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was magst du an deinem Beruf?

Hello people, I haven't been learning German for a while and I'm a little rusty.

Can any explain why "Beruf" is in the dative case here?

I thought it would be accusative case as it is the object being liked?


July 31, 2017



Because the preposition 'an' takes the dative case in this sentence.


With two-way prepositions you have to ask does the verb describe some kind of change with respect to the noun following the preposition? If yes, use the accusative. If no, use the dative. In this case 'mag'/'like' does not describe a change with respect to 'deinem Beruf'/'your job', so the dative is used.


I don't believe that to be the case universally with two-way prepositions (or Wechselpräpositionen).

You are correct, when it is applicable to ask whether or not there is movement - z.B.:

  1. Ich hänge das Bild an die Wand;

  2. Das Bild hängt an der Wand.

However, when it really isn't applicable to ask whether or not there is movement, the Wechselpräpositionen typically act like the other prepositions and just take one case - z.B.:

„Ich warte auf dich

Notice how the case is accusative, despite the lack of change of state.

Here's a short list of Wechselpräpositionen with their usual case, when non/movement is not applicable:

  • in + acc.

  • über + acc.

  • vor + dat.; &

  • auf + acc.

N.B. Two exceptions to the "auf + acc." rule:

  • beruhen auf + dat.; &

  • bestehen auf + dat.

Although to play it safe it is better to learn them on a case-by-case basis, because sometimes they do play up.

Just looked it up in my grammar book, and "an" is actually a perfect example of why you should learn these on a case-by-case basis:

an + acc.

  • denken an

  • (sich) erinnern an

  • sich gewöhnen an; &

  • glauben an

an + dat.

  • erkennen an

  • fehlen an

  • leiden an

  • sterben an

  • teilnehmen an; &

  • zweifeln an


Unfortunately two-way prepositions aren't as simple as figuring out whether or not the verb is describing some kind of change with respect to the noun following the preposition.


What do you like about your job = was magst du an deinem Beruf. Do you like your job = magst du deinen Beruf.

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