Prepositions of place

Prepositions that indicate location or direction

Prepositions connect words and word groups together. They describe a relationship between people, things or facts.

Prepositions of place describe spatial relationships like location or direction.

These prepositions can be categorized according to several criteria:

  • Meaning: does the preposition give a location (Wo?) or a direction (Woher?/Wohin?)?
  • Case: does the preposition require the dative or the accusative?

With prepositions that take the dative or accusative, the case depends on the meaning of the preposition in the sentence:

Position (Wo?):
Direction (Wohin?):
in in
an an
unter unter
über über
auf auf
vor vor
hinter hinter
neben neben
zwischen zwischen


There are also prepositions whose case is not dependent on the meaning of the sentence. The following prepositions can all indicate movement from one direction or in one direction. Some of them always require the dative, while others always take the accusative. 

Dative Accusative
aus durch
nach entlang*
an ... vorbei  

* entlang is used only with the accusative if the preposition comes after the noun: die Straße entlang.

Grammatical Terms in German:

die Präposition: Prepositions are usually short words that connect words or word groups. They describe the relationship between living beings, objects or facts.