German for Beginners
Lesson 14 - Part 2
Accusative Case in German
Pronouns in the Accusative
Druckversion - Printer version
Below is an overview of the German accusative prepositions. When studying the prepositions, it is wise to remember that they don't always translate the same way in English and German. For example (zum Beispiel), English "for" can be expressed in German by the dative case or all of these prepositions: auf, für, nach, um, and zu. Of these, only für and um are accusative prepositions. Prepositions can be a dangerous minefield, so study them well, and carefully observe how they are used. Notice also that some of the prepositions below (durch, um) can mean more than one thing in English. (See our feature entitled Prepositional Pitfalls for more about this.)
By "accusative prepositions" we mean those that always "govern" or "take" the accusative case. An accusative preposition will always be followed by an object (a noun or pronoun) in the accusative case. We will cover the dative and genitive prepositions in later lessons.
Luckily, there are only five accusative prepositions you need to learn and memorize. In the chart below, we have listed each preposition in German and English (left column) with example prepositional phrases (right column). Another thing that makes this group of prepositions easier is the fact that only the masculine gender (der) changes in the accusative case. As we already pointed out in Lektion 11, neither the plural nor the feminine (die) and neuter (das) genders change in the accusative.
GRAMMAR NOTE: The pronoun er (he) follows the same pattern as the definite article der (with which it rhymes!). Just as der changes to den, er changes to ihn (also with an "n" at the end). Also keep in mind that the pronoun er can mean "it" when it refers to a masculine non-personal noun: der Wagen (the car) = er (it).
Like er, all of the German personal pronouns have an accusative form that is different from the nominative (subject) form except for Sie/sie and es. This is similar to the case changes in English (he/him, I/me, she/her).
|Präpositionen||Beispiele - Examples|
|durch through, by||durch die Stadt through the city
durch den Wald through the forest
durch den Wind (caused) by the wind
|entlang along, down||die Straße entlang down the street
den Fluss entlang along the river
Gehen Sie diesen Weg entlang. Go down this path.
|NOTE: The accusative preposition entlang, unlike the others, usually goes after its object, as shown above.|
|für for||für das Buch for the book
für ihn for him
für mich for me
|gegen against, for||gegen alle Erwartungen against all expectations
gegen die Mauer against the wall
gegen Kopfschmerzen (medicine) for a headache
gegen mich against me
|ohne without||ohne den Wagen without the car
ohne ihn without him
ohne mich without me (count me out)
|um around, for, at||um den See around the lake
um eine Stelle (apply) for a job
Er bewirbt sich um eine Stelle. He's applying for a position.
um zehn Uhr at ten o'clock
|NOTE: The German preposition bis (until, to, by) is technically an accusative preposition, but since it's almost always used with a second preposition (bis zu, bis auf, etc.) in a different case, or without an article (bis April, bis Montag), it's not listed above.|
in the ACCUSATIVE
|ich I||mich me|
|du you (fam.)||dich you|
|wir we||uns us|
|ihr you (guys)||euch you (guys)|
|sie they||sie them|
|Sie you (formal)||Sie you (formal)|
|All of the accusative prepositions except "entlang," "ohne" and "bis" form what are called "da-compounds" to express what would be a prepositional phrase in English. Da-compounds are not used for people (personal pronouns). Prepositions beginning with a vowel add a connecting r. See the examples below.|
|dadurch through it, by it||durch ihn/sie through him/her|
|dafür for it||für ihn/sie for him/her|
|dagegen against it||gegen ihn/sie against him/her|
|darum for that reason||um ihn/sie around him/her|
Lektion 11 - Part 2
The Accusative Case
NEXT > Exercises - Accusative
Previous Lesson (Lektion 13 - Essen und Trinken)
Akkusativ - Lektion 11
The accusative case.
The Four German Cases
Detailed charts and information related to the nominative, accusative, dative and genitive cases in German. Includes the prepositions. From your Guide.
Adjective Endings - Exercises
Test yourself on the German adjective endings. A self-scoring quiz.
A test on some German words that can be dangerous. Self-scoring.
All of the annotated glossaries on this site - from aerospace to travel.
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