difference between aufwachen and aufwecken

German Verb: Difference between aufwachen and aufwecken

In German, there is a difference between waking up by yourself and somebody waking you up. When we are asleep and afterward we are awake, then there are two options: either we woke up or we were woken up by someone or something. 

In this article, you will learn the difference between aufwachen, and aufwecken, and how to use them in German sentences.

difference between aufwachen and aufwecken

What is aufwachen?

Aufwachen means to wake up from sleep or to recover consciousness after being unconscious. It is a separable verb that we use without an object.

You can also use aufwachen if there can be reason from the external cause, but no object. It might be that your neighbors were loud or that the light in the room was very bright and so you woke up.

For example: “Ich wache auf” (I wake up).  It means by oneself in a grammatical way. You just wake up from sleeping. 

Another examples:

Es war so laut, dass ich aufgewacht bin” (It was so loud, that I woke up). It means it is loud, and you just woke up not because someone woke you up, but because you just recover consciousness after being unconscious (sleep). 

Das Baby ist noch nicht aufgewach.” (The baby hasn’t woke up yet.)
Jeden Tag wachen sie um 7 Uhr auf.” (Everyday they wake up at 7 O’clock)

What are the verb conjugations for aufwachen?

In order for you to use the verb, “aufwachen”, you have to know the verb conjugation of it with the corresponding pronouns.

Pronoun“auf wachen”English
ichwache aufI wake up
duwachst aufYou wake up
er/sie/eswacht aufHe/She/It wakes up
wirwachen aufWe wake up
ihrwacht aufYou wake up 
Siewachen aufYou wake up
siewachen aufThey wake up
what is aufwecken germann langauge

What is aufwecken?

On the other hand, aufwecken means to wake someone up from sleep or bring someone back to consciousness after being unconscious. It is also a separable verb.

But, when a person or a noise wakes someone up, this wake-up is called wecken in German. In this case, when it’s literally about sleeping and waking up, we can use wecken and aufwechen synonymously.

Therefore I can say: The alarm woke me at 6 o’clock, you will say, “Der Wecker hat mich um 6 Uhr geweckt/aufgeweckt“. But you can also use wecken figuratively.

When to use “wecken”

The word “wecken” can also mean waking up the interest, hope, and expectations.

For example, “Ich kann jemandes Interesse wecken” (I can “wake up” somebody’s interest). Or “Ich kann Ihre Hoffnungen wecken” (I can “wake up” their hope.) Or somebody’s expectations.

And in this case, you can only use wecken and not aufwecken. If you have awakened somebody’s hopes, for example, then you have said or done something and because of that, the person got hope. Then you have “geweckt” the hopes of that person. Ich habe seine/ihre Hoffnung geweckt.

Another examples:

Wir müssen Marie aufwecken” (We have to wake up Marie). 

Kannst du mich bitte um viertel nach acht (auf)wecken? (Can you please wake me up at 8:15?)

Ich bin schon wach. Du brauchst mich nicht aufzuwecken.” (I am already awake. You don’t need to wake me up.)

What are the verb conjugations for aufwecken?

Pronoun“auf wachen”English
ichwecke aufI wake up
duweckst aufYou wake up
er/sie/esweckt aufHe/She/It wakes up
wirwecken aufWe wake up
ihrweckt aufYou wake up 
Siewecken aufYou wake up
siewecken aufThey wake up

aufwachen and aufwecken Exercises

Now you learned the difference between aufwachen and aufwecken. It is now time to check if you really learned their differences by taking the quiz below.

[SmartQuizBuilder id=17][/SmartQuizBuilder]


You’ve just learned the difference between aufwachen and aufwecken. Even if the German language is a complicated language to learn, it is a good way to start with such vocabulary to quickly improve and grow your vocabulary list. 

If you have any questions, just leave a comment below and I will try to help you with your German language learning journey.

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