Die Wechselpräpositionen

Published by Roslyn Green in January 2023

The Case of the “Changing” Prepositions

The prepositions in the middle of this diagram are the trickiest ones in German, since they are followed by either the accusative case or the dative case, depending on the context of the situation.

Sentence Examples

1 Wo ist mein Handy?

  • Movement: Du hast es in deine Schultasche gesteckt. You put it into your schoolbag. (accusative ending after in)
  • Position: Es ist in deiner Schultasche. It’s in your schoolbag. (dative ending after in)

2 Wo ist die Katze?

  • Movement: Sie ist unter das Haus gegangen. She went under the house. (accusative article after unter)
  • Position: Sie ist unter dem Haus. She is under the house. (dative article after unter)

3 Es gibt in dieser Stadt einen Weihnachtsmarkt!

  • Movement: Wir möchten auf den Weihnachtsmarkt fahren. We’d like to go/drive to the Christmas market. (accusative article after auf)
  • Position: Wir kaufen immer Geschenke auf dem Weihnachtsmarkt. We always buy presents at the Christmas market. (dative article after auf)

The Accusative and Dative Articles

Examples with Possessive Pronouns:
Accusative: Sie hat ihre Gartengeräte in meinen Garten gebracht.
Dative: Ihre Gartengeräte sind in meinem Garten.
Accusative: Er hat sein Fahrrad in meine Garage gestellt.
Dative: Sein Fahrrad ist in meiner Garage.
Accusative: Er geht in sein Zimmer, um sich zu entspannen.
Dative: Er entspannt sich in seinem Zimmer.

When the context refers to movement into a particular area, the preposition is followed by the accusative case.

When the context refers to remaining, existing or being within an area, however, the preposition must be followed by the dative case.

These rules also apply to the endings on possessive pronouns.

Meaning Check

Online Activities and Materials

Quiz: Verbs That Trigger the Accusative Case in German

This quiz identifies and clarifies the meaning of key movement verbs in German and provides practice with using the accusative articles in sentences.

This quiz as a printable PDF

Kahoot: More Practice with the Changing Prepositions

This is a fairly challenging Kahoot for students who feel confident about using the “changing prepositions”.

Handout | Arbeitsblatt

This double-sided handout provides a summary of the information on this page, along with exercises similar to those in the online quizzes.

The Accusative Prepositions

Published by Roslyn Green in January 2023

Seven German Prepositions that Trigger the Accusative Case ➡️ ⏸️ ⬅️

Mnemonic*: DOGFUBE

Below are seven essential prepositions that are followed by the accusative case. The example sentences clarify their meaning and illustrate their usage.

* The everyday word for mnemonic in German is Eselsbrücke, literally donkey’s bridge.

Präpositionen und Beispielssätze

KEY: Masculine Nouns Feminine NounsNeuter Nouns Plural Nouns PrepositionsAccusative Pronouns















durch ➡️ through; because of


Der Radfahrer fährt durch den Tunnel. – The cyclist is riding through the tunnel.

Ich kann deine Musik durch die Wand hören. Kannst du sie bitte leiser stellen? – I can hear your music through the wall. Can you please turn it down?

Durch deine Hilfe habe ich mich in Mathe wirklich verbessert. – I have really improved in maths because of / through your help.

ohne ➡️ without


Ich gehe nirgendwohin ohne mein Handy. I don’t go anywhere without my mobile.

Ohne dich hätte ich die Deutschprüfung nie bestanden. – Without you, I never would have passed the German exam.

Die Kinder stammen aus armen Familien, deshalb kommen sie ohne Schuhe zur Schule. – The children originate from poor families; that’s why they come to school without shoes.

gegen ➡️ against, towards


Junge Chinesen protestieren gegen die Corona-Politik ihrer Regierung, auch wenn sie dafür im Gefängnis landen könnten. – Young Chinese people are protesting against the Corona policy of their government, even though they could land in prison as a result.

In einer Apotheke: Haben Sie etwas gegen Kopfschmerzen? – In a pharmacy: Do you have something for headache? In German, you say “against headache”.

Der Schreiner lehnte die Leiter gegen die Mauer. – The carpenter leaned the ladder against the wall.

für ➡️ for


Die Schokolade ist für dich. – The chocolate is for you.

Wir fahren für zwei Wochen in den Urlaub. – We are going on holiday for a fortnight.

Der Computerkurs ist für ältere Menschen. – The computer course is (intended) for older people.

Ich schäme mich für mein Verhalten. – I am ashamed of my behaviour. In German: “ashamed for my behaviour”.

um ➡️ about, around, at


Letztes Jahr haben meine Eltern eine Reise um die Welt gemacht. – Last year, my parents took a trip around the world.

Die Kleinen gehen um acht (Uhr) ins Bett. – The little ones go to bed at 8 (o’clock).

Der Roman geht um eine irische Familie während der Kartoffelkrankheit im 19. Jahrhundert. – The novel is about an Irish family during the potato blight in the 19th century.

Mein Freund kommt gerade um die Ecke. – My friend is just coming round the corner.

bis ➡️ until


Bis nächste Woche! – See you next week. (Literally: Until next week.)

Die Bibliothek ist von neun Uhr morgens bis acht Uhr abends geöffnet. – The library is open from nine in the morning till eight in the evening.

Bis dahin müssen wir versuchen, allein zurechtzukommen. – Until then we must try to cope on our own.

Wir sind bis spät in die Nacht aufgeblieben. – We stayed up till late in the night.

Note: When bis is used before another preposition, such as in (above) or zu, the second preposition determines the case that follows: for example, in bis zum nächsten Wochenende, the preposition zu triggers the dative case.

entlang ➡️ along


Wir gehen die Straße entlang und gucken in die Schaufenster. – We are walking down / along the street and looking in the display windows.

Auf dem Elbe-Radweg kann man den Fluss entlang fahren. Dort sieht man kleine Dörfer, große Felder, Kühe und Schafe mit schwarzen Gesichtern. – You can cycle along the river on the Elbe bike path. You’ll see small villages, large fields, cows, and sheep with black faces.


Quiz: The Accusative Prepositions

In this quiz, learners can practise choosing the correct preposition and accusative article or pronoun in example sentences.

Corresponding Worksheet: A version of the online quiz as a downloadable PDF

Kahoots for Those Desperate Moments 😱

Published by Roslyn Green in November 2022

Here are thirty freshly updated Kahoots to accompany teachers and learners through the last exhausting months of this year. These games could be just the thing to get you through a torturous afternoon period in a long and wearing week. Students can also play them in little groups with one student hosting.

I’ve listed the Kahoots roughly in order from the simplest to the most difficult, with links to related pages that also offer individual quizzes for early finishers.

Please note: You may have to click through Kahoot’s marketing prompts initially. But hopefully you will get to a point where you can “continue as guest” or log in if you have an account.

Introduction to German

Beginners answer simple questions about greetings, noun gender, numbers and self-introduction. Suitable after 4-6 lessons of German.

Woher kommt…? / Was ist das?

This Kahoot provides practice with questions about people’s origins and the names of objects.

Jumble Kahoot: Ich lerne Deutsch

Learners respond to each question by placing four words (or sets of words) in the right order. This could be played with a class or by a small group of students.

Mein Steckbrief

This is a simple introductory game for students who are in the first 2-3 months of learning German. Players need to choose the correctly written sentence in each question.

Freunde, Freundinnen, Freundschaft

In this simple Kahoot, useful words for friends, friendship and the characteristics of friends are introduced.

Doktor Tierlieb: Ein Doktor für Tiere

Learners can revise animal names in singular and plural forms, definite and indefinite articles, and adjectives.

Audio text Handout

Mein Schultag

Players experience a simple school day in German, from breakfast before school to feeling tired afterwards.

Note: Both of the above units provide downloadable booklets for students.


This game revises the names of school items; ein/e and kein/e; and the uses of common school objects.

Note: Both of the above units provide downloadable booklets for students.

Pure Conjugation

Learners revisit the conjugation of important verbs, including sein, haben and some common vowel-changers.

End of Year German Quiz

This Kahoot provides revision for the first year or two of German learning.

Hobbys und Freizeit

The questions focus on the conjugation of key verbs for describing hobbies.

German Word Order with weil and denn

This is a jumble puzzle in which students need to place words in the correct order to form or complete a sentence. Each question allows a minute to work out the puzzle.


This quiz offers 20 questions in which simple vocabulary is introduced and then reiterated in the following question. Ideal after a year or two of German.

Allgemeinwissen | General Knowledge in German

This quiz is purely in German. A new word is introduced with the help of a simple sentence and picture, then reinforced in one or two of the following questions. The students therefore learn new German words by applying their existing general knowledge.

This is actually my most popular German Kahoot – it has been played more than any other. Who would have thought?

A Multitasking Verb: werden

Practise using and conjugating werden in two of its roles: as a verb meaning to become, to get, to turn; and as an auxiliary verb to create the future tense.

Cases and Adjective Endings

Players have to distinguish between the nominative and accusative cases and then choose the correct adjective endings in simple sentences.

Comparisons: Mein Hund ist größer als dein Hund!

Learners can practise making comparisons, including with irregular comparatives such as größer, wärmer, älter, jünger, länger, etc.

Persönlichkeit und Aussehen

Players can learn and revise adjectives for describing personality and appearance.

German: The Perfect Tense

This Kahoot focuses purely on the correct conjugation of the auxiliary verb: sein or haben. There are several simple sentences with a variety of activities represented.

Which Past Participle? – The German Perfect Tense

The key task for learners is to choose the correct past participle from four options. There are several simple sentences with a variety of activities represented.

The Long Weekend in the Present and the Perfect Tenses

Each question has a sentence in the present tense, followed by an equivalent sentence in the perfect tense. Players have to choose the correct auxiliary verb and past participle to complete the perfect tense sentence.

In den Schulferien habe ich…

Players choose between sentences that describe school holiday activities. They also revise W-question words, which should then allow them to pose questions about the holidays themselves.

Ich mache eine Party!

Learners revise vocabulary related to giving a party, inviting people to come, preparing for the event, and so on.

Viele Familiengeschichten

This Kahoot introduces key verbs for love, marriage and marriage breakdown, as well as exploring the complexity of family relationships in a very simple fashion.

Manchmal verstehen wir uns gut, manchmal nicht

This Kahoot reinforces vocabulary for describing how people get along — or don’t. Some questions require the use of weil to give reasons for feelings; others revise the reflexive pronouns.

Reflexive and Reciprocal Verbs in German – Accusative Reflexive Pronouns

Learners practise the usage of verbs such as sich anziehen, sich verstehen, sich beeilen, etc. This Kahoot provides good practice for the accusative reflexive pronouns and common verbs that require them.

Traumtag oder Horrortag?

In each question a typical teenager experience is described. The students have to decide what kind of day is represented. Later questions present players with 4 situations; they have to choose which belongs to a happy day or an awful one.

Die Umwelt

Players are asked to choose between options that are friendly to the environment and actions that might lead to harm. The vocabulary is summarised in the two pages buttoned below.

Relative Pronouns

This is a relatively challenging quiz for senior or more advanced students. Students need to choose between relative pronouns and distinguish between nominative, accusative and dative cases.

Die Wechselpräpositionen

This is a relatively challenging quiz for senior or more advanced students. I made it originally for students learning German at the Goethe-Institut in München, so it is completely in German and includes some photos from that visit.

Umweltschutz: Verben A-Z 🌳

Verbs for Discussing Environmental Issues

This post was published by Roslyn Green in October 2022.

The Conjugated Verb as Sentence Anchor

German word order is delightfully fluid. The only immovable part is the conjugated verb, which is reassuringly anchored in the second position. In the examples below, the conjugated verb is a modal verb. Other elements can move around, as illustrated by the floating subject, which is usually placed first or third. In sentences with modal verbs, the other verb in the infinitive form generally goes to the end.

Sentence Patterns

Key: subjectmodal verbinfinitive verb

  • Wir müssen sofort handeln. [act, take action]
  • Im Haushalt kann man den Müll leicht trennen. [separate, sort]
  • Im Supermarkt können wir immer Stofftüten benutzen. [use]
  • Bei uns zu Hause könnten wir sicher weniger heizen. [heat]
  • Morgen musst du deine alten Kleider aussortieren. [sort out]
  • Dann können wir sie zum Secondhandladen bringen. [take]
  • Die Regierung sollte bedrohte Tierarten schützen. [protect]
  • Wir müssen die Vielfalt der Natur für kommende Generationen bewahren. [preserve]
  • Die Politiker sollten erneuerbare Energien fördern. [promote]

Bildlexikon: Verben A-Z

It’s useful to focus on the verbs required to give advice and make suggestions about protecting the environment. Here’s a handy list.

das Licht ausmachen oder ausschalten – to turn out the light

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Stoff- oder Jutetaschen benutzen – to use cloth or jute bags

Image by Artur Konik from Pixabay

erneuerbare Energien erzeugen – to generate renewable energies

Image by Markus Distelrath from Pixabay

das Umweltbewusstsein fördern – to promote environmental awareness

Image by Dorothe from Pixabay

zu Fuß gehen statt mit dem Auto fahren – to walk instead of drive

Image by Lorraine Cormier from Pixabay

andere Menschen inspirieren – to inspire other people

David Attenborough from John CairnsCC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

gegen die Klimakrise kämpfen – to fight against the climate crisis

Image by cubicroot from Pixabay

umweltfreundliche Produkte kaufen – to buy environmentally friendly products

Image by rodgersm222 from Pixabay

nachhaltiger leben – to live more sustainably

Image by Markus Spiske from Pixabay

einen Becher oder eine Trinkflasche mitbringen – to take a cup or water bottle with you

Image by Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Bäume pflanzen – to plant trees

Image by Nico Wall from Pixabay

Papier und Karton recyceln – to recycle paper and cardboard

Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay

den CO2-Fußabdruck reduzieren – to reduce your carbon footprint

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

die Natur und die Umwelt respektieren – to respect nature and the environment

Image by homecare119 from Pixabay

Energie / Strom sparen – to save energy / electricity

Image by 0fjd125gk87 from Pixabay

Plastik vermeiden – to avoid plastic

Image by G J Whitby from Pixabay

Haushaltssachen wiederverwenden – to reuse household items

Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

Fenster und Türen zumachen – to close windows and doors

Image by yeshimss from Pixabay

Quizzes and Activities

Quiz: Verbs for Discussing Environmental Issues

Practise using the verbs listed above, including in sentences with modal verbs.

Become more and more familiar with the pattern shown on the left.

Match Pins and Labels: Umweltschutz: Haushalt, Stadt, Welt | Protecting the Environment: Household, City, World

This quiz is quite difficult even though it is full of pictures. Click on the for translations of all the phrasing. Each picture must be matched with a phrase about taking environmentally friendly action.

Kahoot: Die Umwelt

Players are asked to choose between options that are friendly to the environment and actions that might lead to harm. The vocabulary includes the wording summarised on this page, some modal verbs, and the use of denn to give explanations.

Umwelt: Besuch aus der Zukunft 🔮

Visit from the Future

Posted by Roslyn Green and Jana Kühn in October 2022

Besuch aus der Zukunft

This is a story by Jana Kühn about an imaginary teenager whose everyday life involves careless energy consumption.

Could this be you? Click here to listen to the audio and read the transcript at the same time or click on the link in the podcast episode embedded below.

Image by Petra from Pixabay

Besuch aus der Zukunft | Visit from the Future

After a typical day of reckless energy consumption, a teenager has a strange and disturbing dream.

Related Blog Pages:

Umwelt A-Z | Umweltschutz: Verben A-Z

These pages offer more vocabulary about the environment as well as extra quizzes to practise the new wording.

Fragen zum Hörtext | Questions About the Audio Text

  • Warum ist das Kind im Traum böse?
  • Welche Umweltprobleme produzieren die Erzählerin und ihre Familie?
  • Wie kann die Erzählerin diese Umweltprobleme vermeiden? Schreibe Sätze mit Modalverben.
  • (Diese Seite über Modalverben kann dir helfen.)

Audio Quiz on LearnClick: Besuch aus der Zukunft

At the end of a long day filled with poor environmental choices, a teenager dreams that a future grandchild reproaches her.

The worksheet below is a paper version of this quiz.

Audio Quiz on LearningApps: Besuch aus der Zukunft

This quiz is a slightly different task. It provides extra practice with the vocabulary, which is quite challenging.

Worksheet: Besuch aus der Zukunft

This worksheet is based on the audio and text titled Besuch aus der Zukunft, written by Jana Kühn. It provides guided questions for working through the vocabulary in the text, in particular vocabulary relating to environmental choices and separable verbs.

At the end, there is a simple task providing support with developing sentences containing müssen.

The audio quiz above is an online version of this worksheet.