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Examples:

Der Fall: The case. Fall(s): In case of.

Das Mittel: The means. Mittels: By means of.

As an English speaker, I think of an s as a "pluralizer." But in these instances, the meaning of the noun-s sequence seems to be a construction of "preposition noun of."

What are these cases an example of? To take off on a comment below, what does it mean that s is a "genitizer?"

And are there many more such applications?

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If that "s" can be explained grammatically, it is probably not a "pluralizer", but a "genitivizer". :) –  Stefan Walter Jul 14 '11 at 14:30
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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

The words you're describing are prepositions which originate from a noun's genitive. There are other examples:

  • angesichts
  • abseits
  • betreffs
  • längs
  • mittels
  • namens
  • seitens
  • zwecks

There are similar preposition which are derived from nouns but without the final s:

  • anhand
  • anlässlich
  • anstelle
  • aufgrund
  • dank
  • infolge
  • inmitten
  • kraft (meines Amtes z. B.)
  • laut
  • statt
  • trotz
  • zufolge

When nouns are followed by one of these suffixes: -falls, -teils, -weise, -maßen, -seits, then they are adverbs and have to be written in lower case too:

Examples: anderenfalls, bespielsweise, haufenweise, etc.

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