Dative or Accusative

 Prepositions & Verbs Which Require Dative or Accusative Case

Prepositions Followed by
Prepositions Followed by Accusative Prepositions Followed by
Dative or Accusative
Depending on verb
aus durch an
außer für auf
bei gegen hinter
mit ohne in
nach um neben
seit über
von unter
zu vor


Verbs Followed by Dative Case Verbs & Prepositions Followed by Accusative Case
folgen sich freuen auf
gefallen grenzen an
gratulieren sehen auf
helfen sprechen über
passen warten auf


Four German phrases that require the DATIVE.

1. How are you? – Wie geht es DIR? Wie geht es IHNEN?
(literally, “How goes it with you?”)
Answer: Gut, danke. Und Dir? / Gut, danke. Und Ihnen?

2. What’s wrong with you? What seems to be the problem? – Was fehlt DIR denn? Was fehlt IHNEN denn?
(literally, “What is missing with you?”)

3. I’m cold / hot. – MIR ist kalt. MIR ist heiss.
(literally, “It’s cold/hot to me.”)
Notice here that the subject “es” is actually missing from the sentence.

4. I’m sore all over. – MIR tut alles weh.
(literally, “Everything gives pain to me.”)
Der Rücken tut IHR weh.

Weh tun is a useful expression for expressing pain and what hurts you. Note here that the verb (tun) is conjugated to agree with the subject(s) that is/are causing the pain.
MIR tut meine linke Hand weh. (My left hand hurts)
MIR tun meine Hände weh. (My hands hurts.)


“Du” oder “Sie”?

Both “du” and “Sie” mean “you”.

“Du” is the informal mode of address comparable to the French “tu.” Family members always say “du” to each other, children are always addressed with “du” until mid-adolescence and if people are close friends who are on a first name basis with each other, they also use “du”.

“Sie” is comparable to the French “vous.” People who work together usually call each other by their last names and use “Sie”, even after they have worked together for many years.

Germans distinguish between “Bekannte” (acquaintances) who are addressed with “Sie” and “Freunde” (close personal friends) who are addressed with “du”.

Young people tend to use the “du” form much quicker than older people.

When first meeting someone “Sie” is used and there is a formal process of offering the less formal address to the other person. Your age and gender determines who suggests to switch from “Sie” to “du”. It is up to the older person and/or the woman to offer this informal address to the younger person and/or male.



An adult is speaking to Thomas: Wo wohnst du, Thomas? (Where do you live, Thomas?)

Thomas is speaking to an adult: Wo wohnen Sie, Herr Schmidt? (Where do you live, Mr. Smith?)