Nach vs. ZuWhat's the Difference?

Exploring German? Uncover the distinction between 'nach' and 'zu'! Learn how 'nach' guides you to a place, while 'zu' marks your destination. Master these words to navigate with ease.



Unlocking 'nach' and 'zu' in German is a breeze. 'Nach' points to a direction, like saying "to," while 'zu' shows where you're going, like "to" or "at." 'Nach' is for the journey, 'zu' is for the arrival!

If you're just starting out with learning German, you might encounter words that seem similar but have distinct meanings. Two such words are 'nach' and 'zu'. Let's explore these words in a simple and easy-to-understand way!

What's the Difference between 'nach' and 'zu' in German?

How To Use 'Nach'

In German, 'nach' is often used to indicate direction. It's like a signpost that tells you where something is going. You can think of 'nach' as meaning "to" in English.

For example:

Ich gehe nach Hause.

I'm going to home.
Sie fliegt nach Deutschland.

She's flying to Germany.

How To Use 'Zu'

On the other hand, 'zu' indicates arrival or destination. It's like a welcoming sign at the end of a journey. 'Zu' can be translated as "to" or "at" in English.

For example:

Ich komme zu dir.

I'm coming to you.
Wir gehen zu einem Restaurant.

We're going to a restaurant.

Example Sentences

Examples With Nach

Ich gehe nach Amerika.

I'm going to America.
Sie reist nach Paris.

She's traveling to Paris.
Wir gehen nach Hause.

We're heading home.

Examples With Zu

Ich komme zu deinem Haus.

I'm coming to your house.
Sie gehen zu der Arztpraxis.

They're going to the doctor's office.
Lass uns zu dem Café gehen.

Let's go to the cafe.

Summing It Up

In short, the main difference between 'nach' and 'zu' is their purpose in a sentence. 'Nach' is used to show the direction of movement, like going to a place. 'Zu' is used to indicate the arrival or destination, like reaching to a place.


  • 'Nach' is like a sign pointing to a direction.
  • 'Zu' is like the spot you're going to or arriving at.

Learning these small but important differences will help you navigate the German language more confidently!


What does 'nach' mean in German?
'Nach' in German often indicates direction. It's like saying 'to' in English, showing where something is going.
Can 'nach' be used for destinations?
Yes, 'nach' is often used to indicate destinations. For instance, 'Ich fliege nach Berlin.' means 'I'm flying to Berlin.'
What does 'zu' mean in German?
'Zu' is used to indicate arrival or destination. It's like saying 'to' or 'at' in English.
Is 'nach' always used for physical places?
No, 'nach' is used for both physical places and directions, like 'Ich fahre nach Hause.' meaning 'I'm driving home.'
Can 'zu' also indicate meeting someone?
Absolutely! 'Zu' is used for meeting someone or going to a person's place. For instance, 'Ich gehe zu Anna.' means 'I'm going to Anna's.'
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