There are some common prepositions in the German language that can be used both in Akkusativ as well as Dativ cases. They are-
- An- on (a vertical surface)/ along
- Neben- besides/ near
- Zwischen- between
- Auf- on (a horizontal surface)
- Hinter- behind
- In- in/ inside
- Unter- under
- Über- over
- Vor- in front of
Now, the question is ‘how to determine which is the Akkusativ case and which is the Dativ one?’. In order to answer that, we need to keep one simple rule in mind, i.e. – In a sentence, when there is a change in the position of the object from one point to another, then after the preposition, we will take Akkusativ Case.
Zum Beispiel- “Ich stelle den Kaffee auf den Tisch.” – “I put the coffee on the table.” “Ich gehe ins(in das) Kino.” – “i am going in the theatre”
Here, the coffee has been put on the table from somewhere. So, the sentence is accusative.
On the other hand, when the location of an object is being specified (doesn’t change from 1 point to another) in a sentence then it is called Dativ.
Zum beispiel- “Der Kaffee ist auf dem Tisch.” – “The coffee is on the table.” “Ich bin im(in dem) Kino.” – “I am in the theatre”
Here, the position doesn’t change as the location is specified. So, the sentence is Dative.
Let’s look at some more examples;
“Markus geht in das Büro. ” – “Markus is going to the Office.”
Here, there is a change of position from one point to another. So, it is Akkusativ.
“Die Leute laufen in dem Garten.”- “The people are running in the garden.”
Here, the position of the people is not changing with respect to the garden, i.e.- people are running in the garden but not going outside the garden. So, it is Dativ. Einfach oder nicht ?