Prepositions that require the genitive case Posted by on Aug 11, 2010 in Language

In my previous post, I explained to you the basic idea of the four German grammar cases.


DOER-noun = nominative (carries out the action)

POSSESSION-noun = genitive (belongs to DOER, INSTRUMENT or TARGET)

INSTRUMENT-noun = dative (with what the action is carried out)

TARGET-noun = accusative (receives the action)

Unfortunately, the German language is not so consistent when it comes to grammar.


– the DOER-noun asks always for the nominative; and

– the POSSESSION-noun requires always the genitive,


– the INSTRUMENT-noun can either be in the genitive, dative, or accusative case (3); and

– the TARGET-noun can either be in the nominative, genitive, dative, or accusative case (4).

But there is absolutely no need to worry because from this post onwards I will tell you when to choose which grammar case.

I introduced you to the concepts TARGET and INSTRUMENT for a specific reason:

– the TARGET-noun is always related to a verb

e.g. Er sucht die Brille. – He is searching (for) the glasses.

– the INSTRUMENT-noun is always connected with a preposition

e.g. Er sucht mit der Brille. – He is searching with the glasses.

That is, whenever there comes a preposition directly after a verb, the preposition (not the verb!) determines the grammar case of the following noun.

The two most important and useful prepositions, which require the genitive case are während (during; in the course of) and wegen (because of).

während – during; in the course of
(das Essen – the meal)
She did not say a word during the meal. Während des Essens sprach sie kein Wort.

Sie sprach während des Essens kein Wort.

(die Besprechung – the meeting)
It is not allowed to smoke during the meeting. Während der Besprechung darf nicht geraucht werden.

Es darf während der Besprechung nicht geraucht werden.

(der/ihr Aufenthalt – the/their stay)
They visited the TV Tower during their stay in Berlin. Während ihres Aufenthalts in Berlin, besuchten sie den Fernsehturm.

Sie besuchten während ihres Aufenthalts in Berlin den Fernsehturm.

wegen – because of

(die laute Musik – the loud music)
He could not sleep because of the loud music. Wegen der lauten Musik konnte er nicht schlafen.

Er konnte wegen der lauten Musik nicht schlafen.

(das schlechte Wetter – the bad weather)
We could not go to the beach because of the bad weather. Wegen des schlechten Wetters konnten wir nicht zum Strand fahren.

Wir konnten wegen des schlechten Wetters nicht zum Strand fahren.

(der Verkehr – the traffic)
They were late because of the traffic. Wegen des Verkehrs sind sie zu spät gekommen.

Sie sind wegen des Verkehrs zu spät gekommen.

Further useful preposition, which require the genitive case are:

anhand – with the help of; on the basis of

anstatt – instead of

anstelle – in place of

trotz – in spite of; despite

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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


  1. johnaldor:

    It’s interesting to notice that the German prepositions governing the genitive can translated into English using a phase that contains the preposition “of.” Are there any other prepositions like that where it is not so obvious?

    • sanroesner:

      @johnaldor Hello John,

      The only two German articles that indicate the genitive case are “der” and “des”, both are translated into “of the”. There aren’t any other prepositions that can substitute “of”. I hope this answers your question.


      • Casey Creel:

        @sanroesner anstatt: instead of
        angesichts: in view of, in light of
        außerhalb: outside of
        bar: devoid of
        infolge: because of
        inmitten: in the midst of
        innerhalb: inside of
        mangels: for lack of
        mittels: by means of
        ungeachtet: in spite of
        unbeschadet: regardless of
        zugunsten: in favour of
        trotz: in spite of
        wegen: because of