Languages › German How to Use German Dative Prepositions Share Flipboard Email Print Edwin Remsberg/Getty Images German Grammar History & Culture Pronunciation & Conversation Vocabulary By Ingrid Bauer German Language Expert M.A., German Studies, McGill University B.A., German and French Ingrid Bauer, who is fluent in German, has been teaching and tutoring the German language since 1996. She has a teaching degree and an M.A. in German studies. our editorial process Ingrid Bauer Updated February 20, 2020 If you want to speak German, you'll have to know your dative prepositions. Many dative prepositions are common vocabulary in German, such as nach (after, to), von (by, of) and mit (with). It's hard to speak without them. Simply put, dative prepositions are governed by the dative case. That is, they are followed by a noun or take an object in the dative case. In English, prepositions take the objective case (object of the preposition) and all prepositions take the same case. In German, prepositions come in several "flavors," only one of which is dative. The Two Kinds of Dative Prepositions There are two kinds of dative prepositions: 1. Those that are always dative and never anything else. 2. Certain two-way or dual prepositions that can be either dative or accusative — depending on how they are used. In the German-English examples below, the dative preposition is bolded. The object of the preposition is italicized. Mit der Bahn fahren wir. (We're going by train.) Meiner Meinung nach ist es zu teuer. (In my opinion it's too expensive.) Das Hotel ist dem Bahnhof gegenüber. (The hotel is across from the train station.) Er arbeitet bei einer großen Firma. (He works at a big company.) Wir verbringen eine Woche am See. (We're spending a week at the lake.) Notice in the second and third examples above that the object comes before the preposition (with gegenüber this is optional.) Some German prepositions use this reverse word order, but the object must still be in the correct case. List of Dative-Only Prepositions Deutsch Englisch aus from, out of außer except for, besides bei at, near gegenüber* across from, opposite mit with, by nach after, to seit since (time), for von by, from zu at, to *Gegenüber can go before or after its object. Note: The genitive prepositions statt (instead of), trotz (in spite of), während (during) and wegen (because of) are often used with the dative in spoken German, particularly in certain regions. If you want to blend in and not sound too stuffy, you can use them in the dative also. Tips and Tricks for Dative Prepositions The following is a quick overview on what to watch out for when forming sentences with dative prepositions. Placement: You can choose to either place your prepositional phrase after the subject + verbal phrase (more common) or before, while keeping in mind the "time, manner, place" sentence structure guideline. That is the order you should place these parts of the sentence. For example: Ich fahre morgen früh mit meinem neuen Auto nach Köln. (I'm driving early tomorrow morning with my new car to Cologne.) Cases: Change word endings accordingly. Check your definite articles, pronouns, and adjectives. In a dative prepositional phrase this means: Definite articles: der - dem die - der das - dem die (plural) - den Pronouns: ich - mir du - dir er - ihm sie - ihr es - ihm wir - uns ihr - euch sie - ihnen Dative Prepositional Contractions The following dative prepositional contractions are common. zur (zu+ der) zum (zu + dem) vom (von + dem) beim (bei + dem) For example: Deine Eltern kommen heute zum Abendessen vorbei. (Your parents are coming over for dinner today.) For (dinner), in this case, is expressed with zu plus dem, or zum (Abendessen). Wondering why we used zu? See the differences between for and für. Cite this Article Format mla apa chicago Your Citation Bauer, Ingrid. "How to Use German Dative Prepositions." ThoughtCo, Mar. 15, 2021, thoughtco.com/using-german-dative-prepositions-correctly-1444496. Bauer, Ingrid. (2021, March 15). How to Use German Dative Prepositions. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/using-german-dative-prepositions-correctly-1444496 Bauer, Ingrid. "How to Use German Dative Prepositions." 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