What is the difference between the two phrases? When do you need to use the preposition?

3 Answers 3


Your choice. There is no difference, both expressions mean the same and are used in exactly the same context.

Very much like in English

on account of s.o.

on someone's account


Auf Kosten anderer is a little more "sophisticated".

  • Save the german Genitiv! Commented May 2, 2016 at 11:13

The cases. One is Genitiv (auf wessen Kosten?) and the other is Dativ (auf Kosten von wem oder was?), otherwise both are used interchangeably. None is more sophisticated than the other, it's merely a matter of taste.

  • The other is Dativ (auf Kosten von wem oder was?). Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 5:19
  • Are you sure? It's "von anderen" and not "vom anderen", I thought that would make the difference. But I'm not 100% sure now though.
    – Ely
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 5:21
  • 1
    "Von anderen" is plural (of others), weil "vom anderen" would be singular (of the other) and be a concatination of "von dem anderen". "Of another" would be "von jemand/etwas anderem", where you can see the Dativ in the form anderem. Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 5:35

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