We usually learn the preposition along with the verb/noun/adjective. In Arabic, the preposition is the same with these different word types. Is it in German?


  • abhängen/abhängig/Abhängigkeit von

  • eignen/Eignug für

  • bitten/Bitte um

Can we consider this a rule, and thus facilitating learning of prepositions? Or are there many exceptions, and thus it is not recommended to consider this as a rule?


Most German verbs can go with more than one preposition, depending on the meaning. But yes, if you settled for a certain meaning, all derived words take the preposition with them.

Dieses Medikament eignet sich für Kinder. — Es ist geeignet für Kinder. – Eignung für Kinder

Dieses Medikament eignet sich gegen Würmer. — Es ist geeignet gegen Würmer. — Eignung gegen Würmer

About your notion of verb/adjective/noun, it's not that simple in German. In addition to your adjective abhängig, there are also two different Partizip II of abhängen. There's also a Partizip I, and all have a corresponding noun.


abhängend — der/die/das Abhängende (built from the Partizip I)

abgehängt — der/die/das Abgehängte (built from the Partizip II)

abgehangen — der/die/das Abgehangene (built from the Partizip II)

abhängig — der/die/das Abhängige (built from the Adjektiv)

Abhang is the base noun for the verb abhängen, and Abhängigkeit is a further noun built on the Adjektiv. Often there is another common noun with -ung instead of -heit or -keit.

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  • Thank you very much for the beautiful answer. If abhängig is the second participle, then what is abgehangen? – user34137 Sep 5 '18 at 19:32
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    You are right about that one. There are two Partizip II: abgehängt and abgehangen, both meaning a different thing. Abhängig is an adjective, meaning another different thing. The difference shows up with the passive/futur helper werden: Er ist abgehangen worden. Er ist abgehängt worden. Er ist abhängig geworden. – Janka Sep 5 '18 at 20:19

That depends on what you mean by "this". What is generally the case is that if there is, say, a noun "governing" a certain preposition and if there is a corresponding verb and/or adjective governing a preposition, then these prepositions are the same. In other words, within a given group of nouns/adjective/verbs you would not expect different prepositions.

However, it is not a reliable rule to assume that if, say, there is a noun governing a certain preposition then the verb will also govern a preposition in the first place. First of all, such a verb may not exist at all. But even if it does, it is frequent that, for instance, the noun governs a preposition while the verb requires an accusative complement (Jagd auf Tiere / Tiere jagen, Kritik an Anna / Anna kritisieren) or a dative complement (Begegnung mit Jonas / Jonas begegnen).

Further reading:

  • Helbig/Buscha, Deutsche Grammatik, 2001, p. 269-72.
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  • Thanks a lot. I deduce from the answers if there is a verb or/and adjective or/and noun derived from the same stem and has a certain preposition for a certain meaning, then the preposition would be the same. – user34137 Sep 5 '18 at 19:48

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