In the following sentence, why do we use "daran" and not "darüber"? How to know when to use which? I thought it should have been "darüber" because there is an "über" in the sentence just before.

Ich will selbst über mein Leben bestimmen. Was ist so schlimm daran?

  • 1
    The "über" has nothing to do with the "daran". You could replace the statement with any other and it wouldn't change the question.
    – xehpuk
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 15:36

2 Answers 2


This is a very common expression:

Was ist so ... daran?

It relates back to the entire sentence, not only part of it, so it wouldn't make sense to make it darüber.


To generalize this:

The preposition to use in German with adjectives like "gut", "schlecht", "schlimm", "großartig" etc. that corresponds with "about" in English is "an".

Das Gute an der neuen Software ist die leichtere Bedienung.
An diesem Sommer war schlimm, dass es fast überall Dürren gab.

That's why we also use "daran".

Wir benutzen eine neue Software, und daran ist manches gut und manches schlecht.
Es war ein warmer Sommer, was ist daran schlimm?

I guess there's not much point in further going into why we're using that preposition, unless you're a language history buff.

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