5

I've heard that both "hinunter" and "nach unten" means "downwards". They both mean a direction (while lone "unten" means a location).

What is the difference between them?

  • 1
    These words are far from having a similar meaning. What did your research at dictionaries tell you, and what didn't you understand? nach makes the difference regarding the location. – πάντα ῥεῖ Mar 7 at 18:52
  • 4
    @πάνταῥεῖ Here it says specifically that they are synonymous. From experience I know, that answers here give bigger insight. But I suppose word questions are now frowned upon? – mzg147 Mar 7 at 19:05
  • 3
    @πάνταῥεῖ From what I know, unter is a location, while hinunter is a direction. runter can mean both (so I edited the question). Am I mistaken? – mzg147 Mar 7 at 19:06
  • 1
    "runter can mean both" No runter never means a specific location. Where did you get that from? – πάντα ῥεῖ Mar 7 at 19:13
  • 4
    OP is right and you're wrong @πάνταῥεῖ. Ich gehe nach unten, Ich gehe hinunter und Ich gehe (he-)runter can all mean the same thing. – infinitezero Mar 7 at 19:34
7

Depending on the context, these two terms are relatively synonymous. The main difference is that hinunter explicitly expresses a move away from the speaker. The opposite would be herunter - a move towards the speaker.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    While this might be the definition you find in a dictionary, I think many Germans are unaware of this and colloquially use these two words as they please. – infinitezero Mar 8 at 10:00
  • <trying to be funny> Swabians distinguish between directions depending on the position of the narrator ("naa" and "raa"). But one can argue if that's German at all :-) </trying to be funny> – a_donda Mar 8 at 10:14
  • yes, you are right – äüö Mar 8 at 19:42
  • For Bavarian, it's "obi" (hinunter) and "oba" (herunter). – Bowi Mar 12 at 10:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.