I had fun the last time talking about the different types of pronouns (possessive pronouns, personal pronouns, and reflexive pronouns). So, I decided to write a few more on German grammar.
I decided to tackle prepositions.
German prepositions are a big topic. There’s a lot of confusion as to when to use which preposition in a given situation.
That is even without going into the different cases that are required by the nouns that follow a given preposition.
There are those two-way prepositions where the case of the noun changes depending on the verb in the sentence, because the meaning is different.
Like English, sometimes the preposition doesn’t make much sense literally.
We say on the bus, instead of in. If taken literally, that would mean that we are riding on the roof of the bus. But we know when someone says that they are “on the bus” to mean that they are inside the bus, like they are in the car.
Because of this, it’s difficult to do a direct translation of prepositions from English (or another language) into German. It is important to bear that in mind.
To start with, we’ll talk about dative prepositions. Then, we will move on to other types of prepositions in the next few weeks as we look more into prepositions.
Dative prepositions are prepositions where the noun or pronoun that follow it are in the dative case.
The prepositions with the dative are:
- aus (from, out of)
- bei (at)
- mit (with)
- nach (after, to)
- von (from)
- seit (since)
- zu (to)
Remembering the Dative Prepositions
I remember this by remembering Ausbeimit nach Vonseitzu.
This was from a worksheet I got in my first German class. I don’t know which book it came from, but basically, the situation is that someone is driving from town Ausbeimit to (nach) town Vonseitzu.
I found it simple enough to remember.
More Dative Prepositions
There are other dative prepositions, but the seven above are the most common.
Here are a few others:
- außer (except for)
- gegenüber (across from)
Contractions with Dative Prepositions
When a preposition is followed by a definite article, the two might contract to form a single word.
Here are some examples:
- bei + dem = beim
- von + dem = vom
- zu + der = zur
- zu + dem = zum
It is important to recognise these forms of the prepositions.
Next week, we shall look at accusative prepositions.
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