German Prepositions of Place – Lokale Präpositionen – Part 1: Dative and Accusative

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German Prepositions of Place - Lokale Prpositionen - Part 1: Dative and Accusative

Since we have discussed the temporal prepositions, it makes sense to go on to the place prepositions next.

Apart from the dative, accusative, and genitive prepositions, some two-way prepositions are also prepositions of place. (In the third post of the series, we touched briefly on these prepositions that can take both the dative and the accusative, depending on the situation.)

As there is more to cover for prepositions of place, this topic will be split into two posts.

This first post will cover the dative and accusative prepositions of place.

The next post will cover the genitive and two-way prepositions of place.

 

Dative

Ab

Translation: from

Answers the question: Wo?

Indicates: The starting point (of a journey).

Example: Diana hat die Kreuzfahrt ab Hamburg gebucht. (Diana booked the cruise from Hamburg. → The cruise begins in Hamburg.)

 

Aus

Translation: from

Answers the question: Woher?

Indicates: Coming from a place. Used for continents, countries, cities, and towns, buildings, and streets.

Examples:

  • Ich komme aus Frankreich. (I come from France.)
  • Ich komme aus der Schweiz. (I come from Switzerland.)

Note: Von is used for coming from places of nature (e.g. mountains, beaches, seas), a direction (e.g left), and place of work.

 

Bei

Translation: at

Answers the question: Wo?

Indicates: The general area around a place, a company, a persons place of work, or someones house.

Examples:

  • Sonya arbeitet bei Siemens. (Sonya works at Siemens.)
  • Thomas ist beim (bei + dem) Arzt. (Thomas is at the doctors.)
  • Wir sind bei unseren Eltern. (We are at our parents house.)

 

Gegenber

Translation: opposite

Answers the question: Wo?

Indicates: Something opposite (across from) a specified position.

Examples:

  • Ich sa ihr gegenber. (I sat opposite her.)
  • Herr Schmidt wohnt gegenber dem Hauptbahnhof. / Herr Schmidt wohnt dem Hauptbahnhof gegenber. (Mr Smith lives opposite the central train station.)

Note: This is also a postposition; for pronouns, it will always appear after the pronoun.

It can appear after or before a noun.

 

Nach

Translation: to

Answers the question: Wohin?

Indicates: Movement to a place. Used for continents, countries, cities, and towns that do not contain a definite article in the name. It is also used for directions.

Example: Ich gehe nach Deutschland. (I go to Germany.)

Note: If the name of a country contains an article, in is used instead: Ich fliege in die Schweiz. (I fly to Switzerland.)

 

Von

Translation: from

Answers the question: Woher?

Indicates: Coming from a place. Used for places of nature (e.g. mountains, beaches, seas), a direction (e.g left, right), companies (workplace).

Example:

  • Du kommst von rechts. (You come from the right.)
  • Sonya kommt von Siemens. (Sonya comes from Siemens.)

Note: Aus is used for indicating provenance from a continent, country, city, town, building, or street.

 

Von… aus

Translation: from onwards

Answers the question: Wo?

Indicates: The beginning of a starting position.

Example: Von hier aus sehe ich dem Ufer nicht. (From here onwards, I cannot see the shore.)

 

Zu

Translation: to, at

Answers the question: Wohin? / Wo? (see first note)

Indicates: Movement to a place. Used for shops, companies (workplace), persons house.

Example: Ich gehe zur (zu + der) Schule. (I go to school.)

Notes:

  • When the expression is zu Hause, then is the question word is Wo. For example: Ich bin zu Hause. (I am at home.) Otherwise, zu is almost never used to indicate a fixed location.
  • An, in, and nach are also used to describe movement to a place.

 

An entlang

Translation: along

Answers the question: Wo?

Indicates: Movement in parallel direction next to a specified place.

Example: Ich gehe am (an + dem) Fluss entlang spazieren. (I take a walk along the river.)

 

An vorbei

Translation: past

Answers the question: Wo?

Indicates: Movement passing by a specified place.

Example: Der Bus fhrt an der Haltestelle vorbei. (The bus goes past the bus stop.)

 

Accusative

Bis

Translation: until, to

Answers the question: Wohin?

Indicates: The ending point (of a journey).

Example: Dieser Zug fhrt nur bis Aachen. (This train only goes to Aachen.)

 

Durch

Translation: through

Answers the question: Wohin?

Indicates: Movement through something.

Example: Jonas geht durch die Tre. (Jonas walks through the door.)

 

Entlang

Translation: along

Answers the question: Wohin?

Indicates: Movement in a parallel direction, next to a specified boundary. Has with the idea of following alongside something.

Example: Mike macht einen Spaziergang den Fluss entlang. (Mike takes a walk along the river.)

Note: In the accusative case, this is a postposition; it appears after the noun. It can appear before the noun, but in that case it usually is followed by the dative or genitive, as in: Mike macht einen Spaziergang entlang des Flusses.

 

Gegen

Translation: against

Answers the question: Wohin?

Indicates: A movement that ends in contact with something else.

Examples:

  • Chris tritt gegen den Ball. (Chris kicks the ball.)
    • The against is only implied here, and Er tritt den Ball is also correct.
  • Die Wellen schlagen gegen die Felsen. (The waves beat against the rocks.)

 

Um

Translation: around

Answers the question: Wo? / Wohin?

Indicates: Something around (in the sense of encircling or surrounding) an object or a location. (Wo?) / Movement in a circle. (Wohin?)

Example: Jena geht um die Ecke. (Jena goes around the corner.)

 

Um… herum

Translation: around

Answers the question: Wo?

Indicates: Something around (in the sense of encircling or surrounding) an object or a location.

Examples:

  • Wir laufen um den Park herum. (We walk around the park.)
  • Wir sitzen um den Tisch herum. (We sit around the table.)