As far as I know, vorne is an adverb. I can say:

Ich gehe nach vorne (I’m going to the front)

But how can I say that X is in front of Y? Is this correct?

Die Zeitung liegt vorne dem Ball.

  • As a side note, "Ich gehe nach vorne" does not translate to "I go forward", but rather to "I go to the front (of something)". "I go forward" would be something like "Ich gehe vorwärts". Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 14:58
  • I was not aware of that mistake! That is very helpful, thanks! Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 14:59
  • Hi and welcome to German Language Stack Exchange. Since you already took the tour, I’ll just point you to the help center which will answer any questions on how the site works.
    – Jan
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 16:35
  • @HenningKockerbeck I'm not sure you cannot say "go forward" in e.g. a bus and that wouldn't translate to "geh nach vorne"
    – Beta
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 16:40
  • @Beta Of course you can "go forward" in a bus, but that doesn't equal "going to the front". One is relative to your current position (and the way you're facing), the other is relative to the bus. But that would probably be a question for the English Language SE site. Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 17:20

2 Answers 2


I go forward.
Ich gehe vorwärts.

»Vorwärts« is a direction like »links« (left) or »heim« (home).

I go to the front.
Ich gehe nach vorne.

»Nach vorne« is also a direction, but when ever you use the word »nach« in a direction, then the word following »nach« names some kind of place. You can see this even better in English: »nach links« = »to the left«. In English »left« is used as a noun (with an article) which lets sound »left« like a place (a undetermined place, where you don't know where exactly it is located, you just know where to go to to move to this place)

The newspaper is lying in front of the ball.
Die Zeitung liegt vor dem Ball.

Now you just need a local preposition, and »vor« is the correct choice.


Here you can use the preposition "vor", and also you should have the dative case here, because the Paper lies still and is not in motion towards the ball.

"Die Zeitung liegt vor dem Ball" would be a way of expressing this sentence

  • Thank you, I got one more question here; how can I distinguish between the two meanings of 'vor' (before-in front of) in this case? Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 14:39
  • 4
    @SeifHassine By context. The temporal and spacial preposition vor is identical.
    – Jan
    Commented Nov 6, 2016 at 14:43
  • "Hatten Sie Sex vor Ihrer Hochzeit?" - here, the interpretation "in front of your wedding" doesn't make sense at all, hence only "before your wedding" can be meant. Hence in "vor X", whenever X is an event or point in time rather than a place or thing at some place, we have the temporal meaning.
    – Ingo
    Commented Nov 8, 2016 at 20:44

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