nach Hause vs. zum Unterricht

twinklestar

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

- Hallo, Peter. Wohin gehest du?

- Ich gehe nach Hause. Und du?

- Zum Unterricht.


Are "nach" and "zum" interchangeable in above context? An English-German dicionary defines both of them as "to, towards" .


Thank you!
 
  • thebellringer

    Member
    German (Austria)
    No, "nach Hause gehen" is a fixed phrase, you can't use zu with it. And you can't use "nach" instead of "zum" here, either. You could use "nach" if it were followed by a city or country ("nach Berlin," for example). By this logic, your home is kind of seen as a city or country itself, while if you went to someone else's house, it'd be "Zur Fanny (Ich gehe zu Fannys Haus)."
    Sometimes you can even use "in". "Wohin geht denn die Reise?" "Ins Weltall!" (not very likely, but you know) or "In die Karibik."
    In contrast, with a country it'd be "Nach Griechenland" and if it's a...I don't know, an object of sorts, it'd be "Zur Großen Mauer," for example.
    Also, I have never in my life heard someone say "Wohin gehest du?", it's always "Wohin gehst du?" Just wanted to clarify that because you might get a few weird looks if you said "Wohin gehest du?" anywhere other than on a stage or something.
     

    cuore romano

    Senior Member
    You could use "nach" if it were followed by a city or country

    Correct, but only if it's a country without an article, otherweise it's in.
    In die Schweiz, in die Niederlande, in den Sudan...
     

    Gernot Back

    Senior Member
    German - Germany
    Are "nach" and "zum" interchangeable in above context?
    You use nach without the article, hence nach Deutschland but in die Schweiz, since you use Deutschland without, but Schweiz with the definite article. On the other hand, a non-proper noun with zu as a directive adjunct or complement is always used with an article.
    Ich gehe zum Supermarkt. (generic noun)
    Ich gehe zu Aldi/Rewe/Lidl etc. (proper noun)
    Not: *Ich gehe nach Aldi. etc.:thumbsdown:
    But: Ich gehe nach Hause.
    (directive complement and not non-generic noun, because it specifies your home)
    Ich bin zu Hause.
    (situative/local, not directive complement)
     

    Sepia

    Senior Member
    High German/Danish
    "Ich gehe zum Haus" would also be totally correct, but definitely not mean the same. Tricky, tricky ...
     

    Angelo di fuoco

    Senior Member
    Russian & German (GER) bilingual
    No, "nach Hause gehen" is a fixed phrase, you can't use zu with it. And you can't use "nach" instead of "zum" here, either. You could use "nach" if it were followed by a city or country ("nach Berlin," for example). By this logic, your home is kind of seen as a city or country itself, while if you went to someone else's house, it'd be "Zur Fanny (Ich gehe zu Fannys Haus)."
    Sometimes you can even use "in". "Wohin geht denn die Reise?" "Ins Weltall!" (not very likely, but you know) or "In die Karibik."
    In contrast, with a country it'd be "Nach Griechenland" and if it's a...I don't know, an object of sorts, it'd be "Zur Großen Mauer," for example.
    Also, I have never in my life heard someone say "Wohin gehest du?", it's always "Wohin gehst du?" Just wanted to clarify that because you might get a few weird looks if you said "Wohin gehest du?" anywhere other than on a stage or something.
    The rule concerning countries is: if it's a neuter noun used without article, it's "nach". If it's a masculine or feminine country used with article (e. g. der Irak, der Iran, der Libanon, die Türkei), or even a plural, like "die Arabischen Emirate" or "die Vereinigten Staaten", you use "in" with accusative and you don't omit the article.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top