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What’s the difference between Platz and Ort when they are used in the sense of place?

I know each can have different meanings on their own (e.g. Platz can mean city square and Ort can mean village), but what when you’re talking about a place in a generic sense? For example:

I know a place. – Ich weiß einen Platz.

Is there a place to stay overnight nearby? – Gibt es einen Platz in der Nähe zum Übernachten?

In these generic cases, is Platz or Ort preferred?

  • And don't forget Stätte. – Carsten S Apr 16 '16 at 18:54
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Germans don't say "Ich weiß einen Platz." nor "Ich weiß einen Ort.". They say: "Ich kenne einen Ort."

"Gibt es einen Ort in der Nähe zum Übernachten?" is correct. (People understand that you're searching for a hostel or something similar.) If you talk about a "Platz" in regard to "übernachten", it's a spot to sleep (as in: "Du kannst deinen Schlafsack da drüben hinlegen."), not a place.

"Ort" is more like a location whereas "Platz" is more like a spot. But "Platz" can also be a town square, a sports field, or refer to a seat. To make things even worse: If someone says "Da ist viel Platz.", it means that there is a lot of space.

  • 3
    In some German dialects, it’s quite normal to say “Ich weiß einen Platz/Ort”, but it’s not appropriate in standard (written) German. Platz is usually a flat area, big or small, surrounded by borders or edges, e.g. a surface to sit on (Sitzplatz). – Crissov Apr 16 '16 at 17:30

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