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List of common verb + preposition idioms

Here is a list of some of the most common verb + preposition idioms in German along with their English
equivalents. They are organized by preposition and, when two-way prepositions, are sub-grouped
according to the case each phrase uses. General tendencies are noted wherever they apply.
Common German Verb - Preposition
English equivalents


In verb + preposition idioms, the two-way preposition an is used more frequently with the dative case than with the
accusative case. Most of the an + accusative phrases refer to mental processes. The preposition in an + dative idioms often
means in connection with, with respect to.
denken an (+ acc.) to think of (somebody / something)
erinnern an (+acc.) to remind of (sb. / sth.)
sich erinnern an (+ acc.) to remember (sb. / sth.)
sich gewhnen an (+ acc.) to get used to (sb. / sth.)
glauben an (+ acc.) to believe in (sb. / sth.)
schreiben an (+ acc.) to write to (sb.)
arbeiten an (+ dat.) to work on (sth.)
hindern an (+ dat.) to prevent from doing (sth.)
leiden an (+ dat.) to suffer from (sth.)
sterben an (+ dat.) to die of (sth.)
teil nehmen an (+ dat.) to take part in (sth.)
zweifeln an (+ dat.) to doubt (sth.)


In verb + preposition idioms, the two-way preposition auf is almost always used with the accusative. In the few instances
where auf occurs with the dative, it indicates an enduring position, a lack of movement. Auf is the most commonly used
preposition in verb + preposition idioms.
achten auf (+ acc.) to pay attention to (sb. / sth.)
antworten auf (+ acc.) to answer (sth.)
auf passen auf (+ acc.) to keep an eye on (sb. / sth.)
beschrnken auf (+ acc.) to limit to (sth.)
sich beziehen auf (+ acc.) to refer to (sb. / sth.)
sich freuen auf (+ acc.) to look forward to (sth.)
hin weisen auf (+ acc.) to point to (sth.)
hoffen auf (+ acc.) to hope for (sth.)
sich konzentrieren auf (+ acc.) to concentrate on (sth.)
reagieren auf (+ acc.) to react to (sth.)
sich verlassen auf (+ acc.) to rely on (sb. / sth.)
verzichten auf (+ acc.) to do without (sb. / sth.)
warten auf (+ acc.) to wait for (sb. / sth.)
zhlen auf (+ acc.) to count on (sb. / sth.)
bestehen auf (+ dat.) to insist on (sth.)


The dative preposition aus usually remains close to its conventional meaning of of or from.
bestehen aus to consist of (sth.)
entnehmen aus to gather from (sth.)
sich ergeben aus to result from (sth.)
schlieen aus to conclude from (sth.)


The accusative preposition fr usually remains close to its conventional meaning for.
sich begeistern fr to be enthusiastic about (sth.)
danken fr to thank for (sth.)
sich eignen fr to be suitable for (sb. / sth.)
sich entscheiden fr to decide in favor of (sb. / sth.)
halten fr to consider to be (sth.)
sich interessieren fr to be interested in (sb. / sth.)
sorgen fr to take care of (sb. / sth.)


In most verb + preposition combinations, the two-way preposition in is used with the accusative.
ein fhren in (+ acc.) to introduce to (sth.)
sich ein mischen in (+ acc.) to intervene, meddle in (sth.)
einwilligen in (+ acc.) to agree to (sth.)
sich verlieben in (+ acc.)
in jemanden verliebt sein (+acc)
to fall in love with (sb.)
to be in love wih someone
sich vertiefen in (+ acc.) to become engrossed in (sth.)
bestehen in (+ dat.) consist in (sth.)


The dative preposition mit normally means with in verb + preposition idioms.
sich ab finden mit to be satisfied with (sth.)
an fangen mit to start with (sth.)
auf hren mit to stop doing (sth.)
sich befassen mit to deal with (sb. / sth.)
sich beschftigen mit to be busy with (sb. / sth.)
rechnen mit to count on (sth.)
sprechen mit to speak with (sb.)
telefonieren mit to talk on the phone with (sb.)
berein stimmen mit to agree with (sb. / sth.)
sich unterhalten mit to converse with (sb.)


The dative preposition nach often means after or for with verbs of calling, asking, longing, and reaching. With sensory verbs
(e.g. to smell, to taste), nach usually means of or like.
aus sehen nach to look like (sth.)
sich erkundigen nach to inquire about (sb. / sth.)
fragen nach to ask about/for (sb. / sth.)
greifen nach to grab at (sth.)
riechen nach to smell like/of (sth.)
schmecken nach to taste like (sth.)
sich sehnen nach to long for (sth.)
streben nach to strive for (sth.)
suchen nach to search for (sb. / sth.)


In verb + preposition idioms, the two-way preposition ber is always used with the accusative case. In a number of idioms,
ber means about.
sich rgern ber (+ acc.)

sich freuen ber (+acc)
to be annoyed about (sb. / sth.)

to be happy about (sth.)
sich beschweren ber (+ acc.) to complain about (sb. / sth.)
diskutieren ber (+ acc.) to discuss (sth.)
sich informieren ber (+ acc.) to inform oneself about (sth.)
klagen ber (+ acc.) to complain about (sb. / sth.)
lachen ber (+ acc.) to laugh about (sb. / sth.)
nach denken ber (+ acc.) to think about, ponder (sb. / sth.)
spotten ber (+ acc.) to mock (sb. / sth.)
sprechen ber (+ acc.) to talk about (sb. / sth.)
sich streiten ber (+ acc.) to argue about (sth.)
urteilen ber (+ acc.) to judge (sb. / sth.)
verfgen ber (+ acc.) to have (sth.) at one's disposal
sich wundern ber (+ acc) to be surpised at/about (sb. / sth.)


The accusative preposition um usually has the sense of concerning or with respect to in verb + preposition idioms.
sich bemhen um

sich bewerben um
to make efforts toward (sth.)

to apply for (sth.)
betrgen um to cheat out of (sth.)
bitten um to ask for (sth.)
sich handeln um to be about (sth.)
kmpfen um to fight about (sth.)
konkurrieren um to compete for (sth.)
sich kmmern um to take care of (sb. / sth.)


The dative preposition von usually has the sense of English of or from in verb + preposition idioms. Some verbs of thinking
or communication may be used in combination with von or ber in the sense of about, but in these instances ber conveys a
more in-depth knowledge or communication than does von.
ab hngen von to depend on (sb. / sth.)
ab raten von to advise against (sth.)
ab sehen von to disregard (sth.)
erholen von to recover from (sth.)
erzhlen von to tell about (sb. / sth.)
etw. halten von to think sth. of (sb. / sth.)
sprechen von to speak of (sb. / sth.)
trumen von to dream of (sb. / sth.)
berzeugen von to convince of (sth.)
wissen von to know of (sb. / sth.)


The two-way preposition vor is always used with the dative case in verb + preposition idioms. With verbs of fear and
protection, it usually means of and from or against respectively.
Angst haben vor (+ dat.) to be afraid of (sb. / sth.)
beschtzen vor (+ dat) to protect from (sb. / sth.)
fliehen vor (+ dat.) to flee from (sb. /sth.)
sich frchten vor (+ dat.) to be afraid of (sb. / sth.)
sich hten vor (+ dat.) to be on guard against (sb. / sth.)
retten vor (+ dat.) to save from (sb. / sth.)
warnen vor (+ dat.) to warn against (sb. / sth.)


In verb + preposition idioms, the dative preposition zu sometimes means to or into, particularly with verbs of empowering,
leading, persuading, etc.
bei tragen zu to contribute to (sb. / sth.)
bewegen zu to induce to (do sth.)
dienen zu to serve the purpose of (sth.)
sich eignen zu to be suitable as (sth.)
fhren zu to lead to (sth.)
gehren zu to part of (sth.)
gratulieren zu to congratulate on (sth.)
heraus fordern zu to challenge to (sth.)
neigen zu to lean toward (sb. / sth.)
passen zu to suit (sb. / sth.)
rechnen zu to count as one of (sth.)
treiben zu to drive / impel to (sth.)
berreden zu to talk into (sth.)
zhlen zu to count as one of (sth.)
zwingen zu to force into (doing sth.)