Understanding German Accusative Prepositions

In this lesson, we will focus on the “German Accusative Prepositions”, a crucial aspect of German grammar that will help you construct sentences accurately and effectively.

Key Concepts of Accusative Prepositions in German

Prepositions are essential elements in many languages, acting as bridges between words. They often indicate relationships concerning direction, location, time, or manner. By connecting nouns, pronouns, or phrases to other words in a sentence, they provide context and cohesion.

In German, prepositions play a pivotal role in indicating case relationships. Some of these prepositions exclusively govern the accusative case. When you use one of these prepositions, you’ll have to ensure that the following noun or pronoun is in its appropriate accusative form.

Below, Table 1.1 showcases frequently used accusative prepositions in German and their English equivalents.

fürfor, to
umround, around
gegenagainst, around
Table 1.1

In the German language, articles (the equivalent of “the” or “a” in English) undergo changes based on the grammatical case they’re in. The accusative case, in particular, affects mainly the masculine form of the articles. Understanding these changes is vital for forming correct sentence structures in German, especially when using accusative prepositions or direct objects.

Below, Table 1.2 provides a clear representation of how these articles change when in the accusative case:


Bis (Until)

Although the German preposition “bis” is technically accusative, it’s more frequently combined with another preposition (like “bis zu”, “bis auf”) or without an article (like “bis April”).

  • When referring to a place, “bis” translates to “as far as” or “up to”:
    • 🇩🇪 Ich gehe bis zum Markt.
    • 🇺🇸 I’ll walk up to the market.
    • 🇩🇪 Ich fahre nur bis zur nächsten Haltestelle.
    • 🇺🇸 I am only going as far as the next stop.
  • In terms of time, “bis” translates to “until” or “by”:
    • 🇩🇪 Das Projekt muss bis nächste Woche abgeschlossen sein.
    • 🇺🇸 The project needs to be completed by next week.
    • 🇩🇪 Ich werde bis zum Abendessen hier sein.
    • 🇺🇸 I will be here until dinner.

Durch (Through)

  • Meaning “through” concerning place:
    • 🇩🇪 Wir gehen durch den Wald.
    • 🇺🇸 We’re walking through the forest.
    • 🇩🇪 Sie fährt durch die Stadt zum Bahnhof.
    • 🇺🇸 She drives through the city to the train station.

Für (For)

  • When translated, “für” means “for”:
    • 🇩🇪 Das Geschenk ist für dich.
    • 🇺🇸 The gift is for you.
    • 🇩🇪 Ich habe etwas für dich gekauft.
    • 🇺🇸 I bought something for you.
  • It’s also used to indicate a period of time:
    • 🇩🇪 Er bleibt für zwei Wochen.
    • 🇺🇸 He’s staying for two weeks.
    • 🇩🇪 Sie bleibt für das Wochenende.
    • 🇺🇸 She is staying for the weekend.

Gegen (Against, Around)

  • Referring to place or opposition, “gegen” means “against”:
    • 🇩🇪 Er ist gegen die Idee.
    • 🇺🇸 He’s against the idea.
    • 🇩🇪 Sie hat gegen die Entscheidung protestiert.
    • 🇺🇸 She protested against the decision.
  • “Gegen” also indicates a rough timeframe:
    • 🇩🇪 Ich komme gegen Mittag.
    • 🇺🇸 I’ll arrive around noon.
    • 🇩🇪 Wir treffen uns gegen 10 Uhr.
    • 🇺🇸 We are meeting around 10 o’clock.

Ohne (Without)

  • In most cases, “ohne” translates to “without”:
    • 🇩🇪 Kaffee ohne Milch, bitte.
    • 🇺🇸 Coffee without milk, please.
    • 🇩🇪 Ich mag meinen Kaffee ohne Zucker.
    • 🇺🇸 I like my coffee without sugar.

Um (Round, Around)

  • For location, “um” means “around”:
    • 🇩🇪 Das Haus ist um die Ecke.
    • 🇺🇸 The house is around the corner.
    • 🇩🇪 Die Kinder spielen um das Haus.
    • 🇺🇸 The children are playing around the house.
  • For time, “um” indicates a specific time:
    • 🇩🇪 Das Treffen ist um 15 Uhr.
    • 🇺🇸 The meeting is at 3 p.m.
    • 🇩🇪 Sie ruft um 12 Uhr an.
    • 🇺🇸 She will call at 12 o’clock.


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