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I have a problem understanding how to use perfect in the following sentence:

Ich bin mit dem Bus in das Stadtzentrum gefahren.

I know we are supposed to use the auxiliary verb haben in perfect when we have an accusative object in the sentence.

Does this apply when there is an accusative object as a local preposition?

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Es gibt die Hilfsverben "haben" und "sein". Mit dem Bus hat man nicht, sondern ist ins Stadtzentrum gefahren. Man hat es vielleicht erreicht. :) –  user unknown Jan 11 '13 at 15:46

1 Answer 1

up vote 3 down vote accepted

An accusative phrase that is part of a prepositional phrase is not an accusative object.

Fahren has no accusative object here, just an attribute to indicate direction. Therefore, its correct perfect auxiliary is indeed "sein", as in

Ich bin in die Stadt gefahren.

It would be a different case if you added a real accusative object to it:

Ich habe meinen Sohn in die Stadt gefahren.
(I drove my son to town.)

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