Collocations with Prepositions

Accusative and Dative Prepositions

In this module, you will review the usage of German accusative and dative prepositions with the correct usage of their definite articles.

Let’s first start by reviewing the definite articles in the Nominative, Accusative, and Dative cases.
Here are some concrete examples of the cases in context. You can mouse over each definite article to see its case.

Masculine: Der Vater schenkt dem Sohn den Pullover.
Feminine: Die Mutter schenkt der Tochter die Tasche.
Neuter: Das Mädchen schenkt dem Kind das Buch.

Activity 1

Now, let’s review the meaning of these German accusative and dative prepositions by matching them with their English equivalents. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.

Activity 2

Now, let’s explore these accusative and dative prepositions by using Das Digitale Wörterbuch der Deutschen Sprache (DWDS), a large electronic collection of German texts known as a corpus.  Below is an image that shows examples of the dative preposition mit from the ZEIT newspaper corpus.  It is presented in form of a concordance – stacked lines of examples with the search words bolded and centered.  If you find the text hard to read, you can click on the image to get a larger version, or you can go directly to the DWDS Corpus.


Look at the preposition phrases and the definite articles that appear to the right of the bolded dative preposition mit. What grammatical case do they all share?  If you pay careful attention you will note that all of the noun definite articles are in Dativ.

Let’s try a few more on your own.  Using the link to the corpus above, do a search for all of the accusative and dative prepositions below and determine what case they require. You will need to replace mit in the search window with the prepositions you are trying to find.  The first one has been done for you.

Activity 3

Fill in each blank with the correct definite article. The articles in parentheses are given in the nominative case to show you the gender of the noun that follows. The first one has been done for you.

Activity 4

Look through the exercises you have just completed and choose the correct statement to make sure you understand what you have noticed thus far.

Activity 5

On your own. Using the prepositions from this module, write 6 sentences about yourself. For example:

Ich renne jeden Abend durch den Park. Danach gehe ich mit dem Hund spazieren.

Here are some verbs which may help you:

spielen, gehen, laufen, kaufen, fahren, tanzen, einkaufen, bleiben, sein