Basic patterns in German language:

Prepositions in German


Prepositions are words which define the relation between different items. Prepositions give information about direction, position and time in a sentence.
What complicates German is that prepositions usually require a certain case. In German prepositions can be divided into different groups, prepositions + Accusative case and prepositions + Dative case.


Preposition followed by the Accusative case:

German Preposition followed by the accusative

Preposition followed by the Dative case:

German preposition followed by the Dative


Preposition followed by the Genitive case:

German preposition follwed by the Genitive

There is a group of german preposition which take either the accusative or the dative depending on whether the emphasis is on movement or position.

Preposition which are followed by accusative or dative

You use the accusative form for direction and movement and answers the question where to. The dative form indicates position and location and answers the question where.


English: I put the book on the table.
Preposition: on -> auf (accusative or dative form possible)
Form: accusative form -> put on the table (movement)
German: Ich lege das Buch auf den Tisch

English: The book is on the table.
Preposition: on -> auf (accusative or dative form possible)
Form: dative form -> is on the table (position)
German: Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch

English: He is travelling by car.
Preposition: by -> mit
Form: dative form 
German: Er fährt mit dem Auto

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