I excercise German with the Duolingo app from time to time, and today I think I found a typo in one of the excercises: "Wie bist du in mein Zimmer gekommen?"

I was taught that "in" is a dative preposition which accepts a dative conjugation, thus making it: "Wie bist du in meinem Zimmer gekommen?"

So my question is whether it was just a tiny typo or some special case where it doesn't have to get the dative case?

Thank you for your help!

  • 13
    Note that the dative-translation could (colloquially) be understood as: "How did you climax in my room?"
    – user6191
    Sep 7, 2014 at 19:01

2 Answers 2


Duolingo is correct here. The preposition "in" can demand the accusative as well, and that isn't even a special case. It goes with the dative if it answers a "Wo?" or "Wann?" question, but the accusative for a "Wohin?" question. In the example you could think of "Wohin bist Du gekommen? - In das Zimmer.", so it's the accusative here.

Other examples:

Er trinkt in der Kneipe ein Bier. (Wo? - dative)
Er ist in die Kneipe gegangen. (Wohin? - accusative)
In den Ferien fährt sie nach Frankreich. (Wann? - dative)

Other prepositions that demand either dative or accusative are "auf" and "an".


The preposition in requires either the dative (when asking where) or the accusative (when asking where / whither). (German) in can mean both (English) in as well as into:

Ich gehe im (= in dem) Wald = I walk in the forest. (I am already there.)

Ich gehe in den Wald = I walk into the forest. (I am currently outside of it.)

As an additional aside, German kommen has the exact same meaning as "to come" in English, including all sexual connotations. Wie bist Du in meinem Zimmer gekommen? (How did you come in my room?) would be -- well, unintentionally funny, at the very least.

  • Your last example does not work properly. In German you would have to say Wie bist Du in mein Zimmer gekommen. and in English How did you come into my room. So there would be a difference to the sexual one. Even though connotations work for (to) come and kommen in general
    – Daniel
    Jun 29, 2015 at 16:09

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