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My doubt is with respect to this sentence (in perfect)

Er ist zum Büro gegangen.

My teacher taught me that we have to use the verb sein as helping verb whenever there is a movement. However, why do we use a dative preposition zu + dem rather than an accusative preposition in + das? Isn't the verb gehen an accusative verb?
What is wrong with the following sentence?

Er ist ins Büro gegangen.

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1  
Since your question isn't really about the perfect tense, I amended the question. For example in present tense, it's the same thing: "Ich gehe zum/ins Büro." –  Em1 Nov 19 '12 at 18:13
    
Wenn er zum Büro geht, geht er nicht notwendig auch hinein - vielleicht bleibt er im Sekretariat hängen? "Ins Büro gehen" sagt, er geht auch hinein. –  user unknown Nov 20 '12 at 3:56
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3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

There is nothing wrong with either sentence.

Er ist zum Büro gegangen

focusses more on the way from his home to the office building, or from his living room to his study or whatever is appropriate to the situation, while

Er ist ins Büro gegangen

focusses mainly on either his departure (e.g. from home) or his arrival at the office.

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So is it accepted to use dative preposition to an object when the verb is accusative? –  thandasoru Nov 19 '12 at 10:02
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Ah, sorry, I overlooked that part of your question. Each preposition demands a case, i.e. the noun (phrase) the preposition refers to has to be in that case. "Zu" demands dative. There are prepositions that allow more than one case. "In", for instance, allows both dative and accusative: dative for a place (der Mann sitzt im Büro) and accusative for a direction (der Mann geht in das Büro). –  elena Nov 19 '12 at 11:03
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Gehen per se is not an accusative verb and it is not limited to one preposition only. You can use in, zu, vor, durch, aus, etc with it. Some make sense with Büro and some don't (mit). Which to use depends on what you want to say... just as the other answers pointed out. For completion I'd like to mention that also this is technically possible:

Er geht im Büro.

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Oh, I did not know this. Thank you for the answer, much appreciated. I am having a test this Sunday at Goethe Institut and this information came just in the right time. Thanks :-) –  thandasoru Nov 21 '12 at 11:24
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I'd like to point out, because I think it might not be clear to every learner, that "Er geht im Büro" means that he is walking inside the office, rather than going there. –  fifaltra Dec 28 '13 at 16:19
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Both sentences are correct, the meaning is a little bit different.
I'd translate it as

  1. He went to the office. (Er ist zum Büro gegangen.)
  2. He went into the office. (Er ist ins Büro gegangen.)
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