Using Prepositions in German: The Accusative Case
A previous article, Die Stadt: German Vocabulary for Getting Around Town, introduced vocabulary for places of interest and some basic directions for getting around town. Now learn how to describe in more detail where places are and how to get there using der Akkusativ (the accusative).
A full alphabetical list of prepositions is available as a download. The following are those which ALWAYS take the accusative case:
- bis [biss] = until, up to
- durch [doorX]= through
- entlang [ent-lang] = along
- für [foor] = for
- gegen [gay-gin] = against
- ohne [oa-nu] = without
- um .... herum [oom ... hi-room] = around
- wider = [vidder] = against
An easy way to remember the list is by using the mnemonic FUDGEBOW—the letters make up the initial letters of the prepositions.
How to Form the Accusative Case
What forming the accusative case means in practice is that any masculine nouns change der to den. Feminine and neuter nouns stay the same.
- der Bahnhof: through the railway station = durch den Bahnhof
- der Kirche: up to the church = bis zu der Kirche
- das Stadtzentrum: around the town centre = um das Stadtzentrum herum
Accusative for Movement
Some prepositions take either the accusative or the dative case depending on whether there is movement involved (accusative) or not (dative). These include:
- hinter [hin-tir] = behind
- in [in]= in, inside
- neben [nay-bin] = near, next to, beside
- über [oo-bir] = over, above
- unter [oon-tir] = among, under, below
- vor [foar] = ahead of, in front of
- zwischen A und B [tsvi-shin A oont B]= between A and B
- he lives in the town. = er wohnt in der Stadt (dative for position) [See next article on the dative case for further details.]
- he's going (i.e. walking) to town. = er geht in die Stadt (accusative for movement)
Practice with Places of Interest
- Go through the park.
- Walk behind the cinema.
- Go as far as the museum.
- Drive along this street.
- Walk between the railway station and the theatre.
- Gehen Sie durch den Park.
- Gehen Sie hinter das Kino.
- Gehen Sie bis zu dem Museum.
- Fahren Sie diese Straβe entlang.
- Gehen Sie zwischen den Bahnhof und das Theater.