nachforschen vs erforschen


New Member
"nachforschen" seens to appear in examples involving detectives investigating and erforschen seems to be more research or exploration of something vast, but I can't quite see a clear difference if any. I figure they can't be exact synonyms if they have different prefixes.
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  • anahiseri

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain) and German (Germany)
    í think it is similar to the difference between raten and erraten.
    is related to the result, while nachforschen focuses on the process


    German (Germany)
    Again nachforschen is Intransitive and erforschen is necessarily transitive. It is about (successfully) researching everything there is to know about an object. The prefix er- places the focus on the patient of an action.


    German (Germany)
    while nachforschen focuses on the process
    To a certain degree, yes. Insofar as it involves some level of success, though erforschen also describes a process. The main thing is that erforschen focuses on the object of the research.

    This is a general problem with the prefix er- that it not only constructs transitive derivation of Intransitive base verbs but also implies some form of success. A well know example of where this regularly causes mistranslations is the English verb to shoot, which as transitive and intransitive uses. The intransitive use of to shoot translates as schießen and the transitive use to shoot someone translates as jemanden erschießen. But while to shoot someone does not imply that the person has been killed, the German jemanden erschießen does imply this. If you want to say that someone is shot and wounded and not shot and killed, you have to use a different transitive derivation, jemanden anschießen. There is no generic way to say to shoot someone.
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