In Der Pfennig by Hans Eckart, there is also the following sentence:

Eines Tages war der Vater nach der Arbeit sehr müde.

Except for nach der Arbeit, all is clear to me: One day, father was very tired.

But what does nach der Arbeit mean in this context?

  • So, again, it was the temporal, not spatial meaning of nach... So simple, and yet so elusive... – indoxica Jul 18 '13 at 14:28
  • Isn't "nach" usually temporal? The spatial equivalent would be "hinter". "Nach der Schule" vs. "hinter der Schule"... – elena Jul 18 '13 at 14:36
  • @elena: Consider nach Hause, nach oben (some dialects use this much more often than standard language) and nachlaufen etc., though of course it is no preposition here. – chirlu Jul 18 '13 at 15:30
  • I stand corrected. – elena Jul 19 '13 at 6:50

In this context, „nach“ is temporal: he was tired after work.

Other meanings of „nach“ include:

  • Directionality: „Ich fahre nach Berlin“ (… going to Berlin)
  • Order in a sequence or chain: „die Fünf kommt nach der Vier“ (after)
    also „Bitte nach Ihnen“ (politely asking another person to go first)
  • Consequence: „Nach dieser Beobachtung ist das klar“ (With this observation it is now clear)
    also „nach Adam Riese“ (following [the works of] Adam Riese)

„Hinter“ is spatial, usually in a two-dimensional sense (as opposed to the more one-dimensional „nach“ in a sequence). A bit like “behind”, as opposed to “after”.

„Zu“ has a number of meanings. But in a directional sense, it is used for people and events, whereas „nach“ is used for places with proper names. „Ich fahre zu der Oma“ or „Ich fahre zu einem Konzert“.

  • Very clear and concise. Danke. – indoxica Jul 18 '13 at 17:27

Like said, zu has a lot of meanings. Zu also means for, for example:

Ich esse Gemüse zum Nachtmahl. (I eat salad for supper.)

Ein Buch zum Lesen. (A book for reading.)

  • This actually does not address the question at all. – Em1 Oct 9 '13 at 11:53
  • Well, it was aked for zu, which was not answered yet. – Takkat Oct 9 '13 at 13:55

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.