Genitive Prepositions

Hallo, Deutschlerner. Today’s lesson is about genitive prepositions. There are 4 basic ones, but at least 12 more that aren’t as common. In this post, I’ll introduce you to all of them.

If you need a lesson about the basics of the genitive case, I did that last week. If you want a deep dive into every detail about the genitive case, you can check out my Genitive Case Master Class.

Practice what you learn in this lesson with a worksheet and answer key here.

What are genitive prepositions?  

Genitive prepositions are prepositions that require the object that follows to be used in the genitive case. There are upwards of 16 of these prepositions, but there are 4 usually listed in most German textbooks, as these are the most commonly used ones. I have included the full list in the image below and highlighted the most common 4. I’ll start with those today and then move on to the others. 

Genitive Prepositions List
Genitive Prepositions List

anstatt – instead of 

Anstatt eines Autos kaufe ich ein Fahrrad. –
Instead of a car, I buy a bike. 

Der Junge isst einen Apfel statt eines Kuchens. –
The boy is eating an apple instead of a cake. 

As you can see with these two examples, the object that follows the preposition is in the genitive case, eines Autos and eines Kuchens. You may have also noticed that in the second example I said “statt” without the “an” at the beginning. This is also an acceptable version of this preposition. The meaning doesn’t change. It is just a personal preference if you want to say “statt” or “anstatt”. 

trotz – despite, in spite of

Trotz der Kälte steht er im Regen. –
In spite of the cold he is standing in the rain. 

Die Lehrerin wiederholt die Anweisungen trotz des Lärms. –
The teacher repeats the instructions despite the noise. 

The preposition “trotz” is used in a very similar way to the English phrase “in spite of”. It shows a juxtaposition of one thing vs the action taken. 

während – during

Während des Sturms gab es einen Stromausfall. –
During the storm there was a power outage. 

Ich bin während des Spiels eingeschlafen. Wer hat gewonnen? –
I fell asleep during the game. Who won? 

This one is a bit tricky, because there is also the conjunction “während”, which is used to express very similar concepts.

Is während a preposition or conjunction?

Während can be used as either a conjunction or a preposition. The main thing to remember is that the preposition “während” is combined with a noun, while the conjunction “während” is combined with a subordinate clause. 

Während ich ein Eis esse, isst meine Schwester etwas Brokkoli. –
While I am eating ice cream, my sister is eating some broccoli. 

I have a lesson all about these kinds of conjunctions and the clauses they cause. In general, if you can translate the sentence into English with the word “while”, you probably mean the conjunction and not the preposition. When “während” is used as a preposition, it is almost always translated as “during”. 

wegen – because of

Wegen der Inflation kostet mein Kaffee 5€. –
Because of inflation my coffee costs €5. 

Fred darf wegen seines Hausarrests nicht mitkommen. –
Fred can’t come along, because of his grounding (because he was grounded). 

wegen vs weil, denn & da

If you mean to say “because” followed by a phrase you probably need to use the conjunction “weil”, “denn” or “da” instead of the preposition “wegen”. 

Ich kann mir keinen Kaffee leisten, weil die Inflation des Euros steigt. –
I cannot afford a coffee because the inflation of the Euro is rising. 

Ich kann mir keinen Kaffee leisten, denn die Inflation des Euros steigt. –
I cannot afford a coffee because the inflation of the Euro is rising. 

Da die Inflation des Euros steigt, kann ich mir keinen Kaffee leisten. –
Because the inflation of the Euro is rising, I cannot afford a coffee. 

Again, there is more information about these conjunctions in the same lesson I mentioned about “während”. “denn” is actually in a different category of conjunction, however, so it is in this lesson. For today’s lesson, just remember that when you say “because of” followed by a noun, you need to use the preposition “wegen” and when you follow it with a clause, you need a conjunction like “weil”, “denn” or “da”. 

Genitive Prepositions used with the Dative Case?

Now is probably an opportune time to mention that you will often hear the genitive prepositions used with the dative case instead of the genitive. This is almost exclusively in spoken German and is more prevalent in certain regions than in others. In my mind, it is better to use the genitive case than the dative, as this is what the official guardians of German grammar dogma have said it should be. Just know that you might hear someone say “wegen seinem Hausarrest” instead of “wegen seines Hausarrests”. 

Lesser Known Genitive Prepositions

The four prepositions I have shown you so far are usually the only ones in textbooks. This is partly because they are the most used ones, but it is also partly because there are easier ways to phrase almost all of the other genitive prepositions. Rather than teaching these prepositions in lower level courses, teachers and textbook creators will opt to leave them for a much later B1/B2 level lesson. I like to be thorough, so I’m going to teach them to you today anyway. 

innerhalb – inside of

Gegenseitiger Respekt ist äußerst wichtig innerhalb eines Geschäfts. –
Mutual respect is crucial inside of a business. 

Innerhalb einer Stunde wurde er verhaftet. –
Inside of an hour he was arrested. 

außerhalb – outside of 

Warum ist die Milch immer noch außerhalb des Kühlschranks? –
Why is the milk still outside of the refrigerator?

Die Polizei hat sein Auto außerhalb der Stadt gefunden. –
The police found his car outside of the city. 

oberhalb – above

Der Clown jongliert Bälle auf einem Hochseil oberhalb des Publikums. –
The clown is juggling balls on a tightrope above the audience.

Die Sommerrodelbahn ist auf einem Berg oberhalb der Stadt. –
The alpine coaster is on a mountain above the city. 

unterhalb – under

Manche Flüsse fließen unterhalb der Erde. –
Some rivers flow underground. 

Die Stadt liegt unterhalb des Skiurlaubsorts. –
The city is located below the ski resort.

seitens – on the side of 

Die Firma musste wegen Diebstahl seitens der Arbeitnehmer Bankrott anmelden. –
The company had to declare bankruptcy because of theft on the part of the employees. 

Die Gefährlichkeit des Weges erfordert Vorsicht seitens der Wanderer. –
The danger of the path requires caution on the side of the hikers. 

diesseits – this side of

Dieses Restaurant hat das beste Barbecue diesseits des Mississippis. –
This restaurant has the best barbecue this side of the Mississippi. 

Diesseits der Grenze findet man viel mehr wilde Blumen. –
On this side of the border you find many more wild flowers. 

jenseits – on the other side of

Es gibt viele Obdachlose, die jenseits dieses Gebäudes leben. –
There are a lot of homeless people who live on the other side of this building. 

Jenseits der Brücke steht ein Troll. –
On the other side of the bridge stands a troll. 

anlässlich – on the occasion of 

Meine Frau hat mir ein Buch über Goethe anlässlich unserer silbernen Hochzeit gekauft. –
My wife bought me a book about Goethe on the occasion of our silver wedding anniversary. 

Seine ganze Familie jubelte anlässlich seines Freispruchs. –
His entire family cheered on the occasion of his acquittal. 

kraft – by virtue of 

Kraft des Gesetzes darf man einen Führerschein anstatt eines Reisepasses als Ausweis benutzen, wenn man innerhalb der USA fliegt. –
By law you are allowed to use a driver’s license instead of a passport as identification when you are flying inside of the USA. 

Der Lehrer darf Weisungen kraft seiner Autorität ausgeben. –
The teacher is allowed to give orders by virtue of his authority. 

laut – according to 

Laut dieser Zeitung ist der Musiker bei einem Autounfall gestorben. –
According to this newspaper the musician died in a car accident. 

Laut seines Vaters ist er nicht zu Hause. –
According to his father, he isn’t at home. 

aufgrund – on the basis of, because of

Aufgrund seiner Vorbestrafung hat er den Job nicht bekommen. –
Because of his criminal record he didn’t get the job. 

Wir haben heute schulfrei aufgrund des Schnees. –
We don’t have school today because of the snow. 

bezüglich – with regard to 

Ich habe eine Frage bezüglich meiner Bewerbung. –
I have a question with regard to my application. 

Mein Chef will mit mir bezüglich meiner Pünktlichkeit sprechen. –
My boss would like to speak to me regarding my punctuality.

More Genitive Case Lessons 

Learn More About German Prepositions

Accusative Prepositions
Dative Prepositions
Two-Way Prepositions (Wechselpräpositionen)
Genitive Prepositions
Verbs with “Fixed Prepositions” Don’t Exist
Verbs Commonly Used with Dative Prepositions
Verbs Commonly Used with Two-Way Prepositions & the Dative Case
von vs vor
German Prepositions Songs
Download all of Herr Antrim’s materials about Prepositions here!