – vectory
    Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 8:27
  • Try to find the shift key on your keyboard. It is used to type im UPPERCASE. Typing the first letter in the first word of a sentence in lowercase is wrong (in English and in German and many other languages). And typing German nouns like Bundeswehr or Personal in lowercase is terrible wrong. I corrected this for you. Next time please use the shift key when needed! Commented Mar 3, 2019 at 9:50

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