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The preposition

 
 
Words like the following are called prepositions:

an, außer, bei, durch, statt, unter, über, vor, zu, zuzüglich, etc.

Prepositions connect words and word groups with each other. They express a local, temporal, modal or causal relation between two facts.

local: Das Besteck liegt in der Schublade.
temporal: Sie kennen einander seit unserer Schulzeit.
modal: Sie konnte nur mit großer Mühe sprechen.
causal: Wir konnten wegen des schlechten Wetters nicht kommen. 

Prepositions are usually placed before the word they relate to, hence their Latin name "preposition" (putting before).

in der Schublade
seit unserer Schulzeit
mit großer Mühe


The combination of a preposition and the word or word group it relates to is called prepositional group or prepositional phrase.

A preposition usually governs a case, i.e. the noun or pronoun that follows the preposition must be in a particular case:

für + accusative: für den Besucher, für ihn
mit + dative: mit dem Vater, mit ihm
oberhalb + genitive:   oberhalb des Steinbruchs

Some prepositions have (slightly) different meanings that govern different cases:

Ich lege das Besteck in die Schublade
Das Besteck liegt in der Schublade.

Prepositions are not inflected, but some preposition and some inflected forms of the definite article can be contracted into one word:

an + dem   am
bei + dem   beim 
zu + der   zur

The prepositions are described under the following topics:

Use How to use prepositions in a sentence?
Meaning What kinds of relations do prepositions express?
Preposition+Case Which case does a preposition govern?
Preposition+Article  Contraction 'preposition + definite article'





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