German Prepositions of Place


Prepositions of place or locative prepositions show the position or location of nouns, pronouns or articles. Prepositions of place correspond to the questions “Where/Where … to/Where … from?”

Location: the prepositions in, an, auf and bei (followed by the dative case) are used with fixed locations, while aus and von (also followed by the dative case) are used to signify origin.

Direction: the prepositions in and auf (followed by the accusative case) or zu and nach (followed by the dative case) are used.

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Prepositions of place tell us where someone, some place, or something is in relation to something, someone, or somewhere else. They can be one word or multiple words, and include: above, across from, at, behind, below, beneath, beside, between, by, close to, in, in front of, near, next to, on, opposite, over, and under. Some of these are paired opposites, such as above / belowbehind / in front of, and over / under.

The three most commonly used prepositions of place are at, in, and on. These are used in the following contexts:

At: exact locations, specific places 
– at home, at the supermarket, at 101 Elm Street, at Madison Square Garden, at the end

In: enclosed spaces, neighborhood, cities, countries
– in the convention center, in Brooklyn, in Houston, in Canada

On: surfaces, means of transportation, communication
– on the table, on the bus, on the radio

Here are some more examples of prepositions of place:

The birds fly above the trees.
I live across from a cafe.
She works at the university.
The employee stands behind the counter.
The subway is below the city streets.
The fish swim beneath the water’s surface.
The dog sits beside the couch.
Our sofa is between the recliner and coffee table.
Elliot relaxes by the pool.
The apartment is close to public transit.
Marcy lives in Las Vegas.
The boy walks in front of his mother.
She works near downtown.
I am standing next to LeBron James.
We are on the next plane to Chicago.
The museum is opposite city hall.
The light hangs over the kitchen table.
The spare key is under the doormat. 

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The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:
Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
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