Is it me, or is it difficult to find online, in dictionaries and so on, all the information about a "feste Nomen-Präposition Verbindungen"?

Suppose you are writing in German and, for sake of concreteness, you need the expression lack of. You know the noun Mangel and autocompleting tells you that it goes with an, but you (as I actually did) don't remember the case that an induces.

To find out the case you might google feste Nomen-Präposition Verbindungen and eventually find a nice list of them by PONS in PDF: Mangel an —as many others, and that's the point of the question— isn't there.

So you google Mangel an and don't find in the first pages anything, until you have to deduce from some text by Mr. Nobody, the correct case (und zwar Dativ). And you lost five minutes solely in deducing the preposition for Mangel and its case. Just for this tiny expression. And if you want to write good German, you might want to enrich your text with some Redewendungen, Nomen-Verb Verbindungen etc., which will you take five minutes each.

At the risk of sounding trite,

  • what could a German-learner do to deal faster with this kind of fixed expressions?
  • Why do wonderful (or standard) dictionaries, like Duden, dict.cc, wiktionary only show "Mangel an" with no information about the case?

Ok, I must say that Langenscheidt's "Powerwörterbuch" has the needed info.

  • 1
    As for the second question, this usually means that the dictionary targets Germans (subconsciously, perhaps).
    – chirlu
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 16:27
  • @chirlu That's the point. Why does a dictionary German-whatever-German target Germans?
    – c.p.
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 16:37
  • 1
    I'd expect because it is prepared by Germans, who may not even be aware of the issue. I own a dictionary SV/DE/SV from a Swedish publisher, and it suffers from this very problem (targeting Swedish native speakers). For monolingual dictionaries as well, you can easily tell whether they are made for locals or for language learners.
    – chirlu
    Commented Oct 3, 2013 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


Leo.org mentions dativ as necessary case for Mangel an in the first hit of the result list.


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