I think the declination of the adjective in the following example is correct.

Es wird uns ein großer Aufwand

Using the preposition "zu" usually requires the dative case. So why doesn't it here?:

Es wird uns ein zu großer Aufwand

  • What kind of dative are you missing? How do you think that sentence should be constructed? Dec 20, 2019 at 12:58
  • 4
    zu groß = too big... no need for dative case...
    – Tode
    Dec 20, 2019 at 12:59
  • 1
    In every German Grammar textbook I have seen you can read that "zu" ALWAYS takes the dative. Why doesn't zu groß? I accept it doesn't but would like to know why and if there are other examples of zu not needing the dative case.
    – Steve
    Dec 20, 2019 at 13:08
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    My english is quite bad - what is "the think declination"? It seems to be sth different than the declination of think itself. Thanks. Dec 20, 2019 at 16:45
  • @Shegit Brahm It was a typing error. Thank you very much for pointing it out. I have corrected the mistake in the OP.
    – Steve
    Dec 20, 2019 at 17:57

2 Answers 2


The preposition zu requires the dative case. E.g. "Das Kind geht zur Schule" (... to school).

However, the adverb zu, which can be translated as "too", does not dictate which case should be used.

In the phrase "ein zu großer Aufwand", "zu" is not a preposition but an adverb that modifies the adjective "groß" ("too big"). The phrase is in the nominative case due to its function in the sentence, not because of the presence or absence of a preposition.

  • The preposition zu goes with dative; this rule has no exception
  • Whenever zu is not a preposition, zu has no influence on the already determined case, as in the example you gave. But it might be dative:

...mit einem zu doofen Gegenbeispiel...

(the dative is now due to mit).

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