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In the phrase "Er zuckte einen Revolver unter den Tisch hervor", could I have just used her, instead of hervor? Is there a difference? It seems to me both translate as pulling out a gun.

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Er zuckte einen Revolver unter den Tisch hervor.

That's wrong for a number of reasons.

  • First, the verb is etwas zücken — to pull out something. The verb zucken exists as well but it means to flinch.
  • Second, that verb does not have a prefixed variant hervorzücken nor herzücken (and neither has zucken) and the adverbs her or hervor don't match either.
  • And finally, the two-way prepositions which take either dative or accusative do that depending on whether a location or direction is meant. As der Tisch is hardly the place where the revolver goes when you are zücken it, it cannot be a direction, and thus, cannot be put in accusative. This also affects the position of the noun accusative object. Those precede directions but follow locations.

So put it as

Er zückte unter dem Tisch einen Revolver.

That means he pulled the revolver from his pocket and kept it hidden under the table. Or put it as

Er zückte einen Revolver und zog ihn unter dem Tisch hervor.

with the additional verb hervorziehen. That makes it clear that he not only pulled it from his pocket, but that he also pulled it from under the table.

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    Additionally, "Er zog den Revolver unter dem Tisch her." is different from "Er zog den Revolver unter dem Tisch hervor.", because the former means the revolver moved under the table, while the latter means it ended up above the table. It's similar to the Englisch "He pulled a revolver (from) under the table".
    – xyldke
    Oct 12, 2022 at 13:29

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