What preposition do I use with übergeben:

Nach dem ersten Weltkrieg wurde Kamerun an Frankreich übergegeben.

I want to say:

After the first World War Cameroon was handed over to France.

Can the preposition "an" be removed or not?

  • 1
    BTW: Don't try to use übergeben reflexive. sich übergeben means something quite unpleasant...
    – PMF
    Jan 10, 2014 at 10:30

2 Answers 2


Very simply: No.

You can sometimes do it, but here that would lead to confusion as to what was given and what was receiving.

In cases where the roles are clear, either by context or their cases, you can in non-formal speak do this.

als Preis wurde Mark Wurst übergeben.


als Preis wurde Wurst an Mark übergeben.

as you can see here: The an completely turns around the meaning.

  • 1
    You can always do it. But you're right that one shouldn't. Unless you have pronouns, that is. "Der Preis wurde mir übergeben" sounds better than "an mich" at least to me... maybe you could add that bit to the answer.
    – Emanuel
    Jan 10, 2014 at 11:03

The preposition "an" is the right one to use, but you could leave it away. The sentence would still have the same meaning. But in most cases you would use it with the preposition.

Is this sentence from you or is it from some old book? It sounds like rather old german. You'd rather say:

Nach dem ersten Weltkrieg wurde Kamerun an Frankreich übergeben.
  • 1
    Mark is right, that the sentence would be ambiguous. "...wurde Kamerun Frankreich übergeben" -> Either "...wurde Kamerun an Frankreich übergen" or "...wurde an Kamerun Frankreich übergeben" --- Hence, I'm afraid you're not right.
    – Em1
    Jan 10, 2014 at 10:09
  • Axo. Ich habe das Verb "übergeben" falsch konjugiert. Danke für die Korrektur. Jan 10, 2014 at 10:10
  • 1
    Unfortunatelly, I can't comment on Mark's answer. So I'll do it here: Your example is a little flawed, because you include 'as a prize'
    – Stefan
    Jan 10, 2014 at 10:11
  • 1
    @Em1: It would only be confusing out of context. I don't think you would use a sentence like this just by itself. The context would clarify.
    – Stefan
    Jan 10, 2014 at 10:14
  • 2
    Maybe, maybe not. You can't tell. For that reason, you can mention that if context clarifies you can drop an but you shouldn't make people think that the sentence on its own is unambiguous.
    – Em1
    Jan 10, 2014 at 10:20

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