Two-Way Prepositions

Wechselpräpositionen

Introduction

Einführung

Also called doubtful propositions, the two-way prepositions are those that can be used with either the accusative or dative case.

Prepositions in German determine the grammatical case of the articles and pronouns used with them. This lesson deals with those that take either the accusative or dative case to have slightly different meanings.

When used with the accusative case there is an implied motion, while the dative case suggests a static aspect. For instance with the two sentences below, in with the accusative case translates as “into”, while with the dative case translates simply as “in”:

Acusative
Die Leute gehen in das Gebäude.
The people go into the building.

Dative
Die Leute sind in dem Gebäude.
The people are in the building.

This is the same difference seen with the interrogative pronouns wo (where) and wohin (to where).

There are three other groups of German prepositions:

Vocabulary

Wortschatz

Play an
to on at
Play auf
upon on to at
Play hinter
behind
Play in
into in

Phrases

Redewendungen

Play Wir flogen über die Stadt.
We flew over the city.

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