Locative prepositions are related to a location or movement.
They can be used to describe the following situations:
Almost all locative prepositions can be used to answer the question „Wo?“. When answering „Wo?“, they ALWAYS require the dative case.
„Bei“ and „An“ have similar meanings, but are used in different situations. „Bei“ can always be used, while „an“ can't be used with people.
„Bei“ always requires the dative case. All other prepositions listed here can also answer the question „Wohin?” (and would then require the accusative case). More info about prepositions that can take both the accusative or dative case is in my lesson on two-case prepositions.
The prepositions „aus“ and „von“ express coming from a specific direction. They answer the question: „Woher?“
Both prepositions use dative, ALWAYS!
"Aus" describes leaving something or somewhere physically
That means the subject has to be inside something (i.e. a building) and then leave it. It's also used with countries, cities, and regions without articles.
„Von“ describes coming from a specific point or area.
You don't necessarily have to have been "inside" the place:
If you can not physically leave something, you have to use "von":
All prepositions that can be used to answer "Wo?" can be used to answer "Wohin?" except for "bei." Instead of "bei" we use "zu" or "nach."
When describing the movement, use the same preposition that’s used to describe the ending position.
It works the same with the other so-called two-way prepositions (auf, über, unter, vor, hinter, in, neben, an, and zwischen)
"In" and "zu" are the opposite of "aus" and "von"
"Zu" and "nach" mean the same thing. You go to somebody or something.
"Nach" is used for continents, countries, cities, and regions. For everything else we use "zu."
BUT: „Ich fahre zu meiner Oma.“
Exception for "nach": If the country or region requires an article (like Switzerland: "die Schweiz") we use "in" instead of "nach":
The preposition "durch" describes going through something.
"Durch" is always followed by a noun in the accusative case.
The preposition "um … herum" describes going around something.
The preposition "um … herum" is a two-part preposition. The noun goes between the two parts. If it’s clear from the context what’s happening, the "herum" can be left out.
The preposition "um" is always followed by a noun in the accusative case.
The preposition "gegenüber" describes being on the other side of the street.
→ I am on the side of the street opposite the bank.
→ I am in front of the post office, but on the other side of the street.
"Gegenüber" is always followed by a noun in the dative case.
Everything about prepositions related to time: Temporal Prepositions
How to form questions with prepositions: Questions with Prepositions
Some verbs have prepositions complements: Verbs with Prepositions