The German Word 'Aus' Can Be a Prefix or a Dative Preposition

Uses and translations of 'Aus'

'Aus' can be used to ask questions like, "What material are you making your shirt [out] of?. Getty Images/Guido Mieth

The preposition aus is very useful in German and is used frequently, both by itself and in combination with other words. It is always followed by the dative case. The word is also frequently used as a prefix.

The original meaning of the preposition aus was not only ‘outside’ and 'to exit’, the same as it means today, but ‘going up’ as well. Here are today’s main meanings of aus defined, followed by common nouns and expressions with aus.

Aus in the Sense of ‘From Somewhere’

In some instances aus is used to express ‘from somewhere’, such as when stating what country/ place somebody is from. In those German sentences the verb kommen (come) or stammen (originate) needs to be used, whereas in English that is not so.

  • Ich komme aus Spanien. (I’m from Spain.)
  • Ich stamme aus Deutschland. (I’m from Germany.)

In other uses of aus as in ‘from somewhere’, the same verb in both languages will be used.

  • Ich trinke aus einem Glas. (I am drinking from a glass.)
  • Ich hole meine Jacke aus dem Klassenzimmer. (I’m getting my jacket from the classroom.)
  • Er kommt aus der Ferne (He comes from a distance.)

Aus in the Sense of ‘Made Out Of'

  • Aus welchem Material ist deine Bluse? (What's your blouse made of?)
  • Was wird aus Altpapier gemacht? (What is made out of recycled paper?)

Aus in the Sense of ‘Out of/ Coming Out Of’

  • Sie geht aus dem Haus jetzt. (She is coming out of the house now.)
  • Das kleine Kind ist beinahe aus dem Fenster gefallen. (The small child almost fell out of the window.)

Aus in the Sense of ‘Out of/ Because Of/ Due to’

  • Er hat es aus persönlichen Gründen abgesagt. (He cancelled for [due to] personal reasons.)
  • Deine Mutter tat es aus Liebe. (Your mother did it out of love.)​

    When Aus is Used as a Prefix

    Aus as a prefix often keeps its main meaning ‘out of’ in many words. In English most of these words start with the prefix ‘ex’:

    'Aus' Nouns and Their English Equivalents

    • die Ausnahme - exception
    • der Ausgang - the exit
    • die Auslage - expenses
    • das Auskommen - the livelihood
    • die Ausfahrt - the (highway) exit; to go for a drive
    • der Ausflug - the outing
    • der Ausweg - the solution
    • die Ausrede - the excuse
    • der Ausdruck - the expression
    • die Aussage - the statement
    • die Ausstellung - the exhibition
    • die Auskunft - information
    • das Ausrufezeichen - the exclamation point
    • die Ausbeutung - exploitation
    • der Ausblick - the view
    • der Ausbruch - the escape; the outbreak
    • der Ausländer - the foreigner
    • die Ausdehnung - the expansion
    • der Auspuff - the exhaust

    'Aus' Verbs and Their English Equivalents

    • ausgehen - to go out
    • ausleeren - to empty out
    • ausloggen I to log off
    • ausflippen - to flip out, to lose it
    • ausfragen - to question
    • ausbrechen - to break out; to throw up
    • ausgeben – to give out
    • ausfüllen - to fill out
    • ausbuchen - to book (a flight etc.)
    • ausdünnen - to thin out
    • auslassen - to leave out
    • ausgleichen - to even out
    • auskommen - to manage
    • auslachen - to laugh at somebody
    • ausmachen - to turn/ switch off
    • auspacken - to unpack
    • auslüften - to air out

    Other 'Aus' Words

    • auseinander (adv.) - separated
    • ausgenommen (conj.) - except
    • ausdauernd (adj., adv.) – perservering; persistently
    • ausführlich (adj., adv.) - detailed, thoroughly
    • ausdrücklich (adj., adv.) – express, expressly ausgezeichnet (adj.; adv.) – excellent (ly)

    Aus Expressions/Ausdrücke

    • aus Versehen – by accident
    • aus dem Zusammenhang ausreißen - to take out of context
    • aus der Mode - out of fashion
    • aus dem Gleichgewicht - out of balance
    • aus folgendem Grund - for the following reason
    • aus der Sache wird nichts - nothing will come out of it
    • aus sein - to be out ->Die Schule ist aus! (School is out!)
    • aus Spaß - out of fun
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    Your Citation
    Bauer, Ingrid. "The German Word 'Aus' Can Be a Prefix or a Dative Preposition." ThoughtCo, Feb. 28, 2017, thoughtco.com/german-preposition-aus-1444458. Bauer, Ingrid. (2017, February 28). The German Word 'Aus' Can Be a Prefix or a Dative Preposition. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/german-preposition-aus-1444458 Bauer, Ingrid. "The German Word 'Aus' Can Be a Prefix or a Dative Preposition." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/german-preposition-aus-1444458 (accessed October 19, 2017).