Using the prefixes 'da-' and 'dar-'


When you want to use the pronoun ‘it’ with prepositions that begin with a consonant, put the prefix da- in front of the preposition to make one word:

für - fordafür - for it
hinter - behinddahinter - behind it
von - fromdavon - from it
durch - throughdadurch - through it
mit - withdamit - with it
vor - in front of, beforedavor - in front of it, before
gegen - againstdagegen - against it
nach - afterdanach - after it
zu - atdazu - at it
bei - at, in, at the home ofdabei - at it, in it, at the home of it
neben - near to, next todaneben - near to it, next to it
zwischen - betweendazwischen - between it


When you want to say ‘it’ with prepositions which begin with a vowel, you put the prefix dar- in front of the preposition to make it easier to pronounce:

an - to, ondaran - to it, on it
in - in, intodarin - in it, into it
um - rounddarum - round it
auf - on top ofdarauf - on top of it
über - over, abovedarüber - over it, above it
unter - underdarunter - under it

You do not use da- when talking about a person. You use a personal pronoun.

für ihn - for himfür sie - with him
mit ihm - for hermit ihr - with her

How would you say these in German?

  • in it
  • for us
  • under it
  • against it
  • behind him
  • on top of it
  • in it - darin
  • for us - für uns
  • under it - darunter
  • against it - dagegen
  • behind him - hinter ihm
  • on top of it - darauf

Did you know?

Dada or Dadaism – Dadaismus – was an artistic and literary movement that was founded in Zürich, Switzerland in 1916 as a reaction to the atrocities of World War I. The movement lasted until 1924.

Dada paintings, poetry and performances were often satirical and absurd, often using boring everyday items like maps, water fountains, wrappers and train tickets and calling them art.

One of the founders once described how to make a Dadaist poem – cut out the individual words from a newspaper article, place the words in a bag, then shake it. Once the words are jumbled up, take out each word and copy them out in the order they left the bag.

The influence of Dadaism soon spread to a number of other European countries and also to New York, and became a precursor to the surrealist movement. Unsurprisingly, the name Dadaism is not thought to have any meaning.

Dadaist movement. Auric, Picabia, Ribemont, Dessaignes, G. Everling, Casella and Tzara, Around 1920, France
The founders of Dadaism