Forum Rocket German German Vocab Use of hören / anhören / zuhören

Use of hören / anhören / zuhören



I am totally confused regarding the use of the verb "to listen" in German: hören, anhören, and zuhören.
In translation examples, I found the following:
1) I'm listening to the music. = Ich höre die Musik.
2) I'm listening to the concert. = Ich höre mir das Konzert an.
3) I'm listening to the Professor . = Ich höre dem Professor zu.
Are these German verbs interchangeable? Is there a general rule of thumb that differentiates the proper use of each of them or is it a matter of learning the common use of each of them by native speakers? Help!!


Lingoni has a good video on this on youtube.

It explains
hören, zuhören, anhören, mithören, überhören and hören auf



Hallo PaulS108 and sfpugh, 
The three verbs hörenanhören and zuhören all mean to listen but cannot be used interchangeably, so it depends on the context which word is more appropriate to use. I can totally understand that this can be confusing for a non-native speaker.
Hören means to hear or to listen in general, for example:
“Ich höre gerne Musik.“ - “I like listening to music.“
Ich kann dich hören.“ - “I can hear you.“
Anhören or (sich etwas) anhören means to listen (to something or someone). It is more active than hören but not as active as zuhören. You might actively listen to something or someone but there is no response or interaction expected from you, for example:
“Ich hörte mir das Konzert an und ging nach Hause.“ - “I listened to the concert and went home.“
“Ich höre mir die neue CD an während ich koche.“ -“ I’m listening to the new CD while I’m cooking.“
Zuhören or (jemandem) zuhören means to listen (to someone). It’s about being attentive, concentrate and trying to understand what the other person has to say. You listen carefully and then reflect on what the other person has said, for example:
“Ich höre dem Professor zu und mache Notizen.“ - “I’m listening to the professor and taking notes.“
“Sie ist ein guter Zuhörer.“ - “She is a good listener.“
There is usually some sort of outcome such as learning something new, asking a question or responding to the other person in some way. 
I hope this helps!
Viele Grüße


Many thanks to Julia and sfpugh for your help. The 3 verbs detailed above are indeed quite complicated for a new language-learner like myself, and I would doubt that the difference in usage among the three verbs would be self-evident without a clear explanation from a native speaker or one who is well-versed in German.
I am very grateful to have this forum to turn to in times of confusion. In the short time that I've been learning the Rocket German program, I have used the forum a number of times and have always received helpful responses. It's good to know that Rocket German has an active community:)) 


Hi PaulS10,

That’s great, always happy to help!


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