If I encounter a verb in the Duden, how can I tell which grammatical cases and prepositions to use with that verb?

For instance, I know the following verb usages are correct:

  • Ich erreiche dich. (Use Accusative Case not Dative Case)
  • Ich helfe dir. (Use Dative Case not Accusative Case)
  • Ich warte auf den Bus. (Use auf not für)
  • Ich fürchte mich vor Spinnen. (Use vor not von)

However, if I visit the Duden pages for erreichen, helfen, warten or fürchten there isn't anything that particularly flags the above information. Is it possible to find this information in the Duden? Are there other common sources which contain this information?

  • DWDS is better about that: erreichen, warten Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 11:34
  • Duden also provides examples, to be found scrolling down to Bedeutungen.
    – guidot
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 11:47
  • 1
    dict.leo.org might be more useful to you.
    – user6495
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 12:19
  • When regional variations cause a different case to be used, the Duden shows it something like this. (E.g. Du erbarmst mich (Germany) vs Du erbarmst mir (Austria) Commented Jun 23, 2021 at 6:57

2 Answers 2



The Duden page provides examples for each meaning of a word, from which you can deduce the case:

3. mit jemandem, etwas in Verbindung treten


  • wie, wo kann ich Sie erreichen?

  • ich habe die Firma, das Büro nicht erreicht

  • durch den Film erreicht man viele Menschen

"Sie", "die Firma / das Büro" and "viele Menschen" are neither genitive nor dative. Thus, it must be accusative case. (Nominative case is no option for the object of a verb.)

This is not perfect for a language-learner at beginner level.


Canoo.net (later canoonet.eu) had been an excellent resource for language information. Unfortunately it has been closed a few months ago. The new owner is not interested in maintaining the website and database. Some of its content moved to leo.org, a German-to-various-other-languages dictionary site associated with the university of Munich. Currently a huge wealth of information seems to have vanished - hopefully not for good!

In any case, the dictionary itself is a bit more useful than Duden. It doesn't explicitly name the case, but it shows the possible prepositions and associated cases. "jds." conveys genitive case (for example: "jds. Platz einnehmen" = "to take somebody's place"), "jdm." (= "jemandem") dative and "jdn." (= "jemanden") accusative.

  • (jdn./etw.) erreichen (-> accusative)
  • (jdm.) helfen (-> dative)
  • (auf jdn./etw.) warten (-> accusative)
  • sich (vor jdm./etw.) fürchten (-> dative)

The Duden may not be the best dictionary for you as it is targeted to native speakers. The answer, however, is to look at the examples.

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