Was ist nur mit dem Wetter los?! Wenn es auch nur noch ein bisschen kälter wird, wird es vielleicht nicht einmal reichen, weiterzutanzen, um mich warm zu halten!

Was ist nur mit dem Wetter los?! Wenn es auch nur noch ein bisschen kälter wird, reicht nicht mal mehr der feurigste Tanz aus, um mich warm zu halten!

For instance, when I say something like this in conversation, I find myself using "reichen" in the first phrasing and "ausreichen" in the second instead of the other way around. The thing is, I can't put my finger on exactly why I feel this way.

I found a post dealing with the difference between "reichen", "ausreichen", and a few others, but I'm still none the wiser.

3 Answers 3


Ausreichen means to be sufficient in terms of level, while reichen means to be at that level. In your example, reichen is used the same way as ausreichen because you give an explanation why something would be not sufficient.

Consider the following examples:

Das Wasser reicht mir bis zur Hüfte.

You can't use ausreichen here because it's not about something being sufficient.

Dieser Wasserstand reicht mir zum Schwimmen (aus).

You can use both reichen and ausreichen. They mean the same, it's clear from context this is about the water level being sufficient (for swimming).

The real use case for this verb ausreichen is the Partizip I.

Das ist ein ausreichender Wasserstand.

No one uses reichend in this case.

  • Hi. So in my two sentences, are the two verbs simply interchangeable? Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 8:39
  • Yes, as both your examples are about something being (not) sufficient.
    – Janka
    Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 10:05

"reichen" is more "to be enough" while "ausreichen" is "to be sufficient". "Ausreichen" implies reaching a threshold while "reichen" implies reaching a limit.

  • You completely missed one use of "reichen"! Commented Aug 13, 2019 at 13:07

Reichen can be translated in two ways. It can mean the same as ausreichen, which means something is enough. But reichen also can mean to give someone something.

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