German Lessons


German Verbs and their Prepositions, Part I

Just as you should generally memorize the article (der, die, or das) along with each German noun that you learn, it is a good idea to pay attention to which preposition follows any given verb. This may sometimes match the English preposition — for example, Danke für das Essen and "Thank you for the food." However, there are many examples in which the preposition will not be what you would expect based on your knowledge of English. Here are some common examples:

The verb warten ("to wait") is followed by the preposition auf rather than the preposition für. The verb vorbereiten ("to prepare") may be followed by für when it refers to preparing something for a person, such as a meal. However, it is followed by auf in the context of preparing for an event.


Jetzt warte ich auf den nächsten Gang.

Now I am waiting for the next course.

Caption 28, Abendessen: mit Marko

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Ja, und bis dahin werde ich mich auf das Studium vorbereiten

Yes, and until then I'll be preparing myself for my studies

Caption 24, Konstantin: ein Freiwilliger in Israel

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In English, we say "I'm interested in politics." In German, the preposition für is used with the reflexive verb sich interessieren


Also, ich interessiere mich grade sehr für das Thema Bachelorarbeit.

Well, I'm very interested in the topic of my Bachelor's thesis at the moment.

Caption 49, Geoökologie Cettina interviewt Sarah

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While you congratulate someone on something in English, the German verb gratulieren requires the preposition zu and the dative case. 


Einer der Träume ist sicher Frauen und Herren bei Weltmeisterschaften zum WM-Titel zu gratulieren.

One of the dreams is certainly to congratulate the women and the men at the World Championships on the World Championship title.

Captions 51-52, Frauenfußball-WM: Der Bundespräsident am Ball

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In English we have sympathy for someone, whereas in German the preposition mit is used. 


Der Jäger hatte Mitleid mit ihr und Schneewittchen lief in den Wald hinein.

The Hunter had sympathy for her and Snow White ran into the forest.

Caption 32, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Schneewittchen

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In another instance where the preposition is not what you would necessarily expect, the German verb for "to participate in" is an etwas teilnehmen.


Ab welchem Alter darf man in Deutschland an der Wahl zum Deutschen Bundestag teilnehmen?

Starting at what age are you allowed to participate in parliamentary elections in Germany?

Caption 14, Bundesrepublik Deutschland: Einbürgerungstest

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Further Learning
We will be back with more verb/preposition false friends from time to time and point out common examples to be aware of. In the meantime, you can look at this previous newsletter, which also mentioned this tricky topic. However, the best way to get used to these inconsistencies is by watching videos on Yabla German! As you do, you will take note of phrases that employ a given verb with its correct preposition, which you can then implement when you speak.

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Du armes Schwein: disdain or empathy?

In the English language, I can't think of any way of calling somebody a pig (das Schwein) without it sounding pretty insulting. It's also usually the case in German that labeling someone a Schwein is meant to express disdain or to be purposefully offensive:


Du bist so ein Schwein geworden. Und wir waren mal Freunde?

You have become such a pig. And we were once friends?

Caption 17, Die Pfefferkörner Eigentor - Part 4

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Und damit kann das Ziel des Attentats doch noch erreicht werden. Wenn das Schwein wenigstens tot wäre.

And with this, the objective of the assassination attempt can still be reached. If the swine was at least dead.

Captions 27-28, Die Stunde der Offiziere Dokudrama über den 20. Juli 1944 - Part 16

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Du Schwein! Raus hier, du Lügner!

You pig! Out of here, you liar!

Caption 31, Filmwettbewerb "filmreif" Mama mach die Augen auf - Part 2

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Unser Chef ist ein mieses Schwein.

Our boss is a mean pig.

Caption 41, Weihnachtsfilm Ein Sack voll Geld - Part 7

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In German, however there is at least one slang context where Schwein is used together with the adjective arm ("poor") to express sympathy for somebody's situation:


Der Mann ist obdachlos. -Das arme Schwein! Vielleicht sollten wir ihm eine Spende geben.
The man is homeless. -The poor swine! Maybe we should give him a donation.


In English, this is the equivalent of saying "poor bastard," or the rather old-fashioned "poor devil." It's still common in British English to hear the similarly inclined "poor sod." None of these words are very nice, but they're used nevertheless to express sympathy!


Schwein haben is also used as an expression for having had good luck: 


Und permanent stand ich mit einem Bein im Knast, doch meistens hatt ich großes Schwein.

And I stood permanently on one leg in jail, but mostly I was very lucky.

Captions 23-24, Frank Zander Tu doch meine Asche in die Eieruhr

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If you didn't know this expression, you might wonder about him having had "a large pig" in prison!


Another nice idiomatic use of Schwein is when you don't know anybody at a place or event: 


Hier kenne ich kein Schwein
I don't know anyone here.


In this context, kein Schwein essentially means "no one" or "nobody":


Kein Schwein war da. Wenn man sagt: „Kein Schwein war da“, dann möchte man ausdrücken, dass man zu einer bestimmten Zeit an einem bestimmten Ort war und dort überraschenderweise niemanden angetroffen hat.

Nobody was there. When you say, "No pig was there," then you would like to express that you were at a certain time at a certain place and, surprisingly, met no one there.

Captions 42-46, Eva erklärt Sprichwörter - Part 2

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Further Learning
Go to Yabla German and see some other uses of das Schwein in a real-world context.

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Overslept — or forgotten? The verb verschlafen

Most of you hopefully know the German verb schlafen (to sleep), but are you familiar with the verb verschlafen? It's probably one of the most common reasons for people arriving to work late:


Ich bin zu spät gekommen, weil ich verschlafen habe.
I arrived too late because I overslept.


Wo steckt eigentlich Nicki? -Verschlafen?

Where is Nicki hiding, actually? -Overslept?

Caption 41, Großstadtrevier Von Monstern und Mördern - Part 9

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Verschlafen is also common as an adjective and adverb and has a slightly different meaning:


Das Kleinste ist erst Ende März geboren und noch sehr verschlafen.

The smallest was only born at the end of March and is still very sleepy.

Caption 30, Rhein-Main-TV Tierbabys im Opel-Zoo

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Aber noch blinzelt die Leitkuh etwas verschlafen in die Morgensonne.

But the lead cow still blinks a bit sleepily in the morning sun.

Caption 19, Die letzten Paradiese Die Schönheit der Alpen 1 - Part 9

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But the most unexpected meaning of verschlafen is in its slang use with a direct object: 


Ich bin ganz ehrlich, ich hab ihn verschlafen, weil ich einkaufen war.

I'll be totally honest: I missed it because I was shopping.

Caption 18, Die Pfefferkörner Alles auf Anfang - Part 16

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This could be alternately translated as "overlooked" or "forgot." So if you ever hear somebody say that they "overslept" something, you'll know that they are using a slang idiom that means that they overlooked it — nothing really to do with sleep!


Further Learning
See if you can guess—if you don't already know—the meanings of ausschlafen, durchschlafen, einschlafen, entschlafen, weiterschlafen, and überschlafen. Then go find some examples of these words used in a real-world context on Yabla German. All this talk about sleep is making me sleepy, so with that I wish you all a good night, ich gehe jetzt schlafen!

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"To earn" and "to deserve": the verb verdienen

The verb "to earn" in German is verdienen, and it is the verb we use when talking about earning money or making a living. 


Was verdient denn der Durchschnittsmensch in Deutschland?

What does the average person earn in Germany?

Caption 20, LUKE! Die Woche und ich: Kinderquatsch mit Luke

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Die Schwestern im Kloster verdienen damit einen großen Teil ihres Lebensunterhalts,

The sisters in the cloister earn a large portion of their livelihood with that,

Caption 39, Hostien für den Papst: Abtei Sankt Gertrud in Alexanderdorf

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But, like in English, you can also "earn" things other than money, such as a break or success. 


Das fühlt sich natürlich toll an, weil sich das auch so anfühlt, als hätte man sich das verdient, weil man sich's erarbeitet hat.

Of course that feels great, because it also feels as if we have earned it because we have worked for it.

Captions 15-16, Culcha Candela zieht Bilanz

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Wenn man hier so viel ackert, dann hat man mal eine Auszeit verdient.

When you slog away here so much, you have at some point earned a break.

Caption 21, Großstadtrevier: Neben der Spur

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There are times when either the verb "to deserve" or "to earn" can be used in English, and in German verdienen is used in both cases. It is used for positive outcomes and negative circumstances alike. Note, however, that the tense may change in the translation.


Na und? Der hat auch seine Strafe verdient.

So what? He also deserves his punishment. 

Caption 35, Großstadtrevier: Von Monstern und Mördern

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Also, ich finde, du hast den Preis echt verdient.

Well, I think you really deserved the prize.

Caption 91, Free Birds: Interview mit Nora Tschirner & Rick Kavanian

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Weil ich glaube, dass ein Typ wie Sie eine zweite Chance verdient hat.

Because I think a guy like you deserves a second chance.

Caption 35, Großstadtrevier: St. Pauli rettet HSV

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Further Learning
On Yabla German you can find the verb verdienen used to express both "to earn" and "to deserve." Pay attention to the tenses, which will not always align in English and German.

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You may know the German phrase Halt die Ohren steif, which is the equivalent of "Keep your chin up." These are tough times, and even if we generally are able to do this, it's sometimes hard not to complain about our current circumstances or the things we might be missing out on. 

The most common verb for "to complain" in German is the reflexive verb sich beschweren. You can see in the second example below that it is used with the preposition über and the accusative. 


Was ist los? -Ach, nichts. Passt schon. Ich will mich nicht beschweren.

What is going on? -Oh, nothing. It's OK. I don't want to complain.

Caption 29, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Probleme

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Ich habe mich bei ihm über meinen Nachbarn beschwert.

I complained to him about my neighbor.

Caption 30, Nicos Weg4: Nachbarschaft

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You may also see the verbs klagen and reklamieren. The verb klagen is also used in a legal context and means to file a lawsuit against someone.The verb reklamieren is particularly used for customer complaints (die Reklamationen), for example if an item is defective. 


Wenn Kinder über Kopf- oder Bauchschmerzen klagen, nicht mehr zur Schule gehen wollen und sich zurückziehen, dann sollten Eltern hellhörig werden.

If children complain about head- or stomachaches, no longer want to go to school and withdraw, then parents should listen up.

Captions 28-30, Mobbing in der Schule: Mehr als Streit

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Vielleicht reklamiert sie was.

Maybe  she's issuing a complaint.

Caption 12, Großstadtrevier: Nicht mit mir

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A common slang term for "to complain" is meckern. This verb actually means to bleat like a goat, but is used to express whining or grumbling.


Und daran gibt es nichts zu meckern.

And there's nothing to complain about there.

Caption 25, Die letzten Paradiese: Die Schönheit der Alpen

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Von uns Westberlinern wird gesagt, dass wir nur meckern, aber die meckern ja nur noch mehr.

People say about us West Berliners that all we do is complain, but they just complain even more.

Captions 51-52, Heute-Show 30 Jahre Mauerfall: So feiern die Deutschen ihre Einheit

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Further Learning
Practice using the verb sich beschweren in various tenses, and don't forget to alter the reflexive pronoun. You can search for the infinitive sich beschweren and the participle beschwert on Yabla German to find further examples.

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bleibe, beliebte, beileibe

The three words above make a nice tongue twister or Zungenbrecher — literally "tongue breaker" in German — though certainly not as difficult as the classic Fischers Fritz fischt frische Fische, frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritz. Best try the latter only if you have a first aid kit around! But I doubt all of us are completely clear on the meanings of the aforementioned "B" words. Let's start with the easiest ones.


Bleibe is the first person singular present tense of the verb bleiben:


Also, "ich bleibe", das ist Präsens, ja.

Well, "I am staying", that is present tense, yes.

Caption 5, Deutschkurs in Tübingen Vorbereitung auf den Test

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Ich bleibe einfach hier in Deutschland und werde eine Fahrradtour machen.

I will just stay here in Germany and will do a bike tour.

Caption 50, Jenny Reiseziele

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Nein, ich komme nicht mit. Ich bleibe hier in Deutschland.

No, I'm not coming with you. I'm staying here in Germany.

Caption 6, Nicos Weg A2 Folge 17: Unterwegs

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The verb bleiben is very appropriate this summer, as most of us will be doing our best to enjoy staycations


The adjective beliebt — most often written as beliebte with the suffix -e when following a definite article in the nominative case — can be translated as "beloved," "favored," or "popular," depending upon the context:


Saint-Tropez am Baggersee, so besangen schon die Rodgau Monotones vor über 30 Jahren das beliebte Badeparadies der Stadt Rodgau.

Saint-Tropez on the artificial lake, as the Rodgau Monotones already sang over 30 years ago about the beloved swimming paradise of the city of Rodgau.

Captions 2-4, Rhein-Main-TV Badesee Rodgau

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Besonders beliebt ist bei den Berlinern der Wannsee

The Wannsee is especially popular with the residents of Berlin,

Caption 3, Berlin Wannsee

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Lastly, we come to the least commonly used of the three B words: beileibe. This adverb is similar in meaning to bestimmt ("definitely") or wirklich ("really"), but is used almost exclusively in the negation beileibe nicht


Das wird vielleicht was kosten, aber beileibe nicht so viel wie der Verlust des gesamten Projekts.

It may cost something, but by no means as much as the loss of the whole project.

Captions 45-46, Marga Engel schlägt zurück Rache - Part 3

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Depending upon the context, beileibe nicht can also be translated as "on no account" or "certainly not."


Further Learning
Search for variations of the above three words on Yabla German and practice writing some sentences of your own in German that include these words. For some learning fun, go to the Zungenbrecher page on Wikipedia and, after translating a couple, see how fast you can say them without breaking your tongue! 

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Erst and Related Adverbs

In German, you will see the adverb erst, along with its synonym zuerst, used to express "first" or "at first" and establish temporal order. 


Dazu müssen wir die Äpfel erst schälen.

For this, we first have to peel the apples.

Caption 21, Apfelpfannkuchen: mit Alina und Sabine

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Zuerst möchte ich euch das Wahrzeichen der Stadt vorstellen.

First, I would like to show you the town's landmark.

Caption 9, Jenny zeigt uns: den Speyerer Dom

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Ich muss sagen, ich hatte erst richtig viel Angst da oben im Flugzeug.

I must say, I was at first really afraid up there in the airplane.

Caption 13, Abenteuer und Sport: Fallschirmspringen

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However, erst is also used as an adverb to express that something didn't occur or will not occur until a particular moment. There isn't a precise English translation for this, but usually a phrase with "only" or "not until" is used. 


Also werden wir uns erst nächste Woche Montag entscheiden.

So, we won't decide until Monday of next week.

Caption 67, Berufsleben: das Vorstellungsgespräch

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Ich bin gerade erst vor kurzem Veganerin geworden.

I've only just recently become a vegan.

Caption 28, Buchtipp: Aufregen für Fortgeschrittene

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Als Erstes and erstens generally are used when a series of steps is mentioned or at least implied. When erstens is used, zweitens (and possibly drittens) will generally follow, and als Erstes implies that there is a step that comes als Nächstes


Als Erstes suche ich mir einen Koffer aus.

First, I'm going to pick out a suitcase.

Caption 3, Christiane: fährt in den Urlaub

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Wo eine Parkscheibe vorgeschrieben ist, darf man erstens nur so lange parken, wie es auf dem Zusatzschild angegeben ist, und zweitens nur, wenn man die Parkscheibe auf die nächste volle halbe Stunde nach der Ankunft einstellt.

Where a parking disk is required, you should, first of all, only park as long as indicated on the additional sign, and secondly, only if you set the parking disk for the next full half hour after arrival.

Captions 18-20, Richter Alexander Hold: Richtig parken

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The adverb erst mal can be translated as "first," "first of all," "to begin with," or even "for now." 


Aber jetzt gehen wir erst mal zu deiner Tante.

But first let's go to your aunt's now.

Caption 22, Nicos Weg: Ich habe kein…

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Aber ich brauche erst mal nichts.

But I don't need anything for now.

Caption 47, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Besuch

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One false friend to keep in mind is the adverb zunächst. Unlike als Nächstes, this word has nothing to do with "next" and actually also means "first" or "initially."


Wenn man sich sehr schlecht fühlt, geht man in der Regel zunächst einmal zum Arzt.

If you feel very badly, you generally first go to the doctor.

Caption 5, Eva erklärt: Gesundheit

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Ja, ich habe zunächst auf Werbemuster von Christina Hoffmann gewartet.

Yes, I was initially waiting for advertising samples from Christina Hoffmann.

Caption 16, Berufsleben: Probleme mit Mitarbeitern

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Further Learning
You can find many examples of all of these adverbs on Yabla German. When you see one, take note of where it is positioned in the phrase and consider whether any of the other adverbs above could also be used.  

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German Preposition Cases, Part IV

This week we're doing the last part of this German Preposition Cases series. Let's take a look at those tricky dual-case prepositions that require either the accusative case or the dative case for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. 


The German dual-case prepositions are an, auf, hinter, in, neben, unter, vor, zwischen, and über. As a general rule, if the preposition suggests motion or movement from one place to another, it takes the accusative case. If there is no motion or movement suggested,  it takes the dative case. Please take a moment to review the dative and accusative cases in the previous lessons. 


The nominative pronoun ich becomes mir in the dative case and mich in the accusative case. Note in the following how "because of me" suggests no movement and uses the dative pronoun, whereas "send to me" suggests the motion of sending something and thus takes the accusative pronoun.


Er fragt sich: „Liegt es nur an mir, dass es jetzt schneit?“

He asks himself, "Is it just because of me that it's snowing now?"

Caption 10, Jan Wittmer Weihnachtslied

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Wenn Sie sie einfach direkt an mich schicken würden...

If you'll just send them directly to me...

Caption 31, Berufsleben das Vorstellungsgespräch - Part 1

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The German feminine of the definite article "the" is die. In the next captions, there is no movement when discussing a scale of numbers, so the nominative die becomes the dative der. Apparently, viewing something conveys some motion in that you are actively looking at something, thus a "view of a bridge" uses the accusative die.


Auf der Skala eins bis zehn: Bei dir bin ich zehn

On a scale of one to ten: With you I am ten

Captions 16-17, 2raumwohnung Liebe mit Musik am Laufen halten

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Das ist die Draufsicht auf die Brücke.

That is the view of the bridge.

Caption 40, 48 h in Innsbruck Sehenswürdigkeiten & Tipps - Part 1

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Back to the nominative personal pronoun "I," which in dative becomes mir and in accusative becomes mich. As you'll notice, the passive phrase "is situated" gets the dative case, and the active phrase "to get it behind me" receives the accusative case:


Hinter mir befindet sich die ehemalige amerikanische Botschaft.

The former American Embassy is situated behind me.

Caption 3, Berlin der alte amerikanische Sektor

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Ja, ich wollte es einfach hinter mich bringen.

Yes, I just wanted to get it behind me.

Caption 9, Die Wohngemeinschaft Probleme - Part 2

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Hopefully these examples will help give you an idea of when to use the dative (no motion, passive) or accusative (motion, active) cases with the above dual-case prepositions.


Further Learning
We just went through the dative and accusative cases for the dual-case prepositions an, auf, and hinter. Try looking on Yabla German for dative and accusative examples of the remaining dual-case prepositions in, neben, unter, vor, zwischen, and über. It will help you find them if you look for specific accusative and dative definite articles or pronouns when you do the search!

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Levels of Understanding

In German, the verb verstehen is used in a wide variety of contexts, from hearing what someone says to understanding a fact or the nature of a particular situation or circumstances.


Habt ihr es verstanden? -Ja.

Have you understood it? -Yes. 

Caption 26, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren: Relativsätze mit Präpositionen

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Wenn du ein Wort im Untertitel nicht verstehst, dann kannst du es anklicken.

If you don't understand a word in the subtitle, then you can click on it.

Captions 27-28, German Intro: Jenny

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Trotzdem kann ich verstehen, dass es nicht fair für sie ist, alles bezahlen zu müssen.

Nevertheless, I can understand that it is not fair for her to have to pay for everything.

Caption 40, Die Wohngemeinschaft:Probleme

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Das kann ich gut verstehen, ich habe selbst zwei Kinder.

I can understand that well, I have two children myself.

Caption 25, Berufsleben: Probleme mit Mitarbeitern

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When you are expressing a deeper level of comprehension, for example being able to follow why something happened the way it did, reconstruct a line of thought, relate to something, or grasp connections, there are additional verbs you can use.


Zwar ist das Wort „Nachhaltigkeit“ in aller Munde, Kinder können das aber kaum nachvollziehen.

Indeed, the word "sustainability" is in all mouths [idiom: on everyone's lips], but children are hardly able to understand it.

Captions 4-5, Schüler lernen Nachhaltigkeit: Bildungsinitiative gestartet

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Und das müssen wir wirklich alle begreifen. Im Moment ist nur Abstand Ausdruck von Fürsorge.

And that's what we all really need to understand: At the moment, distance is the only way to express care.

Captions 41-42, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

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Da begriffen die drei Brüder, dass alles nur ein Trick gewesen war.

Then the three brothers realized that it had all just been a trick.

Caption 85, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Die drei Brüder

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One verb that you may encounter is kapieren. In English, we use "to get" to mean "to understand" and this is a similar slang expression. 


Und es wäre schön, wenn du es endlich mal kapieren würdest.

And it would be nice if you would finally understand that.

Caption 48, Oskar - Gehen, wenn es am schönsten ist: Der Panther

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Mann, du kapierst es einfach nicht. Ich war das nicht!

Man, you just don't get it. It wasn't me!

Caption 31, Die Pfefferkörner: Alles auf Anfang

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Further Learning
You can find many examples on Yabla German, but also consider the first four above. Which of these could be replaced with a verb other than verstehen?

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German Preposition Cases, Part III

This week we're continuing the German Preposition Cases series. Let's examine the prepositions that always require the genitive case for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. 


Let's start out by taking a look at the genitive case for nouns as follows for the definite article "the," with the nominative case followed by the dative case: 


der => des
die => der
das => des
(plural) => der


And for the indefinite article


ein (masculine) => eines
eine => einer
ein (neuter) => eines


Remember too that if there is no definite or indefinite article, the adjective must still take the case appropriate for its gender with the preposition. And while accusative and dative prepositions aren’t (with some exceptions) usually accompanied by altered nouns, masculine and neuter singular nouns preceded by genitive prepositions get the suffix “-s” or “-es.” Generally plural nouns don't change.


The common German prepositions that require the genitive case are anstatt or stattauβerhalb, innerhalb, trotz, während, and wegen. The preposition statt, which is not to be confused with the separable verb stattfinden, takes the genitive case. Here, the plural die Runden becomes the genitive der Runden:


... heizte Vettel statt der geplanten drei insgesamt sechs Runden über den Asphalt.

... instead of the planned three laps, Vettel sped six laps over the asphalt.

Caption 46, Formel-1-Autorennen Sebastian Vettels Homerun

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Here, the singular feminine noun die Wertung becomes the genitive der Wertung:


... und er fährt hier außerhalb der Wertung mit.

... and he's riding here without being scored.

Caption 35, Trial-Meisterschaft in Bensheim - Part 2

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Note that if a masculine or neuter proper noun is used, such as the continent das Asien, the proper noun has "-s" added as a suffix:


Bislang gibt es außerhalb Asiens überhaupt noch keine vergleichbare Drehscheibe.

Until now, outside of Asia, there hasn't been a comparable [yuan trading] hub at all.

Caption 40, Frankfurt wird Handelszentrum für die chinesische Währung Yuan

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In the following, the masculine nominative ein Dom becomes the genitive eines Doms:


Wir haben vier Segmente innerhalb eines Doms.

We have four segments inside a dome.

Caption 52, Bildverarbeitung Sirius Advanced Cybernetics

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It's also often possible to use außerhalb or innerhalb as dative prepositions by pairing them with von for the dative case: außerhalb von and innerhalb von.


Here, the nominative die Perücke, with the adjective goldene Perücke, becomes the genitive goldener Perücke. It is important to note that if no definite or indefinite article is present, the adjective takes the genitive ending: 


Trotz goldener Perücke hat der einst vornehme Herr wohl schon bessere Zeiten gesehen!

Despite the gold wig, the once distinguished gentlemen has indeed seen better times!

Caption 3, Architektur Karlsruher Brunnen - Part 2

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In this next caption, the neuter nominative das Training becomes the genitive des Trainings


Und wie ist das passiert? Während des Trainings?

And how did it happen? During the training?

Caption 33, Jenny und Alena Handball

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And in the last of our genitive case examples, the masculine nominative der Getriebeschaden becomes the genitive des Getriebeschadens


... wegen eines Getriebeschadens zurück in die Boxengasse.

... go back into the pit lane due to transmission damage.

Caption 43, Formel-1-Autorennen Sebastian Vettels Homerun

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You may have noticed that the personal pronouns were not listed at the top of this lesson. That's because personal pronouns aren't generally used in formal German, however the usually genitive prepositions anstatt or statt, trotz, während and wegen are sometimes used with personal pronouns informally — but with the dative case!


Thus the singular and plural personal pronouns "I," "you," "he," "she," , "it," "we," and "they" take the dative case with the above genitive prepositions:


ich => mir
du => dir
(formal "you") => Ihnen
=> ihm
=> ihr
=> ihm
ihr => euch

wir => uns
=> ihnen
Sie (formal "you" plural) => Ihnen


Probably the most commonly-heard example is, instead of saying "because of me" as meinetwegen, you'll often hear:


Und ihr seid auch da. Etwa wegen mir?
And you are here too. Somehow because of me?
Caption 2, Otto Waalkes: Hier kommt Otto!


Remember too that meinetwegen also has a slang usage meaning "I don't have anything against it". We'll cover the informal usage of dative personal pronouns with usually genitive prepositions in another lesson! 


Further Learning
To recap, the common German prepositions that require the genitive case of definite and indefinite articles and nouns are anstatt or stattauβerhalb, innerhalb, trotz, während, and wegenGo to Yabla German to look for more examples of prepositions whose nouns, pronouns, and adjectives formally take the genitive case. Also review Part II in this series about prepositions that require the dative case.

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Expressing "anyway" in German

There are several ways to express "anyway" in German, depending on the function that the word is supposed to have. There are four main words to know, but you'd be surprised at which words can take on a similar meaning. 

Let's start with examples in which "anyway" has a confirming function, which can be expressed with ehsowieso, or ohnehin. In the following sentences, there is a match in what is going on, or something may already be the case.


Ist das aber kalt! und schwimmen kann ich sowieso nicht.

Is that ever cold! and I can't swim anyway.

Captions 35-36, Piggeldy und Frederick: Der Himmel

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Ich hab ja auch eh nichts mehr zu verlieren.

I have nothing left to lose anyway.

Caption 11, Das Lügenbüro: Die Bewerbung

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...aber da ich ohnehin lieber ein Marmeladenbrot essen möchte, werd' ich jetzt rübergehen zum Brot und mir eine Scheibe Brot schneiden. 

...but since I'd rather have a slice of bread with marmalade anyway, I am going go over to the bread and cut myself a slice of bread. 

Captions 5-6, Jenny: beim Frühstück

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However, eh and sowieso can't always be used. For sentences in which "anyway" has a contradictory meaning (and could potentially be replaced with "despite that" or "nevertheless"), trotzdem is the word you're looking for. 


Die Hühner legten aber trotzdem weiter Eier und sogar mehr als sonst.

But the chickens kept laying eggs anyway, and even more than usual.

Captions 17-18, Cettina und Sabine: Ostern

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Hätte ich voll Angst vor, aber würde ich trotzdem machen.

I would be totally afraid of it, but I would do it anyway.

Caption 51, Free Birds: Interview mit Nora Tschirner & Rick Kavanian

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There is then also a conversational "anyway," which various words in German provide in particular contexts. As you will notice right away, these words are not always or even usually translated as "anyway," but the equivalent phrase uses it to express the intended meaning. 


Gut. Und wo befindet sich Bayern überhaupt?

Good. And where is Bavaria located anyway?

Caption 10, Bundesländer: Bayern

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Wer braucht schon Hollywood?

Who needs Hollywood anyway?

Caption 1, Berlinale Schauspieler: Jürgen Vogel

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Wie alt ist er denn?

How old is he anyway?

Caption 8, Ein Herz für Tiere: Tierschutzhof und Border Collie

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Na, jedenfalls, arbeiten wir mit sechs Kameras.

Well, anyway, we'll be working with six cameras.

Caption 34, Otto Waalkes Hier kommt Otto!

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Na ja, wie auch immer, also, wie Sie das mit der Kerze hingekriegt haben, das war... fantastisch.

Well, anyway, so, however you did that with the candle, that was... fantastic.

Caption 13, Weihnachtsmann gesucht: Bist du verliebt?

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Further Learning
You can find many examples of sowieso, eh, ohnehin, and trotzdem being used on Yabla German. When you see one, consider why the chosen word is being used. When you find yourself using the word "anyway," you can consider which German word would fit the particular meaning you are conveying.

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German Preposition Cases, Part II

This week we're going to continue to go through cases used with German prepositions. If you are an advanced German speaker, this will be nothing new for you, but will hopefully be helpful for beginners as a learning tool and for intermediate German speakers as a refresher. Nouns, pronouns, and adjectives that are modified by prepositions take either the accusative, dative, or genitive case, but to make things slightly confusing, some prepositions require either the accusative or dative case, depending upon the context. In Part II today, let's examine the prepositions that always require the dative case for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. 


Let's start out by taking a look at the dative case for nouns as follows for the definite article "the," with the nominative case followed by the dative case: 


der => dem
die => der
das => dem


And for the indefinite article


ein (masculine) => einem
eine => einer
ein (neuter) => einem


And for the singular and plural personal pronouns "I," "you," "he," "she," , "it," "we," and "they":


ich => mir
du => dir
(formal "you") => Ihnen
=> ihm
=> ihr
=> ihm
ihr => euch

wir => uns
=> ihnen
Sie (formal "you" plural) => Ihnen


Remember too that if there is no definite or indefinite article, the adjective must still take the case appropriate for its gender with the preposition.


The common German prepositions that require the dative case of nouns and pronouns are aus, außer, bei, gegenüber, mit, nach, seit, von, and zu. Here are some examples from Yabla German. The article in the feminine noun die Mode becomes der in the dative case.


Die gute alte Kaffeemaschine ist dabei etwas aus der Mode geraten.

The good old coffee machine has to some extent gone out of style in the process.

Caption 12, Eva zeigt uns wie man Kaffee kocht

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Here, the nominative pronoun ich becomes mir in the dative case:


In diesem Haus wohnen außer mir noch mehrere Familien in Mietwohnungen.

In this house live, other than me, several other families in rental apartments.

Captions 5-6, Zu Besuch bei Jenny Am Hauseingang

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Here, the indefinite feminine article eine (for die Flasche) becomes einer in the dative case, and the neuter ein (for das Glas) becomes the dative einem:


Ob es sich bei einer Flasche oder einem Glas um eine Mehrweg- oder Pfandflasche handelt...

With a bottle or a jar, whether it happens to be returnable or a bottle with a deposit...

Caption 48, Eva erklärt Mülltrennung

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The dative preposition gegenüber is a bit unusual, in that when it is used on its own, it falls after the item it modifies:


Dem Clubhaus gegenüber liegt ein feiner Sandstrand.

Across from the clubhouse lies a fine sandy beach.

Caption 31, Golf in Wien

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You can see this above in the correct word order dem Clubhaus gegenüber (not gegenüber dem Clubhaus!). If you wanted to place gegenüber before das Clubhaus, however, you must add the dative preposition von to the mix. So it would also be acceptable to formulate the sentence above as Gegenüber von dem Clubhaus liegt ein feiner Sandstrand. This would be translated exactly the same into English.


Here, the nominative pronoun ihr becomes euch in the dative case:


Jasmin und ich werden heute mit euch üben,

Jasmin and I will practice with you today

Caption 2, Diane erklärt Fragewörter

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And here, the masculine indefinite article ein (for der Monat) becomes the dative einem:


Erst nach einem Monat bleibt das Küken fast den ganzen Tag alleine.

Only after a month, the chick stays alone almost all day.

Caption 30, Alpenseen Kühle Schönheiten

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The feminine definite article die (for die Römerzeit) becomes the dative der:


... seit der Römerzeit ein befestigter Alpenübergang

... since Roman times a fortified Alpine crossing

Caption 23, Die letzten Paradiese Die Schönheit der Alpen 2

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With the preposition von, the nominative pronoun er becomes the dative pronoun ihm:


Es ist genau das, was seine Anhänger von ihm hören wollen.

It is exactly what his supporters want to hear from him.

Caption 25, Tagesschau Amtseinführung von Donald Trump 

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And finishing up our A to Z of dative pronouns, the nominative pronoun du becomes dir in the dative:


Sorry, das läuft auf meinem alten Laptop nicht. Da müssen wir zu dir.

Sorry, this doesn't run on my old laptop. We'll have to go to your place.

Caption 35, Die Pfefferkörner Gerüchteküche

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Further Learning
To recap, the common German prepositions that require the dative case of nouns and pronouns are aus, außer, bei, gegenüber, mit, nach, seit, von, and zu. Go to Yabla German to look for more examples of prepositions whose nouns, pronouns, and adjectives take only the dative case. Also review Part I in this series about prepositions that require the accusative case.

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Sehen, schauen, and kucken

We have "to see," "to watch," and "to look" in English, but there are even more verbs in German, and the meanings are often prefix-dependent. In German, the three verbs/verb roots are sehen, schauen, and gucken / kucken. Gucken or (more commonplace) kucken is slang and is more popular in northern Germany, whereas schauen is slang in southern Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. To gain an understanding of how these verbs are used, it's best to look at various examples and see how added prefixes affect the meaning.

Below, you can see examples of these three verbs without any prefixes.


Die anderen Tiere sind im Winter leider nicht draußen zu sehen.

The other animals are unfortunately not to be seen outside in the winter.

Caption 20, Berlin: Domäne Dahlem

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Wo sehen Sie sich selbst in zehn Jahren?

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Caption 55, Berufsleben: das Vorstellungsgespräch

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Hast du schon im Schrank geschaut? -Ja.

Have you already looked in the closet? -Yes.

Caption 4, Nicos Weg: Vorm Fahrradladen

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Ich bin runter und habe geguckt, war aber nichts.

I went down and looked, but there was nothing.

Caption 28, Rhein-Main-TV aktuell: Erdbeben in Südhessen

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Based on these examples, you might come to the conclusion that sehen is always translated as "to see" and schauen and kucken are translated as "to look." However, this is simply not the case. It is instead the prefixes that reliably determine the translations. As you see below, sich etwas anschauen and sich etwas ansehen both mean "to (take/have a) look at something," as does sich etwas ankucken.


Und einen Brauch wollen wir uns heute ansehen.

And we want to take a look at one of these customs today.

Caption 6, Eva erklärt: den Adventskalender

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Zuerst schauen wir uns einige Farben an.

First, we will look at some colors.

Caption 6, Eva erklärt Farben

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Der Arzt schaut sich den Fuß jetzt erst mal an.

First, the doctor will take a look at your foot.

Caption 5, Nicos Weg: Beim Arzt

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Kuckt euch diese alte Kamera an.

Look at this old camera.

Caption 21, Drei Leute beim Kofferpacken

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The phrases mal sehen, mal schauen, and mal kucken are essentially synonyms and can mean either "let's have a look at" or "let's see," depending on the context. 


Mal schauen, wie weit die Cannelloni sind.

Let's see how far along the cannelloni are.

Caption 41, Cannelloni: mit Jenny

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Mal kucken, was die anderen Jugendlichen hier im Jugendforum so treiben.

Let's see what the other young people here in the Youth Forum are up to.

Caption 10, Rhein-Main-TV aktuell: Nachhaltigkeit

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Aussehen and ausschauen both refer to a person's appearance. Note: It is not possible to say auskucken in this context!


Du siehst gut aus.

You look good.

Caption 3, Weihnachtsmann gesucht: Bist du verliebt?

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Also, er hat mich gefragt: „Wie möchtest denn... Herr Otto, wie möchtest denn ausschauen?“

Well, he asked me: "How would you then like... Mr. Otto, how would you like to look then?"

Caption 9, Otto Waalkes: Friseur

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The verb "to watch" is most often translated as zusehen or zuschauen


Auf den Besuchertribünen kann jeder den Abgeordneten bei der Arbeit zusehen.

On the visitors' stands, everyone can watch the representatives at work.

Caption 23, Berlin: Hauptstadt des vereinten Deutschland

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Vielen Dank fürs Zuschauen.

Thank you for watching.

Caption 27, Eva zeigt uns: Kleidungsstücke

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When it comes to watching television or a film, there are various expressions involving all three verbs.


Am Freitag sehe ich fern.

On Friday, I will watch television.

Caption 17, Nicos Weg: Am Sonntag koche ich

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Wir haben viel zusammen gekocht und Filme gekuckt.

We often cooked together and watched films..

Caption 32, Fine: sucht eine Wohnung

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Wenn du den Fernseher anmachst, was schaust du?

When you turn on the television, what do you watch?

Caption 36, Peyman Amin: Der Modelmacher

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Further Learning
There are many, many examples of these verbs (sehensich etwas ansehen, zusehen, aussehen, and the slang versions) used in context on Yabla German. When you notice an incongruity between the two languages or an exception, make sure to take note of it.

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German Preposition Cases, Part I

This week we're going to go through the cases used with German prepositions. If you are an advanced German speaker, this will be nothing new for you, but will hopefully be helpful for beginners as a learning tool and for intermediate German speakers as a refresher. Nouns, pronouns, and adjectives that come after prepositions take either the accusative, dative, or genitive case, but to make things slightly confusing, some prepositions require either the accusative or dative case, depending upon the context. Let's take a look in Part I today at the prepositions that require only the accusative case for the nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. 


For a basic start, let's look at the accusative case for nouns as follows for the definite article "the," with the nominative case followed by the accusative case: 


der => den
die => die
das => das


And for the indefinite article

ein (masculine) => einen
eine => eine
ein (neuter) => ein


And for the personal pronouns "you," "him," "her," and "they":


du => dich
Sie (formal "you") 
=> Sie
=> ihn
=> sie
uns => uns


Remember too, that if there is no definite or indefinite article, the adjective must still take the case appropriate for its gender with the preposition.


The common German prepositions that require the accusative case of nouns and pronouns are für, um, durch, gegen, entlang, bis, ohne, and wider. The BBC website Bitesize cleverly suggests a good way of remembering them: in that order, the first letter of each word combined makes the phrase "fudge bow." If you can remember that phrase, with very few overlaps into dative and genitive prepositions, you'll be able to know if the preposition you are about to use requires the accusative case!


Here are some examples from Yabla German


Ich wollte dir gerne ein paar Sachen für den Umzug mitbringen.

I wanted to bring you a few things for the move.

Caption 5, Nicos Weg A2 Folge 22: Freizeitstress

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Wenn es um mich geht, ist es reflexiv.

If it's about me, it is reflexive.

Caption 54, Deutschkurs in Tübingen Akkusativ - Action

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Der schwebt also durch den Raum.

So it floats through the space.

Caption 36, Das 1. Newtonsche Gesetz erklärt am Beispiel des Dodomobils - Part 2

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Ich habe echt nichts gegen dich gesagt.

I've really said nothing against you.

Caption 7, Die Pfefferkörner Gerüchteküche - Part 2

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Sie streute sie die Krümel von ihrem einzigen Stück Brot den Weg entlang.

She scattered the crumbs from her single piece of bread along the way.

Caption 48, Märchen - Sagenhaft Hänsel und Gretel

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Note that the preposition entlang usually appears after the noun when used in the dative case. There is also a genitive use of entlang, but more on that in a later lesson!


Das war's von Rhein-Main-Szene. Bis nächste Woche. Ciao, ciao.

That's it from Rhein-Main-Szene. Till next week. Ciao, ciao [Italian: Bye, bye].

Caption 64, Frida Gold Interview - Part 2

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Don't forget that bis ("till" or "until") is more commonly seen as a conjunction than as a preposition. 


Wie sollte sie es nur ohne ihn aushalten?

Just how was she supposed to make it without him?

Caption 70, Märchen - Sagenhaft Die Weiber von Weinsberg

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Wer wider besseres Wissen vortäuscht...

Whoever pretends despite better knowledge...

Caption 41, Großstadtrevier Schatten der Vergangenheit - Part 12

 Play Caption



Further Learning
Go to Yabla German to look for more examples of prepositions whose nouns, pronouns, and adjectives take only the accusative case. And don't forget the key phrase "fudge bow" for remembering them, as ridiculous as it sounds! A chocolate violin, anyone? Sounds sweet...

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German Expressions of Frequency

In addition to adverbs of indefinite frequency, such as oft or häufig, and adverbs of definite frequency, such as täglich or morgens, there are also expressions for talking about how often something occurs. In English, we often say that something happens "once a month" or "every other week." How do we express this in German? 


You likely know the phrase jeden Tag, or "every day." But do you know how to say "every other day"?


Dazu gehört auch, dass den Jungvögeln jeden zweiten Tag ein Tisch mit Knochen gedeckt wird.

This also means that every other day, a table is set with bones for the young birds.

Caption 29, Die letzten Paradiese: Die Schönheit der Alpen

 Play Caption


You can say jede zweite Woche for "every other week," but generally something happening at particular intervals will be expressed with alle and not jede zweite. Take a look:


Die Bergbahn fährt alle zwanzig Minuten hoch zum Königstuhl und alle zehn Minuten zurück runter in die Innenstadt.

The mountain railway goes up to the Königstuhl every twenty minutes and back down to the city center every ten minutes.

Captions 12-13, Jenny zeigt uns: Das Heidelberger Schloss

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Bei warmen Temperaturen gebären sie alle acht bis zehn Tage dreißig bis vierzig Jungtiere.

In warm temperatures, they give birth to thirty to forty young every eight to ten days.

Caption 14, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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Wir finden hier alle vier Wochen eine Schildkröte.

We find a turtle here every four weeks.

Caption 42, Ausgrabungen Auf den Spuren der Dinosaurier

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Das Projekt „Lunch Beat“ besteht in Hamburg seit dem vergangenen Sommer und findet in unregelmäßigen Abständen alle zwei bis drei Monate statt.

The project "Lunch Beat" has existed in Hamburg since last summer and takes place at irregular intervals every two to three months.

Captions 9-10, Lunch Beat: Tanzen in der Mittagspause

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To more specifically state that something happens "once" in a particular time interval, we can use the word einmal in + dative.


Das tue ich für gewöhnlich einmal in der Woche.

I typically do it once a week.

Caption 2, Wäsche waschen mit Eva

 Play Caption


Einmal in der Woche trainiert Astrid Bittner-Utsch Frauen und Männer, die ihrem Traumberuf ein Stück näher kommen wollen.

Once a week, Astrid Bittner-Utsch trains women and men who want to get a little bit closer to their dream profession.

Captions 9-10, Auf dem Laufsteg: Modelcollege in Wiesbaden

 Play Caption


Leon, wieso? -Einmal im Jahr gibt es diese Mathe-Olympiade.

Leon, why? -Once a year, the Math Olympics take place.

Caption 20, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

 Play Caption


Further Learning
Based on what you see above, how do you express "once a month"? What about "every five days" or "every five years"? Can you find another way to say "every other day"? For more practice, you can go to Yabla German to look for more examples, or translate some basic sentences about your current routine into German. 

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Gender agreement in the phrase "one of these..."

One of these days, we were going to have to get around to gender agreement in quantifier pronouns, and it might as well be today! When you say the phrase "one of these...", the word "one" is an indefinite pronoun called a "quantifier pronoun." In German, if you refer to two or more of something as a quantifier pronoun, you don't need to worry about the gender of the noun that it's referring to, you just say the number zwei, drei, vier, or however many you mean to say. But if you are referring to just one thing, then the quantifier pronoun "ein" has to match the gender of the noun to which it's referring.


There are two common ways to express the phrase "one of these..." in German. In the first way, the quantifier pronoun ein is followed by the dative preposition von and the noun which is being referred to:


Wir nehmen eins von diesen Modalverben,

We'll take one of these modal verbs

Caption 20, Deutschkurs in Tübingen Können, dürfen, müssen - Part 1

 Play Caption



Und dann nehmen wir eine von diesen Präpositionen und dann wissen wir, es ist Dativ.

And then we take one of these prepositions and then we know it is dative.

Caption 12, Deutschkurs in Tübingen Wechselpräpositionen

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Such dir eine von diesen vielen Banken aus.

Select one of these many banks.

Caption 9, Kurzfilm-Festival Shorts at moonlight - Part 3

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In the first example above, the quantifier pronoun ein is referring to the neuter noun das Modalverb, thus it is rendered neuter as eins. The same logic proceeds with the following examples: the feminine nouns die Präposition and die Bank require the feminine quantifier pronoun eine. Thus, if you used a masculine noun such as der Mensch, you'd say einer von diesen Menschen...


The second way to express the phrase "one of these..." in German is using the quantifier pronoun ein followed by the genitive case of the article: 


Und eine dieser Sachen war, äh, und ist auch noch, Plastikverpackung.

And one of these things was, uh, and still is, plastic packaging.

Captions 59-60, TEDx Der Supermarkt der Zukunft - Part 1

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Hinter einer dieser Türen steht ein geiles, neues Auto.

Behind one of these doors is an awesome new car.

Caption 15, Mathematik Das Ziegenproblem/Monty-Hall-Problem

 Play Caption



The first example above is very straightforward, using eine for the feminine noun die Sache. The second example follows the same construct, but since the quantifier noun is preceded by the dative preposition hinter, the feminine quantifier pronoun eine must be rendered dative as einer to agree with both the dative preposition hinter and the feminine noun die Tür


It's a bit complicated in theory to always have to think ahead to the gender of the noun you are going to modify, but with a little practice it's something you'll soon get used to!


Further Learning
Go to Yabla German to find more examples of "one of these." You may also find a tandem partner that you can work with to make up some phrases using "one of these" in English, and then try making your own translations into German, cross-checking each other's work. Be sure and translate using both the dative and genitive versions that we learned about above!

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German Adverbs of Indefinite Frequency

These German adverbs answer the question of how often something happens or is the case — Wie oft? Let's take a look at how to describe the most frequent to least frequent occurrences. 

First of all, we have immer, or "always." Like in English, there are different options for the placement of adverbs in German sentences. In this first sentence, the word einfach is also serving as an adverb, and both adverbs are placed after the verb. 


Es ist einfach immer was los und man ist in einer halben Stunde hier oben.

There is simply always something going on and you are up here in half an hour.

Caption 20, 48 h in Innsbruck: Sehenswürdigkeiten & Tipps

 Play Caption


Meistens, häufig and oft describe a relatively common or frequent occurrence. Note that, in this particular example, meistens is in the first position with the verb immediately following, which gives it extra emphasis. In the other two examples, the adverb comes after the verb (although not the participle!). 


Meistens sind ja die Fenster dann auch noch recht schmal.

Most of the time, the windows are also really narrow.

Caption 57, Feuerwehr Heidelberg: Löschfahrzeug

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In Deutschland ist das Wetter im Herbst häufig kühl und feucht.

In Germany, the weather in autumn is frequently cool and damp.

Caption 6, Herbst: mit Eva

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Große Erfindungen werden oft von ungewöhnlichen Ereignissen inspiriert.

Great inventions are often inspired by unusual events.

Caption 3, 200. Geburtstag: Die Geschichte des Fahrrads in 2 Minuten

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From manchmal to selten, the frequency of something happening or being the case decreases rapidly.


Es ist nur manchmal einfach etwas schwierig, wenn man zusammenlebt und so gut befreundet ist.

It is just sometimes a bit difficult when you live together and are such good friends.

Caption 34, Die Wohngemeinschaft: Probleme

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Ab und zu kann es aber auch mal ganz schön laut werden.

Once in a while it can, however, get pretty loud too.

Caption 62, Rhein-Main-TV: Badesee Rodgau

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Seinen schicken Umhang trug er gar nicht mehr, und mit seinem Pferd ritt er nur noch selten.

He no longer wore his chic cloak and he rode his horse only rarely.

Captions 38-39, Märchen - Sagenhaft: Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse

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Finally, we come to "never." It is also possible to say fast nie or "almost never."


Also, früher wollt ich nie zum Klavierunterricht gehen.

Well, at the time I never wanted to go piano lessons.

Caption 35, Deutsche Bands: Glashaus

 Play Caption


Further Learning
Many examples of these words can be found on Yabla German, and you can also look up the following German adverbs of definite frequency: täglich, wöchentlich, monatlich, jährlich, morgens, nachmittags, and abends. For more information on adverb placement, take a look at this helpful page.

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Distance as Abstand

In German Chancellor Angela Merkel's address to the nation last month (March 2020), she mentioned social distancing a number of times, using the German noun der Abstand.


Wir müssen aus Rücksicht voneinander Abstand halten.

Out of consideration, we have to keep a distance from each other.

Caption 30, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

 Play Caption


... mindestens eineinhalb Meter Abstand zum Nächsten

... a distance of at least one and a half meters from each other,

Caption 33, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

 Play Caption


Im Moment ist nur Abstand Ausdruck von Fürsorge.

At the moment, distance is the only way to express care.

Caption 42, Coronavirus: Fernsehansprache von Angela Merkel

 Play Caption



Let's take a look at der Abstand as used in some other contexts.


Der Abstand zum Bordstein ist zwar etwas groß.

The distance to the curb is indeed somewhat large.

Caption 48, Richter Alexander Hold: Richtig parken

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... und immer Abstand halten von Sylvie van der Vaart, dann kann gar nichts schiefgehen.

... and always maintain distance from Sylvie van der Vaart, then nothing at all can go wrong.

Captions 29-30, Barbara Schöneberger Das Roter-Teppich-Einmaleins

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Wenn das rot eingezeichnet ist, sehen Sie hier den Abstand.

If this is shown in red, you see the interval here.

Caption 40, Bildverarbeitung: Sirius Advanced Cybernetics in Pforzheim

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So, und der Abstand hier, der beträgt dann eben zwanzig Zentimeter. -Hey, Sophie!

So, and the distance here, it then amounts to just twenty centimeters. -Hey, Sophie!

Caption 38, Die Pfefferkörner: Gerüchteküche

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Der Abstand is usually translated as "distance", though as you see above, other terms such as "interval," "space," or "gap" are sometimes more appropriate, depending upon the context. 


Further Learning
There are a number of different German words that can be translated into the English word "distance," depending upon the specific contexts in which they are used. Go to Yabla German and find some more examples of der Abstand, then take a look at some of the other words expressing "distance," such as die Entfernung and die Ferne. As a reward for your diligent studies, take a 5-minute break and watch actor Christoph Waltz give talk show host Jimmy Fallon a quiz on long German words, it's pretty funny!

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