AS Grammar: Prepositions

AS Grammar: Prepositions

Grammar: Prepositions

Basic Prepositions

  • Prepositions are short words or groups of words which show the relationship of a noun or a pronoun to another word in the sentence.
  • Prepositions always come directly before the noun/pronoun they relate to.
  • In German, they can indicate various relations including time, place, direction, manner, cause, and purpose.

Types of Prepositions

  • Prepositions can be classed as either accusative, dative, or two-way prepositions.
Accusative Prepositions
  • Accusative prepositions always take an accusative object. They include: durch (through), für (for), gegen (against), ohne (without) and um (around).
Dative Prepositions
  • Dative prepositions always take a dative object. They include: aus (from), bei (at), mit (with), nach (after), seit (since), von (from) and zu (to).
Two-Way Prepositions
  • Two-way prepositions can take an accusative or dative object. They include: an (on), auf (on), hinter (behind), neben (next to), über (over), unter (under), vor (before) and zwischen (between).
  • If there is movement or direction involved, use the accusative case. If there is no movement, and the location is static, use the dative case.


  • Accusative: Ich gehe durch den Park. (I go through the park)
  • Dative: Ich komme aus dem Haus. (I come from the house)
  • Two-Way (accusative): Sie legt das Buch auf den Tisch. (She puts the book on the table)
  • Two-Way (dative): Das Buch liegt auf dem Tisch. (The book is on the table)

Prepositions in Action

  • Prepositions must be used correctly to convey accurate meanings. For example, Ich denke an dich (I think of you) and Ich denke über dich nach (I think about you) have different implications in German.
  • Also, German prepositions often don’t have direct translations in English. Mit means ‘with’, but also denotes usage or mode of transportation in some contexts.

The key to mastering prepositions is practice. Try to internalise their meanings, as well as common verb-preposition combinations, in context whenever possible. Remember, prepositions are pivotal for expressing intricate ideas and maintaining smooth conversation flow. Happy revising!