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Zu Hause or nach Hause?

Do you also find the difference between ‚zu Hause‘ and ‚nach Hause‘ confusing?

And when do you use: ‚das Haus‘, ‚das Hause‘ or ‚das Zuhause‘???

Is it also correct to say 'zuhause'?

Even advanced learners with a very good level of German get mixed up here.

In this article you will find out about the differences and get lots of examples - so that you will know exactly what to use next time you're talking about home.

Basic rule

Just remember:

  • zu Hause/ zuhause = at home It answers to the question wo= where?' or woher= where from?.

  • nach Hause = (towards) home It answers to the question wohin = in which direction?”.

zu Hause/ zuhause

'zu Hause' or 'zuhause' are two correct ways to spell the same word(s).

Die Familie ist zu Hause.

If you are talking about home and want to say,

  • where someone is (=wo jemand ist) or

  • where someone comes from (woher jemand kommt),

you use ‘zu Hause’.

For example

Ich bin zu Hause in meinem Wohnzimmer. (wo bin ich?) I'm at home in my living room. (where am I?)

Peter ist krank. Er bleibt heute zu Hause. (wo bleibt Peter?)

Peter is ill. He'll stay at home today (where will Peter stay?)

Ich bin nicht im Büro. Ich rufe dich von zu Hause aus an. (woher rufe ich an?)

I'm not in the office. I'm calling you from home. (From where do I call?)

Wir treffen uns zu Hause (wo treffen wir uns?)

We are meeting at home (where do we meet?)

Verbs with zu Hause/ zuhause

1. Verbs describing a condition (einen Zustand), come with 'zu Hause':

sitzen (to sit), bleiben (to stay), sein (to be), schlafen (to sleep)...

  • Nana ist zu Hause. (Nana is at home)

  • Wir gehen nicht ins Hotel. Wir schlafen zuhause. (We don't go to a hotel. We'll sleep at home.)

2. But it can also be activities, that are taking place here:

  • Du kochst zu Hause. (You are cooking at home.)

  • Die Kinder rennen zu Hause durch das Zimmer. (At home, the kids are running through the room.)

  • Wir gehen zu Hause die Treppe hoch. (We're walking upstairs at home.)

Where do all of these activities happen? Zu Hause!

Ich fühle mich (wie) zu Hause (I feel like (I'm at) home)

‘Ich fühle mich zu Hause’ - I feel at home

Is what we say when we feel like (when we are) at home. It's about the positive emotions that you have, when you're at home (= zu Hause).

Of yourse you can also feel at home in another country.

For example:

I have lived in Italy. I love the mentality, the food, ...

- ich fühle mich dort wie zu Hause.

Ich fühle mich wie zu Hause! - I feel like I'm at home!

And when I've got a guest, I can say :

Fühl Dich wie zu Hause!

= you don't need to behave formally like guest, - get comfortable!

zu Hause or das Zuhause?

Ich bin zu Hause/ zuhause bedeutet: I am at home = where I live.

das Zuhause (the home) is a noun (Nomen): That's the place where I live: Das ist mein Zuhause.

das Zuhause is capitalized. You always write it in one word.

Obviously, 'das Zuhause' doesn't have to be 'ein Haus’ (a house). An appartment can be 'ein Zuhause', too.

  • Max will be moving to Berlin. He's got a room in a student residence. He's looking forward to the new home = Er freut sich auf das neue Zuhause.


Another word, i.e. a synonym for zu Hause is 'daheim'

  • Alex ist daheim und macht Hausaufgaben. Alex is at home and doing his homework.

You will hear this word mainly in Southern Germany and Austria.

nach Hause/ nachhause

There are also two correct ways of spelling: 'nach Hause' or 'nachhause'.

If you are talking about any kind of movement towards 'home' you'll use nach Hause.

For example:

Nach Hause gehen, kommen laufen, rennen, fahren, … = To go, come, run, drive, ... home

  • Ich war in der Schule. Jetzt gehe ich nach Hause. I've been to school. Now I'm going home.

  • Wann kommst du nachhause? When do you come home?

  • Musst du schon nach Hause (gehen)? Do you already have to go home?

nach Hause gehen im Schnee - walking home in the snow
Lisa geht nach Hause. ©CharLingua

A false friend - ein falscher Freund...

If you speak English, it sounds logical that zu should mean to.

After all, you also translate:

"We are going to the supermarket." - "Wir gehen zum Supermarkt."

But if you yre going to your home, it' nach Hause.

Tip: Remember "nach Hause" and "zu Hause" with sentences:

  • Ich gehe nach der Arbeit nach Hause.

  • Am Sonntag sind die Geschäfte zu, dann bin ich zu Hause.

Bei mir/ zu mir

Are you at a friend's home?

Here we're not talking about the place, but about the person you are staying with.

For example

  • “Wo bist du?”

  • “Ich bin bei Max.

  • “Bist du bei Max im Büro?”

  • “Nein, ich bin bei Max zu Hause/ zuhause.”

  • “Wo trefft ihr Euch?”

  • “Wir treffen uns bei Maria.”

  • “Trefft Ihr Euch in Marias Restaurant?

  • Nein, wir treffen uns bei Maria zu Hause/ zuhause.

Zu mir nach Hause

If you go to a friend's place, you go zu ihm/ ihr nach Hause.

Again, the person is more important than the place:

  • Oh, du gehst in die Blumenstraße 5. Gehst du zu Anna?

  • Nein, ich gehe zu ihrem Bruder Leo.

That means:

  • Philipp geht zu Leo nach Hause.

Das ist auch Annas Zuhause - aber mir ist es wichtig, Leo zu sehen.

That's also Anna's home - but it's more important for Philipp to see Leo.

nach Hause gekommen or zu Hause angekommen?

~ got home or arrived home

Both sentences are correct and often there is no real difference.

For example: "Ich bin jetzt endlich nach Hause gekommen."/ "Ich bin jetzt endlich zu Hause angekommen."

The only thing that matters is that I'm finally (after a long journey) at home.

The focus can also be different:

  • Ich bin um 10 Uhr nach Hause gekommen. = ich war bis 10 Uhr weg/ ich habe bis 10 Uhr etwas gemacht und um 10 Uhr war das zu Ende. (I've been away from home untill 10 pm) The focus is on the time before 10 pm.

  • Ich bin um 10 Uhr zu Hause angekommen. (I got home at 10 pm.)

  1. the exact point of time or

  2. I got home (and then I ...) The focus is on the time from 10 pm onwards.

Haus or Hause?

Imagine you're outside, sitting in the garden. Suddenly it starts to rain.

Dann gehst du ins (=in das) Haus, also in ein Gebäude hinein.

Then you will gon inside the house, i.e. in a building.

The garden ist part of your Zuhause (home).

You are already zu Hause (at home).

That means:

Wenn Anna nach Hause geht, kann sie sich direkt in den Garten setzen.

When Anna gets back home, she can go directly into the garden and sit down there.

The word ‘Hause’ is an old dative-form of Haus. Today it's only used in connection with ‘zu’ or ‘nach’.

Be aware:

in Southern Germany you might hear:

  • Ich bin zu Haus’ or

  • Ich geh’ nach Haus’.

That's dialect! But you will still write

  • Ich bin zu Hause or

  • Ich gehe nach Hause.


Now you know the difference between zu Hause and nach Hause and also

the different forms of zu Hause / zuhause and Zuhause.

Let's practice:

Did you like this article? Or do you have any questions? I'm looking forward to reading your comment!


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