How to Memorize German Prepositions with Accusative or Dative

Everyone studying German knows this “annoying” issue: German prepositions with accusative or dative, meaning that all prepositions in German need a special grammatical case, most times accusative or dative.

In this post I will concentrate on the prepositions that can only have either accusative or dative (i.e. I will address the topic of the two-way prepositions in a different post).

So, the problem is we have to memorize wether the prepositions listed below must be used with accusative or dative in order to decline the following word(s) correctly:

With accusative case With dative case
für, um, durch, gegen, ohne (special: bis) aus, bei, mit, nach, seit, von, zu, gegenüber

The solution to this problem are mnemonics:

  1. For the prepositions with accusative it’s an artificial word: FUDGO. It’s composed of the first letter of each of the 5 most important prepositions in the following order: für, um, durch, gegen, ohne. So, with one tiny word, you can easily dominate the accusative prepositions. 🙂
  2. For the prepositions with dative, it’s a short nursery rhyme: It consists of the melody of “Brother John” (watch video below) using the following lyrics:
    aus, bei, mit, nach (2x)
    seit, von, zu (2x)
    immer mit dem Dativ (2x)
    gegenüber auch (2x)

Special case bis

It’s not as important as the other 5 accusative prepositions because it can never be combined with any article (*bis meine Wohnung is wrong). It can only go with adjectives (bis nächste Woche). If you want to use it with an article, you must add the dative preposition zu after bis: bis zu meiner Wohnung. √

Now, after remembering FUDGO and singing the dative prepositions song ♬, you can practise your new mnemonics to memorize  the German prepositions with accusative or dative with the following exercise. 😉

Download “Exercise: Accusative and Dative Prepositions”

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