Go to the homepage of our German Course Chapter 6: Getting around town University of Portsmouth
6.7 Places and prepositions

Places which take "an"
You will already have noted that when you say that you are "at" several types of location in German, you use the preposition "an" - i.e. "am Bahnhof", "an der Ampel" etc.

If a German location uses "an" to translate "at", then you should use "zu" to describe movement towards such a place, and "von" to describe movement away from it. Thus when describing a bus stop you would say:

  • die Bushaltestelle = the bus-stop
  • an der Bushaltestelle = at the bus-stop
  • zur Bushaltestelle = to the bus-stop
  • von der Bushaltestelle = from the bus-stop

The following table explains this pattern for some more of the nouns which we have met so far.

  Place At the... To the... From...
Das Flugzeug airport  der Flughafen am Flughafen zum Flughafen vom Flughafen
Der Zug platform  der Gleis am Gleis zum Gleis vom Gleis
Der Platz square  der Platz am Platz zum Platz vom Platz
Der Bahnhof station  der Bahnhof am Bahnhof zum Bahnhof vom Bahnhof
Traffic lights traffic 
die Ampel an der Ampel zur Ampel von der Ampel

Neuter countries
We can construct a similar pattern for countries, but only those which are neuter. Here of course different prepositions are used and no definite articles. Note that all three prepositions "in", "nach" and "aus" take the dative case:

  • Deutschland = Germany
  • in Deutschland = in Germany
  • nach Deutschland = to Germany
  • aus Deutschland = from Germany

  Country In... To... From...
The British flag England  in England nach England aus England
The Irish flag Irland  in Irland nach Irland aus Irland
The Polish flag Polen  in Polen nach Polen aus Polen

Test yourself!
You can test yourself on the use of prepositions in these contexts by clicking on the two bars below:

Weiter! Chapter 6.8: Transport and prepositions

Go back to the top of the page Nach oben

Print this Document Print This Page

Homepage: Paul Joyce German Course
© Paul Joyce