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Mastering German Directional Prepositions - Richtungspräpositionen

Hallo, liebe Deutschlerner! My name is Helena, your German teacher here at SpeakDeutsch.com. Today, we will delve into an important topic in German grammar - the prepositions of direction or Richtungspräpositionen. Knowing how to use them correctly can transform your German from basic to proficient, so let's jump right in!


Imagine you're in Germany, and you want to tell someone, "I go to the movies". Do you say "Ich gehe nach Kino", "Ich gehe aufs Kino", "Ich gehe zum Kino", "Ich gehe ins Kino" or "Ich gehe ans Kino"? If you're unsure, don't worry! After this lesson, you'll have a clear understanding.

Let's start with a long but not so terrible word - Richtungspräpositionen. This term refers to prepositions of direction. There are five in German: 'nach', 'zu', 'in', 'auf', and 'an'. Most of these take the accusative case, except 'zu', which always takes dative.


Let's explore each of these prepositions:


1. Nach (to, towards) - Always used with accusative. You typically use 'nach' for countries without an article, cities, cardinal directions, and for specific directions. For example, 'Ich fahre nach Deutschland.' But when it comes to countries with gender (around 30 countries), you have to use 'in'. For instance, 'Ich fahre in die Schweiz.'


2. Zu (to, at) - Always used with dative. We use 'zu' when referring to persons (e.g., 'Ich gehe zum Arzt.'), institutions (e.g., 'Du gehst zur Bank.'), events, activities (e.g., 'Wir gehen zum Yoga.'), and places that are a bit further away (e.g., 'Ihr geht zum Flughafen.').


3. In (to, into) - Used with accusative. 'In' is used when going inside a building or a place (e.g., 'Ich gehe ins Kino.'), places with borders, cardinal directions, and nearby places (e.g., 'Wir gehen in den Flughafen.').


4. Auf (to, up on something) - Used with accusative. You use 'auf' for places (e.g., 'Ich laufe auf den Berg.'), squares/places in a city (e.g., 'Sie geht auf den Markt.'), and for islands (e.g., 'Wir gehen auf die Insel.').


5. An (to, on the sides) - Used with accusative. 'An' is typically used for places related to water (e.g., 'Ich fahre ans Meer.'), indicating that you're going next to the water body, not into it. If you were going into it, you'd use 'in' instead (e.g., 'Ich gehe ins Meer.').


A bonus tip to remember: For 'Hause' or home, we have three options: 'Ich bin zu Hause' (I am at home), 'Ich komme von zu Hause' (I come from home), 'Ich gehe nach Hause' (I go home).

Understanding and applying these prepositions can be a little complex, but with practice, you'll master them! Remember, practice makes perfect, and I am here to help you every step of the way.


Get in touch with us if you're interested in learning more quickly with a customized approach to your needs!


See you in the following lesson. Bye! Bye!


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