Icelandic Prepositions and Directions

Learn Prepositions and Directions in Icelandic


The following prepositions govern the accusative case:

Um – about

Gegnum – through

Kringum – around

Við – at, against


The following prepositions govern the dative case:

– towards

Frá – from

Af – off

Úr – out of

Nálægt – near


The following prepositions govern the genitive case:

Til – to

Án – without

Milli – between

Vegna – because of


Prepositions governing more than one case:

Í and dative – in

Í and accusative – into

Á and dative – on

Á and accusative – onto

Undir and dative – under

Undir and accusative – going under

Með and dative – means “with” but in an instrumental sense

Með and accusative – means “with” as in bringing


When it comes to directions, Icelandic most resembles Old English, with different forms of directions depending on whether you are going, coming or already there. English lost this distinction over time, but due to its geographical isolation, changes in other languages have had little effect on Icelandic. This is very extreme, with Icelanders being able to read sagas in Old Norse with no difficulty at all. It is often said that Icelandic is Old Norse with a few variations in pronunciation and a slightly different spelling system.

It is very important to note that the directions are always given in relation to the position of the speaker.

Left – vinstri

Right – hægri

Straight ahead – Beint áfram

Back – tilbaka

Here – hér (na)

From here – héðan

To here – hingað

There – þarna

From there – þaðan

To there – þangað

Where (not a question) – þar sem

Up – upp

Down – niður

All ready up at – uppi

All ready down at – niðri

If any of the words for up or down are followed by a vowel, the vowel at the end of the words for up or down will be replaced with an apostrophe: upp´á.

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Dr. Jennifer Wagner

PhD in Applied Linguistics, ESL/French teacher, author of two French books, and helping others to learn languages online at