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Verbs with prepositions and the confusion with the dative case?


I've recently taught myself German and I realize I still have a long way to go. I am really passionate about learning German and I thought maybe I'd teach myself slowly and not give it a rush.

I've recently stumbled upon "verben mit präpositionen" and the dative case.

What specific type of verbs use prepositions? I still do not understand the pattern behind this.

"to believe in -> glauben an + akkusativ", but "something happens to somebody -> jmdm. gescheht etw."

They both practically mean "to" by logic, but why does one use a preposition and the other one can simply use the dative case?

January 16, 2018



not sure that Believe feels like a "to" thing" to me.


That was probably not a good example, but I'm still confused with verbs that get affected with prepositions and those that are simply enough with the dative case.


Generally, verbs reflect how they are used in a sentence -- referring to a subject, a direct object or an indirect object, for example. Some German verbs always require that a particular case be used, e.g., "gehören," to belong (to) is always associated with the dative case. Wem gehört das? Es gehört mir. Some verbs stand alone and sometimes add a preposition to extend the meaning -- this happens often. As you learned previously, many verbs contain prepositions which are separable and many others do not. an = at, on -- anfangen= to start, begin Ich fange _ an. anrufen= to call, telephone Ich rufe _ an. anziehen= to put on, dress Ich ziehe __ an.

be = makes a verb transitive or turns action towards object: beantworten = to answer (a question), besuchen = to visit, bekommen = to receive, get; Ich beantworte _., Ich besuche ., Ich bekomme ____,

Again, how the verb is used in a sentence is a general predictor as to whether a particular case is associated with it. Some memorization is required, yes, and experience with active usage of the language helps to solidify its norms.


I looked at the list I linked to below and could not see any pattern, sorry.



> What specific type of verbs use prepositions? I still do not understand the pattern behind this.

Theres an easy answer. Every verb that describes something that needs something that isnt expressed by the basic meaning of a kasus.
In reality this just means theres a lot to learn and its not easy at all. I use your example glauben. Ich glaube die Geschichte. Ich glaube ihm. Ich glaube ihm die Geschichte. Basic usage of Akkusativ and Dativ so far. Ich glaube an Gott. Now we have a different meaning that cant be expressed as in the previous sentences, to do another different expression we have to use a preposition.

Now your second example is very very different. Etwas geschieht jemanden. This is completly different construction. Etwas is in Nominativ and its the subject of the sentence, but its not the logical subject. Similar to Etwas gefällt jemanden and etwas schmeckt jemanden. In these constructions the logical subject is not the subject of the sentence. The structure of the sentence might also twist when you translate it 'I like the taste of ice cream' 'Eis schmeckt mir'.


I believe him the story. I believe in god. English also uses this. They express different things, and the thing that doesnt fit the regular meaning of the usage of grammar gets a preposition to fit the meaning.

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