Lezioni Tedesco


German Modifier Nouns That Don't Need Prepositions

In English, you'd say "a bottle of cola" or "a teaspoon of sugar," but in German, you don't generally use the preposition von ("of") when describing units of something. Nor do you use von when describing containers of something, such as a bottle, a case, a stack, or a package. It may be grammatically correct to say eine Flasche von Cola, but a native speaker would say eine Flasche Cola—and you should too!


Here are some examples of nouns modifying die Flasche. Note that the English translation always uses the preposition "of," whereas in German, the nouns modify each other directly, with no preposition:


Ich könnte natürlich auch eine Flasche Wasser trinken.

I could, of course, drink a bottle of water instead.

Caption 16, Jenny beim Frühstück - Teil 2

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Das ist schlecht, deshalb brauchen wir eine zweite Flasche Tomatensauce.

This is bad, that's why we need a second bottle of tomato sauce.

Caption 16, Cannelloni - mit Jenny

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And here with der Kasten and die Kiste, the most common German terms for a case or box used for carrying bottles. Note that eine Kiste is also a German idiom for a shabby car, just as "crate" is used in American slang.


Als Preis ibt es einen Kasten Bier!

For a prize there is a case of beer!

Caption 57, Frisbee - Karlsruher Weihnachtsturnier - Part 1

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Also, wir haben einen Kasten Sekt bekommen,

Well, we got a box of sparkling wine,

eine Kiste Sekt das letzte Mal.

the last time a case of sparkling wine.

Caption 56, Frisbee - Karlsruher Weihnachtsturnier - Part 2

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And for a stack (der Packen) of cash:


Er hat Arne einen dicken Packen Geldscheine gegeben.

He gave Arne a thick stack of bills.

Caption 53, Die Pfefferkörner - Eigentor

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And here a small packet (das Päckchen), along with some quantities from a recipe: 


Wir brauchen 75 Gramm Zucker,

We need 75 grams of sugar,

ein Päckchen Vanillezucker,

a small packet of vanilla sugar,

einen Teelöffel Backpulver,

one teaspoon of baking powder,

75 Gramm Butter...

75 grams of butter...

Captions 5-8, Weihnachtsplätzchen backen - mit Diane und vielen kleinen Helfern

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Further Learning
Take a look at some cooking recipes on Yabla German and try to find the noun modifiers that don't require a preposition in German. 

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