Mastering Prepositions in German

Understanding Prepositions

Prepositions play a crucial role in any language, including German. Prepositions are words that indicate relationships between nouns, pronouns, and other words in a sentence. They help us understand both the location and the movement of objects and people. In German, prepositions can be tricky to master, but with practice and determination, you can become proficient in their usage.

Mastering Prepositions in German 1

Common Prepositions in German

German has a wide range of prepositions, each with its own unique uses. Here are some of the most common prepositions in German:

  • auf (on, onto)
  • in (in, into)
  • für (for)
  • mit (with)
  • an (at, on)
  • über (over, above)
  • neben (next to, beside)
  • These prepositions can be used to describe location, time, direction, and manner. It is important to remember that the case used after a preposition can change, which can affect the article or adjective that precedes it.

    Accusative and Dative Prepositions

    In German, prepositions can take the accusative or dative case, depending on the context. Accusative prepositions indicate motion or direction towards a specific point, while dative prepositions indicate location or position. Let’s take a look at some examples:


  • Ich gehe in den Park. (I am going into the park.)
  • Er fährt über die Brücke. (He is driving over the bridge.)
  • Dative:

  • Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch. (The book is lying on the table.)
  • Die Tasche ist neben dem Stuhl. (The bag is next to the chair.)
  • It is important to pay attention to which case the preposition requires in order to use it correctly in a sentence. This will help you convey the intended meaning accurately.

    Prepositions with Accusative or Dative and Genitive

    Some prepositions in German can take both the accusative or dative case, depending on the context. Additionally, a few prepositions also take the genitive case. These prepositions include:

  • ohne (without)
  • bis (until)
  • während (during)
  • innerhalb (within)
  • außerhalb (outside of)
  • trotz (despite)
  • When these prepositions take the accusative case, they indicate movement towards or a specific point in time. When they take the dative case, they indicate location or position. Here are some examples:


  • Ich gehe ohne dich ins Kino. (I am going to the cinema without you.)
  • Wir bleiben bis morgen hier. (We are staying here until tomorrow.)
  • Dative:

  • Die Katze liegt während des Sturms unter dem Bett. (The cat is lying under the bed during the storm.)
  • Das Buch ist innerhalb der Bibliothek. (The book is inside the library.)
  • Furthermore, when these prepositions take the genitive case, they indicate possession or belonging. Here are some examples:

  • Ich bedarf keiner Hilfe. (I don’t need any help.)
  • Er ist sich seiner Verantwortung bewusst. (He is aware of his responsibility.)
  • Prepositions and Their Impact on Word Order

    Unlike English, German has flexible word order, which means that you can rearrange words in a sentence without changing its meaning. However, the position of the preposition can impact the word order. In main clauses, the preposition usually appears at the end, while in subordinate clauses, it is placed before the verb. Here are some examples:

    Main clause:

  • Ich gehe in den Park. (I am going to the park.)
  • Wir treffen uns nach der Arbeit im Café. (We are meeting at the café after work.)
  • Subordinate clause:

  • Ich gehe, obwohl es regnet, in den Park. (I am going to the park, although it’s raining.)
  • Wir treffen uns, wenn du Zeit hast, im Café. (We will meet at the café when you have time.)
  • By understanding the impact of prepositions on word order, you can construct more complex sentences and convey more precise meanings.

    Practice Makes Perfect

    As with any aspect of language learning, practice is key when it comes to mastering prepositions in German. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the different prepositions and their specific uses. Practice using them in sentences and pay attention to the case they require. The more you practice, the more natural prepositions will become in your speech and writing. Learn more about the subject covered in this article by visiting the recommended external website. Inside, you’ll uncover supplementary information and an alternative perspective on the subject. German grammar practice!

    Remember, learning prepositions in German is a gradual process, and it may take time to become completely comfortable with their usage. Embrace the learning journey, and soon, you’ll find yourself using prepositions with confidence!

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