German Verbs with Prepositions
Find a list of common German prepositional verbs, verbs that are typically used with specific prepositions, for example "wait for" or "talk about" in English. Most German prepositional verbs are also prepositional verbs in English, but the prepositions used with the verbs are not always analogous. Thus "wait FOR" is "warten AUF" (not "warten FÜR") in German, "believe IN" is "glauben AN" (not "glauben IN").
In English and in German there are a number of verbs that use prepositions to convey a very specific meaning. In English, we refer to such verbs as “phrasal verbs”.
For example, the verb “to run” is used to describe the motion or activity of running. I can run in the park, or I can go running, etc.
But we can change the meaning of the verb “to run” slightly by adding different prepositions.
to run into (s.o.) – to meet someone by accident
to run out of (s.th) – to finish or use something up
to run for s.th – to campaign for an elected office
to run with – to take full advantage of something
These are just a few examples, but they demonstrate the point. By adding a preposition, we change the meaning of the verb, and we will always need to use a specific preposition to convey that specific meaning. For example, I cannot say “I ran for paper towels”, to express that I have used up all my paper towels. Similarly, I cannot say “He decided to run into office.” if I want to express that he decided to campaign for an elected position.
Verbs with Prepositions in German
In German, too, there are a number of verbs that can be used by themselves, and verbs that can be used with a variety of prepositions to convey a different meaning. However, it is important to keep in mind that whenever we are using prepositions in German, we are also going to be dealing with cases and the gender of nouns.
Some prepositions always take the dative case, some always take the accusative case, and some can take either (Wechselpräpositionen), and it is important to pay close attention to what case is triggered.
1. Verbs with “über“
There are a number of verbs that use the preposition “über”. It is an example of a “two-way” preposition, so it can be proceeded by a noun or pronoun in the accusative or dative.
Wir werden uns über den Brief beschweren.
We are going to complain about the letter.
Ich rege mich über ihn auf. I’m upset about him.
2. Verbs with “auf“
“auf” is another example of a two-way preposition. Here are a few examples of verbs that require “auf”.
Ich breite mich auf den Umzug vor.
I’m preparing myself for the move.
Er schreibt auf einem Blatt Papier.
He is writing on a piece of paper.
3. Verbs with “an”
Another two-way preposition, “an” can be followed by an accusative or dative noun.
Here are some examples of verbs that use “an”.
Ich denke oft an ihn.
I think about him often.
Ich glaube nicht an Schicksal.
I don’t believe in fate.
4. Verbs with “mit“
The preposition “mit” always triggers the dative case. Whenever we use a verb with the preposition “mit”, the noun that follows will have to be in the dative case.
Er unterhält sich gerne mit seinem Kollegen.
He likes to talk to his colleague.
Ich fange mit dem Project morgen an.
I am starting (with) the project tomorrow.
5. Verbs with “um“
“um” is an example of an accusative preposition, and all nouns following “um” need to be in the accusative.
Er kümmert sich gut um mich.
He takes good care of me.
Sie bitten um Ruhe.
They are asking for quiet/silence.
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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.