Where, When, Which, Cases and Prepositions in German

Welcome to my second little help page on the German language. I hope that you all found the previous definite article related case information helpful!

In this post prepositions will be taking centre stage!

Prepositions in German (as in every language) are very important, maybe even more so in German due to separable verbs, and the need to change the case for certain prepositions.

In German there are three groups of prepositions, Dative, Accusative, Genitive and those that like to be greedy and use both Dative and Accusative depending on the context.

There is, as you will have guessed, a table to help you remember all of these:

Now, how to memorise all this?


“Roses are red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet and so are you”. You know the poem? Well, replace the words to the poem with the dative prepositions… Said from top to bottom, they fit in the same pattern perfectly!


Unfortunately there isn’t a rhyme that I can think of that will go with one, but if anyone else can, I’d be happy to incorporate it into here. Until then, let’s just take the first letter of each preposition: BEDOGWUF.

BE DOG WUF – Not perfect English, but hey, we’re learning German aren’t we? So remember the dog woofs, and do so accusative prepositions!

Dative / Accusative:

The problem with this table is that the more you have to remember the harder it becomes to create an effective rhyme. So here what’s been done is some simple paring…

It would be useful to learn them in pairs, so for example: über and unter are in their respective positions, just as vor and hinter are.


Luckily there are only six of these, and two go together really well außerhalb and innerhalb. Unfortunately for the other four, you will just have to learn these this time. But as before, don’t shy away from the genitive! Build the foundations as solid as possible, before you start decorating the house!

Hope you found this useful!

I like to provide a link to a PDF copy of my posts so you can download them and print them, burn them, whatever you see fit:

Where, When, Which, Cases and Prepositions in German

Learning German, and the most important table ever

German has never been the easiest language to learn, and it never will be. The German language loves to throw hurdles and twists at those who are trying to learn it…

Yet, with a few simple and easy things, German becomes a whole lot easier to deal with. Despite these things being easily available on the internet, there isn’t a concise and accessible place to find them.

Whilst learning German I spent a lot of time sifting through websites which only gave half the information, or diluted it down with over-simplified explanations (which only made things more confusing).

When I refer to the most important table ever in the title, I am not going to present you with the personal pronouns, nor the verbs “sein” and “haben” in a pretty colour co-ordinated table.

I am assuming that you have are around A-Level standard in German. Sorry, I don’t know how this would translate to outside the UK, but I would guess about the level you would be in the two years prior to going to University.

So let’s get to it.

We all know that German has four cases, and that each case likes to change the article on words, and this is where the most important table pops its head up:

German Case Table

This table is to an extent the key to avoiding a lot of hardship with cases.

It is common to see this type of table with either no genitive case, or with the dative and genitive case swapped. There are a few of reasons why I find this one better.

First, if you are going to learn the cases and the changes they make, you may as well do it all at once, and get to grips with it. All the cases are important and used extremely often. Emitting the genitive case because it’s a little more difficult than the others, or because you might not really need to use it at the time is counter productive. You will need it at some point, and you will see it and need to understand it.

Second, the table like this lends itself to mnemonics. To remember the cases, and the order of them in the table too, take the first letter of the cases reading downwards:

NAGD. What do cases do? They nag us. We are NAG(e)D by the cases…

It’s not going to win a poetry prize, but it works.

What about the dative? Of all the articles in the table, it is probably the hardest one to remember. This time, take the last letter of the articles:

MRMN. Once upon a time we all read the “Mr Men” series of books. The articles spell: MR M(e)N

Last, the table does have a certain rhythm to it. Saying the articles one after another produces a certain chime, which all helps to lodge this stuff in your memory.

Because we always seem to have to add the letter “e” to parts of this table, I like to refer to it as the: “Table of Missing ‘e’s”.

That’s all for the most important table in learning German, but there will be more tables and “fun” facts coming along soon!

Please feel free to contact me with questions, suggestions, and corrections if there is anything I’ve not done properly!

Thanks for reading!

I like to provide a link to a PDF copy of my posts so you can download them and print them, burn them, whatever you see fit:

Learning German, and the most important table ever