Prepositions Of Place

Let's learn how to answer 'Where ...' and 'Where to ...' questions, in German!

Prepositions are words that describe the location of a noun, in relation to another.

Der Nussknacker ist/geht... dem Karton
...neben dem Karton
...auf dem Karton.

They are used to answer 'Where' and 'Where to' questions, or Wo and Wohin questions:

WhereWoWo ist der Nussknacker?Der Nussknacker ist in dem Karton.
Where toWohinWohin geht der Nussknacker?Der Nussknacker geht in den Karton.

Prepositions Of Place

Have a look at the table below:

Dativeab, zu, bei, von, aus, gegenüber
Accusativebis, durch, für, ohne, gegen, um
Two-wayin, an, auf, neben, hinter, über, unter, vor, zwischen
Prepositions of Place

You'll notice that the prepositions are divided into three types:

  • dative prepositions,
  • accusative prepositions,
  • & two-way prepositions (can be used as a dative preposition AND an accusative preposition)

Let's take a closer look at them.

Dative, Accusative & Two-Way Prepositions

1. Dative Prepositions

When a dative preposition is used, such as aus, the following noun uses the dative case:

Ich kaufe Schokolade aus dem Supermarkt.

I buy chocolate from the supermarket

2. Accusative Prepositions

When an accusative preposition is used, such as durch, the following noun uses the accusative case:

Der Fuchs läuft durch den Wald.

The fox walks through the forest

3. Two Way Prepositions

When a two-way preposition is used, such as auf, the following noun uses either the accusative case or the dative case, depending on whether a Wo or Wohin question is being answered:


auf + dativeEnglish TranslationWhere is
Die Katze ist auf dem Tisch.The cat is on the table.Where is the cat?


auf + accusativeEnglish TranslationWhere to
Die Katze klettert auf den Tisch.The cat climbs onto the table.Where to is the cat climbing?

Exercise: Dative or Accusative?

Take a look at the sentences below. Which sentences answer a Wo question, and which Wohin?

Remember: Wo questions describe the static location of the subject. Wohin questions describe the moving direction of the subject.

Click on your guess, to reveal the answer.

Er ist in dem Schwimmbad.
(He is in the pool.)
Stellen Sie sich neben die anderen.
(Stand next to the others.)
Mama parkt zwischen den Autos.
(Mum parks between the cars.)
Das Mädchen kroch unter das Bett.
(The girl crawled under the bed.)
Sie versteckt sich hinter dem Baum.
(She hides behind the tree.)

Well done! 🎉

Let's continue with one more exercise.

Last Exercise

Take a look at the images in the table below. Then, complete each sentence underneath it, by selecting the correct preposition.



Der Nussknacker steht
dem Karton.
Der Nussknacker geht
den Karton.
Der Nussknacker kommt
den Karton.
Der Nussknacker liegt
dem Karton.
Der Nussknacker steigt
den Karton.

Well done! 🎉

You are starting to use prepositions of place in your sentences.

Course Complete 💥

And with that last lesson, you have finished the beginner course! Great Job! 👏

For more learning resources: Easy German Reading


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