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9 alternative ways to say stop in German like natives do

Stop in German

How do you say stop in German?

You could say halt, innehalten, anhalten, aufhören, stehen bleiben, unterbrechen, abbrechen, einstellen, abstellen and many variations of these.

Listen to these alternative ways to say stop in German:


Since you probably already know these words by themselves, I will show you what word to use in which situation and why it’s more appropriate than the others.

The simplest way to say stop in German is halt, but

Halt is the simplest way to say stop in German.

You can use this in 90% of situations, and you could interchange it with ‘stopp’ for a bit of variety. 

Note: In German we write stop with a double ‘p’ = stopp.

I have started with these words because they are easy to understand looking at it from an English perspective.

But what of the remaining 10% of situations?

Let me give you an example:

Let’s say you are telling your friends that you will be joining university within the year. You could say either of the following:

  • I will be joining university later this year
  • I will be joining the Technische Universität (TU) of Berlin later this year

What’s the difference?

The second sentence is more specific.

It talks of what and where, and so the following ways of saying stop in German will be more specific to ask a question or to explain a point.

Context-specific ways to say stop in German 


The word ‘innehalten’ describes a situation where someone who was talking suddenly stops because he or she has been interrupted

Ich muss kurz innehalten and denken.

(I need to stop and think for a short while)


‘Anhalten’ can be used to instruct a driver to stop, or to indicate that a car has stopped voluntarily (maybe at the destination or for someone to get in/out)

Sie müssen an der roten Ampel anhalten.

(You must stop at the red light)

Please note – the verb ‘anhalten’ is much more commonly used than ‘halten’, even though they mean the same thing.

There isn’t however a logical explanation to that, just a matter of preference, and it would help you to remember that.

However, if you would like to learn German without having to remember any of the rules, I can show you how to do just that. Show me (free email course)


This word is used to indicate that an activity has stopped. It could be a game, an episode or even the rain. It is also the closest term for ‘halt’ in German.

Das Buch ist so spannend, ich kann nicht aufhören zu lesen.

(The book is so thrilling that I cannot stop reading it)

stehen bleiben

The word ‘stehen’ by itself means to stand.

But when you combine it with ‘bleiben’, it then changes to mean stop.

It is especially used when a person who was walking or running stops.

Ich blieb stehen und lehnte mich gegen den Baum.

(I stopped walking and leaned against the tree)

Those are the main words to use when you want to say stop in German.

I will now show you a few more that may fit 10-20% of very specific situations like quitting a job or the jamming of an object.


This means interrupt.

If a teacher was giving a lecture and had to stop because the school principal walked in, it would be more appropriate to say that he was interrupted instead of he simply stopped talking.

Ich musste die Sitzung unterbrechen, weil sie zu lang wurde.

(I had to interrupt the meeting because it was too long)



You would use this word to explain that you want to discontinue your studies, for example, at a university.

Ich werde nächsten Monat mein Studium an der Universität abbrechen.

(I will be dropping out of university next month)


‘Einstellen’ means to cease or discontinue.

An example is when a manufacturer stops producing something because it has been replaced by an updated version, they normally say it has been discontinued.

Das iPhone 7 wurde vor ein paar Jahren eingestellt.

(The iPhone 7 was discontinued a few years ago)


If an operator turns off a machine, you would use the word ‘abstellen’ not only to mean it stopped working but at the same time clarifying that it didn’t break down or run out of power.

Der Techniker schaltete die Motoren vorzeitig ab.

(The technician switched off the engines early)

How will you remember all these words for stop in German?

The simple answer is that you will have to cram them.

But that is very difficult, considering that some of these situations are hard to come by and the words are very similar.

That’s why I would advice you not to cram or learn any words by heart, but instead learn German naturally with my TPRS audio stories.

You will automatically know which word to use – every time.

Do you want to master German? Click the link and start with Lesson 1

Lesson 1
🔗 German Articles (Secret Decoded)

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Lesson 10
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Lesson 20
German Umlauts Ä Ö Ü

For more depth, try these selected intermediate lessons:

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