“The Rhythmic Role of ‘vor’, ‘nach’, and ‘während’ in German”

“The Rhythmic Role of ‘vor’, ‘nach’, and ‘während’ in German”


Historical time, people in Germany


“Temporale Präpositionen” in German refer to prepositions that describe a time-related circumstance. Let’s look at the three you mentioned: **vor, nach,** and **während**.

1. vor (before) + Dativ:
The preposition “vor” always requires the dative case when referring to a point in time before a certain event or moment.
Example:  vor dem Essen (before the meal)

2. nach (after) + Dativ:
“Nach” also requires the dative case when referring to a point in time after a certain event or moment.
Example:  – nach dem Konzert (after the concert)

3. während (during) + Genitiv:
While “während” can technically take both the dative and genitive cases, it’s more traditional and considered more proper to use it with the genitive case when referring to a duration of time during which something happens. However, in everyday language, the dative is becoming more common due to language simplification and evolution.
Examples:- während des Films (during the film) [Genitive]
– **während** dem Film (during the film) [Dative, but less traditional]


Why are these cases chosen?
German prepositions and their cases often don’t have a direct logical reason we can point to; they are more a matter of linguistic evolution and convention. However, the case system is useful because it gives additional information about the noun’s function in the sentence.

That being said, it’s essential to remember these combinations (i.e., which preposition goes with which case) as they are a foundational aspect of speaking and writing correct German. The more exposure you have to the language, the more intuitive these combinations will become.


Some more examples:  on “vor”, “nach”, and “während” involving different phrases to help illustrate their use:

1. vor + Dativ:
– “vor dem Abendessen” (before dinner)
– “vor der Prüfung” (before the exam)
– “vor dem Sonnenaufgang” (before sunrise)
– “vor dem Wochenende” (before the weekend)

2. nach + Dativ:
– “nach der Party” (after the party)
– “nach dem Urlaub” (after the vacation)
– “nach dem Regen” (after the rain)
– “nach der Arbeit” (after work)

3. während + Genitiv (although remember, in colloquial German, dative is also often used with “während”):
– “während des Unterrichts” (during the lesson)
– “während der Ferien” (during the holidays)
– “während des Sturms” (during the storm)
– “während der Veranstaltung” (during the event)

These examples illustrate how these prepositions function within different phrases to denote different points or spans of time. They can be used with a variety of nouns to fit the context of the sentence.