15 German Da Words: Ultimate Guide For German Prefix With Real Examples

Dabei, dafür, dagegen and more. German -da words are common in the language, and although you might not know what they mean, you can easily understand them in context.

On Effortless Conversations, we teach you with the Conversation Based Chunking method. And this method focuses on lexical chunks, teaching you with real German sentences and German conversation instead of focusing solely on grammar.

Learn German with Anja explains everything you have to know about German da words:

And now, it’s up to us to explain everything in details!

1. What are German DA words?

German -da words have some important functions in the language. To understand what they are, you have have to know what roles they serve:

  1. Reference: They refer to previously mentioned ideas, objects, or situations.
  2. Conciseness: They replace longer prepositional phrases.
  3. Clarity: They help avoid ambiguity when referring to abstract concepts.
  4. Cohesion: They link sentences and ideas.
  5. Emphasis: They can be used to stress certain elements in a German sentence.
  6. Idioms: Many -da words are part of common German expressions.

And here are all the German Da words in a table with their translations:

GermanEnglish Translation
dabeiwith it, present
dafürfor it, for that
dagegenagainst it
daherfrom there, therefore
damitwith it, in order to
danachafter that
daranon it, about it
daraufon it, onto it
darausout of it
darinin it
darüberabout it, over it
darumabout it, therefore
darunterunder it, among them
davonof it, from it
dazuto it, in addition

2. How the German da-compounds work?

German grammar can be tricky, but -da words are a handy tool once you get the hang of them.

How do you form them? It’s simple!

“da” + preposition

German da words replace prepositions and pronouns. You can use them when you’re talking about things or ideas rather than people

In German sentences, the German da-words usually appear in the same place where the preposition would appear with the exception that they can be split up in certain cases.

german flag with decorations around it and german da words in center

And these words are pretty flexible – they can shrink down in certain cases (like “davon” + “ab” becoming “davonab“) and often point back to something you’ve already mentioned.

They’re also the go-to for kicking off relative clauses and popping up in common German expressions: “Da bin ich dabei!” (Count me in!)

3. The -da prefix in German sentences

Just as we mentioned in the previous section, German -da words work in sentences by replacing prepositional phrases. Their function is different every time depending on what they refer to.

Is it still hard to understand? No worries, let’s check this table where we list the functions and explain what they replace.

FunctionGerman ExampleEnglish TranslationExplanation
Basic replacementIch interessiere mich dafür.I’m interested in it/that.dafür” replaces “für das
Referring to previous ideaWir haben über das Projekt gesprochen. Was denkst du darüber?We talked about the project. What do you think about it?darüber” refers back to “das Projekt
Introducing relative clauseDas ist das Buch, worüber wir gesprochen haben.That’s the book we talked about.worüber” introduces a relative clause about “das Buch
Idiomatic expressionDabei sein ist alles.Taking part is everything.dabei” is part of a fixed expression
Split usageDa kann ich nichts für.I can’t help it.dafür” is split into “da…für
With verb prefixesIch habe lange darüber nachgedacht.I’ve thought about it for a long time.darüber” works with the separable verb “nachdenken
Multiple -da wordsDamit habe ich nicht gerechnet, daher bin ich darauf nicht vorbereitet.I didn’t expect that, so I’m not prepared for it.Uses “damit,” “daher,” and “darauf” in one sentence
Singular referenceDas Auto ist teuer. Ich kann mir das nicht leisten.The car is expensive. I can’t afford it.
Plural referenceDie Autos sind teuer. Ich kann mir das nicht leisten.The cars are expensive. I can’t afford them.das” in both cases, despite singular/plural reference

4. The plural of German da-words

If we’re talking about the plural in German, we have to mention that German da-words don’t have a plural form in the traditional sense. They function as adverbs or pronouns and they are unchanged regardless of whether they refer to singular or plural things.

Why?

Because they already present an idea or thought.

For example:

  • Ich denke oft daran. (I often think about it/them.) – This sentence could refer to one thing or multiple things, but “daran” doesn’t change.
  • Wir freuen uns darauf. (We’re looking forward to it/them.) – Again, “darauf” stays the same whether it’s about one event or multiple events.

While the -da words themselves don’t change, the context or other parts of the sentence might show plurality:

  • Ich habe viele Bücher. Ich denke oft darüber nach. (I have many books. I often think about them.) – “Darüber” refers to the plural “Bücher,” but the word itself doesn’t change.

5. Practice German DA words with our Full Practice Worksheet Library

It’s time to practice German DA words. Use our built-in flashcards block!

This isn’t everything we have to offer: click the button and we’ll direct you to our Full Practice Worksheet Library along with some Essential German Chunking Lists and other resources to learn German.

6. Learn the meaning of German DA words with Conversation Based Chunking

So, just like we mentioned in the introduction, let’s talk about the Conversation Based Chunking method once again.

This method focuses on the natural building blocks of the language, rather than teaching you boring grammar rules and definitions along with loooong vocabulary lists. This is good news because you can learn the German DA words in context. For this, there are multiple ways to go: listen to German podcasts, watch the best German Netflix shows, and ultimately, sign up to get your German Conversation Based Chunking Guide.

In this guide, I’ll share the best resources to learn German, you’ll get an Essential German Chunking List and you’ll have access to our Practice Worksheet Library, too.

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