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South Africans in Germany

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Präpositionen / Prepositions

These are words like in, on, at, for, to, by, into, towards, through, under.
It is important to understand the concept of movement and that of a state or situation (sometimes indicated Sein (bin, bist etc)).  Is something moving somewhere for example Er hängt das Bild and die Wand (akk)  or is it already there Das Bild hängt and der Wand (Dativ)

 mit Akkmit Datmit Genmit Dat / akk (Wechsel)
Wo oder ‘Wann / Where or when?
Wohin / where to?
 Von In
 Seit Unter
 Außer Vor


Zu, nach, in oder ins??

Nach is used to indicate going to a geographic place or points of the compass. Is used to say you’re going to a country or a city, for example, Ich fahre nach Südafrika (I’m going to South Africa.) or Ich fahre nach Stuttgart (I’m going to Stuttgart.) It is always followed with the Dativ Kasus.
Nach doesn’t work with countries that have an article like Switzerland – wir fahren in die Schweiz. (We are going to Switzerland.)
Nach is also used when you refer to cardinal directions  (North) or left and right, up and down.
Nach is rarely used with an article while zu are followed by articles
Nach can also mean after something for example nach der Schule – after school. The following verbs are used with nach: abreisen, fliegen, fahren, frage, gehen, reisen, suchen

In is used when you plan to end up INSIDE (into) a building for example die Oper or Das Kino  – Ich gehe in der Opera (I am going to the opera) or Ich gehe ins Kino (I am going to the movies) .
In can be used with Akkusativ or Dativ, depending on whether there is movement or if it is a “state” / at a location.
You also use it to say you are going into something like into the mountains or into town, for example, die Berger or die Stadt (wir fahren in  die Berge) or wir gehen in die Stadt  – movement therefore Akkusativ.
Im is a contraction of “in dem” wich is in the Dativ case for example im Winter or im Prinzip. An example with Das Auto –  Mein Schlüssel ist im Auto (in dem Auto)

Auf – On top of something. Akkusativ or Dativ, depending whether there is movement or if it is a “state”

An – At the side of something. Akkusativ or Dativ, depending on whether there is movement or if it is a “state”

Zu is used to say you are going to someone/somewhere. You are heading in a direction or going to a destination. It is exclusively used to say you are going to someone’s house or a company that is specified by just its name like McDonalds. Examples Ich hehe zu Marianne or ich gehe zu McDonalds. Zu always takes the Dativ case even when there is movement involved.

In most cases, you can substitute in/auf/an with zu. Here are some examples:

  • Ich gehe ins Fitnessstudio/ Ich gehe zum Fitnessstudio
  • Ich gehe an den Strand / Ich gehe zum Strand
Nach Hause or zu Hause?? Ich gehe nach Hause means I am going home, but Ich bin zu Hause means I am Home


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