German Dative Prepositions

Dative-Prepositions

German Prepositions

A preposition is a word such as for, without or to. Prepositions show the relationship of a noun or pronoun to some other words and are usually placed before the noun or pronoun.

For example:
This cake is for you.
I can’t do it without your help.
He moves to Germany.

You can now learn even more on this topic with the help of a fun video and a grammar quiz. Simply check out our Information and Directions Module in level A2.


Understanding the Meaning of Prepositions

German prepositions and their English counterpart aren’t always the same. The German preposition in for example is the same as the English preposition in but can be also used as into or to.

For example:
Markus ist in der Stadt. ⇨ Markus is in town.
Ich ging in die Post. ⇨ I went into the post office.
Er möchte nicht in die Kirche. ⇨ He doesn’t want to go to church.

Therefore it‘s important to get the idea out of your mind straight away that there is always a parallel meaning between German prepositions that resemble English prepositions because prepositions usually have more than one meaning.

Tip

Try to remember prepositions in commonly used phrases and get a feeling for the various meanings a preposition may have.


Prepositions and the Cases

German prepositions break down into four groups. Some of them use the accusative and some use the dative or genitive case. On top of this, there are also some that can be either accusative or dative, depending on the context of the sentence.

In this blog we’ll be looking at the dative prepositions. For more information on accusative prepositions take a look at our German Accusative Prepositions Blog.

Dative Prepositions

There is a group of prepositions that are strictly dative. There are nine of these in total. And here they are:

Preposition Masculine Feminine Neuter
aus (from, out of) aus dem aus der aus dem
außer (besides, except for) außer dem außer der außer dem
bei (at, near, with) beim bei der beim
gegenüber (opposite, across from) gegenüber dem gegenüber der gegenüber dem
mit (with, by) mit dem mit der mit dem
nach (after, past, to) nach dem nach der nach dem
seit (for, since) seit dem seit der seit dem
von (by, from, of) vom von der vom
zu (to) zum zur zum

As these prepositions are followed by the dative case the masculine article der and the neuter article das will change to dem while the feminine article die changes to der.

Once again, a few of these can be merged with the article to make one word. These shortened forms are:

bei + dem = beim
von + dem = vom
zu + dem = zum
zu + der = zur

Example sentences:
Hans kommt aus der Schweiz. ⇨ Hans is from Switzerland.
Wir haben alle die Prüfung bestanden, außer ihm. ⇨ We all passed the exam except him.
Wir werden uns bei ihr treffen. ⇨ We’ll meet at her place.
Die Polizei ist gegenüber dem Rathaus. ⇨ The police is opposite of the town hall.
Er läuft jeden Tag mit dem Hund spazieren. ⇨ He goes for a walk with the dog every day.
Kannst du nach dem Weg fragen? ⇨ Can you ask for directions?
Seit der Trennung ist sie sehr deprimiert. ⇨ She’s been feeling very down since the break-up.
Die Touristeninformation ist in der Nähe vom Markt. ⇨ The tourist information is near the market.
Sollen wir zum Zoo gehen? ⇨ Shall we go to the zoo?


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  • Karen McGuinness

    This is a nice explanation of the dative prepositions. It would be more helpful to beginning users to see the change in the article following the dative preposition. Most learners of German do not automatically know the gender of a noun when they are first leaning. For example: (die Schweiz) Hans kommt aus der Schweiz. Is a more helpful example of the what the dative preposition is doing to the article of the noun.