It's the same old problem allover the place, how to tell which preposition goes with which noun. Is rote memorization the only option here? I'm in B1 course and already learned that certain verbs are associated with certain prepositions, but what about nouns , for example :

"Freude +an" "kontak + zu "

Are there rules to learn? Are there books or chapters where I can learn them I'm tired of spending the time picking them up from between the lines


3 Answers 3


There's not a lot I can add to Hubert Schölnast's answer, but there does seem to be a whole class of idiomatic phrases of the form "<content word> + <preposition>". This includes prepositional verbs, but also phrases with adjectives and nouns. Unfortunately, dictionaries don't always include these meanings. Fortunately, English and German are similar enough that they nearly always have a translation which is also in the form "<content word> + <preposition>", though which preposition is applicable to a given content word isn't always very intuitive. But it's not completely random either; even if you don't know exactly which preposition to use, there is usually some figurative way that the preposition does make sense in the phrase. I think the best plan is to treat these phrases like other vocabulary. There are a few cases where you just have to memorize the meaning, but most of the time you can form a pretty good guess from related words and then it's a small step from there to learn the actual meaning.


Hubert said it very well. On another note, if you're looking for more of a rule, there are some verbs that will always use the same prepoision(s) - like Hubert said, sometimes these verbs can have multiple that are correct. A few examples:

  • jemanden "um" etwas bitten
  • sich "für" etwas interessieren
  • Interesse "an" etwas haben
  • "über" etwas sprechen

Prepositions are tough man, keep going though! It'll get easier


Your assumption, that every noun always goes with only one preposition is wrong. It's wrong in other languages too, including English. I started learning English when I was 10 years old. Now I'm 56 and I am quite satisfied with my English, because I use it almost every day for decades, but I still struggle with English prepositions. Learning the usage of prepositions in another language is a really hard task, and hardly any learner will really get if for 100%, even those who reach level C2, because also some German native speakers use German prepositions wrong sometimes. So, don't worry about it too much.

But I give you some examples for the prepositions that can go with the noun Freude:

Ich habe Freude an schönen Blumen.
I enjoy beautiful flowers.

Here beautiful flowers (schöne Blumen) is the object of your pleasure. Its sheer existence makes you happy.

Ich habe Freude mit meinem neuen Skateboard.
I have joy with my new skateboard.

You use your new skateboard and this makes you happy.

Ich habe Freude mit meinen Freunden.
I have fun with my friends.

You do somethings that you enjoy, and your friends accompany you and have fun themselves.

Ich habe Freude durch Stress.
I have joy from stress.

Freude durch Stress is the title of a guidebook.

And of course there are many different places where you can have fun, and this brings a bunch of additional prepositions you can use:

Ich habe Freude im Haus. Ich habe Freude vor dem Haus. Ich habe Freude hinter dem Haus. Ich habe Freude neben dem Haus. Ich habe Freude auf dem Tisch. Ich habe Freude unter dem Tisch.
I have joy in the house. I have joy in front of the house. I have joy behind the house. I have joy next to the house. I have joy on the table. I have joy under the table.

And you can combine them:

Ich habe Freude an guter Musik mit meiner Frau im Haus vor dem Kamin.
I enjoy good music with my wife in the house in front of the fireplace.

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