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Distinctive types of German Prepositions

A noun is connected to a sentence using prepositions. They generally speak about time, habitation and direction. Some of the English prepositions are on, out, under, from, with, about and until, but there isa lot more. Prepositions are small words that you won’t even care while using, but they have a pivotal role in making a sentence meaningful.

When it comes into the case of German Language, everything will be distinctive. Due to German’s case system, it is extremely tough to use apt preposition.The German prepositions too affect the case of the noun that follows. It is extremely good, as it keeps us away from thinking about the noun’s role in the clause, i.e., direct object or an indirect object.

Let’s take a look at the distinctive types of preposition you may come across.

1. Accusative Prepositions

A number of prepositions in German language are followed by the accusative case. So, there is no significance toposition it comes. Moreover, the nouns that immediately following the prepositions isinvariably in the accusative.Below given are some of the prepositions that come under this category.

• bis (until, up to, by)
• durch (through, across)
• entlang (along)
• für (for)
• gegen (against, towards)
• ohne (without)
• um (around, about, at) – when talking about time

2. Dative Prepositions

Similar to the prepositions that are followed by the accusative case, there are many prepositions that take the dative. The dative prepositions are similar to accusative prepositions, but they are followed by noun in the dative case (indirect object).

Here are some of the dative prepositions:

• ab (from) – time
• aus (out of, from)
• ausser (except for, apart from)
• bei (by, at, in view of)
• dank (thanks to)
• entgegen (contrary to)
• gegenüber (opposite)
• gemäß (according to)
• laut (according to)
• mit (with)
• nach (after, to) – referring to direction; (according to)
• seit (for, since)
• von (from, of)
• zu (to)
• zufolge (according to) – follows the noun

3. Two-case German Prepositions

Here comes everythingexciting! The prepositions that can take either the dative or the accusative are called two case German prepositions. The prepositions can be used interchangeably. You don’t have to worry, as there are rules to make things easy. If you mugged up the rules, there won’t be any problem.

The rules are nothing but what you try to communicate. It mainly depends on the direction and position.

Accusative is used if you want to express movement (direction).

Dativeis used if you state where exactly something is (direction).

The example given below makes things clear.

“Ichhänge das Bild an die Wand” (I hang the picture on the wall).

In the above sentence “an” indicates movement: Actually, the picture was not on the wall previously, but now it is there. It shows that it has changed its position (direction).So, take the accusative preposition: an die Wand.

4. Genitive Prepositions

There are not just three types of prepositions, but one more is there. Genitive prepositions are used rarely. It is a fact that most of the Germans are hesitating to use genitive prepositions while speaking. People prefer dative instead of the genitive. It is highly recommended that you have to use genitive prepositions while taking an exam or writing the academic papers.

A number of genitive prepositions are given below:
• anstatt, statt (instead of)
• außerhalb/innerhalb/oberhalb/unterhalb (outside/inside/above/below)
• diesseits/jenseits/beiderseits (on this side of/on the other side of/on either side of
• trotz (in spite of)
• unweit (not far from)
• während (during)
• wegen (because of)

So that is what German prepositions in a concise way. The prepositions may not be the easier to learn, but it is sure that it will be useful.

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