Category Prepositions

Death in German — So sicher wie das Amen in der Kirche

Anyone who has studied German literature in the past 50 years will know the novella Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice) by Thomas Mann. For most of us, death is an uncomfortable topic because it causes reflection on our own mortality and often means loss. However, next to taxes, it’s one of the two inevitable […]

4 German phrases that need the dative

As a German teacher there is really only one thing that makes my blood curdle… when students after hearing and reading the phrase “Wie geht es dir?” a million times spew out something like “Wie geht’s du?” Please, please, please do not make this mistake. We’ve moved. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/4-german-phrases-that-need-the-dative/

“mir” or “für mich” when to use the Dative or an Accusative Prepositional Phrase

The other day I was giving one of my German lessons on the run… literally running with my students. The advantages of combining language training and physical exercise are huge. Students combine things (multi-task if you will) and don’t have to worry bout sacrificing one form of self-improvement for an other. Secondly, the increased blood-flow […]

Using während and damit correctly in German

One of the things that I so often claim about the German languages is that it’s very specific and that words aren’t used with as much freedom as in English. I still maintain this, but there are certain words that often cause some confusion, when learned with a specific rule and then used differently from […]

Explaining your actions in German — using um … zu and damit clauses

A post that gets a great deal of attention is the one about how zu is not always used as an preposition, but often with verbs whereby it is followed by the infinitive of the verb. If you haven’t read that post yet, I highly suggest you do after reading this one. We’ve moved. You’ll […]

German Personal Pronouns at Après-Ski with Schlager Musik

Last week I gave you quite a bit of German ski vocabulary. It’s winter and in Switzerland that means Ski fahren. After a day of skiing many then hit the Après-Ski. Here is the a brief account of happens at Après-Ski: We’ve moved. You’ll find the full article here: http://marathonsprachen.com/german-personal-pronouns-at-apres-ski-with-schlager-musik/

Common German Prepositional mistakes

Prepositions are always tricky in any language. One of the best ways to learn prepositions is to learn them in phrases, because the idiomatic collocation often does not directly translate. Here are ten of the most common prepositional mistakes I hear when I teach German and their correct forms. Learn these correctly and you’ll be […]

Where you’re from — Using the German prepositions von and aus

During last week’s Stammtisch here in Zurich, many people were speaking about where they were from and where they had recently traveled to. It’s always great to hear about people’s background and see the plurality of different cultures that are moving to Switzerland and diversifying the city. Of course there is plenty of opportunity to […]

Talking about the past in German: seit vs. vor

Dealing with the past in German often leads to long and deep conversations. Fortunately, this blog is not meant to be political or historical, so I will keep me post short. I want to look at the prepositions vor and seit, when used in time expressions. German and English speakers don’t talk about the past […]

Bodies of Water in German and their Prepositions

Today I went stand up paddling for my first time on Lake Zurich. The experience was a perfect balance to the Limmatschwimmen from yesterday, where some 4200 people swam and floated down the Limmat. What does this all have to do with German? It’s a great vocabulary and preposition learning opportunity. First vocabulary related to […]