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12.10 The genitive case - prepositions

Prepositions taking the genitive case
The following prepositions are normally written with the genitive case in formal written German:

  Preposition Example
(instead of)
statt der Diele
(instead of the hall)
auf Grund
(as a result of)
auf Grund des Regens
(as a result of the rain)
inklusive der Kosten
(including the costs)
trotz der Wände
(despite the walls)
während der Ferien
(during the holidays)
(because of)
wegen des Zimmers
(because of the room)

1. The preposition meaning "instead of" can either be written as "statt" or "anstatt".

2. You may also find the preposition "auf Grund" written as one word "aufgrund".

3. All of the above prepositions take the genitive in formal written German, but in conversational German you will often hear them used with the dative case. In Switzerland and Austria, "trotz" takes the dative case in formal written German as well as in conversational German.

4. The genitive of the personal pronoun is now deemed to be archaic, and the dative form of these pronouns is used after genitive prepositions in both spoken and written German - e.g. "trotz ihnen" (= despite them), "wegen ihm" (= because of him), "statt ihr" (= instead of her).

Prepositions of direction
The following prepositions indicating compass direction can also be followed by the genitive case:

(north of)
(north-east of)
(east of)
(south-east of)
(south of)
(south-west of)
(west of)
(north-west of)


  • Die Wohnung befindet sich südlich der Elbe und nordöstlich des Rathauses.
    (The flat is south of the River Elbe and north-east of the town hall.)
  • Das Hotel liegt östlich der Stadt.
    (The hotel is situated to the east of the city.)
  • Wir wohnen westlich des Stadtzentrums.
    (We live to the west of the city centre.)

The genitive is also used after "in der Nähe" (= near) and "am Ende" (= at the end of):

  • Das schwarze Brett befindet sich in der Nähe der Mensa.
    (The notice board is situated near the refectory.)
  • In der Nähe des Ladens gibt es eine Bushaltestelle.
    (There is a bus stop near the shop.)
  • Hier vorne am Ende des Flurs ist die Wohnküche.
    (Up here at the end of the hall is the combined kitchen and living room.)

Genitive or "von"?
The use of the genitive to link nouns is more common in written and formal German. In everyday speech however, a phrase with "von" followed by the dative is often used rather than a genitive. The use of "von" should nevertheless be avoided where possible in formal and written German.

das Haus meines Vaters (= written)
das Haus von meinem Vater (= spoken)
("my father's house")
die Wohnung meiner Eltern (= written)
die Wohnung von meinen Eltern (= spoken)
("my parents' flat")
in der Nähe des Bahnhofs (= written)
in der Nähe vom Bahnhof (= spoken)
("near the station")
südlich der Stadt (= written)
südlich von der Stadt (= spoken)
("south of the city")

1. A construction with "von" is not possible after the genitive prepositions auf Grund, inklusive, statt, trotz, während and wegen.

2. The genitive cannot be used however to translate "of" followed by the personal pronoun - i.e. "of him", "of her" etc. For these instances "von" followed by the dative case must be used:

  • jeder von uns
    (each of us)
  • ein Freund von mir
    (a friend of mine)

3. "Von" (+ Dative) should also be used if a noun stands by itself, without an article or any other word with an ending to show the case:

  • nordwestlich von Dresden
    (north-west of Dresden)
  • südöstlich von Luzern
    (south-east of Lucerne)
  • der Preis von zwölf Eiern
    (the price of twelve eggs)
  • die Sanierung von Altbauten
    (the renovation of old buildings)

Weiter!Chapter 12.11: The genitive case - articles and determiners

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