I am confused with what preposition to use: zu, in, bei. I would make this sentence like this:

Ich gehe heute zur Schule.

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    zu -> to ; in - > in ; bei -> at Where is the question?
    – jawo
    Sep 29, 2015 at 12:24

2 Answers 2


I’m not sure what you’re trying to say in your English sentence: In English, a child that decides to go to school would say “I’ll go to school today”. In German, you’d say Ich gehe heute zur Schule (or „Heute gehe ich zur Schule“, „Ich gehe heute in die Schule“ or „Heute gehe ich in die Schule“ respectively).

Adding “the” makes it sound like the person is not a student of that school, but someone who has other business there. In that case, you could say Ich gehe heute zu der Schule (um irgendetwas zu erledigen).

  • zur is shortened for zu der, so it's the same.
    – Munchkin
    Sep 29, 2015 at 11:33
  • @Munchkin I know that you can shorten „zu der“ to become „zur“, but in this case saying „zu der“ emphasises that it is not something you usually do. „zur Schule gehen“ --> “going to school”, whereas „zu der Schule gehen“ --> “going to that school”. It’s a bit like using „dieser“ instead of „der“. separating zu and der implies you don’t usually have business with that institution. You’re only going there once, because you need something done.
    – Philipp
    Sep 29, 2015 at 12:25

Your english sentence is in future tense, but your german translation is in present tense. It should be in the same tense.

But you asked for prepositions, and the answer depends on which variation of German you want to speak.

In German German, and as far as I know also in Swiss German, you say:

Ich werde heute zur Schule gehen.

But in Austrian German you say:

Ich werde heute in die Schule gehen.

The difference comes from what the word »Schule« can mean: In Germany (and Switzerland, if I am right), people obviously primarily think of the institution when they hear the word »Schule«. But in Austria people at first think of the building. Of course in fact it is both, institution and building.

There is a joke that is based on this difference:

In Deutschland gehen die Kinder zur Schule. In Österreich gehen sie auch hinein.
In Germany children go to the school. In Austria they also enter it.

  • Swiss German is official language and taught in schools in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It has 5 million native speakers.
  • Austrian German is official language and taught in schools in Austria and Italy (South Tyrol). It has 9 million native speakers.
  • German German is official language and taught in schools in Germany, Belgium and Luxemburg. It has 82 million native speakers.

German is also official language of the European Union, but de jure the EU doesn't prefer one of there variation. De facto German German is used, because 6 of 7 German native speakers speak German German.

  • 2
    In Deutschland wird beides benutzt.
    – chirlu
    Sep 29, 2015 at 8:22
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    I think the German sentence "Ich gehe zur (or in die) Schule" is absolutely fine. Probably even more likely than using Futur I. Furthermore, I don't think that a translation must follow the tense of the original language. Suppose you would translate the German present tense version into English. If you'd translate that as "I go to school today", you certainly came up with something wrong.
    – Em1
    Sep 29, 2015 at 8:23
  • @Em1: You are right in a general manner. But here Englisch and German use exactly the same grammatical tools to express the same things. The sentence »Ich gehe heute in die Schule« can mean future if you say it at 6 o'clock in the morning. But this is also true for »I go to school today«. So here you have a one-to-one-relation between German and Englisch, and this is why I see non reason the change tenses in this special case Sep 29, 2015 at 8:54
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    Fair enough. If both languages share the same way of expressing something, there's nothing wrong with using that one. I actually didn't really complain about using Futur I, I'm just of the opinion that present tense is a little more natural in German here. However, in one thing I do disagree. Even at 6AM, you wouldn't say "I go to school today". You'll either decide that "You will go to school today" or perhaps you won't because "There's no way you are going to school today" but "if you go to school today, you'll learn something". My point is just that simple present doesn't work here.
    – Em1
    Sep 29, 2015 at 9:38
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    Thanks so much for your answers. My German teacher here in Germany told that Futur I implies uncertainty and probability, so when you plan to do something in the future and if you are certain about it, present tense is used. That's why I wrote the German sentence in present tense.
    – umit
    Sep 30, 2015 at 9:41

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