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How do Germans say "I walked in the park/in the woods yesterday"?

My dictionary translates to walk as (spazieren) gehen and laufen. I thought to walk, as in I walked in the woods, didn't indicate a change of location or need a destination. So its perfect tense would need haben as the auxiliary verb. (When gehen/laufen means to go/run somewhere it has to be sein + past participle, of course.)

But all the examples in the dictionary are written with sein like Wir sind im Urlaub viel gelaufen. and it says both gehen and laufen take sein to form the perfect in any case.

I don't know the reason why I have to put sein in that case, even when there's no movement from somewhere to somewhere. Can anybody make me understand?

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there's no question here, the perfect tense of laufen and gehen is formed with sein, full stop. Ich bin (gestern) im Park spazieren gegangen. – hroptatyr Aug 12 '13 at 6:58
Well, walking certainly implies a movement, even though you may return to the starting point. There are corner cases (e.g. treadmills), but grammatically, gehen and laufen are always verbs of movements. – chirlu Aug 12 '13 at 7:05
I walked in the dark. - Andere Frage: Wieso mit Hilfsverb, und nicht einfach Ich spazierte im Park? – user unknown Aug 13 '13 at 21:31
up vote 3 down vote accepted

To answer your title question, as the comments above state, it would be,

Ich bin im Park spazieren gegangen.

(or possibly "Ich bin im Park gelaufen", since you brought up that verb, though that wouldn't necessarily indicate a stroll in the park).

If you want to use something other than sein, then you would have to switch to something like einen Spaziergang machen and use haben to form the perfect of machen, but that merely uses a different verb altogether.

Also, as stated in the comments above, verbs like gehen and laufen are always verbs of movement and take sein to form the perfect tense. Walking by definition indicates some sort of directional movement. Even walking in place merely transfers the movement into perhaps a vertical plane for up and down movements. But you can't technically be walking and be stationary at the same time.

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Just fixed "spazierengegangen" -> "spazieren gegangen". – Bertram Nudelbach Aug 13 '13 at 7:16

"I walked in the park" is past tense. The correct translation therefore has to be "Ich spazierte im Park." or "Ich ging im Park spazieren."

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Or "Ich bin im Park spazieren gegangen" but not "Ich habe im Park spazieren genangen" what OP is assuming. – Em1 Aug 12 '13 at 16:15
Da der Gebrauch der Zeiten im Deutschen und im Englischen verschieden ist, muss die past tense nicht mit dem Imperfekt übersetzt werden, das Perfekt ist auch möglich. – Carsten S Oct 18 '15 at 21:14

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