Voted Best Answer
May 24, 2022 - 03:20 AM
Here are a few tips that I've found online which can help, and a link to a well-explained video but it's only in German ;)
In a local sense, "aus" is the opposite of English "in/into". So it carries the idea of "out of". It is no problem to understand why it is used in context of buildings and stuff you can enter.
Ich gehe aus dem Haus.
However, it is not quite so obvious why it would be used for countries and cities. I think in German those are just considered "enterable" and that's all there is to it.
Ich komme aus Berlin.
And then there is the material use.
Der Tisch ist aus Holz.
Using "von" here would be more logical I suppose since the table is made from a part of the matter that is wood. I guess German sees it as more of an emergence. Just like plants that grow "out of the soil". A wooden table has been "scooped" out of the matter wood. This is just my personal theory but I doubt that there is a better explanation. Use of prepositions is really random sometimes and maybe people just liked "aus" better.
In a local sense, "von" denotes an origin that you cannot enter. The best example are persons
Ich komme von meinem Bruder.
but there are more
Ich komme von der Reise.
This "not enterable" idea works fairly well but you will always find examples that do not fit the simple pattern. Best example are brand names.
Ich komme von Aldi.
Aldi is a supermarket and so of course it is "enterable", yet, there are several Aldi stores so the actual venue with its door is not what matters. What matters is the chain. As soon as you specify a certain market, you'd use "aus" again.
Ich komme aus dem Aldi (the one right next to the gas station)
So as a rule of thumb... "aus" is used to indicate origins that you can enter, that are a material and that are human made geographical entities, "von" is used for origins which cannot be entered ... like people.
And then there are 1000 exceptions you'll just have to learn.