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In English we say,

To wait for someone

In German we say,

Auf jemanden warten

Why we use "auf" rather than "fuer" here?

2 Answers 2

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Because it's a different language. Especially with phrasal verbs, prepositions are completely arbitrary both in English and German.

The main point why German uses auf with many phrasal verbs is that this preposition cannot be mistaken as an adverbial in most contexts because it means on/onto. That relation is rare.

Consider:

Er wartet für seinen Freund auf das Paket.

That means that he stays at home waiting for the parcel instead of the friend. He does this as a friendly turn for his friend.

He waits for the parcel for his friend.

In English, you had to guess that from context.

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  • Some varieties of English use "on", so German is not an outlier. See Wiktionary definitions 2 & 3.
    – RDBury
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 20:31
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Because für implies that I am doing something for (in the meaning of instead of or for the benefit of) someone.

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  • How does this compare with in English?
    – Babu
    Commented May 23, 2023 at 21:40

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