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Prepositions that require the DATIVE CASE Posted by on Sep 1, 2010 in Language

In one of my previous posts I started discussing about prepositions and which grammar cases they require for the following noun. In this post I am going to give some examples sentence with very common prepositions that require the DATIVE CASE.

The German prepositions, which require the dative case are: aus, bei, mit, von, seit, and zu. I will highlight all the case endings of the DATIVE CASE in GREEN. Additionally, I will provide the NOMINATIVE form of the noun in parentheses and I will also highlight the case endings for that grammar case in BLUE, so that you have the opportunity to recognize where and how the case endings change.

The German preposition AUS means either “out of” or “from” in English:

Sie trinkt den Kaffee aus der Tasse. – She is drinking the coffee out of the cup. (die Tasse; sgl. f.)

Ich komme aus der Stadt Berlin. – I come from the town Berlin. (die Stadt; sgl. f.)

Er schaut aus dem Fenster.  – He is looking out of the window. (das Fenster; sgl. n.)

Ihr könnt aus den Gläsern trinken. – You can drink out of the glasses. (die Gläser; pl.)

The German preposition BEI means “at” in English:

Ich übernachte bei meinem Freund. – I stay the night at my boyfriend’s place. (der Freund; sgl. m.)

Ich übernachte bei meiner Freundin . – I stay the night at my girlfriend’s place. (die Freundin; sgl. f.)

Ich übernachte bei meinen Freunden. – I stay the night at my friends’ place. (die Freunde; pl.)

The German preposition MIT means “with” in English:

Ich spreche mit meinem Mann. – I am talking with my husband. (der Mann; sgl. m.)

Ich spreche mit meiner Frau. – I am talking with my wife. (die Frau; sgl. f.)

Ich spreche mit meinem Kind. – I am talking with my child. (das Kind; sgl. n.)

Ich spreche mit meinen Freunden. – I am talking with my friends. (die Freunde; pl.)

The German preposition SEIT means “since” in English:

Seit vergangenem Monat bin ich krank. – Since last month I am sick. (der Monat, sgl. m.)

Seit vergangener Woche bin ich krank. – Since last week I am sick. (die Woche; sgl. f.)

Seit vergagenem Jahr bin ich krank. – Since last year I am sick. (das Jahr; sgl. n.)

The German preposition VON means “from” in English:

Der Brief ist von meinem Freund. – The letter is from my boyfriend. (der Freund, sgl. m.)

Der Brief ist von meiner Freundin. – The letter is from my girlfriend. (die Freundin, sgl. f.)

Das Geschenk ist von meinem Kind. – The gift is from my child. (das Kind; sgl. n.)

Das Geschenk ist von meinen Freunden. – The gift is from my friends. (die Freunde; pl.)

The German preposition ZU means “to” in English:

Ich fahre zu meinem Freund. – I go to my boyfriend. (der Freund; sgl. m.)

Ich fahre zu meiner Freundin. – I go to my girlfriend. (die Freundin; sgl. f.)

Ich fahre zu meinem Kind. – I go to my child. (das Kind; sgl. n.)

Ich fahre zu meinen Freunden. – I go to my friends. (die Freunde; pl.)

As a rule of thumb:

When you have to use a noun in the dative case, all other parts of speech, which could precede the noun (definite articles, indefinite articles, personal pronouns or adjectives) will get the following endings:

– all masculine nouns get the ending –em (der -> dem; ein -> einem; mein -> meinem; nett -> nettem)

– all feminine nouns get the ending –er (die -> der; ein -> einer; mein -> meiner; nett -> netter)

– all neuter nouns get the ending –em (das -> dem; ein -> einem; mein -> meinem; nett ->nettem)

all plural forms, regardless of their grammatical gender, get the ending –en (die -> den; ——; mein -> meinen; nett -> netten)

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About the Author:Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra


Comments:

  1. Heather Beckley:

    There are some mistakes in this post. You say “genitive” when you mean “dative” in the second paragraph.

  2. Tania:

    And how about the prepositions NACH ( to / after ) , GEGENÜBER ( across from / opposite ) , AUßER ( besides / except for ) and AB ( from / since ) that also always require DATIVE ? (0.0) ?
    Your posts are VERY GOOD, I’m just asking…

    • sanroesner:

      @Tania Hi Tania, yes you are right. There are many more prepositions that require the dative case. “nach”, “gegenüber”, “außer” and “ab” belong to these prepositions, too. I am sorry that I couldn’t discuss all of them in one post.

  3. schwein hundert:

    Thanks, you make learning this grammar a lot nicer!

  4. Ian Colville:

    Surely adjectives in the dative case take an ‘-en’ ending as in ‘mit der netten Frau’ or ‘mit den netten Frauen’ ? Be nice to know for sure; thanks 🙂

    • sanroesner:

      @Ian Colville @ Ian:

      The expressions: “mit nettem Mann”, “mit netter Frau”, and “mit nettem KInd” are grammatically absolutely possible and they are the only correct forms in the dative case. The fact that the ending for adjectives changes to -en (in your examples) is caused by articles (indefinite as well as definite ones), which already ‘carry’ the dative case. I used the nouns “Mann” (m), “Frau” (f), and “Kind” (n) to represent the three German grammatical genders. Whenever you have to use a noun without an article the case ending needs to be -er (for feminine nouns) in the dative case.

      Here is an example for masculine nouns:
      Das Kleid ist aus weichem Stoff. – The dress is made of soft material. (der Stoff) / Das Kleid ist aus einem weichen Stoff. – The dress is made of a soft material.

      I hope that doesn’t confuse you so much.

  5. Batman:

    When you say:
    Ich fahre zu meinem Freund. – I go to my boyfriend. (der Freund; sgl. m.)
    and
    Ich fahre zu meiner Freundin. – I go to my girlfriend. (die Freundin; sgl. f.)

    It should say: I’m driving/ riding to my friend (mascline)
    or I’m driving/ riding to my friend (feminine)