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German Accusative Prepositions

This section will provide an introduction to German Accusative Prepositions which are called “Präpositionen mit Akkusativ”.

We will look at the six most common prepositions (bis, durch, für, gegen, ohne, um) that are always followed by an object in the accusative case.

German Accusative Prepositions (bis, durch, für, gegen, ohne, um)

As is known, prepositions are words that indicate a connection between two parts of a sentence. This can be an indication of time, place or reason.

Some prepositions that are always followed by accusative case:

bisuntil, to
durchthrough
fürfor, in favour of
gegenagainst
ohnewithout
umat, around
German Accusative Prepositions

As you will remember in our previous lesson, only the spelling of the masculine articles changes in the accusative case! On the other hand, the feminine and neutral articles stay the same:

CasesMasculineFeminineNeutralPlural
Nominativeder
ein
die
eine
das
ein
die
Accusativeden
einen
die
eine
das
ein
die

bis (until, to)

It is used on its own only with names, adverbs and a few time words.

  • Referring to place, bis means “as far as”, “(up) to”
Ich fahre nur bis Köln.
I’m only going as far as Köln
Bis dahin gehe ich mit.
I’ll go that far with you
  • Referring to time, bis means “until” or “by”
bis zu seinem Tod.
until his death.
bis auf den heutigen Tag.
to this day.

durch (through)

  • durch means “through”, referring to place
Thomas atmete durch den Mund.
Thomas was breathing through his mouth.
Ich laufe durch den Park.
I walk through the park.
  • durch is used to express means
Arnold ist durch einen Unfall ums Leben gekommen durch seine eigene Schuld.
Arnold was killed through an accident through his own fault
Sie hat es durch Zufall erfahren.
She learnt of it by chance.

für (for, in favour of)

  • für corresponds to English ‘for’ in a wide range of senses
Das ist kein Auto für mich.
This is not a car for me.
Ich habe dieses Buch für zehn Euro bekommen.
I got this book for ten euros.
  • für indicates a period of time
für sieben Wochen.
for seven weeks.
für fünf Tage.
for five days.

gegen (against)

  • Referring to place or opposition, gegen means “against” in English
Anna verteidigte sich gegen diese Leute.
Anna defended herself against these people.
Thomas Müller spielt manchmal Fußball gegen seine Nachbarn.
Thomas Müller sometimes plays soccer against his neighbours.
  • gegen can indicate direction in German.
Er fuhr gegen einen Mann.
He drove against a man.

ohne (without)

  • In most contexts ohne corresponds to English “without”:
Das tat Arnold ohne dein Wissen.
Arnold did this without your knowledge.
Ohne Mantel ist das Wetter zu kalt.
Without a coat, the weather is too cold.

um (at, around)

  • Referring to place, um means “(a)round” or “about” in English:
Sandra kam um die Ecke.
Sandra came around the corner.
Der Laden ist gleich um die Ecke.
The store is right around the corner.

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