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.

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Doc Holliday
Doc Holliday
1 year ago

A question about 14:
“Ich weiß nicht, ob ich komme.”
“Worauf hängt es ab?”
“Darauf, ob Maria da ist oder nicht.”

On one can find:
to depend on sb./sth. von jdm./etw. abhängen
There are several more examples using von.
Can either auf or von be used with abhängen? Is one more commonly used by native speakers?
Thank you for a great article.

2 years ago

Lieber Emanuel. Vielen Dank für noch eine sehr hilfreiche Übung. Drei Fragen, wenn ich darf:

Bei #3, könnte man “böse” statt “sauer” auf Thomas sagen? Was für einen Bedeutungsunterschied gäbe es da?

Bei #8, wenn ich so raten würde, hätte ich gesagt: “Willst du dir einen Film angucken/anschauen/ansehen?” Wann “guckt” man einfach einen Film, statt sich einen anzugucken? Und würde in deinem Satz auch “schauen” und/oder “sehen” passen? Ich glaube, wenn ich mich richtig erinnere, dass mit dem Reflexivpronomen alle drei möglich wären: sich etw. (z.B., einen Film) ansehen / anschauen / angucken (in absteigneder Reihenfolge der Formalität). Stimmt das etwa?

Bei #16, könnte man da auch sagen “Maria bittet den Mann um seine Telefonnummer”? Was wäre hier der Unterschied zwischen “fragen nach” und “bitten um”? Rührt er etwa daher, dass es bei “fragen nach” darum geht, sich nach Informationen zu erkundigen, während man eher um einen Gegenstand (ob greifbar oder abstrakt) bittet oder vielleicht darum, dass ein Mensch etwas tut (z.B., “ich habe sie um ihre Hilfe gebeten”, “ich habe sie darum gebeten, mir zu helfen”)?

2 years ago

It is an extremely useful and helpful exercise. Thank you very much for your continuers support on my German learning.

John Loftus
John Loftus
3 years ago

Lieber Emanuel, ich denke, dass das hier eine gute Übung ist. Es hat sich gelohnt, sie mehrmals zu wiederholen. Dein Englisch ist echt super und ich hoffe, dass mein Deutsch eines Tages genauso gut wird. Wenn ich ein paar Verbesserungen vorschlagen darf:

9. Incorrect: ‘I’m often dreaming about zebras.’ Correct: ‘I often dream about zebras.’

23. Incorrect: ‘About whether I drink another beer or not.’ Correct: ‘About whether to drink another beer or not.’ / ‘About whether I’m going to drink another beer or not.’

24. Incorrect: ‘Ich hoffe, du bist ____ der Übung noch gelangweilt.’ (Incorrect, unless you really hope that we’re still bored with this exercise!)

Vielen herzlichen Dank für die witzigen Erklärungen und wertvolle Übungen.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen


3 years ago

5 completely correct and 3 (where there were 2 answers) half correct. A few were stupid mistakes where I second guessed myself.

3 years ago

A hard exercise but I loved it — more! Got very few correct, but was doing better by the third time through. Some of the answers I had to listen to 3-4 times to get the relevant little word (nach seemed to especially get swallowed).

3 years ago

Number 8: why ankommen and not abhängen von?

3 years ago

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.

John Loftus
John Loftus
3 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

‘Bored with’ has more Google hits than ‘bored of’. I always say ‘bored with’, but my son and his friends say ‘bored of’. Perhaps it’s a generational thing. To me, ‘bored by’ has a different nuance from either of these; if I’m ‘bored with/of’ something, it means I was interested in it to begin with, but now I’ve had enough of it, whereas if I’m bored by it, it means it’s inherently boring and didn’t interest me from the start. To me, the former says more about my state of mind, whereas the latter says more about the thing itself.

2 years ago
Reply to  John Loftus

Nice distinction, John. I feel like I pretty much always say “bored with,” but I could see myself using “bored by,” and I think you’ve captured the distinction nicely. Now the one that really gets under my skin with the younger generation is “based off of” (correct form: “based ON”). Ugh!!!

Dennis Kinvig
Dennis Kinvig
3 years ago

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

3 years ago

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.

1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

This was a really helpful comment. I feel like I’m drowning in the all the possible combinations. The little drawing of the blindfolded kid chasing after all the preposition bunnies…that’s me! and I am guaranteed to catch the wrong one every time. I couldn’t manage most of the full translations in this exercise, but I did get some of the verb+prep combos right. I was just working on learning adjectives + prep, so it was fresh in my mind.
Is there a list of the ‘most important’ fixed combinations?

1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

And I have a question about one of your example:
Maria träumt davon, eine Musical-Sängerin zu werden.

Could you not just say “Maria träumt von eine Musical-Sängerin zu werden’? I am confused about the ‘da’. I thought da-words always referred back to something already said.
For example:
“Ich habe gedacht, dass Maria wollte Sängerin werden.”
“Sie hat davon geträumt, aber sie hat eine schreckliche Stimme.”

3 years ago

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…

3 years ago

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! ;)

Doktor Fredl
3 years ago

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!

3 years ago

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.

NancyRose Webb
NancyRose Webb
3 years ago

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

Patricia McKay
Patricia McKay
3 years ago

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!

3 years ago

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

3 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Would you say “Typ” is better for “guy” in general?

I’ve mostly heard “Kerl” used either with reference to a little boy or to describe a man as “ein netter Kerl” (sometimes followed by “aber…”).

3 years ago

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.

3 years ago

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 :(

Victor Lameirão
Victor Lameirão
3 years ago

Thank you a lot for the always awesome content!