Another chapter of verbs and prepositions today! You have probably seen these little ones: daran, darauf, darüber, ... and wondered about their meaning. Let's call them "da-words".
How to build them?
This might look familiar...
wo + in = worin / da + in = darin
wo + auf = worauf / da + auf = darauf
wo + von = wovon / da + von = davon
wo + an = woran / da + an = daran
wo + um = worum (not warum!) / da + um = darum etc.
If we take the verb abhängen as an example.
to depend on ⇒ abhängen von
Es hängt von deiner Entscheidung ab.
It depends on your decision.
Now let's suppose you didn't understand the "deiner Entscheidung" part and you want to ask "on what?", most German apprentices would say "Von was?", wouldn't they? But you wouldn't because we have learned "wovon?"
Example:
Es hängt vom Wetter ab.
Wovon?
Vom Wetter.
Ah, davon hängt immer alles ab!
Summing up
Da-words are basically a kinky way to combine two words. Instead of saying "to that" or "about that", in German we say "thereto" and "thereabout", which sounds waaay more Shakespearean, right?!
That being said, ...
Ich freue mich auf die Reise.
Ich freue mich darauf.
I'm looking forward to the trip.
I'm looking forward to that.
Or if you want to create a more complex sentence, not use using a noun as in the example above, but describing a situation, for example:
Ich freue mich darauf, dass du morgen kommst.
I am looking forward to that, that you are coming tomorrow.*Literally
But be careful!:
Ich denke an Manuela. → Ich denke daran an sie.
So that means I can't use those da-words to replace people?
Exactly! People are special and they should be treated differently, don't you think?
Mmm... more examples?
Ich kümmere mich um meinen Sohn. → Ich kümmere mich um ihn.
Ich freue mich auf Carola, sie kommt morgen. → Ich freue mich auf sie.
Ich warte auf meine Mutter. → Ich warte auf sie.
Das hängt von Marcela ab. → Das hängt von ihr ab. (Dativ!)
Vocab trick!
"To depend"... in German there are two verbs! Yes, you guessed it! It depends on what it depends...
1. It depends → Es kommt darauf an.
2. It depends → Es hängt davon ab.
Scenario 1: - Kommst du heute Abend zur Party?
- Es kommt darauf an, wer noch hingeht. ⇒ no real condition, I need to evaluate the situation
Scenario 2:
- Kommst du heute Abend zur Party?
- Es hängt davon ab, ob Peter hingeht.
⇒ real condition, something needs to happen One more difference! You can only use "Es kommt drauf an" if you don't have a compliment.
It depends. → Es kommt drauf an.
It depends on X. → Es hängt von X ab.