Additional Useful Prepositions

Additional Useful Prepositions

These prepositions will not be explicitly tested in 101-231, but are very good to know, especially for listening and reading!

Summary Chart Practice Exercises
Usage Notes: Accusative Prepositions Usage Notes: Dative Prepositions
Usage Notes: Genitive Prepositions Click here to return to the main Prepositions page

Summary Chart

Note: With the exception of pro, ab, and zuliebe, these prepositions are all relatively formal. Nevertheless, one does hear them in spoken German. They occur frequently in written German; for example, you will come across many of them in news articles.

Accusative Prepositions
pro per
wider against
Dative Prepositions
ab as of [time], from [starting pt.]
binnen within [time]
dank thanks to
entgegen contrary to
entsprechend in accordance with
gemäß according to, in accordance with
laut according to
zufolge according to, in accordance with
samt together with
nebst in addition to
zuliebe for the sake of
zuwider repulsive to/contrary to
Genitive Prepositions
angesichts in view of
anhand by means of [examples etc.]
anlässlich on the occasion of
anstelle in place of [instead]
aufgrund because of, based on
aus-/einschließlich exclusive of/including
hinsichtlich with regard to
infolge as a result of
mangels for want of
mittels by means of
ungeachtet notwithstanding
unweit not far from
vermöge by virtue of
zugunsten for the benefit of
zwecks for the purpose of


Synonyme/Antonyme Match prepositions with roughly similar meanings; then match prepositions with roughly opposite meanings.
Was bedeutet...? Match the prepositions with their English equivalents.
Was passt? Choose the appropriate prepositions to complete these sentences. The sentences are taken from the examples below ==> if you need to see an English translation, refer to the examples below for that particular preposition.

Usage Notes: Accusative Prepositions

pro: per. [One can also often express "per" by je or in + article]

Das Parken kostet hier €2 pro Auto/pro Tag/pro begonnene Stunde/pro begonnenen Tag [or: je Auto/Tag/Stunde...] Parking costs €2 here per car/per day/per portion of an hour/per portion of a day.
Diese Zellen teilen sich mehr als hundertmal pro Stunde [or: je Stunde/in der Stunde] These cells divide more than a hundred times an hour.

wider: against. This has become obsolete, but survives in a few idioms:

  • wider Erwarten = contrary to expectations
  • wider Willen = against my/his/her etc. will
  • wider besseres Wissen = against my/his/her better judgment
Mein Computer ist wider Erwarten explodiert. Wider
Erwarten funktioniert mein uralter Laptop.
Contrary to expectations, my computer exploded. Contrary
to expectations, my ancient laptop works.
Barney lächelt wider Willen. Barney smiles against his will.
Wider besseres Wissen kaufe ich mehr Schuhe für Imelda Marcos. Wider besseres Wissen lassen wir die Kinder fernsehen. Er handelte wider besseres Wissen. Against my better judgment I buy more shoes for Imelda Marcos.  Against our better judgment we let the children watch TV.  He acted against his better judgment.

Usage Notes: Dative Prepositions

ab: as of [time], from [starting point]. Limited use; below
are the most common examples:

Ab neun Uhr könnt ihr kommen. You can come as of nine o'clock.
Jugendfrei ab 13 Jahren. [Movie rating: can be seen by kids aged 13 and up.]
Der Bus fährt ab Hauptbahnhof. The bus leaves from the central station.
Der Flug geht ab Frankfurt. The flight leaves from Frankfurt.

binnen: within [time]. Binnen is normally a Dative preposition, but occasionally, you will see binnen used with the Genitive (2nd example). The common formal expression "binnen Jahresfrist" means "within a year":

Das Konzert war binnen
einer Stunde ausverkauft.
The concert was sold out within an hour.
Das Raumschiff erreicht seine Umlaufbahn binnen
eines Tages.
The spaceship reaches its orbit within a day.
Binnen Jahresfrist läuft der Vertrag aus. The contract expires within a year.

dank: thanks to.

Dank ihrer Anpassungsfähigkeit hat die Küchenschabe hunderte von Millionen Jahren überlebt. Thanks to its adaptability, the cockroach has survived
for hundreds of millions of years.
Dank der starken Gewerkschaften hat man in Deutschland im Durchschnitt 6 Wochen Urlaub im Jahr. Thanks to the strong unions one has on average 6 weeks of vacation per year in Germany.

entgegen: contrary to. [Note: As part of separable verbs such as entgegengehen, entgegenkommen etc., entgegen can also mean towards: Er ging der Sonne entgegen.] Entgegen can occasionally follow the noun. Entgegen tends to be used for contradictions (contrary to expectations, habits etc.).

Entgegen allen Erwartungen überlebte die Ente. Contrary to all expectations, the duck survived.
Entgegen der weitverbreiteten Meinung, dass.... Contrary to the widespread opinion that....
Ihrer üblichen Gewohnheit entgegen.... Contrary to her usual habit....

entsprechend: in accordance with. [Entsprechend can also be an adjective, in which case it means "appropriate" or "corresponding," as in: die entsprechende Behörde [=the appropriate authorities]] More likely to follow the noun than to precede it.

Unseren Plänen entsprechend werden wir.... In accordance with our plans, we will....
Den Prognosen entsprechend versagte Windows 2000. As predicted [in accordance with predictions], Windows 2000 failed.

laut: according to. (laut dem Artikel, laut dem Professor...) See Superwörter I for more info.

zufolge, gemäß: according to, in accordance with. Can be used as a synonym for laut in the above sense (first example), or to mean in accordance with laws, agreements or plans. Zufolge always follows the noun or pronoun ,gemäß always follows pronouns & usually follows nouns.  See Superwörter I for more info on this.

Dem Artikel zufolge/gemäß hat Kohl ein Kochbuch geschrieben. According to the article, Kohl has written a cookbook.
Unseren Plänen zufolge/gemäß werden wir.... In accordance with our plans, we will....
Den Prognosen zufolge/gemäß versagte Windows 2000 As predicted [in accordance with predictions], Windows 2000 failed.
[You would need to use entsprechend here.]

samt: together with. Paradoxically, samt gives a sentence an informal tone, yet it is used mostly in writing. It is used to convey the idea of a "complete set": thus one would say "er kam samt Gepäck [=baggage]", or "die Familie samt Kindern", but not "ich trinke Tee samt Zucker". The expression samt und sonders for "the whole lot of them" is used in speaking and writing.

Das Haus wurde samt Inventar verkauft. The house was sold together with all its contents.
Sie wurden samt und sonders verhaftet. The whole lot of them was arrested.

nebst: in addition to. A formal synonym for und that is used only when the two things being connected are both part of the same "set" of some sort (e.g. colors, family members, types of silverware, types of amenities offered by a hotel, types of sports etc.).  Becoming rarer.

Viele Grüße sendet Dir Karl nebst Familie. Best regards from Karl and family.
Das Hotel hat ein Schwimmbad nebst Sauna und Solarium. The hotel has a pool in addition to a sauna and solarium.

zuliebe: for the sake of. This is used in speaking and writing. Used mainly for people and animals, but can also be used for objects one regards with fondness, as when a car lover does something "seinem/ihrem Auto zuliebe". Zuliebe must follow the noun or pronoun it refers to.

Bitte tu es mir zuliebe. Please do it for my sake.
Sparen Sie Energie, der Umwelt zuliebe! Save energy, for the sake of the environment!

zuwider: repulsive to/contrary to. Zuwider always follows the noun it refers to, and is found primarily in the expression "X ist jemandem zuwider," which means "X is repulsive to somebody," and in the rather formal separable verbs zuwiderhandeln [="to act contrary to" orders etc.] and zuwiderlaufen [="to run contrary to" expectations etc.].

Barney ist intelligenten Menschen zuwider. Barney is repulsive to intelligent people.
Boy Bands sind mir zuwider. Boy Bands are repulsive to me.
Schillers erste Dramen waren Goethe zuwider. Goethe was repelled by Schiller's early dramas.
Er handelte dem Befehl zuwider. He acted contrary to the order.
Manche Staaten ignorieren alle UNO-Resolutionen, die ihren Interessen zuwider laufen. Some states ignore all UN resolutions that run contrary to their interests.

Usage Notes: Genitive Prepositions

angesichts: in view of.

Angesichts der Lage im Mittleren Osten müssen wir.... In view of the situation in the Middle East, we must....
Angesichts des Enthusiasmus' der Studenten werden wir.... In view of the enthusiasm of the students, we will....
Das Fest wurde angesichts des schlechten Wetters verschoben. The festival was postponed in view of the bad weather.

anhand/mittels [vermittels]: by means of. Anhand is used where it would make sense to say "with reference to," e.g. with books, maps, examples, photos, etc. Mittels is used where it would make sense to say "using." Neither is used where "with the aid of" would sound absurdly stilted in English. Vermittels is identical to mittels, but rarer.

Mittels/Anhand eines gefälschten Passes kam er über die Grenze. By means of a forged passport, he got across the border.
Anhand ihres Passes wurde ihre Identität bestimmt. [Could
use mittels here, but anhand is preferable]
By means of her passport, her identity was determined.
Anhand/Mittels seines DNAs wurde der Täter überführt. By means of his DNA, the perpetrator was convicted.
Sie erklärt es anhand eines Beispiels. [Could use mittels here, but anhand is preferable] She explains it with the aid of an example.
Anhand einer Karte zeigt sie uns, woher sie kommt.
[Could use mittels here, but anhand is preferable]
With the aid of a map, she shows us where she comes from.
Er läuft anhand/mittels
einer Krücke.
He walks with the aid of a crutch.
Mittels/Anhand seines Gesangs wirbt das Männchen um Partner. By means of his singing the male tries to attract partners.
Ich esse das Ei anhand/mittels eines Löffels. I eat the egg with the aid of a spoon. [Would sound too formal]

anlässlich: on the occasion of.

Anlässlich deines Geburtstags färben wir unser Haar grau. On the occasion of your birthday, we're dyeing our hair grey.
Anlässlich des 30. Jahrestags der Wiedervereinigung... On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of reunification...

anstelle: in place of [instead of]. Use anstelle + Genitive, unless the noun is not preceded by an article, in which case you need to use anstelle von+ Dative.

Anstelle eines teuren Geschenks gebe ich dir mein Herz. In place of an expensive present, I give you my heart.
Ich werde anstelle meines Herzens eine Maschine benutzen. In place of my heart, I will use a machine.
Anstelle von Arteriosklerose hätte ich dann Batterieprobleme. In place of arteriosclerosis I would then have battery problems.

aufgrund/auf Grund: because of, based on.

Aufgrund/Auf Grund dieser Theorie können wir sagen, dass.... On the basis of this theory, we can say that....
Aufgrund/Auf Grund ihrer medizinischen Ausbildung kann sie.... Because of her medical training, she can....
Die Gefangenen wurden aufgrund/auf Grund des Abkommens befreit. Based on the treaty, the prisoners were freed.

infolge: as a result of. Very similar to aufgrund. Aufgrund could be used in all of the following examples without changing the meaning. Infolge could be used in the 2nd and 3rd of the examples given for aufgrund, but not the first.

Es gibt infolge der Dürre wenig Getreide. As a result of the drought, there is little grain.
Infolge ihrer vielen Verletzungen zog sich Steffi Graf vom
Tennis zurück.
As a result of her many injuries, Steffi Graf retired
from [competitive] tennis.
Infolge der neuen Bestimmungen/der Explosion/der Dürre.... As a result of the new regulations/the explosion/the drought....

vermöge: by virtue of. Different from aufgrund and infolge, because it emphasizes a special capacity/talent or virtue on the basis of which something was achieved.

Vermöge seines Talents gewann McEnroe auch ohne Disziplin. By virtue of his talent, McEnroe won even without discipline.
Borg dagegen siegte nur vermöge harter Arbeit. Borg on the other hand only won by virtue of hard work.

mangels: for want of.

Das Urteil lautete Freispruch mangels Beweisen. The verdict was "innocent for want of proof."
Mangels Fahrrad musste er zu Fuß gehen. For want of/Lacking a bicycle, he had to go on foot.
Mangels eines Nagels wurde das Hufeisen verloren; mangels
eines Hufeisens wurde das Pferd verloren; mangels eines Pferdes wurde der Reiter verloren; mangels eines Reiters wurde die Schlacht verloren; mangels
einer Schlacht wurde das Königreich verloren.
For want of a nail, the [horse]shoe was lost; for want of a shoe, the horse was lost; for want of a horse, the rider was lost; for want of a rider, the battle was lost; for want of a battle, the kingdom was lost.

aus-/einschließlich: exclusive of/including. [Ausschließlich can also be used as an adjective or adverb meaning "exclusive(ly)" [i.e.only]: Ich trage auschließlich Bugle Boy Jeans. Er lebt ausschließlich für seine Familie. Ausschließliche Rechte [exclusive rights].... An exclusive restaurant, however, is "ein exklusives Restaurant".] The preposition ausschließlich is generally used only to refer to things not included in a price. Einschließlichcan be used a little more broadly.

Es kostet DM 20 ein-/ausschließlich Steuern. It costs DM 20 including/excluding taxes.
Die Miete ein-/ausschließlich der Heizkosten beträgt € 800 pro Monat. The rent including/excluding heating costs amounts to € 800 per month.
Ausschließlich/Ohne/ Einschließlich Passagiere wiegt das Flugzeug.... Excluding/Without/ Including passengers, the plane weighs....

hinsichtlich: with regard to.

Hinsichtlich Ihrer Anfrage.... With regard to your inquiry....
Hinsichtlich der Kosten des Projekts.... With regard to the costs of the project....
Hinsichtlich der Oberflächentemperatur des Planeten.... With regard to the surface temperature of the planet....

ungeachtet: notwithstanding.

Ungeachtet der Konsequenzen.... Notwithstanding/regardless
of the consequences....
Ungeachtet der hohen Steuern investieren viele Firmen in
Notwithstanding the high taxes, many companies invest in Germany.

unweit: not far from. Unfern means the same thing, but is being used increasingly rarely.

Unweit der Kirche steht ein Museum. Not far from the church is a museum.
Unser Hotel liegt unweit der Ostsee. Our hotel is located not far from the Baltic Sea.

zugunsten: for the benefit of. This is somewhat flexible in its meanings, as shown here:

Eine Kollekte zugunsten der Krebshilfe A collection for the benefit of the cancer society
Sie hatte sich zugunsten des Kunden vertan. She had made a mistake to the customer's advantage.
Er trat zugunsten eines Jüngeren zurück. He retired in favor of a younger replacement.

zwecks: for the purpose of. This has a particularly formal ring to it.

Zwecks Feststellung der Personalien musste er zur Polizei. He had to go to the police for his personal data to be recorded.
Zwecks besserer Aerodynamik ist der neue VW ein Ball. For the purpose of better aerodynamics, the new VW is a ball.