I'm going to start at X and work my way down


Senior Member
English (American)
Greetings! I came across a situation the other day I wasn't totally able to express in German. I needed to go to three different stores, all north of where I live. My plan was to start at the northernmost one (farthest away from my house), then move on the the 2nd farthest one, and finally visit the closest one before going back home. We can express this pretty compactly in English with "I'm going to start at [whatever store name] and work my way south/down." It implies you will be visiting several stores in a certain geographical order.

You can work your way east/west/down/across/over/through/back...any preposition really. Is there a good standard form in German to express this construction?

If I had to venture a guess, I'd try something like: ich fange mit X an und schlage (???) hinunter...." I guess I really have no idea what would sound natural.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
  • Frieder

    Senior Member
    First of all the concept of geographical directions isn't very popular in Germany. I always admire Americans for being able to know the cardinal directions wherever they go. So you'll have to work out something different here.
    Maybe „ich fange bei X an und arbeite mich dann zu Z durch”.
    Or „ich fange bei X an und rolle das Feld von hinten auf”.


    Senior Member
    ...und arbeite mich dann nach Süden vor.
    ...und gehe dann südwärts.

    As Frieder explained:

    ...fange am entferntesten Shop an ...
    ...und arbeite mich dann zurück zu meiner Wohnung.
    ...und gehe dann zurück in Richtung meiner Wohnung.


    Senior Member
    English (American)
    Thanks, Frieder. I'd never really considered that cultural difference between Germans and Americans--interesting. We can make the construction independent of cardinal direction, such as at a store: "I'm going to start at Aisle 1 and work my way over to Aisle 5." Or "I'm going to start at the back of the store and work my way to the front." Is the general preference to use "sich arbeiten"? So: "ich fange hinten an und arbeite mich nach vorne?"

    [x-post with Kajjo]
    Last edited:
    < Previous | Next >