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Accusative Prepositions in German. On How To Use Durch, Ohne, Gegen, Für, Um

In this blog post, I will discuss the German prepositions that always go with the accusative case and show you how to use them.

In the first part of my four articles on prepositions in the German language you learned about two-way prepositions ("Wechselpräpositionen"), now I'm going to give you some advice on how to learn prepositions that only take the accusative case.

The five main prepositions in this category, which my students remember by the acronym "DOGFU", are:

The good news is that, unlike the two-way prepositions, there is no rule to remember here. You just need to learn that these prepositions only take the accusative case. However, "ohne" and "um" can also be used as subordinate clause conjunctions so be careful not to confuse the two different ways of using them.

The other prepositions in this category are

bis (until, to) which never takes an article, and hence I don't ask my students to learn it as an accusative only preposition

e.g. Ich arbeite oft bis 21 Uhr.

Er fuhr bis Frankfurt mit seinem Auto, dann nahm er den Zug.

entlang (along) which is a very confusing preposition as it can be put before or after the noun, and can take the accusative (for specific routes), dative (for fenced-off areas), and even the genitive case (and is then synonymous with "längs")

e.g. Das Schiff fährt den Rhein entlang.

An der Mauer entlang wachsen viele Pflanzen.

Entlang des Flusses befinden sich viele Hausboote.

wider (synonymous with "gegen") in some fixed expressions:

e.g. Sie hat wider Willen ihre Hausaufgaben gemacht.

Wider Erwarten hat er die Stelle bekommen.

Check out part III on dative prepositions and IV on genitive prepositions to learn about all prepositions in the German language.

Do you want to learn about other German grammar topics? Then check out our German language blog "Auf Deutsch, bitte!"

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