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https://www.duolingo.com/profile/margusoja

Postpositions in German language

So far I have encounted (or at least I rememeber) only two situations in which in German the postpositions are used as opposed to the prepositions in English.

  • meiner Meinung nach (according to my opinion);
  • Wir gehen die Strasse entlang (we go along the street).

Are there any other commonly used postpositions in German? If yes, then would it be possible to add a special group of exercises for the postpositions in the German course ?

September 26, 2015

9 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Postposition lists five postpositions:

  • einem Bericht zufolge (+ Dativ) (according to a report)
  • der Einfachheit halber (+ Genitiv) (for simplicity's sake)
  • meiner Meinung nach (+ Dativ) (according to my opinion)
  • den Fluss entlang (+ Akkusativ) (along the river)
  • des Geldes wegen (+ Genitiv) (because of the money, due to the money)

Some postpositions can also be used as prepositions (and in some cases, they take a different case then):

  • zufolge eines Berichts (+ Genitiv)
  • entlang dem Fluss (+ Dativ, seltener auch + Genitiv)
  • wegen des Geldes (same case as as a postposition - genitive)

The first two examples are from Wikipedia; they sound a bit odd to me, and I would generally use "zufolge" as a postposition. "Wegen" is my example, and it's probably more commonly a preposition but can also be a postposition.

Note also the opposite case, where English has a postposition:

  • vor zehn Jahren (ten years ago)

(ago seems to be the only common English postposition; others such as notwithstanding are rarer, and constructions such as ten years long, all night through, three days hence and the like may or may not involve postpositions.)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sakasiru

regarding entlang, it seems that it's usually used as a postposition with accussative, dsecribing a direction: "wir gehen den Fluss entlang", while you use it as a preposition together with dative, describing a location: "entlang dem Ufer wächst Schilf". It sounds very weird if you switch these positions. I have no idea why this is, it's just something I noticed.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/margusoja

There seem to be some more postpositions common to both German and English, and like "ago" they are related to time as well. I'm not 100% sure though, if they are classified as postpositions according to the grammar rules or something else.

  • Es passierte 20 Jahre später (it happened 20 years later);
  • Sie sollten einige Minuten früher erscheinen (you should arrive a few minutes early)

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/margusoja

I add one more - der Reihe nach (sequentally; one-by-one). I just saw this in a sentence "Dann decken die Spieler der Reihe nach ihre Karten auf", it took a while to recognize and understand the phrase.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tmeans2

this is one of the sentences in the course: Der Dienstag ist dem Montag ähnlich. In the comments section ähnlich was called a postpostion, thus its position in the sentence. Is this correct? ähnlich feels more like an adjective here, but I can't figure out another explanation as to why it is at the end


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V.L.15
  • 1094

Methinks I figured it out. Mayhaps.

»Der Dienstag ist dem Montag ähnlich« - the preposition in this case may, in fact, be »zu« which is hidden in the phrase »dem Montag«, expressed in dative case.

A transliteration of the German expression (which indeed sounds natural) might be: »The Tuesday is to the Monday similar« - which, all of a sudden, actually seems to make sense.

Calling »ähnlich« an adjective and then saying that it takes dative case doesn't make much sense - as in, adjectives don't take case, but are required to take the case of the nouns they modify - except, in German, predicate adjectives aren't required to show case.

Which may have led to the confusion in the first place: We see »ist« (sein) which expects nominative case in the predicate, then see »dem« and presume it had something to do with »ähnlich« at the end of the sentence.

Which leaves the question: Where did the »dem« in »dem Montag« come from?

My guess is, in this particular case, the intended preposition was »zu« and use of the dative case is what reflected that intention.

»ähnlich« then became a true predicate adjective which then followed the rest of the sentence, as predicate adjectives often do.

mizinamo, would you care to chime in?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizinamo

I'd consider it an adjective as well.

Predicate adjectives often come at the end.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tmeans2

Thanks for responding!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TasosPolyc

Why we say; "Der Dienstag ist dem Montag ähnilch" and no "Der Dienstag ist ähnilch der Montag"?

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