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I thought making an Anki deck for antonyms would be a pretty good idea. But I haven’t really learned the genitive case yet. I wanted to set the cards up like so:

What's the antonym of {{Word 1}}?


{{Word 2}}

And a reversed version of course.

I typed in a few example cases into google translate to see what it would translate into German as. The sentence “What is the antonym of ...” used a few different constructions depending on what word I put at the end:

  • zu + word
  • von + word
  • definite article in genitive + word

So my questions are:

  • What would I say in a case where the word hasn’t been decided yet?

  • How would I determine which construction to use?

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  • You wouldn’t use genitive at all with Gegenteil, whether you know the gender of the word or not.
    – chirlu
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 18:01
  • I edited your question according to my understanding (we would not call a prepositional construction genetive). Please check whether everything is still according to your intentions.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 18:22
  • 2
    Was ist das Gegenteil von <Wort> does the trick.
    – Jan
    Commented Oct 19, 2015 at 19:51
  • 1
    Oder "Was ist das Antonym zu Wort"
    – Em1
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 7:08
  • Thank you, I guess I wrongly assumed that the word of always signified the genitive case. But in this sentence, how would I know when to use zu, or when to use von?
    – Obrazi
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 12:26

1 Answer 1

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Das Gegenteil von "gut" ist "gut gemeint".

Von is the one and only preposition for Gegenteil. Zu would fit to Gegensatz or Widerspruch. Maybe some people confuse that.

In addition, we have Gegenteil+genitive, especially when comparing someone or something with an abstract ideal: "Du bist das Gegenteil eines Musterschülers", "Die letzte Woche war das Gegenteil eines Erholungsurlaubs". Often, this is emphasized with "das genaue Gegenteil". Using von here would spoil the lofty style.

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