Verb-Preposition Collocations 5

Intermediate to Advanced

Da – Compounds

In Verb-Preposition Collocation modules 1-4, you learned about da-compounds (pronominal adverbs) that are very frequent in German. They are formed with dadar plus a preposition to refer back to something previously mentioned or to refer forward to something mentioned in the next clause. These da– compounds can only refer to a thing or a situation, but not a person or an animal.

Er sitzt auf einem Sessel [a thing]. Er sitzt darauf.

Ich schreibe darüber, wie ich die Ferien verbracht habe [a situation].

As you learned in previous modules, specific verbs require specific prepositions and corresponding da-compounds. Let’s learn some more of those verb-da-compound collocations.

Activity 1


Let’s review the meaning of the following verbs by matching them with their English equivalents. If needed, you can consult the online dictionary LEO.


The sentences below are taken from the DWDS corpus (a large electronic collection of texts) and show examples of da– compounds used with certain verbs.


Match the verbs with the da-compounds.

Activity 2

Now let’s look at some more corpus examples of da-compounds and determine which prepositions combine with da– and which prepositions combine with dar-.  They are presented in form of a concordance – stacked lines of examples with the search words bolded and centered.  If you find the text hard to read, you can go directly to the DWDS Corpus using the link provided below the image.

DWDS search results for da-compounds retrieved May 24, 2022.
DWDS search results for da-compounds retrieved May 24, 2022.

Now, decide whether the preposition should combine with da- or dar- to build a da-compound. You can review the rule in Activity 6 of the module Verb-Preposition Collocations 3.

Activity 3

Read the DWDS examples below with sich darauf freuen and sich darüber freuen and decide what each collocation means.

  • Biden sagte lediglich, er freue sich darauf, „eines Tages“ wieder nach Kiew zu kommen.
    Gespräch unter Männern. Süddeutsche Zeitung, 03.09.2021
  • Sie freue sich darauf, bald mit dem Nachwuchs zu ihm zu reisen.
    Der Mann, der Adolf Eichmann enttarnte. Süddeutsche Zeitung, 21.08.2021
  • Manchmal freue ich mich einfach darüber, dass überhaupt Bäume da sind.
    “Und dann sehe ich, wo das Buch mich hinführt”. Frankfurter Rundschau, 26.06.2021
  • Auch Kundinnen und Kunden in Europa freuen sich darüber, dass die “Ever Given” wieder fährt.
    Und es bewegt sich doch. Frankfurter Rundschau, 08.07.2021

Activity 4

Read the examples with verbs and prepositions taken from the DWDS website and fill in the blank with the correct da-compounds.

To see more examples of sentences with each da-compound, click on its Detailliertere Informationen link under Typische Verbindungen and then, in turn, on each of the verbs in the table. The verbs in that table are ranked by the frequency of their co-occurrence with the da-compound.

Activity 5

On your own. Using the word clouds from this module, write sentences with 5 da-compounds about yourself. Please make sure to match the da-compounds with correct verbs.

Bald haben wir Sommerferien. Meine Freunde und ich sprechen jeden Tag darüber.

Ich setze mich dafür ein, Natur zu schützen.

 Schirin Kourehpaz & Nina Vyatkina


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