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I got confused by using both bis and zu there,

Why it's "bis zum nächsten Mal"?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Some prepositions are used in combination with others. The construction bis zu is used with Dativ (3rd grammar case).

Bis zum (= contraction of zu and dem) nächsten Mal.

There are examples for combined prepositions in English too:

up to, as far as, due to, as for, ...

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I see, and the confusion is more cause of the English expression "till next time". the translation would be something like "till to the next time" sounds odd to my ears. –  user508 Jul 17 '11 at 13:54
    
@Gigili: To me, "Bis zu dem nächsten Mal" sounds almost as odd as "till to the next time". Only with the contraction "zum" it sounds natural. –  Hendrik Vogt Jul 17 '11 at 13:57
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This might be obvious, but note that "bis nächstes Mal" is also valid. –  miracle2k Aug 8 '11 at 0:36
    
It may become clearer when you think of it as a short form of "bis zum nächsten Mal, dass wir uns sehen" (wie im Englischen "till next time we meet". –  Robert Jun 30 at 15:31
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Why it's "bis zum nächsten Mal"?

As mentioned by splattne some prepositions are used in combination and zum is a contraction of zu dem. Additionally it's worth to mention that:

If two prepositions are used in combination before a substantive or pronoun, the second one determines the case.

2) Wenn zwei Präpositionen hintereinander vor einem Substantiv oder Pronomen stehen, so regiert nur die zweite den Kasus der Bezugswörter:
bis zu ihrem Zimmer, abseits von den Besuchern, je nach dem Angebot, zu je zehn Stück
http://www.linse.uni-due.de/linse/esel/pdf/praepositionen_verwendung.pdf

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Bis zum nächsten Mal is a fixed expression like "meiner Meinung nach", which means "according to my opinion"... the meaning of "bis zum nächsten Mal" is "see you next time".

Some sentences are fixed in German and in those sentences two prepositions are used together...

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