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Essential German Time Prepositions: Vor, Nach, In, and Für at A1/2 Level

Hallo und guten Tag! Welcome back to Speakdeutsch.com, your friendly German language coach. My name is Helena, and I am here to help you advance your German language skills.

In this blog post, we're diving into the world of German time prepositions. We call these "Temporale Präpositionen," and the four we will be focusing on today are vor, nach, in, and für. These four prepositions are vital, especially at the A12 level of German language proficiency. But don't worry, by the end of this blog, you'll have a better understanding of these prepositions, along with some practical examples.

  1. 'In' - 'In' in English: The preposition 'in' usually refers to a point in time in the future (Zeitpunkt in der Zukunft). It is always used with the dative case. For instance, when asked, "WANN gehst du nach Hause?" (When are you going home?), you can respond with "Ich gehe in zwei Minuten nach Hause," meaning, "I will go home in two minutes."

  2. 'Vor' - 'Before' in English: The preposition 'vor' also comes with a point in time (Zeitpunkt) but requires the dative case. Example: "Wann frühstückt die Frau?" (When does the woman have breakfast?). The answer could be, "Sie frühstückt vor dem Deutschkurs," (She has breakfast before the German class) or "Ich wasche vor dem Essen meine Hände," (I wash my hands before eating).

  3. 'Nach' - 'After' in English: The preposition 'nach' also requires the dative case and relates to a point in time (Zeitpunkt). For instance, "Wann gehst du nach Hause?" (When are you going home?), a possible answer could be "Ich gehe nach der Arbeit nach Hause," (I will go home after work).

  4. 'Für' - 'For' in English: Unlike the others, 'für' is used with durations (Zeitdauer) and requires the accusative case. For example, when asked, "Für wie lange geht sie nach Deutschland?" (For how long is she going to Germany?), the answer could be "Sie geht für einen Monat nach Deutschland," (She goes to Germany for one month).

Bonus tip! You might have noticed that 'vor' and 'für' have two different meanings. While 'vor' means 'before,' it can also mean 'ago.' The 'vor' that means 'ago' can only be used in the past tense. Here are some examples:

  • "Vor zwei Jahren bin ich nach Berlin gefahren" (I went to Berlin two years ago).

  • "Er ist vor einer Stunde gegangen" (He left an hour ago).

  • "Vor einem Monat war sie krank" (She was sick one month ago).

Homework time (Hausaufgaben)! Answer these two questions using the prepositions we just learned: "Wann lernst du Deutsch?" (When do you learn German?), and "Wann kaufst du ein?" (When do you shop?).

And there you have it, a quick guide to the important German time prepositions 'vor,' 'nach,' 'in,' and 'für.' Remember, practice makes perfect. The more you use these prepositions, the more naturally they will come to you.

If you wish to deepen your knowledge about prepositions for the A2 level, get in touch with us. And if you think you need a refresher on the dative case, we've got you covered with our detailed blog posts.

I hope you found this post helpful. Don't forget to leave a comment, hit the like button, and share this with your fellow German learners.


Bis zum nächsten Mal, auf Wiedersehen, Tschüss und Bye Bye.

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