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11.11 New prepositions

The preposition "ab"
The German preposition "ab" means "from ... onwards" and tends to be used without a following article or determiner. It normally takes the dative case, but it can also take the accusative case in time phrases when it is not followed by a determiner.

Das ist ab sieben Uhr im Restaurant
("That is from seven o'clock onwards in the restaurant")
Kinderermäßigung ab 12 Jahre(n)
("Child reductions for 12-year-olds and above.")
Eine Reservierung ist ab 4 Nächte(n) möglich.
("A reservation is possible for stays of longer than four nights.")
Ab Hauptbahnhof direkt per U-Bahn
("From the central station you can travel directly using the underground")

The prepositions "per" and "pro"
Take care not to confuse these two prepositions. The German preposition "pro" should be used to translate English "per". The German preposition "per" on the other hand is used mainly in commercial German to translate "by" as in a means of doing something, often a means of transport.

Both "per" and "pro" take the accusative case, but are almost always used without a following determiner.

Was ist der Preis pro Tag?
("What is the price per day?")
Ein Einzelzimmer kostet 85 Euro pro Tag.
("A single room costs 85 euros per day.")
Die Tagungspauschale ist 25 Euro pro Person.
("The conference charge is 25 euros per person.")
Die Äpfel kosten 50 Cent pro Stück.
("The apples cost 50 cents each.")
Wie Sie uns per Bahn finden:
("How you can find us by rail:")
So erreichen Sie unser Hotel per Straßenbahn:
("This is how you can reach our hotel by tram:")
per Post
("by post")

The preposition "bis"
In practice, "bis" is used on its own only with names, adverbs and a few time phrases. Otherwise it is followed by another preposition which determines the case of the following noun.

We shall look at "bis" in more detail in subsequent chapters, but for the moment note the construction required to express the date until which you plan to stay somewhere and how to travel "as far as" a place:

Von wann bis wann bleiben Sie hier?
("From when until when are you staying here?")
Wir bleiben vom ersten bis zum siebten Februar.
("We're staying from the first to the seventh of February.")
Sie bleibt vom 20. August bis zum 24. August.
("She's staying from the twentieth to the twenty-fourth of August.")
Wie weit ist es bis zum Hotel?
("How far is it to the hotel?")
Mit dem Bus Linie 27 fahren Sie direkt bis zur Pension.
("You can travel directly to the guest-house using bus number 27.")
von acht Uhr bis neun Uhr
("from eight o'clock until nine o'clock")
Ihr fahrt nur bis Dresden.
("You're only travelling as far as Dresden.")

1. If you need reminding about how to express dates in German, click here to return to the appropriate page in Chapter 9.

2. Note another construction that you can use to describe the duration of your stay:

  • Und für welches Datum, bitte?
    (And for which date, please?)
  • Für den 14. und 15. März, also zwei Nächte.
    (For the fourteenth and the fifteenth of March, that makes two nights.)

Weiter! Chapter 11.12: "Werden" and the passive

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