This week we're doing the last part of this German Preposition Cases series. Let's take a look at those tricky dual-case prepositions that require either the accusative case or the dative case for nouns, pronouns, and adjectives.
The German dual-case prepositions are an, auf, hinter, in, neben, unter, vor, zwischen, and über. As a general rule, if the preposition suggests motion or movement from one place to another, it takes the accusative case. If there is no motion or movement suggested, it takes the dative case. Please take a moment to review the dative and accusative cases in the previous lessons.
The nominative pronoun ich becomes mir in the dative case and mich in the accusative case. Note in the following how "because of me" suggests no movement and uses the dative pronoun, whereas "send to me" suggests the motion of sending something and thus takes the accusative pronoun.
Er fragt sich: „Liegt es nur an mir, dass es jetzt schneit?“
He asks himself, "Is it just because of me that it's snowing now?"
Caption 10, Jan Wittmer - WeihnachtsliedPlay Caption
Wenn Sie sie einfach direkt an mich schicken würden...
If you'll just send them directly to me...
Caption 31, Berufsleben - das VorstellungsgesprächPlay Caption
The German feminine of the definite article "the" is die. In the next captions, there is no movement when discussing a scale of numbers, so the nominative die becomes the dative der. Apparently, viewing something conveys some motion in that you are actively looking at something, thus a "view of a bridge" uses the accusative die.
Auf der Skala eins bis zehn: Bei dir bin ich zehn
On a scale of one to ten: With you I am ten
Captions 16-17, 2raumwohnung - Liebe mit Musik am Laufen haltenPlay Caption
Das ist die Draufsicht auf die Brücke.
That is the view of the bridge.
Caption 40, 48 h in Innsbruck - Sehenswürdigkeiten & TippsPlay Caption
Back to the nominative personal pronoun "I," which in dative becomes mir and in accusative becomes mich. As you'll notice, the passive phrase "is situated" gets the dative case, and the active phrase "to get it behind me" receives the accusative case:
Hinter mir befindet sich die ehemalige amerikanische Botschaft.
The former American Embassy is situated behind me.
Caption 3, Berlin - der alte amerikanische SektorPlay Caption
Ja, ich wollte es einfach hinter mich bringen.
Yes, I just wanted to get it behind me.
Caption 9, Die Wohngemeinschaft - ProblemePlay Caption
Hopefully these examples will help give you an idea of when to use the dative (no motion, passive) or accusative (motion, active) cases with the above dual-case prepositions.
We just went through the dative and accusative cases for the dual-case prepositions an, auf, and hinter. Try looking on Yabla German for dative and accusative examples of the remaining dual-case prepositions in, neben, unter, vor, zwischen, and über. It will help you find them if you look for specific accusative and dative definite articles or pronouns when you do the search!