aufhören vs. einstellen

What is the difference then between “aufhören mit etwas” and “einstellen etwas”, or they simply interchangeable?
And also, is there a difference between :

aufhören mit dem …

and aufhören, zu

2 comments on “aufhören vs. einstellen

  1. good question… I left that out as the post was already quite long and I was hoping for someone to bring that up…

    so yeah… “aufhören mit dem” Verb and “das Verb einstellen” are interchangeable… technically … “einstellen” is not really used ever except for the examples I gave and some other occasions.
    You can check on… most of it will be the other “einstellens”.
    So “aufhören mit dem” is definitely the better choice.
    As for the difference between “aufhören zu” and “aufhören mit dem” … I don’t really know… I think the “zu”-construction is more used as it is more dynamic.
    One thing… “mit dem Rauchen aufhören” means to stop smoking … as in to quit it. “Das Rauchen einstellen” really means the action of smoking one zigarette. But that difference doesn’t always apply.
    So bottom line:

    aufhören zu … ok
    aufhören mit dem … ok
    das … einstellen … you don’t really need it ever.

    hope that helped a bit :)

    ps…. check out if you don’t know it yet.

  2. On second thought there are 2 more things that are important… first:

    the reason why “einstellen” as to stop isn’t used that much is probably the fact that “einstellen”s other meaning is very widespread so there is room for confusion as soon as you leave fixed expressions that everyone knows.


    “aufhören mit dem” does come handy when you need to avoid a double zu-construction… those are not good German. Sometimes I start a sentence and I realize too late, that I will wind up with a double zu… that always feels so ugly :)

    The premium example is again: to smoke.

    Ich versuche aufzuhören zu rauchen.

    That is technically correct but not nice at all.

    Ich versuche, mit dem Rauchen aufzuhören.

    solves the issue. This advice is generally correct. Avoid double zu if possible (it is when one verb can be expressed as noun)

    Ich versuche anzufangen zu trainieren.

    Ich versuche mit dem Training/Trainieren anzufangen.

    The second is better.
    And then, I feel like “einstellen” is something you just do. It is nothing you really try. There is nothing to try. You are fully capable of “einstellen” and action (as in to stop). “aufhören” in the opposite is something you can try as the smoking example clearly shows.

    Oh and one more thing.

    Try to stop thinking about that.

    This one in German:

    Versuch, das Denken daran einzustellen.
    Versuch, aufzuhören, daran zu denken.
    Versuch mit dem daran Denken aufzuhören.

    All these are not nice. The first one for reasons already explained. The second and third for the combination of the “nounified” verb Denken plus the prepositional object dara. Both are not really things but more abstract grammatical constructs. having them this close together sounds really stiff. So this is something to avoid too. In the last example even the order (Denken daran or daran Denken) is not 100% clear.

    So there it would be better to replace to stop by “not (anymore)” altogether.

    Versuch, nicht mehr daran zu denken.


    Du musst aufhören, daran zu denken.

    Both these sentences are nice German and have no double zu or double artificial noun clusters.

    Sorry if that was a bit elaborate but I really love to talk about writing style :)

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