Can someone explain me the zu/zum/zur thing?

Hi I did not understand the whole zu zum zur thing can someone help me understand it ?


June 7, 2015


Zu is a preposition which means "to". For example: Ich gehe zu dem Zahnarzt. = I go to the dentist. Its structure is zu + Dativ, so the articles that it takes are dem (<-- der), der (<---die), dem (<---das), den (<--- die -for plural), einem (<--- ein), einer (<---eine), ein (<---ein). But, as in most prepositions, you can use some abbreviations.

zum = zu + dem Ich gehe zu dem Zahnarzt. --> Ich gehe zum Zahnarzt.

zur = zu + der Ich gehe zu der Arbeit. --> Ich gehe zur Arbeit.

Also, note that the same happens in other prepositions too. Like, for example the prepositions "vor" (also followed by dative case), which can become vom and/or vor.

I hope that this will help you. :)

June 7, 2015

Thank you soooo much!!! are there more preposition like those ?

June 7, 2015

Other prepositions which can take abbreviations? Yes -- "in" can become "im" ("in dem", masculine or neuter dative) or "ins" ("in das", neuter accusative).

Other prepositions which can take the dative or the accusative? Yes -- the full set is "auf in zwischen hinter vor über unter neben an", to recall the list as I learned it for school. With all of these, they take the accusative if they are to do with movement but the dative if they are to do with staying still. For example: "I go into the cinema" = "Ich gehe ins Kino" but "I am in the cinema = "Ich bin im Kino".

Hope that helps!

June 7, 2015

I think the better differentiation is changing location vs remaining at the same location rather than moving vs remaining still.

I am running into the movie theater = Ich renne ins Kino

I am running around inside the movie theater = Ich renne im Kino

You can be moving around, but if the action is taking place entirely in one location, it's dative. If it is a description of the direction you are moving in, rather than a description of the place you are presently at, then it is accusative.

June 7, 2015

Yeah, that is a more accurate way of putting it. Thank you!

June 7, 2015


June 7, 2015


In case you missed it.

Dative case is easily identified by the presence of a preposition.

Daitive case definite article

Masc. = dem

Feminine = der

Neuter = dem

Plural = den

Zum = zu + dem = to the .....followed by a masculine noun/pronoun

Zur = zu + der = to the .....followed by a feminine noun/pronoun

Zum and Zur mean exactly the same thing and change their structure on the basis of the masc./fem. gender of the noun or pronoun they are attached to.

June 7, 2015

NO! The preposition ‘vor’ cannot change! It’s just ‘von dem’ that can change to ‘vom’!
Do not confuse ‘vor’ (in front of, before) and ‘von’ (of, from) – it might look like ‘von der’ can change to ‘vor’ but it does not.

June 9, 2015

In colloquial German, all of these shortenings are common with dative case:

vor, hinter, über, unter + dem = vorm, hinterm, überm, unterm ...

vor, hinter, über, unter + das = vors, hinters, übers, unters, ...

and some more

June 11, 2015

One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet: "der" and "dem" contract with prepositions only when they are functioning as articles and not, for example, when they are relative pronouns.

June 7, 2015

"Zur" and "zum" are abbreviations.

Zur = zu + der

Zum = zu + dem

June 7, 2015


June 7, 2015
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