Verbs with Prepositions – An Exercise

Hello everyone,

and welcome back to our epic GRMN S2MR BTCMP. That’s “hipster” for German Summer Bootcamp, the summer course you never expected. Today is round number three and after we did some serious muscle flexing for cases last time, we’ll deal with an entirely different thing today…

Verbs and their prepositions

If you don’t know what I mean by that, just take the English to wait for … you absolutely need this for there. You can’t say “I wait the bus.” or “I wait to the bus.”. Nope, it needs to be for.
German and English are full of these combinations, but sadly the prepositions used don’t line up.
It’s to wait for, but warten auf.
And learning this stuff takes a lot of time and exposure to the language.
But that doesn’t mean that there’s no point in practicing.
So today,  we’ll practice some of the most common verb-preposition combos in everyday contexts… and not only that!

We’ll also get to practice our da-words and wo-words a bit. The wo-words are what we need if the verb is used in a question…

  • What are you waiting for?
  • Worauf wartest du?
    (“auf was” is also “ok” but the wo-word is much better. )

And the da-words are what we need if we have a pronoun…

  • I’m waiting for it.
  • Ich warte  darauf.

or if we just need a placeholder that represents a sentence…

  • I’m waiting for [the bus to come].
  • Ich warte [darauf, dass der Bus kommt].

This example is quite tricky actually in so far as that it’ll really throw you off if you still more or less think in English (or your language) and then translate. English has a bunch of lean phrasings that just don’t translate directly to German but instead you need to rephrase it into a boring standard sentence.
But actually, I don’t want to get into that too much now. You’ll see it in the exercise and you’ll get a feeling for it.
If you want to know more about the da-words and wo-words or you want to freshen up your memory, you can check out my articles here:

But I’d almost recommend you give it a shot first and see how you do without too much theory in your head. And then, you can read up on the stuff and then do it again.

The Exercise

I’ll give you a statement or dialogue in English containing one or more of these fixed verb preposition combos and your job is to translate it to German.
Sometimes, I put “the fact that” or “the question if” into the English version even though it’s not the most idiomatic phrasing. That’s a hint then, that you absolutely need a da-word in German.

Now translating is very very very difficult, so if you feel like not going there, you can just click the “?” and you’ll get the German version with a gap to fill.
I’ll actually change this setup so you can just select which version you want to see with one switch for all, but I have to code that first.
Anyway, you can put your solution into the text field so you can compare it, but the text field doesn’t automatically check it.
The solution is in the audio and you can show it when you click the circle O.

As usual, the goal ISN’T to get everything right. The goal is to learn some really common combos, and also to get a bit of a feeling how da-words and wo-words are used in daily talk and how common English phrasings translate to German.

One quick word about translating… often there is more than one way to phrase something in German. So if your translation is different than my solution, that DOESN’T mean it’s wrong. If you’re not sure just leave a comment and I’ll give you feedback.

As for level… I think this is once again a B1 exercise (the gaps, not the translation). But I’d encourage you to also try it if you’re just A2.
Oh and just a little warning.. some of the examples are quite silly this time, my apologies , I just couldn’t resist :).
Viel Spaß!!


I was thinking of my after work beer the whole day.
Ich habe den ganzen Tag ____ mein Feierabendbier gedacht.
Ich habe den ganzen Tag an mein Feierabendbier gedacht.

Maria is always a bit angry at Thomas.
Maria ist immer ein bisschen sauer ____ Thomas.
Maria ist immer ein bisschen sauer auf Thomas.

Marrying you – that’s a difficult question. I’ll have to think about it.
Dich heiraten?! Oh, das ist eine schwierige Frage. Ich muss ____ nachdenken.
Dich heiraten – das ist eine schwierige Frage. Ich muss darüber nachdenken.

“The WIFI is not working.”
“Oh… I’ll take care of it in a moment.”
“Das W-Lan geht nicht.”
“Oh… Ich kümmer mich gleich ____.”
“Das W-Lan geht nicht.”
“Oh… Ich kümmer mich gleich darum.”

“What do soccer and my feelings have in common?”
“No idea!”
“You’re not interested in them.”
“Was haben Fußball und meine Gefühle gemeinsam?”
“Keine Ahnung.”
“Du interessierst dich nicht ____.”
“Was haben Fußball und meine Gefühle gemeinsam?”
“Keine Ahnung.”
“Du interessierst dich nicht dafür.”

“What are you proud of?”
“Hmm… of my golden surfer locks.”
____ bist du stolz?”
“Hmmm… ____ meine goldenen Surferlocken.”
Worauf bist du stolz?”
“Hmmm… auf meine goldenen Surferlocken.”

“Live your dream! what are you waiting for?”
“Erm… (for) the bus.”
“Lebe deinen Traum! ____ wartest du?”
“Äh… ____ den Bus.”
“Lebe deinen Traum! Worauf wartest du?”
“Äh… auf den Bus.”

“Do you want to watch a movie?”
“That depends on what kind of movie.” (use “ankommen“)
“Willst du einen Film gucken?”
“Das kommt ____ an, was für einen Film.”
“Willst du einen Film gucken?”
“Das kommt drauf an, was für einen Film.”

I’m often dreaming about/of zebras. What does that signify?
Ich träume oft ____ Zebras. Was bedeutet das?
Ich träume oft von Zebras. Was bedeutet das?

I’m really happy about the fact that it’s raining today.
Ich freue mich sehr ____, dass es heute regnet.
Ich freue mich sehr darüber, dass es heute regnet.

Maria is dreaming of becoming a musical singer.
Maria träumt ____, eine Musical-Sängerin zu werden.
Maria träumt davon, eine Musical-Sängerin zu werden.

“Are you looking forward to your dentist appointment?”
Freust du dich ____ deinen Zahnarzttermin?”
Freust du dich auf deinen Zahnarzttermin?”

“Excuse me, what’s the fly doing in my whisky?”
“No idea, maybe it is searching for answers.”
“Entschuldigung, was macht die Fliege in meinem Whisky?”
“Keine Ahnung, vielleicht sucht sie ____ Antworten.”
“Entschuldigung, was macht die Fliege in meinem Whisky?”
“Keine Ahnung, vielleicht sucht sie nach Antworten.”

“I don’t know if I’ll come.”
“What does it depend on?” (use: “abhängen”)
On whether Maria is there or not.”
“Ich weiß nicht, ob ich komme.”
____ hängt es ab?”
____ ob Maria da ist oder nicht.”
“Ich weiß nicht, ob ich komme.”
Wovon hängt es ab?”
Davon ob Maria da ist oder nicht.”

“This cow always reminds me of my ex-boyfriend.”
“Mooooohhhh… hey, think of your ex-boyfriend…. Mooooohhhh”
“There, it just did it again.”
“Diese Kuh erinnert mich immer ____ meinen Ex-Freund.”
“Mooooohhhh… hey, denk ____ deinen Ex-Freund.. moooooh.”
“Da, sie hat es grad wieder gemacht.”
“Diese Kuh erinnert mich immer an meinen Ex-Freund.”
“Mooooohhhh… hey, denk an deinen Ex-Freund.. moooooh.”
“Da, sie hat es grad wieder gemacht.”

Maria asks the guy at the bus stop for his phone number.
Maria fragt den Mann an der Bushaltestelle ____ seiner Telefonnummer.
Maria fragt den Mann an der Bushaltestelle nach seiner Telefonnummer.

The meeting is about the new project, and about [the question] if vodka is allowed in the office kitchen.
In dem Meeting geht es ____ das neue Projekt und ____, ob Wodka im Büro-Kühlschrank erlaubt ist.
In dem Meeting geht es um das neue Projekt und darum, ob Wodka im Büro-Kühlschrank erlaubt ist.

Sorry, could you watch/(pay attention to) my laptop for a few minutes?
Sorry, könntest du kurz ____ meinen Laptop aufpassen?
Sorry, könntest du kurz auf meinen Laptop aufpassen?

“How old are you?”
“One doesn’t ask a lady about that.”
“Ok… tell me your age!!”
“Wie alt bist du?”
____ fragt man eine Dame nicht.”
“Ok… sag dein Alter!!”
“Wie alt bist du?”
Danach fragt man eine Dame nicht.”
“Ok… sag dein Alter!!”

I’m very disappointed in you.
Ich bin sehr enttäuscht ____ dir.
Ich bin sehr enttäuscht von dir.

I was very disappointed by the movie.
Ich war ____ dem Film sehr enttäuscht.
Ich war von dem Film sehr enttäuscht.

“I’m hungry.”
“Me too. What do you feel like eating?” (use: “Appetit haben”)
“I feel like pizza.”
“Ich habe Hunger.”
“Ich auch. ____ hast du Appetit?”
“Ich habe Appetit ____ Pizza.”
“Ich habe Hunger.”
“Ich auch. Worauf hast du Appetit?”
“Ich habe Appetit auf Pizza.”

“What are you thinking about?”
About whether I drink another beer or not.”
____ denkst du nach?”
“____, ob ich noch ein Bier trinke oder nicht.”
Worüber denkst du nach?”
Darüber, ob ich noch ein Bier trinke oder nicht.”

I hope you’re not bored by this exercise.
Ich hoffe, du bist ____ der Übung noch gelangweilt.
Ich hoffe, du bist von der Übung nicht gelangweilt.



And, how did it go :)? Was it difficult for you? How many did you get right? Do you have any questions?
And do you like this type of exercise?
Let me know all your feedback and questions in the comments. Hope you had a bit of fun.
Have a great week and see you next time.

for members :)

Leave a Reply

newest oldest
Notify of
Francesca Greenoak
Francesca Greenoak

Hard but good. I had alternative answers but yours were sleeker. I’m going to do the exercise again …and probably again.



Serendipity or what???????? I was just this morning in the coffee shop trying to get a handle on these sucke… erm, super-sweet verb-prep combos and now you’ve gone and posted this exercise!

But first… typo time:
verbs-preposition combos (verb-preposition combos)
Sometime, I put “the fact that” (sometimes)
different to my solution (different from (BE) or different than (AE))
Excuse me, what’s the fly doing in my whisky. (question mark instead of full stop)

Not too many typos this time :)
As usual, I’m working at the moment but will attempt the exercise as soon as I have a little time. I’ll let you know how I did (I’m sure I’ll do a lot worse than in the previous exercise, as here there’s just no logic involved!) However, I’ll be able to learn a lot from the corrections, no matter how many mistakes I make, so it’ll be really useful :)

Bis bald!


I’ve heard Brits use “different to”. As an American I’d use “different from” or “different than”. I originally saw a non-native English speaker use “different to” in his writing and I ‘corrected’ him, only to find out later that it’s acceptable in British English, at least spoken/casual usage.


I always thought “different to” was standard BE. I’d prefer “different from” as the standard for AE. You definitely hear “different than,” though.

Just a formatting note: in the second paragraph (under “Verbs and their prepositions”), you have “you absolutely need this for there” without any formatting or punctuation, which makes it hard to understand. Probably the best thing would be to make “for” green, bold, and italic like the other fors there, or else put it in quotation marks. As it stands, at first glance it sounds like “you absolutely need this thing for that place.”


You’re right, it is standard BE… I hear it a lot, but never say it myself, always thinking it was bad grammar… But I actually checked it out and it’s considered correct in the Cambridge dictionary, even though they say it’s mostly used in speaking… just goes to show even native speakers don’t know enough about their own language ;)

Patricia McKay
Patricia McKay

As a native British English speaker I was always taught in school that it was “similar to” but “different from”. I notice nowadays however, that “different to” has crept into use, but it grates in my mind!




I absolutely loved this exercise. Thank you very much. If you make more like this, I would be eternally grateful.

Paul Ed
Paul Ed

Wow! Nearly every single one wrong. For me this is the hardest thing to learn as my brain just makes no connection. Oh well, üben, üben, üben.


Great exercises! I NEED your sassy irrelevance and sense of humor to keep on truckin’ with my German. Don’t apologize ever (;


ugh – IRREVERENCE …guess I need to work on my English, too!


First I read through the questions. Then I transcribe them. After that, I attempt to “solve” them ohne Hilfe. Then I have to check the translations (because my translations are the pits).

When that’s done, I fill in the ones I couldn’t do for lack of vocab.
Then I check the answers.
Then I cuss because I suck at translations, but feel quite smug that I got all the exercise bits correct.

Then I redo it, hoping the vocab will stick.

And as a grand finale, I do them verbally, where no one can hear me, of course, hoping that the whole shebang sticks in my head even without the option to write. Let’s face it: writing is way easier than thinking because you have time to write, edit, rewrite, and you can SEE how the sentence looks. Doing it “in my head” and speaking it in “Direktübertragung” is way more difficult.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I will probably be able to read German but to speak it, well, probably not more than just a few simple phrases, which I will manage to slaughter. Goethe is writhing in his grave…


I love these kind of exercises.

The straight translation is too hard for me but I have a go to at least work out parts of it. I couldn’t get a single “fill-in-the-gaps” right this time! That made it very interesting. Truly, German prepositions are like those little bunnies in your cartoon!

I like being able to try to work it out, then see and hear the correct answer. Thank you for putting so much into it.

Francesca Greenoak

Our little cat has eaten 5 bunnies since Sunday – hard way to get zu, mit, auf, vor and aus.

Victor Lameirão
Victor Lameirão

Thank you a lot for the always awesome content!


Pretty pretty please use cookies.
If I reload an article twice, the site counts as if it is my third for the week and hides it :(


Once again a totally great exercise which left me feeling completely overwhelmed … But in a good way, if that’s possible!! Thank you for all your hard work trying to help us all get a little bit better at German.


can you use ‘Kerl’ for ‘guy’…e.g. “Maria fragt den Kerl an der Bushaltestelle…” ?

Patricia McKay
Patricia McKay

That certainly seemed much harder than last week’s exercise – only 7 correct with filling in the blanks, and I was particularly bad at knowing when to use wo words and da words. I mixed the two up all the time. Ubung macht den Meister!

NancyRose Webb
NancyRose Webb

I love this type of exercise! It’s beneficial on so many levels!!!


I really enjoy this type of exercise. I made some fairly convoluted attempts that were no where near as elegant as the correct answers but I got the feeling Im on a upward trajectory with my german which is thanks a lot to your site.

Doktor Fredl
Doktor Fredl

Danke! Ich dachte, ich hätte das besser verstanden, bevor ich diese Übung machte. Endlich verstehe ich, warum mich viele Deutsche auslachen. Ihr seid doch gemein!


Whoa – I’m not ready for this just yet, but I will definitely come back to it when I am feeling more confident. If you were to give me a sentence in German with these prepositions in it, I could probably figure it out (based on context). But going from English to German, and knowing which word goes where? No way – I can’t figure that out yet. I need more time for that! ;)


Thought I’d throw this one in:

Got my hands on a list of 250 Verben und Präpositionen från the magazine “Deutsch Perfekt”. Memorized one column a day (started in like, March) and since then, repeat a column every day in odd moments like queing, waiting for the train, visiting the loo (too much info?) etc.

Found that most of the Verb/Präposition-combos just sat there after this daily repetition and I was able to just “spit them out” for the exercise. I had to stop and think about a few, but I got them all correct – just didn’t manage the TRANSLATIONS. As usual…


Regarding information presented in dictionaries such as Deutsch Pons.
extract for the first part of Warten:
auf jdn/etw warten to wait for sb/sth
mit etw dat [auf jdn] warten to wait [for sb] before doing sth

This suggests mit is also used if dative?

Abstimmen has auf, mit and über, depending on circumstances in the sentence grammar.

I too have found ‘helpful’ list of verbs with their prepositions but these always only refer to one specific prepostion, which seems to be misleading if the above is correct.

So my question is, have I understood this right, that I should ignore the ready-to-use lists and be guided by the dictionary advice, or is it that the lists point to verbs where 90% of usage is just that one preposition.

I look forward to your guidance, :), thanks.

Dennis Kinvig
Dennis Kinvig

I have been a member for a couple of months, and I love the exercises. Thanks for creating this for us. To help with the repetition, I created a Quizlet set: GermanIsEasy-Preps


I’m even more anal than some of the others … ‘practise’ as a verb is spelled with an s, not a c. But maybe your way is the US way?
More to the point, however, I cringe when in English, people (mostly younger people) say “I’m bored of it” instead of “I’m bored by it”. But the former is literally what’s said in German, d..h. “Ich bin davon gelangweilt”. So maybe they are right after all.