German Prepositions


In this lesson you'll learn how to use prepositions in the German language. You'll also learn some very common German prepositions, along with examples that show how they're used in sentences.

Flashcards are included in the lesson to help you learn the German prepositions.


Prepositions are words that connect nouns and pronouns to other words in a sentence. A preposition indicates a location in space or time, or a logical relationship of a noun to the rest of the sentence.

Prepositions in German influence the case of the following noun or pronoun. Some prepositions require the accusative case, some require the dative case, some the genitive case, and some either the accusative or dative case depending whether or not motion is implied. A noun in the accusative case is the direct object of a sentence. A noun in the dative case is the indirect object in a sentence.

In English the words the definite article the and the indefinite article a have lost their direct and indirect object forms, but pronouns still have a subject an object form. In German, pronouns, the definite article, the indefinite article, and even adjectives have different forms depending on which case they're in.

Don't worry if this sounds too confusing. As you practice reading and speaking German, it'll eventually come naturally, and even if you make lots of mistakes, you'll still be understood.


Prepositions with the accusative case

durch means through, as in 'durch den Fluss' (through the river).

entlang means along, as in 'entlang den Fluss' (along the river).

für means for, as in 'für das Buch' (for the book).

gegen means against, as in 'gegen die Mauer' (against the wall).

ohne means without, as in 'ohne ihn' (without him).

um means around, about, at (with time expressions), and by (with quantities)

Prepositions with the dative case

aus means out, out of, or from, as in 'aus der Flasche' (out of the bottle).

bei means at, near, or by, as in 'bei uns' (at our house). Used before the name of a place, business, or where someone works or lives. Bei dem is usually shortened to beim.

mit means with, as in 'mit dem Löffel' (with the spoon).

nach means after or to, as in 'nach dem Regen' (after the rain).When used before a city or country it means "to"

seit means since, as in, 'Er ist seit einer Woche hier

von means from or of, as in 'vom Frankfurt' (from Frankfurt).

zu means to, as in 'zum Bahnhof.' (to the train station), or at, as in 'zum Ostern' (at Easter). Usually zu dem is shortened to zum and zu der is shortened to zur.

Prepositions with either the accusative or dative case

These prepositions are followed by the accusative case when movement towards a different place is involved. They are followed by the dative case when position is described instead of movement.

an means on, at, or to. Usually an dem is shortened to am.

auf means on, upon, up.

hinter means behind.

in means in or into. 'Er ging in das Zimmer' (He went into the room). 'Er ist in dem Zimmer' (he is in the room).

neben means next to, beside.

über means over, above, across.

unter means under or among.

vor means in front of or before.

zwischen means between.

German Prepositions

an on, at, to an der Spitze - at the top
am Freitag
on Friday
auf on, upon, to, in auf dem Tisch - on the table
auf den Markt gehen - go to the market
aus out Ich komme aus berlin - I come from Berlin
bei at, by bei der Bäckerei - at the bakery
bei uns - at our house
am Fluss - by the river
bis until, to bis 10 zählen - count to 10
durch through, by durch den Fluss - through the river
entlang along Ich fuhr die Strasse entlang. - I drive along the street.
für for Es ist für dich. - It's for you.
gegen against gegen die Mauer - against the wall
hinter behind hinter dem Haus - behind the house
in in, into in der Schule - at school
jenseits beyond jenseits der Grenze - on the other side of the border
mit with Er ging mit seinen Freunden spazieren. - He went walking with his friends.
nach after after dinner - nach dem Essen
nach Berlin gehen - go to Berlin
neben next to neben der Wand - next to the wall
ohne without Sie sind ohne mich gegangen. - They went without me.
seit since, for seit 12 jahren - for 12 years
statt instead of statt hier - instead of here
trotz in spite of trotz allem - in spite of everything
über over, about, by, beyond über den Fluss - over the river
um around, by um 4 Uhr - at 4 o'clock
unter under unter den Baum - under the tree
von from, of, by Ich weiß nichts von ihm. - I don't know anything about him.
vor in front of vor dem Spiegel - in front of the mirror
wegen because of wegen mir - because of me
zu to, at zu Hause - at home
zum Strand gehen - go to the beach
zu meiner Überraschung - to my surprise
zwischen between zwischen den Bäumen - between the trees

German Phrases

Here are some examples of how to use prepositions in German sentences.

Es ist für dich. It's for you.
Er ist mit seiner Frau gekommen. He came with his wife.
Es liegt auf dem Tisch. It's on the table.
Lege es bitte auf den Tisch. Please put it on the table.
Er geht zur Schule. He goes to school.
Ich halte es nicht mehr aus. I can't stand it any longer.
Er saß bei mir. He sat beside me.
Warum ist er nicht mitgekommen? Why didn't he come with you?
Nie war sie glücklicher gewesen. She had never been happier.
Kommst du nicht mit? Doch ich komme mit. Aren't you coming? Yes I am.
Nach zwei Stunden kam er wieder. He returned two hours later.
Ich wohne seit zwei Jahren in Frankfurt. I've been living in Frankfurt for two years.
Ich weiß nichts von ihm. I don't know anything about him.
Mach die Tür zu. Shut the door.
Sie blickt durch das Fenster. She looks through the window.
Wir gingen die Straße entlang. We walked down the street.
Ich habe es für dich getan. I did it for you.
Das ist für ihn sehr wichtig. That is very important to him.
Es ist um die Ecke. It's around the corner.
Es beginnt um neun Uhr. It begins at nine.
Er ging ins Zimmer. He went into the room.
Sie hat die Straße überquert. She crossed the street.
Sie arbeitet bei einer großen Firma. She works at a large company