How to say "to consist" in German

In order to express that an object (or idea or plan, etc.) consists of various component parts, it’s best to use the verb “bestehen” together with the preposition “aus”, followed by the relevant components or ingredients (in the dative case):

– “Der Tisch besteht aus einer Platte und vier Beinen.” – “The table consists of a board and four legs.”
– “Eine Bloody Mary besteht aus Vodka und Tomatensaft.” – “A Bloody Mary consists of vodka and tomato juice.”
– “Berlin besteht aus zwölf Bezirken.” – “Berlin consists of twelve districts.”

The word “bestehen” (without “aus”) essentially means “to exist” or “to persist”, and together with the preposition “auf” it means “to insist” (sometimes also in accusative):

– “Der Turm besteht schon lange.” – “That tower has been there long.”
– “Ich bestehe auf meinem Recht.” – “I insist on my right.”

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