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The verb “vorhaben”

The verb vorhaben is a real gem, because it’s what we need for one of the common topics of daily conversations – your plans.

Translated literally, it would be “to have in front” and that makes perfect sense in the context of short term as well as long term plans.

  • Hast du heute Abend etwas vor?
  • Do you have plans for tonight?
  • Maria hat mich eingeladen, aber ich hatte schon was vor.
  • Maria invited me, but I already had plans.
  • Was hast du mit den 3 Kilogram Käse vor?
  • What are your plans for the three kilograms of cheese?

As you can see, the translations depend on context, but the core idea is always the same – what you intend to do (with something).

One thing we should note is that it usually comes with words like etwas (something), nichts (nothing) or viel (a lot). Or a full side sentence, like here:

  • Ich habe vor, nächsten Sommer nach Finnland zu fahren.
  • I’m planning/I’ve decided to go to Finland next summer.

You can also connect a specific noun directly, but that often sounds a bit clunky and if the focus is on the process of planning, then planen is the better word.

  • Ich habe eine Party vor…. meh
  • Ich plane eine Party…. better

But all in all, the verb vorhaben is an absolute must-have for daily life and you really should start using it.

Here it is in the present and past tense:

  • Ich habe vor, zum See zu fahren.
  • Ich hatte vor, zum See zu fahren.

By the way… the verb vornehmen kind of ties in here, because it’s basically the stage before vorhaben.
I’ll definitely add it to the archive later.

If you want to learn more prefix versions of haben, check out this article on YourDailyGerman:

“haben” and its prefix verbs